Tips for Shopping for a Custom Engagement Ring: Part Two
Welcome to the second installment of our two-part series on shopping for a custom engagement ring. This week, we’ll be talking about timelines, process, and hopefully giving you some good advice about how to expedite your engagement ring process.
Part Two: Process & Timelines
Most of the other questions we get revolve around how long something will take or what you, as the customer, needs to do in order have a smooth designing process. I’ve taken some of the top behaviors we see and turned them into a few tips on how to ensure that your proposal with a custom ring will go as smoothly as possible.
5. Set a proposal timeline. One of the questions we normally get is “how long will this take?” and the answer is very dependent on the type of ring you want to create. Intricate design work takes longer than a simple band, and if the jeweler has to outsource some of the construction — like hand engraving — then that will also add to the timeline. So, the best thing to do is to decide when you want to propose, and then start shopping around a few months before that date. Most custom rings will take around 4-6 weeks to create, but some definitely take longer and you want to give yourself enough buffer for unforeseen circumstances (like your jeweler getting sick). So ask yourself when you’d like to propose to your loved one. Are you a Christmas lover, and want to ask over a bonfire? Is there a special anniversary coming up you want to take advantage of? Once you know when you’d like to do it, then you can work backwards from that date to start shopping around. Ideally you’d give yourself a 2-3 month buffer: enough time to get a few price quotes, have the ring created, and finalize the details of your proposal after the ring is completed.
6. Remember your jeweler is human. Sometimes metalsmithing and jewelry creation seems like magic to me. Somehow someone takes a lump of raw material and turns it into a beautiful, shiny adornment. But behind every intriguing piece of jewelry was a very skilled (and very human) hand molding it into what it is. Like with most things nowadays, I’ve become so accustomed to a “right here, right now” lifestyle that I forget sometimes that real artisanship takes time. So when you’re shopping for Custom Jewelry, don’t be in a rush. It’s like the old adage says, sometimes the slower you go the faster you get there, and a jeweler should only go as fast as the speed of art. The reason we love handmade is because it is unique, individual, and has the artisan stamp of one person’s viewpoint at a single moment of time. So embrace slight imperfections and don’t expect fine work to be done in a day. Keep an open mind, and remember, your jeweler is human. But he or she is going to work to keep your business and wants to make a piece for you that stands the test of time — even if it’s going to take some to create.
7. Know the ring size. You’d be surprised how many rings we’ve created without having an accurate ring size. Here’s the thing. You don’t have to have it. But it is soooo much better if you do. Here’s why: When you propose, your beloved is going to want to wear the ring. Right then. Right there. And they do not want to worry about it falling off or not going on. The other reason is that when the jeweler designs a ring, they take specific dimensions into consideration. The size of a person’s hands and fingers is one of them. A 5 mm width looks different on a size 5 finger than a size 7 finger, and fine tuning your design to be as beautiful as it can be is something you can only do with exact dimensions. Most good jewelers will plan rings with the ability to size it up or down by 1 size, but having to drastically change an intricately designed ring can get really hairy, really quickly. So our advice: figure out the ring size. Doing so means not having to come back to the jeweler after you propose, and allows you to end up with a complete and fine-tuned custom design. Not to mention, your beloved will be ecstatic when it fits like a glove the first time.
8. Find a jeweler you trust. This may be obvious, but it is also the best tip we’ve got. While ideally you’d have all of our previous tips in mind while shopping, working with a jeweler you trust is worth it’s weight in gold (pardon the pun), as they can walk you through the process. As I said in my last post, good jewelers have your best interest at heart and will give you options to fit timeline, budget, and scope of the work you want. They are happy to answer your questions and want to create something beautiful with you. So if all thus fails, find someone who you connect with.
With that, I’ll leave you with a few more of the beautiful engagement rings we’ve had the pleasure of creating. We hope they inspire, and happy designing!