Olivia Landau, founder and CEO of The Clear Cut notes that close to 90% of her customers work on designing a bespoke ring as a team. “Most of the time during the first phone consultation or while picking out the diamonds, both people will work together and then one person will drop out for an element of surprise,” she shares. “A lot of couples collaborate financially, too. It’s a very involved process and something that’s super personal. You’re going to wear it on your hand forever, so you want to make sure that you love it and that you’re making the right investment.”
Start With Ring Education
Before you begin the process of designing a custom ring, you should educate yourself on the ins and outs of engagement rings. If you plan to have a diamond engagement ring, learning about the 4Cs (cut, color, clarity, and carat) is essential. This can give you a scope of the quality, size, style, and, ultimately, cost of your center stone.
“I think budget is the biggest piece that influences what the ring inevitably looks like,” notes Gottlieb. “We always want to manage expectations for a couple, we would never want them to be trying on rings that don’t suit their budget. Upfront, have a conversation about that and then figure out what that means from a carat size perspective and what types of compromises you’re willing to make on quality to get to a certain size.”
You also should consider whether you want to purchase a natural or lab-grown diamond. Some couples prefer ethically sourced natural diamonds for their time-tested value and ability to support local mining communities, while others prefer lab-grown stones due to their lower costs and more sustainable production. Certain designers work exclusively with one type of stone, so consider this when researching a jeweler to partner with.
Style is, of course, one of the most important factors in choosing your ring. Many jewelers suggest looking online and trying on a few rings to get a broader idea of what might work best for you. “Try on a bunch of styles—even ones that you don’t originally gravitate towards! Mixing shapes, carat sizes, and metal colors might pleasantly surprise you,” says Wegman. She notes that a style you fell in love with in an Instagram post might not be the right fit for your own ring finger. “Find inspo pictures of your favorite shapes and settings on someone with similar hands. Some shapes you think you’ll love may not be the most flattering for your hands.”
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