If you’re turned off by cookie cutter engagement rings, consider buying your jewellery piece through an engagement ring designer. It’s no secret that the glass display cases found in most retail stores are full of mass-marketed, machine-made products. Once upon a time, if you wanted to buy someone a token of affection, you would visit a small jewellery retailer that offered a unique selection of handcrafted bespoke pieces. Today, the growing market trend towards the artisan engagement ring designer reflects a return to this old-fashioned sensibility and renewed demand for distinctive, irreproducible pieces suggests that more couples are seeking customized ring designs that defy typical conventions. If you find yourself feeling the bespoke vibe, here are some tips on how you can get the best possible ring for your dearly beloved.
Go to the Source
If you see a designer's work at a jewellery store, liaise with a salesperson and get in touch with the designer. Otherwise, you can search online or get referrals for designers from friends and family. After that, let your eyes and heart do the choosing.
If you're cold-calling a designer, inquire about their style, their professional affiliations, where you can see their work (maybe they have a boutique store or a website), and how long they've been in business. If they pass the phone test, meet them face to face. Visit the store and handle the rings in person. Is the ring you're considering carefully and skilfully constructed?
When you speak with the engagement ring designer or salesperson, make sure that you will feel comfortable and confident working with them. Stand by your ideas but also listen to their input, as they know what doesn't work on a ring, no matter how amazing it looks in your imagination.
Start the search process early. You should typically allow six weeks for delivery of the ring once it has been ordered. Not only will you need time for ring research and to find a designer you like and trust, but consider too that finalizing the ring's customisation may require some back and forth dialogue and hence more time. A bespoke ring takes considerable time to hand-assemble, especially when features like personal engravings are added.
If you're working directly with an engagement ring designer, ask what guarantees are offered. Be sure to get everything in writing should contract disputes come up later on. For instance, to help ensure that the final piece matches what you envisioned, have the designer sign a piece of paper that lists the elements you agreed would be included (i.e. purity of metal, details of setting, gemstones etc). Verify in this contract the deadline delivery date as well as the price. If the engagement ring designer is supplying the stone, make sure it is accompanied by a quality grading report, or else have it appraised before being set. Be certain that your ring's appraisal report (which you'll need in order to get it insured) notes that the ring is custom designed. This will affect the replacement value set by your insurance company.