Bespoke engagement rings were once the prerogative of the wealthy, but it’s becoming an increasingly popular phenomenon within the jewellery industry.
In the dark ages – before the internet became a widely accessible commodity – research was a much more arduous process. Cast your mind back, if you can, to the days before Google, when any query, booking or fact-checking involved scouring books and newspapers or picking up the phone. Now, every obscure whim or question can be answered in a matter of seconds. But the veritable fountain of knowledge that we have available at our fingertips is bound to throw up the occasional bad bit of advice; none more so than when it comes to the world of DIY.
In times of austerity, love doesn’t dwindle, but funds unfortunately do. Therefore the ‘make do and mend’ mantra of the Second World War has come back in fashion in order to save us a few precious pennies. DIY Weddings are increasingly popular, with couples finding ways around the often ridiculous costs involved in planning and pulling off a fairytale wedding. A swift internet search will uncover ideas for homemade centrepieces, invitations and favours, but then there are those who take it that bit further; how about a handmade wedding ring?! Bespoke rings are becoming more and more popular, and what could be more tailor-made than a ring that your beloved other half has designed from scratch. If you’re not feeling brave enough to attempt making a ring yourself (yes, according to WikiHow, one can create a bespoke piece of jewellery using a silver coin and a few household tools), here are a few options for creative control, without having to go anywhere near a drill:
1. Semi-Bespoke: many jewellers recognise the desire for bespoke engagement rings and offer a low cost ‘ring builder’ kit. A client can choose the particular style of the diamond, band and setting. It’s an affordable, if slightly rudimentary option. See www.eurofindings.com and www.bluenile.com for a couple of good examples.
2. Silversmith/Goldsmith: As couples become more meticulous about their rings and often wish to add a touch of personality to them, it’s more common to work with a silver/goldsmith on a bespoke design. This could be from scratch or working from the shank (the basic band of the ring, without a setting or any stones). Often, couples have very precise ideas on the shape, colour and type of gemstone they wish to use. Engraving is also a popular choice for bespoke rings, to reflect a romantic, pertinent meaning behind the ring. This option, however, does not come cheap.
3. AutoCAD: If you’re familiar with the term CAD (Computer Aided Design) then you probably have a mental image of cold, formal 3D renders. Although 3D technology has rapidly become a ubiquitous part of modern life, it is difficult to put it into a romantic context. However, companies such as Hot Pink, who are pioneer CAD jewellers, have utilised this technology to assist the growing number of couples who want the perfect, fully bespoke engagement and/or wedding rings. Every aspect of the design is fully customisable and amendments are made on the computer in front of your eyes before being made into the real thing. This is far more comprehensive than selecting from a limited range of design options. The jewellers can also produce an inexpensive wax cast silver prototype of the ring, just in case your significant other is not 100% happy with the design… or says no to the proposal! I suppose that unfortunate situation would be far more painful if you’d gone down the DIY route, too. Ouch.