Personally, I’m a fanboy of custom engagement rings.
Around 70% of the projects we undertake are customised designs of some sort, and if this number seems large - it is. We recommend our custom route every day of the week wholeheartedly.
Obviously all engagement rings are special due to their life-changing significance, but adding a personal touch to this symbolic piece of jewellery takes up to a completely new level. In an age where information, products and services are available at the click of a button (and usually instantaneously), taking the time and putting in the effort to get the engagement ring design perfect for yourself or your partner is very rewarding.
If you think it’s tedious and tiring - nope, you'll enjoy it.
10 years down the line you’ll hopefully be used to seeing the engagement ring, but the origin story will never grow old.
You have the opportunity to make it special.
A shot of old school effort in a modern world.
Online browsing and shopping is very convenient, but even more than that we’ve have grown used to getting exactly what we want. Take a look at Amazon’s "Flat Screen TVs and Panel TVs" - section. 2 271 listed models. All of a sudden the 40 sets on display at Macro seem like a limiting variety. Every manufacturer's entire model line with varying sizes, functions, and prices can easily be researched and purchased from Amazon, or many similar retailers.
Engagement rings have also entered this new world of infinite options due to great discovery tools like Google Images, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and jewellers' websites that act as extensive catalogues.
But unlike television sets and the like, after some hopefully exciting, yet overwhelming, online diamond and engagement ring design browsing I’ll bet you my dog there’s no way you can stroll into a traditional jewellery store and that perfect ring is just sitting there waiting for you to come by. No way.
There’s one road to getting it perfect if that’s what you’re aiming for ... and that would be finding and working with a great custom jeweller.
You’ll need a set a budget or ballpark figure.
Price questions and conversations can be awkward.
When I’m out shopping for something relatively high-value I have a hard time just spurting out a budget. I just don’t feel 100% at ease and can’t simply rest assured that every consultant or sales executive I’m dealing will do their utmost best to get the me best possible solution.
So my sales representatives at Poggenpoel Jewellers know better than to start off any conversation with “So, what’s the budget we’re working with?”.
Just know, that in the jewellery world - your budget greatly determines what we can do for you. There’s no way around this...
*Our leila design customised for R25 000 (0,40ct centre stone), R50 000 (0,70ct centre stone), R90 000 (1,00ct centre stone), R250 000 (2,00ct centre stone).
A significant portion of gents and couples that visit us don’t have a set initial budget. In a bottom-up scenario we’ll be shown some designs and asked to give budget ballparks. After that your expectations will be realistic and we can start working on a plan to visually optimise that budget within designs you’re considering. There are lots of tricks and tools a brilliant designer can employ to make a certain design work at a multiple of price points. We’ll get to our Leila halo design in part two of this series, but we’ve executed versions of this design for R15 000 - and up to well over R300 000.
If you’re just starting your research, and don't feel the urge to visit us yet, we’re always more than happy to provide a minimum-budget-to-make-this-happen-type-quote or a to-make-this-awesome-we- recommend- a-budget-of-Rx via email. Just know we have the most relaxed studios you’ll find and I promise; you won’t have any pressure tactics working on you. That’s not what we do.
Audit your/her* personality and style.
Whether you’re the gent ordering or the bride-to-be working on the design understanding how personal style and lifestyle considerations play into this is very important.
*Writing this section was tricky. I had no idea if I should address the gents or the ladies. So if it’s mumbled - sorry. Twist and turn the word until they speak to you. :)
An engagement ring will be worn all day, every day and should work with, or at least not clash with, most outfits it’s worn with. The ring should seamlessly fit into your lifestyle and wardrobe and offer many years of enjoyment.
Even if you prefer eccentric and very glamorous designs, don’t pressure yourself into a rabbit hole of larger, more spectacular, more intricate etc.
Your engagement ring will stand out by default. People will notice.
We’ve recently published two blogs in a lifestyle series that will help figure out how to match your design to the personnel who will be wearing this ring.
Take the 15 minutes to work through them, it’s worth it.
These are a few issues we tackle daily;
- Every design you find online can be changed to be slightly more bulky or slimmed down, without compromising the look and feel of a ring.
- Don’t like the specific diamond shape in a design? No problem, we can easily adjust the design to fit most diamond shapes.
- If you’d like more detail – let’s take a look, recommend some elements and add the right detail.
- If a design seems too intricate we can distil it and subtract detail.
- Want a classic, vintage twist on a modern design? We’ll gladly harmoniously work in detail like mill-grain or stunning filigree. We do loads of vintage designs every month.
Whatever we can do to get a design perfect for you, without compromising on durability or longevity - we’ll gladly get on it.
Some great resources to start gathering and bring to a consultation or email over would include;
- Photos of jewellery you/she currently owns, loves and regularly wears.
- Information on her favourite design themes like modern, vintage, over-the-top, the list goes on.
- Insights into the dress-style and fashion sense of the future… ring-wearer. Think in terms of classic, bold, colourful.
- A "theme-board" of ides and preferred designs. We’ll get to this in part two.
I hope you’re seeing how much more involved and special the custom route is?
Just a tip for gents reading this - don’t go mega-eccentric if your girlfriend isn’t involved. The fact that she enjoys the steampunk style of design and even decoupaged a drawer along those lines Does. Not. Mean she wants to be walking around with a steampunk engagement ring now… or in 40 years’ time.
Her favourite flowers, colours and dog breed should probably stay… just that. No need for a purple sunflower ring with little pug-faces on the petals. Really. That’s like ordering a “no” to your proposal since your judgement seems alarming off.
We’ve had some strange requests and manufactured quite a few. And remanufactured quite a few of those a year or two down the line.
[Part 2 of this series will be live later this week, ensure you don’t miss it by subscribing to blog updates HERE]
As always, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to reach out to me directly via joh[email protected], I’ll also be available in the comments.