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Diamond And Jewellery Blog | Poggenpoel

Designing Your Own Engagement Ring

Posted by Johan Poggenpoel on Nov 13, 2014 10:02:00 AM


So you want to go the a la custom route? Good for you!

Custom work in the jewellery trade refers to designs and pieces that your chosen jeweller manufactures on a once-off basis. If it doesn’t come from off-the-shelf stock… it’s custom. There’s very little new and fresh in the world of engagement ring designs, so most custom designs are merely “inspired” by images/photos a customer provides, maybe with a few small changes. Copyright in the jewellery world is close to non-existent (and for very good reason). Designers have been reworking and recycling the same basic themes and ideas for many years. Finding the true source of 99.999% of designs is impossible. So please don’t feel bad about seeing a design online and having it manufactured for yourself. 

Preparing For Your Meeting (RE: Custom Engagement Ring)


To get the most from your session with a jeweller and/or designer it’s absolutely necessary to come thoroughly prepared with photos, sketches and some crisp explanations. Although most designers try to bring the X-factor to the table they simply cannot guess what your personal preferences are. Engagement ring styles vary drastically, and you’ll need to provide a starting point regardless of how brilliant and creative a designer is. 

Photos are golden, IF you group them into the following classes;

Design Images (“Bingo! This is it!”): This is the holy grail. If you have a few images of the precise design you would like to have manufactured that’s first prize.

Theme images (“Something like this”): These images should all adhere to a certain style (halo, pave, vintage etc). These images should be more or less similar to help the designer in gauging your vision for the overall look and feel of the ring.

Specific detail Images (“I like that little detail”): A ring you saw online might be far from ideal in its totality, but it has a little detail you like, say, a very specific shape of curl you’ve fallen in love with. Those photos can be used to incorporate the small details into your own design. 

You can browse, ooooh and aaaah at an infinite amount of stunning designs on websites like Tumblr and Pinterest. These are your new BFFs! Use and abuse them ‘till you have a clear picture of exactly what you want. 

Two Problems With Designs You See On The Internet

Massive Diamonds


Most internet designs sport huge 1,00ct - 3,00ct diamonds as the main showpiece. That’s large… just like the price tag. Some of these 3,00ct designs call for budgets north of R300 000. Now unless you feel like spending that kind of money on a ring certain proportions will need to be significantly scaled down and changed to accommodate a smaller main diamond. Every claw securing a 3,00ct diamond needs to be at least 1mm wide, but it’s important to note you also need a 1mm claw (same thickness) for a 0,50ct diamond. Again, regardless of the diamond’s size, you’ll need ±1mm claws to safely secure your diamond. That’s why claws on designs with smaller diamonds might seem overly large when compared to rings with much larger centre diamonds. Like Einstein said the other day: “It’s all relative, baby”. All metal work seems petite and fine next to a massive 3,00ct diamond, that’s why jewellers use these images to showcase their work! Unfortunately most of us aren’t walking around with 3,00ct diamonds on our fingers. 

You’re Looking At A Rendering, Not An Actual Ring


A lot of the designs you see on the internet are merely renderings of digital designs, and not actual rings. These amazing digital designs are meant to *wow* and get you to click on them. It’s merely click-bait. Just because you saw a design on the internet doesn’t mean it can actually be manufactured to a proper standard. We’ve all seen talking dogs on the TV and internet… you don’t pop into your pet store asking if they have any talking dogs in stock, do you? Please tell me you don’t.  

  • You can spot these click-bait designs by looking out for:
  • Filigree work that is unrealistically fine. (It will break too easily in real life conditions)
  • Close to non-existent claws that hold the diamond in place. (The diamond will just drop out in an actual ring)
  • Bands so thin you need to use your imagination to see them. (The band will bend and break)
  • Tiny diamonds smaller than a grain of salt. (They don’t exist)
  • Designs that are obviously computer renderings and not finished products. (Like the image above)

Though admirable and intriguing these ring designs were never meant to be manufactured. Misleading? Well, I’d say so. Even the jeweller using these amazing ring designs in advertorial material will need to explain why he can’t manufacture the ring you admire. 

If you’d like to start digging around for ideas here are a few great tools:

Armed with the information above I hope you can take a fresh look at online designs. If you’d like to talk about the feasibility of a certain design never hesitate, for one moment, to drop us an e-mail! I’ll be writing about the manufacturing aspect of a custom engagement ring in a future post. It’s extremely interesting, and I’ll give you some good tips to ensure you’ll be choosing a decent jeweller. 

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Topics: Engagement Ring Design, Custom Engagement Rings