You’re ready to pop the question. Spend the rest of your life with the love of your life. Commit to giving her the moon and stars for the rest of her days. You really are. But what you’re not ready to do is start off the rest of that life with crushing debt thanks to breaking the bank on an engagement ring that costs the moon. And you shouldn’t have to. Even custom-made engagement rings can be done on a budget. Here’s everything you need to know about popping the question with a custom-made engagement ring that will put stars in her eyes … without removing all the dollar signs from your bank account.
How much “should” you spend on an engagement ring?
If we had a dollar for every time some hapless love’s young dream has asked us this question, we’d be shutting up shop and heading off to drink piña coladas under an umbrella on a sun-drenched beach for the rest of our days. So, let us answer that question for you right now: SPEND WHAT YOU WANT. SPEND WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD. SPEND WHAT WON’T GIVE YOU SLEEPLESS NIGHTS WORRYING ABOUT MONEY.
Yes, we know: we too have heard the ‘rules’ stating that you should set aside three months’ salary for an engagement ring. And we’re here to tell you that those rules are complete and utter balderdash. What’s more, pay no mind to all those studies telling you that, on average, couples spend $3000, $6000, $8000 on an engagement ring. It’s all made up nonsense. If you can afford to, and want to, spend that much on a ring, then by all means do. But if you can’t don’t feel bad: those numbers are often unrealistic for most, cause unnecessary stress, and don’t consider individual budgets, financial situations, lifestyles or your spending ethos.
And don’t think that spending less means you won’t be able to give her the ring she deserves. Working with a reputable jeweler, you can get a beautiful ring, imbued with individualized meaning, at a price that works for you.
How much “does” a custom ring cost?
Another question we get a lot. In fact, it’s probably the first question we get asked by loved-up but logical ring shoppers. Again, the answer completely depends on you, your budget, your wants and your must-haves.
What do we mean by this?
Well, if you’re the kind of person who absolutely must have a diamond, and must have it in the very best cut, clarity, carat and color, then your ring is going to cost a lot more. But if you are open minded and will consider looking at different options in terms of stone and style, you can design something equal in wow-factor to any 4ct diamond, at a fraction of the price.
Aside from a penchant for gigantic diamonds that might rival Kim Kardashian’s style, there are four key factors that determine how much you will pay for your customized engagement ring:
- the center stone,
- accent stones,
- the metal used for the band, and
- the complexity (or simplicity) of the design itself.
Let’s look a little deeper into each of these four key factors:
1. The center stone
As the star of the show (next to your new fiancée of course), the stone you choose as the centerpiece of the ring is usually the biggest factor when it comes to cost. The type of stone, the size, the clarity, the cut and the color all play a role here. Diamonds, the obvious and most popular choice for engagement rings, tend to be the most expensive stone type, but even here there can be a lot of variation in prices, all related to what is known as the four Cs in the industry: carat (size), cut, clarity and color. You can save money by choosing a different gem as your center stone, but even there, prices can differ greatly. A mined (natural) emerald is far more expensive than a lab-created (synthetic) emerald for example (and can even be more expensive than a diamond!), but you could save even more money by choosing, say, an amethyst or garnet, over emeralds or rubies.
2. Accent stones
Adding accent stones to your custom-made engagement ring can really amp up the sparkle, but it can also amp up the final price! Once you start adding stones to your ring, be it a halo around the center stone, pavé gems covering the band, or larger side stones, know that you are adding dollar signs to the price tag.
3. Band metal
The type of metal you choose for the band of your ring also affects price. Side note here though: you may want to forego cost savings here as metal type can also affect durability and longevity of the ring! Platinum, for example, is expensive, but you are getting the best: a metal that is strong, hypoallergenic, resistant to tarnishing, and which will best protect your center stone for the long run. Gold is also more expensive than, say, silver, but less expensive than platinum, and it offers a great range in terms of karats, color and thus pricing, which is why it’s the most enduring choice for rings. Sterling silver, the cheapest, can be stunning, but is generally not recommended for rings: it scratches and dents more easily and can be prone to tarnishing.
If your custom-made ring came to you in a dream, and it involves all kinds of complex metal work, hand casting and finishing of gems, and assembly contortions, it’s going to cost more! Sculptural, complex, quirky designs involve more work for your jeweler to create a ring that is both structurally sound and true to your vision. Extra work = extra dollars.
Our top 4 tips for designing a custom-made ring on a budget
Knowledge is budgetary power! Knowing what you now know about the various factors playing a role in ring pricing, you can now create the ring of her dreams without decimating your bank balance. All you need is a little imagination, some flexibility in your vision and choices, and a great jeweler. Some more tips for designing a custom-made ring on a budget?
Keep it simple
Not only is a simple, classic setting a friend to your budget, it’s a friend to longevity. Simple and classic transcend time, trends, changes in personal style and taste, and changes in fortune. By keeping your setting simple, you can save thousands of dollars, allowing you to put more towards the stone you really want. (Or, if you’re really strapped for cash, put more back into your bank account.)
Keep an open mind
By keeping an open mind towards the type of gemstone you use, you can create not only a ring that costs less, but one that means more and that is completely unique. Diamonds aren’t actually every girl’s best friend, and they definitely aren’t always your bank account’s best friend. Gemstone engagement rings are increasingly popular and offer a beautiful, unique alternative for those looking for maximum wow without the maximum ow. From amethyst, to morganite, to tourmaline, to garnet, to sapphire, to citrine… the options are extensive.
Keep your eye on the time
If you’re planning on purchasing a custom-made ring you need to start the design process early, well before you intend on proposing. Take your time to work with your jeweler to create something that you know is just right, and know that custom-made jewelry won’t be ready in a week. You need at least a couple of months to get it done. Plus, rush jobs cost more!
Keep the trust
When it comes to creating your custom-made engagement ring, it really is important that you find a reputable jeweler who you trust, and who you click with creatively. You will have to trust them to bring your vision and dream ring to life, and will have to trust their expertise and advice, especially if you want what you want, but also want to bring the price down. They can help you with clever compromises to do just that, without losing sight of the final creation. Do your research, read reviews, and go with your gut instinct: if upon meeting a jeweler it doesn’t feel right, move on before wasting money and time on designs that you won’t be 100% satisfied with.
At Keezing Kreations we have decades of experience, with the reviews and reputation to match, in creating custom made engagement rings designed to delight and inspire romance for the ages! We can create the engagement ring of your dreams, to match your personal love story – and your budget, and specialize in unique, handmade contemporary jewelry design destined to last as long as your love.