Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar: You're browsing jewelry stores with your one and only, but all of the engagement rings seem to look the same. In fact, you could swear you already saw that exact ring at three other stores. Yet none of them stand out – none of them are really you.
If those cookie cutter engagement rings just aren't wowing you, getting a custom engagement ring designed by a trusted local jeweler might be the way to go.
Here are some helpful tips and things to think about when getting a custom design made from a local jeweler.
1. You might be able to transform a family heirloom into a modern masterpiece. Jewelers can often remove diamonds from old jewelry to create a new design. They'll melt down the metal, take out the stones and create a brand new mold. If Great-Aunt Mildred's antique ring isn't your style, you can still keep the heirloom stone in the family while wearing a ring that's much more your taste.
When I got engaged, I actually “recycled” my great-grandmother's diamond ring. The jeweler removed the diamond, melted down the gold setting and created a beautiful two-tone setting that I loved!
2. You can shave some serious money off your ring purchase by cutting out the middlemen. Generally speaking, custom designs can be more expensive, but for an “out of the box” ring, an independent jeweler might be a better bargain. They often wholesale to retail stores, who mark up the pieces anywhere from 200% to 300%.
3. When you work with an independent jeweler, you're getting years of expert experience and knowledge. Often, when you visit a retail store, you're dealing with a sales clerk as opposed to a certified gemologist or custom jeweler. With all of that expertise, an independent jeweler can help you bring your dream ring to life through sketches and photos – a truly custom piece, designed from scratch. You can also pick an existing ring design and suggest a few minor changes with a jeweler!
4. An independent jeweler can create your ring in any metal you like – titanium, gold, platinum, etc. – because the molds are created for you. Plus, your jeweler will be very well versed in the current metal prices and will be able to advise you on how to get the best bang for your buck.
5. Getting a custom design and working with an independent jeweler might give you a little wiggle room on price but most importantly, you'll be getting highly personalized customer service. Some jewelers will actually give you a credit upgrade should you want to get a bigger stone for your engagement ring down the road. So, if you have an independent jeweler design your ring now, and your other half wants to rock your world with a carat-size upgrade for your anniversary, that upgrade credit can go a long way to help reduce the impact on your wallet. You can also ask your jeweler about his or her policies on warranties, repairs and routine maintenance.