Remember when Matt and I got engaged on Christmas Eve? Now I have the ring to make it official!
When Matt proposed, he gave me a diamond that belonged to his great great aunt, a relative who was very important in Matt’s mother’s life. It was set into a necklace at the time, and I got to design the ring myself! My first inclination was to take the stone to any old jeweler and put it into a prong setting. But the more I thought about it, I wanted something traditional but not entirely predictable.
So we got in touch with jewelry designer extraordinaire, Wendy Brandes. I was intrigued by her custom work and engagement ring redesigns, particularly an engagement ring she did for a designer named Olivia. After doing some market research at Tiffany’s by trying on every single style, I went for a bezel setting like Olivia’s, but tailored to my own tastes, and I LOVE IT!
If you’re thinking of a custom engagement ring (or any custom jewelry work, really), here’s what I learned from my experience:
- Ask the expert. You chose to work with an independent designer to get the kind of customer service you don’t get elsewhere, so use their knowledge to your advantage. If you don’t know what direction you want to go, they can help you determine the right style for you. My questions were more specific (aka nitpicky) like the advantages of using platinum versus white gold—I went with platinum for its strength and shine, although it will need to be
refinished repolished eventually, as is with all precious metals.
- Be really specific in what you want. I gave Wendy a bunch of photos of bezel rings that I found online, explaining what I liked and didn’t like about each, as well as measurements for band width and finger size.
- Get an idea of the timeline before you start. In my excitement, I didn’t get a handle on how long things would take, which led to me sending Wendy a ton of (probably annoying) emails. Sorry, Wendy! (And for the record, it only took about 2 weeks once we decided on the details, I’m just neurotic.)
I’m so happy with the final product - it’s perfectly my style and exactly what I wanted. Thanks a million to Wendy Brandes and of course, to my awesome fiance for such a lovely gift - a constant reminder that the best is yet to come.
Follow along with our wedding planning adventures, from inspiration to the big day, on my blog Mariel and Matt. And if you love Wendy’s work as much as I do, she can be contacted via her website.