How We Designed My Engagement Ring

We are back with a wedding post and we're talking all about the process of how Andrew and I designed my engagement ring!

The first time we went to the store, we didn't really know what we were doing or what we were even looking for. We tried on a few options and then asked to see some sapphire rings, but of course didn't find anything that was really "me." 

At the time, I really didn't know what I wanted. I showed our jeweler a few options and inspiration that I had found online, and he proceeded to show me (generally) what it would look like using this sticky plastic square with some stones similar to what I wanted. 

After seeing it come to life for the first time, I decided to move forward with it. All three of us talked together about the process of designing the ring and setting. Andrew then talked to the jeweler separately about budget, time frame, insurance, etc. We also talked in depth about the sapphire itself. Our jeweler was very educational throughout the stone selection process.

Ultimately, we decided on a 2.5-3 carat stone, medium blue, sparkly and vivid. For the diamonds, I had originally planned for moissanite but he suggested they wouldn't look right next to the sapphire. I really wanted antique-cut diamonds, but we talked about how expensive it would be to find similarly sized antique cut stones in a short amount of time. He said he would look for what he could, and the next time we saw him we would choose all the stones.

Here are the options he brought in:

Can you tell which one is mine? We narrowed it down to the two on either end. In my opinion, they caught the light the best. We then narrowed down "the one" that would be my center stone. As suggested, he wasn't able to find antique cut stones for the scallop, but did find some beautiful diamond stones that were perfect. From there, we mocked up the general idea of my ring with the correct stones:

I loved how it looked so we spent the rest of the appointment talking about the setting and cage. I had something in my mind, but seeing/making it come to life was another hurdle. We drew these really fun designs for the cage and band, and had it all on this beautifully messy piece of scratch paper.

I loved the vision and was excited to see the CAD (computer animated drawing). It would be the first time I saw the ring come together. From there, we would create the metal casting. These are the images we received few weeks later:

I'll tell you something: when Andrew showed me these I cried. My stomach sunk and I thought I made a horrible mistake. I hate this ring. It was nothing like what I had wanted or imagined and (surprise!) I saw it in the middle of an outfit shoot on the blog. I was so upset we had to stop for the day!

Some may think that's an overreaction, but it's my ring. You see it in your mind and dreams one way, and then to then see it another is jarring. Especially when you can't officially try it on and see how you like it until it's finished and on your finger. It's a scary process!

After we received the images, Andrew made an appointment the next day to talk about the drawings in person. Our jeweler mentioned to not take the CAD so literally because it looks nothing like the final product. But there were major issues I had whether it was a drawing or not.

The first was how the prongs sat around the diamonds. I made it clear that I wanted an overall scalloped look versus spikey/pointy and this was what we came back with. The next issue was the cage. I hated that it sat atop the band instead of being a part of it. I also hated the design of the prongs going from the setting straight down to the band. It didn't make any sense!

So I did something a little crazy before we met the jeweler. I ordered five fake rings from Amazon. I basically bought anything that had something similar to the cage I wanted. I didn't want something so tall and didn't care about eventually fitting a wedding band with it. I overnighted the rings to work and tried them all on in the bathroom to see which ring I wanted to show as a guideline to our jeweler.

I was a little nervous bringing in a cheap, fake ring to my highly qualified jeweler. I was also nervous because it had the spikey look to it, which I didn't want to copy. But it actually turned out to be the right decision. Our jeweler was a visual learner, and it was really helpful to bring something in and show him exactly what I wanted. We even took a little inspiration from the fake ring, as it had a beautifully vintage design on the inside of the band and applied it to my ring!

We also re-drew the cage. I expressed my concern and emotions to the jeweler and he understood. I  remember being so scared to tell him that I hated the CAD. But I said, "screw it" because this was my ring and the only opinions that mattered were mine and Andrew's (and Andrew just wanted me to be happy lol).

A week or two later, we got back the second round of CAD images and I loved them. I'm only going to show the top of it here (not the cage or the designed side bands) only because I don't really want to broadcast it to the world. It's something special that we designed by hand together and I want to keep it between us. I hope you understand!

After that, we moved on to the wax mold. This was to see the overall size of the ring. I could then see if I liked the way it sat, how tall it was, etc. This would be the final time to make any major changes to the ring before the metal casting. It was the first time we saw the cage in person and we were in love. The first hiccup we had was long forgotten and everything was just perfect; even more than we imagined! 

The last stage was seeing the metal cast. He warned me that it was a very rough metal casting as it still needed to be treated. But it would be the last time I would ever see it until Andrew proposed! I was trying my hardest to place the sapphire in the middle to get *some* idea but it just didn't work. So I said it looked great, gave our jeweler a hug and was off! This was in late March!

I snapped these photos because you can see the process of the ring and how it came to life. From the (last minute) inspiration, the wax and the metal molding, it's the life of how a ring becomes a ring!

And that's it! That is how we designed my engagement ring. To this day I still have not loved an item more than I love this ring. I'm constantly amazed by the beauty of it and I'm so so happy that Andrew and I went through this process together. It means that much more!

For anyone looking or thinking about designing your own, I highly suggest it. This is something that you have to wear and love for the rest of your life. You want it to be filled with happy memories and loving thoughts when looking at it!

If you want to read more about our engagement, you can follow along with the wedding features HERE

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