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Question about custom rings

So there's a ring I really want to get my BF, but the problem is that it's "designer" and thus costs a butt ton. I haven't been able to find anything similar, but have heard many people mention that if you take it to a custom jeweler it can tend to be cheaper. Unfortunately, I just really don't know how to go about finding a custom jeweler, or even if it'd be tabboo to bring a picture of the ring and just say, "Make that."

So those who have had their rings custom made, how did you find them? (My searches come up with nothing) And, assuming you did so, were they OK with you asking them to sorta-kinda copy a design?

Thanks!

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Re: Question about custom rings

  • hetshuphetshup member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Most smaller jewelers (not chains) will be able to make it for you. There are plenty that are based in LA and NY that should be able to make it for you too. The smaller jewelers  don't have contracts with designs and typically they make their own designs. I grew up in CA, where are you? I bet I could find someone for you. It takes a while, though. They have to design, then make the mold then cast the ring. Maybe Norway could shed some additional light on the matter.
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  • edited December 2011
    I don't know about cheaper, but like Hetshup said, most small, non-chain stores will have someone that does custom work.  We're getting my wedding band custom-made.

    Our first estimate was $1600.  Seemed pricey to me considering we were providing the stones and the gold to make the ring.

    We have an appointment on Jan. 22 to get my e-ring appraised and get an estimate from that jeweler about the wedding band.

    And in a lucky turn of events, my uncle makes jewelry and told FI and I that he would make it at a significantly reduced cost.  But it does take a while.  FI and I are getting married in August, and my uncle said we need to start the ring making process by the end of February to insure we'll get the ring we want and get it in time for the wedding.
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  • Ana_2985Ana_2985 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I had my ring made by a jeweler in NY (we were in FL).  We found them through the website pricescope.  Like you, I had picked out a designer ring that was way over our budget.  We didn't show the new jeweler a picture of that ring, I just described it to them (3 stone, cushion cut, trellis setting...) and since they are good jewelers what they made for me turned out exactly like the designer ring (but better because it's mine :) ).

    And it was VERY inexpensive.  It was over $3000 less than the designer ring and it was appraised for over 66% of what we paid for it.  The price included the stones, the setting, the work, everything. It was a really quick and easy process (maybe two weeks?).  If you're serious about doing this, you could send me a PM and I could give you more info.

    However- while I was searching for a jeweler on pricescope I did read stories saying that some jewelers will not copy a design.  So if you show them a picture or if they just recognize the description they may refuse to work with you.  So just do some research or use someone's recommendation.
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  • edited December 2011
    I had my ring made by Diamonds Direct in Minnesota (I highly recommend them).  I am sure they would ship you the ring if you wanted to use them.

    We bought my diamond from Union Diamonds (they are online) and was originally going to have them do my ring, but it would have cost me 500 more, so I went to Diamonds Direct. They did have great customer service and cheap prices on diamonds.

    Make sure you get a couple quotes,  most local or internet jewelers will custom make your ring based on a picture.
  • edited December 2011
    We used a local jewler based on excellent recommendations by good friends of ours. I had found a design on-line that I liked and FI used that as a baseline with his own twist.  It took about three months between him walking into the jewlers and paying it off (I am not sure how long the actual ring-making process took).  I believe it also ended up being cheaper in the long run too. 
  • edited December 2011
    Thank you all very much! I apologize for takimg so long to respond, but my power was out for two days. Ugh.

    Hetshup, I'm in San Luis Obispo now, but frequently travel to the LA/Bakersfield area (where my family is/where I grew up) and to Napa/San Francisco (where BF's family is). Where did you grow up at?

    I'll look into all the places mention, and Ana, I may take you up on that PM offer if I get stuck.

    Thank you all very much!

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  • edited December 2011
    Custom rings will definitely cost less - especially if you go to a wholesale jeweler who can custom-make a ring for you.

    There are a few things you should know -  (we have multiple family members in the jewelry business)

    - Diamonds: make sure you know the color grade, carat weight, and clarity of the diamond you are purchasing. You can check the following website for more info: http://www.diamondarticles.com/diamond-charts.php

    After you find something you like, make sure you're not being taken advantage of....check out this website for approximate pricing: http://www.1americandiamondcalculator.com/

    Of couse, the actual price may differ, but overall, you shouldn't be paying more than $1000 from the price listed.

    Also make sure that the diamond (the big one) is certified. A certified diamond comes with a certificate (duh) that you can use to have it appraised and insured.

    - Now: how custom is custom? What does the band look like? Is it a prong setting or a channel setting or a combination? All of these factors will affect the pricing. You basically have two options at this point: find a setting (raw ring) that looks similar to what you want, that can be modified - or, you need to have a brand new setting cast (the ring is drawn in a 3D program, carved out of wax, the wax is then set into a mold....etc etc. ) This option will cost you more than finding a setting similar to what you want because the jeweler will need to start from scratch. Most jewelers (say in Downtown Los Angeles) have affiliates (who work in the offices above their booth) who can make a ring from scratch.


    Wholesale pricing is 1/3 of retail pricing. However much the designer ring costs, divide it by 3, and that's how much you should expect to pay for something that is wholesale.

    Hope this helps!!

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