How to design an engagement ring that turns heads and starts conversations

How to design an engagement ring that turns heads and starts conversations
October 23, 2016 Laila Raza
22ct yellow gold handmade ring in recycled gold, Australian sapphires and natural diamonds

Designing an engagement ring is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And while some may dream of a blingy traditional solitaire, YOU are looking for an engagement ring that is uniquely yours and doesn’t adorn the hands of thousands of brides past, present and future!

Because let’s face it, when you go for same-same, this is what you can expect as a conversation starter:

“How many carats is it?”

When all people care about is the size of your diamond (and what you paid for it), your ring is not a keepsake. It’s a commodity.

Choosing a unique, custom made engagement ring is a great way to take the conversation from vanity metrics to love stories that mean more than diamond size and dollars.

So, without further ado, here’s how you can work with your jewellery designer to create an engagement ring that tells your story.

White gold and sapphire engagement ring for an artist

Be true to your personal style

There are no rules when it comes to designing jewellery. Despite popular belief, your engagement ring doesn’t have to feature a diamond, and it certainly doesn’t have to cost three month’s salary!

The key is developing a clear vision of your own style so you can remain true to yourself.

Think of how you dress, your hobbies and your lifestyle. Do you like rustic designs or clean, geometric forms? Are you glam, a tomboy or all about the bling? Would you consider yourself traditional or do you like to push the boundaries?

Start with a brain dump of adjectives that describe your style. Then narrow them to the 5 that speak directly to the heart of who you are.

Oregon sunstone ring - Unique jewellery made in Sydney

Know your materials

Do you imagine your dream engagement ring in a white metal such as platinum or white gold, or a coloured metal like rose or yellow gold?

Your jeweller should be able to advise on the best options for your design and budget, but it’s always helpful to go in with an idea of what you’re after.

While there are no rules when it comes to your engagement ring, we should note that diamonds and sapphires are often the stones of choice because they are two of the hardest gemstones available. Engagement rings can receive a lot of wear over their lifetime, so it’s a good idea to choose a material that can stand up to the challenge.

Remember that sapphires don’t just come in traditional blues. You can find them in a range of stunning colours, including greens, yellows, oranges, pinks and purples!

Australian blue-green parti sapphire

Image from

Create a mood board

Here’s where you compile your ideas and build your own engagement ring mood board. Remember, key visuals are very powerful.

Use the adjectives you came up with in the first exercise and the materials you selected in the second exercise to create search terms for Google or Pinterest eg. “geometric rose gold and sapphire engagement ring”.

Your mood board can include practical images (such as the styles of jewellery and types of settings you like) and mood images (such as textures, colours and scenes that speak to your personal tastes). Use Pinterest to collate your ideas and share your board with your chosen jewellery designer.

Knowing the trends is a plus but don’t base your decision solely on what’s hot right now. Trends come and go, but at the end of the day, this is a ring that you will be wearing for the long-term.

Create an engagement ring mood board on Pinterest

Incorporate your story

Here’s where it gets really fun. Do you and your partner have a shared memory, story or inside joke that you would like referenced on the ring? Perhaps you travelled somewhere amazing, or have a really interesting story about how you were brought together.

Take note of any references, symbols or messages that mean something to you both. If you choose the right designer, they should be able to weave them seamlessly into the story of your ring.

Fish engagement ring in white gold, tourmaline and diamond

Don’t forget the wedding band

We know that you’re super excited to design your own engagement ring, but do keep in mind how your ring will sit against your wedding band.

While most wedding bands are straight and simple, they don’t always have to be! Think about going creative with a uniquely shaped band or a piece that looks stunning as a stand-alone ring.

Unique pink sapphire engagement ring in rose gold with diamonds, made by Sydney jeweller Fairina Cheng

Now it’s your turn…

The experience of designing your own engagement ring consists of more than just the finished piece of jewellery. It includes working closely with your designer to create a ring that you can look down on with pride and think, “yes, this tells our story perfectly”.

Choose carefully, start early, do your research and most importantly, build a strong relationship with your jeweller. In addition to great craftspersonship, great customer service can make or break the experience.

Need some inspiration to start you off? Check out the stories below or get started creating a ring of your very own.

Sometimes, engagement rings tell more than the story of a couple. They tell the story of a family. Designed to capture Olivia and Paul’s love of nature, this ring was created using the diamond and gold from her mother’s engagement ring. Read the full story.

Tom wanted an engagement ring and his requirements were pretty flexible. It should be in white gold, the stone should be green… oh and “can you put a fish on it?”. This project sparked the story of The Fish Ring, one of our favourite engagement ring designs. Read the full story.

Jana wasn’t interested in the traditional bling and wasn’t looking to flaunt a flashy solitaire. Instead, she wanted a ring that was uniquely hers, inspired by the works of her favourite Austrian artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Read the full story.

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