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Our Ultimate Guide For Designing an Engagement Ring

24 Jan 2023
Our Ultimate Guide For Designing an Engagement Ring - Dracakis Jewellers

First of all, we'd like to offer you our sincerest congratulations.

Marriage is one of life’s most beautiful bonds, and an engagement ring is a physical, tangible token of your willingness to honour that commitment. It's a beautiful occasion that calls for an equally-as-beautiful memento.

Engagement rings come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. We're confident that, with enough time and effort, you can find one that completely captures your heart.

However, if you're feeling a little more particular, engagement ring customisation may be what you need. 

What Can I Customise?

First, you'll need to know precisely what elements you can customise and your options for each element. Then you'll know how feasible your dream design is and adjust accordingly.

For instance, the metal you want might be too hard to source, resulting in delays. Or you might have your heart set on a gemstone shape and cut combination that's quite complicated, making it impractical for tight schedules.

Knowing the limits will allow you to make decisions - and potential changes - that are 100% possible within your given time frame.

Here at Dracakis, for instance, you can customise the cut of the gemstone, the metal of the ring band, the colour of the stone or its type, and so on. We have a set number of options for different features of the ring that you can mix and match.

Other jewellers may have a different approach to customisation. They may have more options but fewer categories, or vice versa.

At the end of the day, choose whichever suits your priorities best. If you're drawn to a particular jeweller, and you're fine with adjusting your design to fit their selection, then go for it! Otherwise, if your custom design is non-negotiable, you should find a designer that can fulfil your specifications.

When Should I Start Customising My Ring?

The entire process of designing and creating a custom engagement ring can take anywhere between a few weeks to a few months. A good rule of thumb is to allow at least one month for the ring. The more flexible your schedule, the better.

Choosing a Ring Style: What Should I Consider?

The ring style is the general encompassing look of your ring. It includes features such as how the band looks (is it thin? Wide? Twisted, braided, etc.?), how many stones are set (one large stone or one large stone with two smaller ones on either side?), and how the stone/s is/are set (claw or bezel?).

You may be interested in the classic Solitaire style, which is traditionally a single diamond or gem - typically in a round, brilliant cut - set in claw or bezel on top of a single, simple metal band. The Solitaire design's simplicity allows the single stone's intricacies and facets to shine.

As Theodore Dracakis points out, "a solitaire design can be created using any shape of a diamond," making it one of the most charming and versatile engagement ring styles. You can browse our collection of solitaire engagement rings for inspiration.

Halo engagement rings - specifically Diamond Halo - may suit your contemporary taste if you're after the sparkle. This term is used to describe small, delicate gemstones clustered around a bigger central gemstone. According to Dracakis, "this technique is used to create the illusion of a larger centre diamond."

The tiny, uniform stones can also serve to frame - and thus emphasise - the shape, cut, and colour of the chosen central stone. Our catalogue of halo engagement rings contains plenty of stunning examples!

Trilogy engagement rings follow the same concept as halo rings–frame and emphasise the stone in the centre by using several (in this case, two) smaller gems as accents. Typically, you'd have one large central stone and two smaller gemstones on either side.

However, there is also the option to keep all three stones the same size. "This symbolises the past, the present, and the future," Dracakis says, "and can be created with any shape of the diamond."

Indeed, the concept is quite romantic! And you'll find that it works just as well with other gemstones, too. See our collection of trilogy engagement rings as proof.

Banded Together: How do I Choose the Metal for the Band?

For customised engagement rings, most people focus on the stone rather than the band. This is completely understandable; something as delicate and as precise as an engagement ring needs nothing more than a simple, smooth band made of precious metal to highlight its stunning beauty.

However, for the discerning bride/groom-to-be, we do offer a level of customisation over the engagement ring band. Options for precious metals include rose gold, yellow gold, white gold, and platinum–for a clean, sharp finish.

Some choose yellow gold bands for that lovely, classic look. Others will choose white gold or platinum because of the seamless, blindingly pure look it creates with diamond stones. Rose gold is also a crowd favourite due to its soft, contemporary demeanour.

For added sparkle, you may be interested in a Diamond Band for your custom engagement ring. As the name suggests, a diamond ring band is one where several diamonds run along the sides–or the shoulders–of the ring band on either side of the central diamond.

"There are many creative ways you can set a diamond band," says Dracakis. Round, brilliant cut diamonds in a fine claw set, for instance, for an effortlessly elegant look. Or opt for delicate pave settings to maximise the shine.

You can browse our catalogue of diamond band engagement rings to find our custom designs–like rare Australian Pink Diamonds mixed with brilliant white diamonds or clusters of dainty coloured diamonds on their own.

The Diamond Details: How Do I Pick A Stone?

Regardless of whether it's your first time designing a custom engagement ring or not, you may be naturally drawn to diamonds as the centre stone.

Which, of course, is completely understandable.

Diamond engagement rings are a timeless, ageless, forever-tasteful classic. You literally cannot go wrong with a diamond as the centrepiece for your engagement ring.

So now, the devil's in the details; what should your engagement diamond look like? Do you want it big? Do you want to maximise the sparkle? Do you want it small, elegant, but absolutely blinding when it catches the light?

"Finding the perfect stone does require a level of research and education," Dracakis cautions, "as, when it comes to diamonds, there's a lot to understand!"

But don't worry; the right jeweller should be able to answer any questions and concerns you may have regarding the diamond of your choice. As long as you go in armed with the basics, you should be able to navigate the seemingly limitless options until you arrive at a design that is exactly what you're looking for.

Start with the 4Cs

It's quite fortunate that the elements of diamond grading - as per the GIA (Gemmological Institute of America) all start with the letter C: Colour, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight.

As long as you know the 4 C's, you'll know which features of a diamond you should focus on.

As stated earlier, there's a lot to know - and understand - about diamonds. The following guidelines are simply summarised notes so you have enough detail for you to be informed but not overwhelmed.

Colour

Although diamonds now come in different colours, the white diamond remains the most popular to date. Its colour can be graded on a scale from D to Z, with D being the whitest - almost colourless, even - and Z is closer to pale yellow.

A diamond loses its rarity as you go down the scale. So an F colour diamond would be considered rare and more valuable than an M-coloured diamond.

It's also important to note that the elements around the diamond can affect how its colour is perceived. The settings, the metal used, and the ring style all contribute to the central diamond's visuals. This is why two of our most popular custom combinations are white diamonds set in eighteen-carat white gold metal and white diamonds with a platinum band.

If you prefer contemporary elegance over classic charm, Dracakis Jewellers can also source other stones like Yellow Diamonds and Australian Pink Diamonds for your ring.

Clarity

According to the GIA, a diamond's clarity is affected by two major factors: (1) inclusions, which are internal characteristics, and (2) blemishes, which are external characteristics.

As with a diamond's colour, a diamond's clarity also has a rating scheme dependent on the level of inclusions and blemishes present in the stone. It goes from FL (Flawless) to I3 (Included). As you can probably guess, Flawless is the highest rating a diamond can get. The closer the diamond's grade is to Flawless, the rarer and more expensive it is.

It goes:

  • FL - Flawless
  • IF - Internally Flawless
  • VVS1 & VVS2 - Very Very Slightly Included
  • VS1 & VS2 - Very Slightly Included
  • Sl1 & Sl2 - Slightly Included
  • I1, I2, & I3 - Included

However, do note that most of the time, these inclusions and blemishes can only be seen through magnification. To the naked eye - especially the untrained naked eye - there would be visibly no difference between, say an IF diamond and a VS2 diamond.

Cut

People often think that a diamond's 'cut' is synonymous with its shape. However, that's actually an incorrect assumption. "The cut is possibly the most important factor impacting a diamond engagement ring's beauty," says Dracakis.

"A well-cut diamond maximises the light transmitted by the stone. Its symmetry, proportions, and polish each have their own impact."

Take a round brilliant cut diamond, for example. The diamond's shape is round. The diamond's cut simply maximises its brilliance. A square diamond can also be cut in a way to maximise its brilliance (also known as a square modified diamond or a Princess Cut). The diamond's shape has nothing to do with it.

There are many different types of diamond cuts - brilliant, cushion, emerald, Asscher, etc. - and they can all be graded according to their quality. The rating starts at Excellent (with this being the highest) and ends at Poor. Mid-range diamonds can be graded as either Very Good, Good, or Fair.

Carat Weight

Perhaps the most known feature of a diamond, a diamond's carat weight simply dictates how heavy the diamond is. A carat is roughly equal to 200mg. For more accurate measurement, a carat is also divided into 100 points. It's written 0.01ct, 0.5ct, 2.00ct, and so on.

Generally speaking, heavier diamonds will be more expensive. So, yes, hearing someone say they own a "three-carat ring" means they probably paid more than someone with a "one-carat" band.

However, remember, there are three other Cs to consider. It's a good rule of thumb–the higher the carat, the higher the price–but there will always be exceptions.

Now that you know the basics of diamond grading and engagement ring customisation, we'd say you're all set. Give yourself time to shop around and modify your wishes accordingly. Try on different styles, play around with different combinations, and generally try to get a feel of what you're attracted to. This will help you immensely when you're ready to commit to a particular design. 

We understand that selecting the right ring for you and your partner can sometimes feel as overwhelming (as it is exciting). At Dracakis, we are dedicated to ensuring you have everything you need to create the perfect setting.

Find out more and book a consultation here.

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