Handcrafted or Ready-Made? What’s the Right Choice When Engagement Ring Shopping?

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Shopping for an engagement ring is a highly personal journey. The ring symbolizes your once-in-a-lifetime love, so its purchase is not a trifle but a landmark project.

The most important factor in engagement ring selection, of course, is communication. My advice is to communicate as openly as possible about both your expectations when coming to a decision. No matter how well you think you know each other, there’s always more to know, so don’t hold back. Share your dreams with each other to arrive at the right choice for your engagement ring. And who knows, maybe everyone will be wearing engagement rings because they aren’t just for women. Men’s engagement rings are a thing, too!

To support your decision-making process, let’s talk about the relative virtues of handcrafted and ready-made rings to help prepare you for engagement ring shopping. We’ll also discuss hybrid rings (ready-made, with customization) and wedding bands.

A Symbol of Love, Representing Eternity

For the Ancient Romans, the engagement ring was a public sign of a legal arrangement to wed and of the giver’s “ownership” of the recipient. A small key was attached to the ring, indicating the betrothed as the keeper of all things domestic. Not very romantic. 

But in Ancient Egypt, the engagement ring was a symbol of eternal love shared by two. The Egyptians referred to it as “the ring of infinity”. We’ll choose this interpretation. It mirrors the contemporary understanding of engagement rings – a circle with no beginning or end, eternal and fated. The Egyptians also believed that the ring finger of the left hand housed a vein that led directly to the heart. While modern medicine has determined that this is a myth, it’s clear the Ancient Egyptians were as sentimental and romantic as we are today!

 

While the Egyptians used braided grasses to create their rings of infinity, today, an engagement ring is typically graced by a diamond. This tradition began in 1477 when Archduke Maximillian of Austria presented a diamond to his intended spouse. This sparked a trend in the European aristocracy. The Victorians presented their intended with ornate rings incorporating diamonds and a highly personal blend of other gems.  But it wasn’t until 1947 that diamonds came to be marketed as the stone of choice for engagement rings, leading to the tradition as we know it today.

Handcrafted Engagement Rings

Many happy couples are seeking out handcrafted engagement rings. In an individualistic world, people seek to express themselves with significant choices like this, defining themselves as they forge their place in the world. And there are so many choices to make when creating a handcrafted engagement ring!

Will your ring’s centerpiece be a diamond? Will it be set with any gems at all? Will you require elaborate engravings or other fine detailing? What is the material for the ring? Gold? Platinum? Stainless steel? Any kind of handcrafted jewelry has one thing in common: you determine the final price of the piece according to the work you ask of the artisan creating it and the value of the materials the ring’s made in.

 

Some couples choose family heirloom diamonds or other stones and incorporate them into the design of their engagement ring. Others take an existing heirloom ring and modify it to symbolize the progression of family history or simply to reflect their personal tastes. A handcrafted piece of jewelry is profoundly personal to two people and no two are alike.

But the journey should be as joyful as the destination and that is a prime advantage of the handcrafted ring. It’s something the two of you do as a couple, forging a sentimental symbol of your singular love as the foundation of your future together.

Ready-Made Engagement Rings

Breakfast at Tiffany’s anyone? Buying a ready-made engagement ring is an attractive option. The ring is already there. It’s ready to slide on the tingly ring finger and there’s such a dizzying array to choose from, adding to the dizziness of getting engaged!

While a ready-made engagement ring may seem too generic for your one-of-a-kind love, it’s important to consider the option against a handcrafted ring. The two of you may be more interested in getting the social media selfie train rolling than going on a sentimental journey of custom ring creation. You may be too busy. You may live in different cities, necessitating online engagement ring consultations!

Or maybe you already have a ring selected that your bride-to-be has been dreaming about for years. Clean, classic styling is always striking and the intention of the traditional engagement ring is clear. For some, that’s the desired effect and purpose of the ring – to tell the world that the bride-to-be is engaged to be married. The classic, traditional engagement ring is a potent expression of commitment that’s branded on people’s minds. It brings with it romantic connotations and cherished memories of weddings past. The classic engagement ring connects with people at an almost unconscious level.

And there’s nothing more fun than going on a different kind of journey, whether on Zoom or with coffee in hand, wandering from one jewelry store to the next with stars in your eyes. Savor it and don’t forget to wear your most comfortable shoes because you may be out there for a while!

 

Hybrid Engagement Rings

Yes! There’s a third option and that’s a hybrid ring, compromising between handcrafted and ready-made. An accomplished jeweler can alter the design of a ready-made ring to accommodate your tastes. You can switch out the stone for a different one, set other stones on the band, or have it engraved with elaborate designs.

If you should choose to move forward with a ready-made ring with the plan to personalize it, find a jeweler equal to the task. Always ask, while browsing, what your jeweler’s willing to do to customize your selection. Finding the right jeweler is the key to creating a hybrid engagement ring that’s both striking and sentimentality significant.

If you’re choosing the hybrid solution, be sure to have a conversation about both your respective dreams for the engagement ring before you start shopping. Having a clear idea of what you want and what the eventual look of the ring should be is helpful to the jeweler and prevents costly misunderstandings. 

Factor in the Wedding Band

While you won’t be wearing it until you’re officially wed. It’s always a good idea to select the wedding bands for both of you once you’ve decided on the engagement ring. Taking this step assures that the two rings – the engagement ring and wedding band – will be comfortable to wear as a set and work together aesthetically.

Those two rings will be worn every day and if they don’t fit together comfortably, it’s going to be a problem. Some have their wedding band fused to the engagement ring after marriage to prevent pinching and to stop the engagement ring from turning on the finger. But if that’s not for you, make sure the two rings are happy together on that ring finger!

Enjoy the Journey Together

 

Whether you choose a handcrafted, ready-made, or hybrid engagement ring, the two of you are going on a journey. Together, you’re embarking on a life together. The engagement ring is a symbol of your future married life. A promise and a seal of eternal love, finding the right engagement ring is your first significant act as two people bonded together for eternity. Start your journey with thoughtful intention and you’ll be guided to exactly the right choice. Here’s to a happy journey!

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