Post # 1
My SO and I are making our first trip to the jewelers together on Sunday!!!! This is a big step for us because we are finally starting to make strides! We’ve already discussed what we want the ring to look like. I would love a double halo setting to put my new sparkly moissanite stone in 🙂
So here’s the question: Since we are on a strict budget, would it be best to have the ring custom made? Or buy a designer or “brand name?” Overall, is it cheaper (I hate using that word because rings are NOT cheap) to get the ring designed by ourselves??
Also, how does a purchase work with custom designed rings? Do you put down a deposit before seeing what it looks like? Or do they make it first and then you buy it?? Lol we are very much rookies and any help/advice is greatly appreciated! 🙂
Post # 3
It depends on what you are comparing. A custom version of a Tacori or Tiffany ring will almost always be cheaper. In some cases it might be cheaper to something they have in stock, but it depends on the jeweler. Many jewelers charge for parts and labor, which would make it the same either way for custom vs in stock designs. If they don’t have exactly what you want I would go custom and get quotes from several jewelers.
Just fyi my ring is “custom” becuase my FI picked out the stone and they set it for him. So by that definition any ring you get from a local jeweler would be custom, since you are supplying the moissanite.
Post # 4
We went the custom route and I definitely think we got more for our money. We didn’t have to pay those additional fees for trademarks or name brands plus we got incredible discounts on the diamonds versus buying from a store (ie; Jareds, Kays, Zales etc).
When we got my e-ring and wedding bands we came to a decision on the style and elements. We paid 50% and the jeweler made the wax model (which is bizarre beyond words). Once we approved the wax model the actual ring was made and my DH went to pick it up. He paid the final balance once the ring was ready. Altogether the entire process took about a month.
Post # 5
I think for the same money you can get more with custom, if you are comparing to the mall jewelers especially. If comparig to B&M stores, it might be the same price, but it should be exactly as you want it. But, if you hav seen somethin on a casting house site, ordering that with a jeweler would be cheaper than custom, or it shoudl be, because there are no waxes or cads or custom fees. The custom fees alone usually add $500 to the price.
Post # 6
If you’re immitating a brand name, then it’ll always be cheaper to have it custom made. However, if you’re designing something new that a particular jewelry store doesn’t have in stock, then the jeweler has to pay for a designer to draw it up, the molds to be made and cast, on top of the price of the ring. So it’s cheaper to buy something out of a display in a mall-level jewelry store, than to have that same store custom design something. Plus, jewelry stores usually put fairly good quality stones in their pre-made rings, whereas in my experience they seem to add a little to the custom ring price for “finding good stones.”
Post # 7
It all depends on the jeweler. We were going to go the custom route until we talked with a popular local custom jeweler who flat out told us he cant/wont do anything for less than $5,000…. But I think for us its more our area (were in the country, about 5 hrs away from any big cities) than anything…
Post # 8
Get lots of quotes. It totally depends on who you’re talking to. We received quotes from $1K all the way up to $5K for the exact same job. You’ll need to do a lot of shopping to find out which fits best for you.
Post # 9
That’s such a hard question to answer, but I’ll give it a shot since I went the custom route.
A ring that is from your typical middle-of-the-road chain jewelry store is typically mass produced – the design, the molds, and all the details. Then they select large quantities of diamonds in the sizes needed and make the rings. They’re shipped out to jewelry shops for sale, and they’re typically inexpensive (and sometimes lower quality) because they were made en masse. Local shops might charge more for a similar ring because they’re having fewer made.
A custom design is generally more expensive. However, this varies WILDLY by which jeweler you choose to make your ring. Are they local? Online? Starting with a diamond or setting that you already own? Very reputable? Just starting out?
My ring cost just under $4000 to create, between two shops (solitaire from one store, final ring design from another). If I had chosen a comparable vintage ring and purchased it, I could’ve spent half the price, but I had my heart set on this one very specific design. I went to 4 local shops before I found one I could trust to make the ring right, even though her quote was hundreds more than the next shop. The ring I had made was almost identical to a ring that sold from an online estate ring site a few months before we got engaged – and it was only $2400. I could’ve saved a bundle doing it that way!
You asked a couple of questions about the custom route – in my experience, we put down a few hundred dollars for a deposit while the jeweler was making the wax mold. Once we saw it and liked it, he made the ring. We paid the balance at the end.
Here’s what I’d recommend: First, set a budget and plan to definitely not go over it. Then, do lots of shopping – in shops, on people’s hands, online – you name it. The more you see, the better feel you’ll have for your own style. Last, since you’re strict on budget, evaluate all your options for finding the best bang for your buck. There are diamond districts (I’ve purchased from French Jewelry at the Jewelry Mart in SF with great success), pawn shops (you could use a center stone), Craigslist ads (for the adventurous!), and other sources besides your typical jewelry store.
Post # 10
@hisprettygirl: Oh my goodness I got my e-ring and wedding bands from French Jewelery. They were amazing!!!!
Post # 11
I think it really depends on the jeweler you go to. I went to two different jewelers and they quoted me very different prices. We wanted a Verragio setting that cost almost $4,000 without any center stone. It was definitely less expensive to have it custom made.
Basically you have 3 options:
- buy an already made Brand name ring
- buy a semi-mount (rings without a center stone) from places like Etsy, Ebay, etc. and have your stone set into it
- go completely custom and have a design carved into a wax mold, etc.
In case this would help, here is our experience:
We wanted this Verragio setting:
So we went to the first jeweler and she had me look through a catalogue to see if there were any settings I liked. She said, as a jeweler she is able to buy an empty setting from this company and then set diamonds into it herself. Here is the catalogue’s website:
She then said, if I couldn’t find anything there that I liked, then she could custom make it (carve a wax mold, pour the gold, etc) but that she would charge over $2,000.
She said the other option was to look online and buy a semi-mount ring and then she can set it with a center stone.
We ended up having another jeweler custom make the ring based on the above picture. And then having the first jeweler set it with my center stone (because the other jeweler was not local)
This what we ended up with and I’m very happy with it 🙂
Post # 12
For us, it was more expensive to go custom – and all we were trying to do was make a stupid wedding band using diamonds I already had.
The cost of the process was going to be about $800 more just to make the same ring that was already created with diamonds already in it. Meh.
Post # 13
@Blanche: Wow, you would think that a simple band of gold wouldn’t be so much.
I guess it is really only worth it to go custom if you want something like a brand name, complex engagement ring style.
Post # 14
The one I’m having made is going to be cheaper. I think it just depends all around but it never hurts to ask!
Post # 14
I am so glad you posted this. I am also very interested in a Verragio ring but I am hesitant because of the near $4k price tag for a band without the center stone. Can you share how much it ended up costing to make a replica? The ring I have my eye on has the same round diamond with a cushion halo, but the band has a braid. D106CU is the model.