Around about 2010, a young mechanical engineer called Manu was searching for ‘the one’. Not the one person with whom he wished to spend the rest of his life – he’d already found her; her name was Pip and he was planning to marry her. No, it was ‘the one ring’ that Manu was after. Like so many who have trodden that path both before and since, Manu wanted everything about his proposal to be perfect. And finding the right ring was pivotal to that. The long version of the story is for another time. The short version is that as well as being happily married to Pip and father to two lovely children, Manu is now also the proud proprietor of a bespoke ring making business – Durham Rose.
Anyone can design their own engagement and wedding rings
Selecting an engagement ring can be really difficult because it means so much. Obviously, what the ring symbolises is what really matters. But when you’re looking for something that doesn’t just represent your heart, but your head, your hopes and your future – and the way those four things are tied up in this one other person – then you kind of want to get it right. And that’s where designing your own engagement ring can come in.
Since the engagement of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the story of that engagement ring came out, the interest in bespoke rings has grown. However, you don’t need to go down the traditional path of working with classical jewellers if you wish for something more than off-the-shelf. Bespoke jewellery will never be inexpensive – especially if you’re looking to work with diamonds and platinum. But, BUT, it can also be an amazing way to create something utterly and compellingly beautiful and unique without the expense of diamonds.
How designing your own rings can help you cut costs
Aside from being able to tailor the design to your own idea of perfection, the beauty of bespoke ring design is that it can let you move away from the norm without compromising on quality. So, if you’re working to a sensible budget and don’t want to blow it all on a single, middling solitaire diamond, you could look at other stones. Aquamarine, alexandrite, ruby, spinel, and sapphire all make stunning and durable centre stones. They could be the heart around which smaller diamonds cluster. Or you could eschew the diamond altogether. You could repurpose the stones from existing jewellery. Or, if you find big stones a bit showy but still want a ring that wows in its own way, you could put the design into the metal and simply highlight the accents with smaller gems. This way, costs are reduced, but you get the ring that you’ve dreamed of. And it will be unlike any other.
How to really design your own wedding rings
With bespoke jewellery of any kind, the most successful is that which comes from the creator. That’s why Durham Rose takes a different approach to ring design to other jewellers. Rather than simply taking your ideas and running with them, the company still uses the process that Manu inadvertently stumbled upon almost a decade ago: the designers use CAD software.
As an engineer, CAD was Manu’s first port of call when he found himself unable to get what he needed from either the high street or traditional bespoke jewellers. Much like he sat and worked at his computer, Durham Rose’s current design team use CAD to build upon each client’s ideas. The software allows for photo-real renders to be created, so as you discuss your dream ring in subsequent design consultations, you can see it taking shape. And if you don’t like part of it, or if the designer misinterprets your directions, you can go back a step and get it just right. The idea is that you have complete control over your design before it gets to the expensive bit, so that you never end up spending money on something not quite perfect.
Buying bespoke can feel like a decadent thing to do. It doesn’t matter what the item is. If you’re having something tailor-made, it always feels special and a little like over-indulgence. But some things are meant to be special. And sometimes it makes more sense to have the perfect thing made, than to compromise with something off-the-peg. While ready-made rings can be perfectly beautiful, they can also feel a little generic. There’s no scope for putting yourself into the ring. There’s no story behind them. With a bespoke engagement ring, the story is yours to create.