My Ring: Concept To Creation


Designing a custom engagement ring is well worth it.  Take the time.  

The best part about my ring is that when you see the inspiration images and look at my final ring, the first thought is “of course, it had to be that”—it’s all you can see!

The custom design process is essentially this: Visualization, CAD (computer aided design), render, production, delivery.

Let’s follow the process of my ring.

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First my fiancé had to provide inspiration to help the designers conceptualize his vision. Cue Pinterest inspo! 

Since I work in the engagement ring industry and I often come home with a new favorite style, Sam decided it best to only reference my long-standing design obsessions, nothing fleeting. The starting point was a vintage Cartier engagement ring that now graces Mary Kate Olsen’s finger.  I respect the Cartier design house and appreciate fully the detail and intricacies of that ring.  The other two influences were to drive modifications to the over-the-top ring by Cartier. Some mix of the double bezel with a lot of metal, and the faux bezel with claw prongs and a dainty band.  Bezels and metal work have always been a draw for me. I love the security and solid nature of bezels but always look for details in the through-finger view. I love subtle things that make the simple, spectacular.

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After A LOT of back and forth, this is where my fiancé landed. The concept was “simple for everybody else, special to me.” That means the top down view (what most people see) was simple. A faux bezel and faux split band with claw prongs.  What I see is the through-finger view and side view, and that was designed with spectacular detail and intricacies. An under gallery with the petal details and a hidden rope, only visible to me when I take the ring off and put it on my night stand. 

Looking at the three inspiration images and looking at the final line drawing and CAD render, it’s hard to visualize a different outcome. It takes each image into account in some way. 

Keep in mind that how the ring turns out is determined by hundreds of small decisions, for each element you choose, you are narrowing your path and the ring starts to solidify.  For example, it was important to Sam that the inner rope went all the way around the inside of the band. This meant the designer couldn’t split the band all the way through. This is how the faux split came to be. It was a prioritization of design elements.





Find lots of pictures.  You are not expected to know industry terms like: faux bezel, claw prongs, split shank, in-channel detailing, gallery design, etc. Your personal design consultant and your designer can help you with that. However, it is helpful to have images to reference for each view of the ring (top view, side view, through finger view). Saying, “ I like the prongs from image A, the side view of image B and the band of image C,” is perfect.  



It’s okay to let the designers use their own discretion in making design decisions.  For example, if you only have a top view of a ring you like and want created but you don’t have a profile view and have never really thought about it; say “the designer has creative freedom on the profile view of the ring.” Remember you can always change it after they make a recommendation. It can be easier to edit than to come up with it on your own.  In my experience, pieces done in this kind of collaborative way are some of the best, because this is what the designers do everyday. 



Decide what’s important to you for day-to-day wear.  Do you use your hands a lot for work? Do you plan to wear a wedding band or a stack of bands? Do you want the ring to be something you wear everyday or will you be mindful and take it off during workouts or for gardening? This matters because if you use your hands a lot and don’t want to have to be mindful about the ring overall, you’ll want a low setting, with secure prongs. This one simple piece of input will start the designer off down a very specific path. 



In my opinion the most important view is NOT the top view.  It’s the gallery, or through-finger view.  This is the view YOU see when you are driving, typing, looking down at your ring. It’s the view that is yours. It’s not for other people. Do not ignore it.  For me I look at petals with small accent stones—intricate, detailed and beautiful, it never gets old and it surprises most people when they get a glimpse.  Now, you don’t need this detailed of a side view, but just make sure to think about it. Even for a simple solitaire, the difference between a peg head and a trellis is huge.  See below to see a few different profiles of a simple white gold, round cut solitaire. 

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There are thousands of engagement rings from trendy mass merchants to small design boutiques.  Odds are that you can find something perfect for you without having to design your own piece.  For us the design process wasn’t because we couldn’t find a beautiful ring, it was because we found many beautiful rings and wanted to combined our favorite elements of each into one ring!


To read more check out our forever Forever Artisans design story:

Sam Kohnke