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Ring Buying Guide

Hello and Welcome! You are on the search for a ring. You have so many questions. I get it! There is a lot of information out there to sort through so I’ve decided to make an introductory guide that answers some of the questions I get most often as well as important things for you to consider when buying a forever piece that is a symbol of your love and commitment.

Note: as I work primarily with unique precious gemstones, the focus here is not on traditional white diamond engagement jewelry. Though I mention diamonds, I don’t specifically address the 4 C’s – cut, color, carat, and clarity. There is plenty of good info out there so I encourage you to do a quick search on diamonds to brush up!

Featured here is a Moissanite emerald-cut stone set in white gold with pave diamonds on the band.

4 carat emerald cut Moissanite ring with infinity band and hidden halo by Jennifer Hillyer Jewelry

First - The big one!

How much should I spend?

Long gone are the days of the 3-month salary rule. This number is so personal to you! Since many couples now shop for the ring together, this is often the first big money decision you will face. Pre-pandemic days, couples might’ve opted for a simpler ring in favor of a fancier or longer honeymoon. But with travel (and large weddings) tabled for the foreseeable future, many are now left with a more substantial budget for devotional jewelry! I think it’s terrific news. You may now have a little more freedom to get a ring you are head-over-heels for, that will one day become a prized heirloom.

Due to the individual nature of the rings I craft, and of course the tastes and budgets of the people I serve, it is not possible to give an exact estimate before I do a consultation with you. Please know that there is a $1200 fee for the design of your one-of-a-kind ring, which includes the creation of a unique hand-carved or 3D rendered wax model.

How long does it take?

The completion of your original custom piece usually takes between 8 and 12 weeks from the date of your deposit. You will receive an estimated date of completion along with a quote after we choose your stone(s) and nail down a design. Feel free to skip ahead and schedule a 30-minute custom consultation with me via this link: https://calendly.com/jenniferhillyerjewelry/30min

But do come back here to read some things to consider before we chat!

Can I provide heirloom jewelry or gems for you to work with?

Though I am a huge proponent of recycling gems and gold, unfortunately my studio is not currently set up to refine and alloy metals. And as I cannot ensure the origin of your heirloom gem, I am ill-advised to know how best to set it. I will keep you posted as soon as I am able to grade gemstones and recycle metal in-house! Let us instead source new and beautiful fair-mined and fair-trade gems and metals for your unique forever piece.

Do you provide certificates for your stones?

Not every gem I source comes with a certificate. If this is something you would like to have as part of your investment, I am happy to source a graded gemstone(s) or have the stone(s) we select graded and certified professionally for your records at an additional fee.

Imperial Topaz set in platinum

Things to Consider:

Every bit of your ring should be personalized to you, in ways you may have not considered. Read on!

What stone speaks to you?

If you find yourself here then it’s likely you are a lover of gemstones. A wise person once advised me that when choosing an engagement ring, you must fall in love with the center stone first, and the rest will follow! If you don’t have a favorite stone yet, I encourage you to look at your wardrobe and the items around your home: what color do you surround yourself with? What color do you feel good in? Once you know this, I can advise on durable, beautiful, ethically sourced stones that suit your needs!

Do you plan on wearing your ring everyday?

Not everyone will opt to wear their engagement ring and wedding band as a set. Some of us simply wont be able to if we work with our hands, wear tight fitting gloves at work, work with or near chemicals, or lift heavy objects for a living (or just for fun!) Certain metals and certain stones are better suited for everyday wear. If you simply must have an Opal (a soft stone that is sensitive to light and moisture) in 22k gold (a more pure, and thus more malleable metal) I will of course advise you on how to best care for and store your piece and would suggest that you remove your ring during any of the above-mentioned activities. If you are truly committed to the conscientious wear and care of your piece, there is no reason your opal can’t last a lifetime and beyond.

Will you wear your ring in perpetuity or do you think you might refresh your style somewhere down the line?

*All* of our fingers get larger with age, whether you experience pregnancy, weight gain or none of the above! Most people will have their wedding band or engagement ring resized at least once in their lifetime. Certain styles however do not allow for easy resizing – infinity bands in particular. And certain types of men's wedding bands cannot be easily resized, like steel or titanium. In my experience, the materials best suited to lifetime wear are the tried and true usual suspects - gold or platinum. Within these metals there are many color and lifestyle options and together we will find the best option for you!

How big is your hand?

It seems silly but many people lock in on a carat weight of stone before considering what it will look like on their or their partner's hand! A single carat stone may look gigantic on a smaller hand, or maybe not large enough on others. Keep in mind every gemstone has a different specific gravity, so a one carat diamond may appear smaller than a one carat garnet, and larger than a one carat sapphire. I advise you not to take this number to heart – and we will find a stone together that is the best fit for your hand, your budget, and your personality!

Email info@jenniferhillyer.com with your name and address to receive a complimentary ring sizer by mail.

How should the ring fit?

It should slide with slight difficulty over the knuckle, but should not squeeze the fleshy part of your finger. You should be able to comfortably bend your finger. I strongly suggest you have your finger sized twice – once with our at-home sizer and once by paying a visit to your local jeweler, and then split the difference. We want your finished ring to fit securely and comfortably!

What should I prepare before a ring consultation?

People come to me in various stages of the process - you may be just starting your search and have a ton of questions, or you may have honed in on a stone and style you like already and just want to discuss the design process - it's all gravy! If nothing else I do suggest that you consider the color you like and the frequency with which you plan to wear the ring, and we will tease the rest out in our session. Feel free to bring your partner, best friend, whoever! I look forward to talking with you and crafting your unique forever piece.

x,
Jennifer

 

I hope this has helped you in your search! Click here to learn more about how we design your custom piece together, or schedule a free 30-minute Custom Consultation during open office hours.

black opal and platinum custom engagement ring by Jennifer Hillyer Jewelry

black opal platinum custom bespoke unique engagement ring original design by Jennifer Hillyer JewelryBlack Opal set in Platinum