5 Ways to Maximise Your Budget for a Bespoke Engagement Ring

Bespoke engagement rings often cost more money. This is because of the additional work which goes into creating them - especially when made by hand. BUT (and it is a big one) there are a few routes you can explore which will free up more of your budget. We create some jaw dropping rings for clients - and still help them save money in the process. Here's a few options;

1 - Go down the remodelling route.

Being gifted old rings and bits of jewellery is always great for engagement ring creations. Even if just using the metal, better than them remaining in a drawer forever because they are not to the tastes of the wearer. Remodelling is a great way to make a budget go further and keep sentimental family pieces in the mix and in your story. For the eco-friendly, upcycling old jewellery also makes the best use of existing materials. Old diamonds and gemstones can be remodelled into new pieces and gold/platinum bands form the basis of new jewellery designs. The diamond can be the largest part of the engagement ring expenditure, so by having a stone already you have taken a large part out of the ring cost.

Don't write off smaller diamonds! Here we reused client's beloved nan's ring shank and built it up with more gold to create a smoother shank with a more substantial feel. It has changed the whole feel of the ring and is worn constantly.
Ways Heirloom can remodel old jewellery into an engagement ring;

• Using metal from old ring shanks to make the shank for your new ring.
• Using old diamonds and other gemstones in new settings or upcycling the original shank.
• Combining old diamonds with new stones to create new designs.
• Working several old rings together to be one new ring.
• Recycling old metal and subtracting it from the cost of the new ring setting (Sometimes I get asked if I will buy old diamonds, however the answer here us generally no.)

Not everyone wants an old halo, here we used the stones from the old ring to create a new solitaire, complete with the addition of two trillion shape sapphires for a little pop of blue..

See more remodelling case studies here.

2 - Find the right diamond for your budget

We sell stunning diamonds, if you want the Olympic Champions then you've come to the right place. The good news is that an attractive stone can still come with a host of flaws. When cut well, you are never going to see them. And the difference it makes can be hundreds (or for larger stones) thousands of pounds. We've have beautiful engagement rings on many hands, where the stone absolutely punches above its appraisal document. Don't be afraid to ask us, it can take your budget much further. The advantage of working bespoke, rather than buying online is you don’t just have to take our word for it. You can physically view the stones we are describing rather than just seeing them digitally or reading an appraisal.

There are different routes to finding great diamonds - left hand side we looked at different sizes and carat weights, on the right hand side one diamond is F colour and the other was H - as you can see it was a very white H and this saved money! Centre image (shot in sunlight hence stone looking a bit milky (it wasn't) was an E colour which had a visible inclusion.. No - we couldn't see it either and it was an excellent purchase saving client £500 off what the equivalent would have been. It isn't always an immediate thing, but we always get there in the end..

Ways Heirloom can find a better diamond

• We take a stone brief from you.  This doesn’t have to be an expert description, more in the lines of shape, size and cost expectations.
• We’ll tell you the realities of what you are looking for and budget considerations. The bigger you go, the less prepared people are for what the stone is going to cost because diamond prices are not democratic at all – they are driven by scarcity.  There are a lot of poor quality stones out there – and fewer high quality ones.  But there are brief changes which can result in a beautiful stone which is within the budget sweet spot.

Learn more on diamond buying here.

3 - Go for size with a cluster or halo ring

Current price for a 1 carat Fvs diamond engagement ring with a top quality diamond averages about £7,800. However you could create a cluster with 7 round 3.5mm diamonds which would come in at about 1.1cts, have a spread of over 1cm on the finger, sparkle like crazy and cost in the region of £5,500 for a hand made ring.. Or, to achieve a spread of a carat, you'd likely be looking in the region of £1,800, again with top diamonds.

Cluster rings don't have to feel old fashioned, and they can really amp up the ring presence. Because the stones are smaller, the carat price is lower - so you can have access to top quality beautifully brilliant stones. Here we've remodelled an antique setting, tidying up the setting and adding a beautiful new shank.

Ways Heirloom have helped clients with cluster or halo engagement rings
  • You may already have a cluster ring which just needs updating.  Some times it’s just about the shank.  Done well they make a beautiful sparkle which because of the smaller stone sizes can outperform a single stone because of all the facets involved.
  • Clusters don’t have to be uniform.  If preferences are for something more random, like mixing up stone shapes or similar this can produce a very modern ring design.
Cluster rings don't have to be arranged in round circles. This modern cluster design utilises different shaped side diamonds with a smaller centre stone. Here client went for a smaller, higher quality diamond as the centre stone.

Learn more about cluster and halo engagement rings here.

4 – Choose a sapphire as the centrepiece

Sapphire is the most hard wearing gemstone after diamond. If you know she’s after colour sapphires still have a lot of sparkle to them and a wide array of colours from traditional blues to peach to green! You can have a knock out ring for less than the price of a 1ct diamond solitaire. Pick the colour that works for the wearer, use smaller diamonds if you want it to pop more and create a ring to stand out from the crowd.

Three sapphire ring projects - three very different looks and stones. From left - teal diamonds are very popular as their colours suit most skins and they offer great value. Centre oval is a lighter blue - client had looked at a deeper blue and decided she preferred the lighter shade, which also made ring £1,000 less expensive. Right image shows a true Royal Blue shade - the most desirable. This three carat stone makes a real impact, if it had been a diamond it would have been tens of thousands more expensive.

How we’ve helped clients to go with a sapphire engagement ring

  • We play with the sapphire brief depending on requirements. It might be to include a larger stone - we've created impressive rings that cost less than £3K with a 1.5ct sapphire centre of near Royal Blue colour (the most desirable shade for a sapphire)
  • Teal sapphires are extremely popular at the moment, their blue/green tones suiting most skins and the costs suit most wallets. We’ve helped clients through different options to create very different styles.

We talk about sapphires in more detail here.

You could also consider Spinel - a gemstone very similar in characteristics to Sapphires, mostly found in vivid red and pink shades, but also some blue.

5 - Go with a lab-grown placeholder.

Lab grown diamonds are very cheap when you compare them to the ones which have spent millions of years forming in the earth. Which means that we could go about creating a bespoke ring for you, setting it with a lab grown stone with a view to replacing it with a natural equivalent when you have the budget.
It's a good option for eco-conscious consumers too (although it is hard to really understand how credible some of these claims are as the sites producing the environmental data all happen to sell lab grown diamonds! Buyer beware..).

Lab grown stones look identical (usually) to naturally ocurring diamonds. Here, client focused budged on a hinged ring for his fiancee to ensure that she could wear it over her enlarged knuckle.

How we've helped clients with a lab grown diamond.

  • When clients have had to prioritise on other parts of the engagement ring project due to additional complexities. This could be a hinged shank (as per the above example) or a much longed for design which has to be bespoke. Lab grown diamonds don't cost peanuts, but they are a lot cheaper than naturally occurring gemstones giving clients more options.

If it’s a big stone required and a tight budget. Look at more standard shapes, but you can then enjoy a larger sparkler that will be more around sapphire prices or even lower.  And then you can always look at replacing it when you get to a significant anniversary – and maybe resetting the original stone in a pendant etc.
I’d note with lab grown diamonds – to be upfront about what they are. Most clients are quite happy, having gone with the stone for budget or eco reasons. Lab grown stones can test differently to natural diamonds, and the larger ones will be engraved as lab grown on the girdle too. Pretending they are natural may create issues with the recipient!

Only other comment on lab grown is that just because it's a created stone, doesn't mean it is going to be pretty. That will still come down to the skill of cutting the stone.

Final Thoughts

It's quite exciting how many options there are for finding a stunning bespoke engagement ring, made in London, which is going to be within your means. If you have any thoughts or ideas feel free to WhatsApp me here, or drop an email and start your own bespoke design.

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