Ring the changes

How to go about getting a wedding band that’s made especially for you

Words by Emma Langman

WHY GO BESPOKE?

Your wedding rings are a lasting symbol of your new lives together and there’s no better way of cementing your commitment to one another than having a pair of unique designs made to your specifications. If your hubby-to-be has chosen an unusual shaped engagement ring and is struggling to find a suitable partner to fit round it – no problem – it’s one of the most common reasons for commissioning a custom-made wedding band, as jewellery designer Alan P. Fulton (alanpfulton.com) explains: “Couples often come to me with an odd- shaped engagement ring having had no luck on the high street. They want something made that will sit well beside it.” And it’s not just a matter of the rings looking good next to one another; a band that’s custom-made to sit with an engagement ring will help reduce damage to the rings. “It’s important that the wedding and engagement rings sit nicely together or they will rub against each other. Over time, this will lead to a lot of wear and tear that, in turn, will need to be fixed.” If you want to incorporate an antique ring, stone or family heirloom into the design then going bespoke is probably the best option too, as Patricia Dudgeon (patriciadudgeon.com) suggests: “Brides have come to me with their gran’s ring that they want to change in some way, such as using the stones in a new setting and you can only really do that with a bespoke piece.”

WHERE TO START

You’ve decided that you want a bespoke creation, but how do you actually come up with the look and design? Most jewellers – particularly those specialising in bespoke pieces – should be able to point you in the right direction, giving advice on which metals work well together and what stand the test of time. “We consider everything from the shape of the fingers to the size of the hands, as well as the personality of the bride, before we make suggestions and start on the design,” explains Alan P. Fulton.

THE DESIGN PROCESS

Some jewellers design the ring on paper, while others use computer aids to show you a 3D visualisation of the piece so you can make any changes before the product is manufactured. “It’s great for the couple to see their rings in 3D so they can get a real idea of what the end piece will look like,” explains Patricia Dudgeon. Don’t forget that a bespoke ring will take longer to put together so planning ahead is vital. Lead times vary, but Alan P. Fulton advises that you allow at least six months from planning to receiving the final piece.

Need to know

Above left: Handmade shaped band with engagement ring, £600 for band, James Brown and Partners
Middle: Bespoke silver and diamond ring, POA, Ian Mundie & Son
Right: Bespoke band with diamonds, POA, Laings of Glasgow

Bespoke jewellery specialist The Ringmaker reveals what to ask your jewellery designer
What style of ring would suit my engagement ring?
To offer a bespoke service the jeweller should be able to
design a wedding ring that will perfectly fit and complement your ring.

What type of metal is best?
Your jeweller should be able to offer advice on metal suitability and colour, as well as the
option of a combination of metals in your design. They should also be able to advise on what stones and settings would work and offer different options to suit your lifestyle.

Can I use my own stones and metal?
Yes. Bespoke jewellers are able to use existing materials, such as a family ring, so your
wedding ring can have added sentimental value while being eco-friendly and keeping the cost down.

How do I look after my ring?
Treat it with respect. Precious metals and stones are not indestructible! Jewellery cleaners are widely available and your jeweller should be able to revive the finish if it has worn off over time.

How long does the whole process take?
You should allow at least eight weeks from your initial consultation until collection. Remember, out of all the decisions you make about your wedding, it will only be your ring and your husband that you will have to look at every day after the big day is over!

www.theringmaker.co.uk

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