There’s no better way of expressing your desire to marry your fairest and dearest one than proposing to them with an engagement ring. Despite its small size, these sparkling pieces of jewelry carry a lot of meaning; they signify a couple’s road to forever. After the woman (or man, in some cases) accepts the marriage proposal, the couple usually begins planning the details of their wedding.
Some say that the origins of engagement rings date back to the time of Ancient Egyptians. These people held the belief that the left finger had a vein connected straight to the heart, so it’s only rightful for the ring to be worn there. As for the first documented evidence of engagement rings, it occurred in 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria commissioned a gold diamond ring to give to his love, Mary of Burgundy. This move started a trend of giving diamond rings among European aristocrats and nobility.
How are Engagement Rings Made?
We may have an idea about how designers make engagement rings, but it would be interesting to learn about how jewelers actually craft them in the workshop. In the industry, there are two methods of making engagement rings: casting and handmade.
As the name suggests, casting involves making a mold based on the shape and design of the ring setting. It’s a cost-effective process as jewelers use the same mold to create identical rings.
The first step is to create a wax model of the ring, either by employing a skilled craftsman to carve the design or via 3D printing using CAD programs. Specialized plaster is poured into the wax model to encase the wax ring. After it hardens, they bake it at extremely high temperatures. Hot molten metal is poured into the mold, which will harden to yield a raw casting.
The casted metal parts are removed and undergo a series of polishing before it goes into assembly. The jeweler confirms the size of the stone and customizes the head of the setting so that the crystal will fit snugly into it. The ring undergoes more polishing and buffing to achieve a clean finish and shiny luster.
This traditional way of creating jewelry involves using pieces of cold-rolled metal wires and shaping them into the preferred design. The method below describes the general process involved in the creation of a diamond ring with a halo setting.
Using a bending machine, a piece of metal bar is worked into a circular shape. To create one, a filler of the same material as the band is soldered into the gap where both of its ends meet. After soldering, the band is dipped into a weak acidic solution to get rid of any excess flux paste. A piece of leftover metal bar rolled into a loop is placed into an oval setting punch. Once punched, the metal will have a conical shape which will be used to hold the diamond.
Next, this gold cup will be fitted into the band. Using a jeweler’s saw, the craftsman will create a wedge where the cup will be fixed. The ring is placed in a thermoset plastic and held in a ball clamp. The jeweler carves out a small seat in the cup for the stone. Then, using a special tool, the prongs are pressed downwards to hold the stone in place.
Famous Engagement Ring Designers
Engagement ring shopping can be an overwhelming task, especially for those who know little about jewelry. There are so many cuts, metals, and styles out there, it’s become so hard to choose the right one. You only want what’s best for your partner and luckily, there’s a way to make this quest more manageable.
Like everything else, not all engagement rings are created the same. However, you can never go wrong with buying one from an established jewelry designer. By keeping your focus on a select few brands, you can find the ring that speaks to you more quickly. Below, we round up three of the most famous engagement ring makers in the world.
While engagement and wedding rings have been in society way before DeBeers was, this brand launched a marketing campaign that cemented the status of diamond rings as the ultimate engagement rings. Its 1947 campaign slogan went, “A Diamond is Forever.” Yes, DeBeers started that!
Tiffany & Co.
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without this household brand. Tiffany & Co. is the originator of the most famous engagement ring setting: a solitaire diamond held in place by six metal prongs. This design lets the maximum amount of light to penetrate into the stone while keeping it in place.
This designer boasts of a long list of royalty as its customers, including Princess Charlene of Monaco. This brand is famous for creating top of the line engagement rings, which are so exclusive, you won’t get a peek of its price on the website.
Van Cleef and Arpels
Style icons like Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, and the Duchess of Windsor Wallis Simpson adorned themselves with jewelry from this designer. This brand created the “mystery setting”–a design where multiple stones are set on a piece with no visible prongs. Each piece requires hundreds of hours of work and extreme skill, but the results are truly breathtaking.
This Swiss watchmaker turned jeweler employs the handmade method of making engagement rings. Each stone used in a Piaget ring is cut, polished, and set by hand. Choosing a Piaget ring means you are getting the best quality ring possible.
Engagement Ring Prices
What determines the price of an engagement ring is mainly its center stone, usually a diamond. These crystals are graded and priced based on their 4 Cs: cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. Each of these factors can affect a ring’s total value.
The average American cashes out $7,750 on an engagement ring, according to online diamond retailer Ritani. The cost of engagement rings can also vary in terms of location, and according to a survey published in Business Insider, the price range is wide. In South Dakota, men spend an average of $3,005 on an engagement ring. On the highest end of the spectrum are men from Washington who spend an average of $10,109 on an engagement ring.
Engagement Ring Trends
Although engagement rings are supposed to be a “forever” item, it doesn’t mean that they’re exempted from the ever-changing flows of fashion cycles. Here, we round up the engagement ring trends you should watch out for in 2020.
Thanks to Meghan Markle, three-stone engagement rings are all the rage for this year. Three and even five stones on a ring are becoming popular choices for engagement rings. I guess the expression, “the more the better” applies here, right?
Brides want to keep the diamond shape classic, but more of them are requesting for something out of the ordinary. Customers seem to love the idea of having a unique band that feels more special and personal to them.
Combining two styles in one ring is a trend that seems to be growing in popularity this year. An example of this is mixing a classic halo style with a different diamond cut, such as pear.
Buying In-Store vs. Buying Online
If you plan on shopping for an engagement ring, you might be wondering: is it better to buy online or in-store?
Actually, each channel has its own benefits. If you buy online, the selections are endless; you get to compare offerings from different merchants. Plus, you don’t have to worry about dealing with pushy salespeople. Online vendors also sell diamond rings at lower prices since they save on overhead costs.
If you’re buying in-store, you get exactly what you want as you can see the engagement ring you’re purchasing. Plus, you’ll have the answers to all your questions. Also, despite the convenience of buying online and having diamond consultants who are just a chat away, nothing beats having personal interaction.