Your engagement ring should be something you want to wear for the rest of your life. It’s an expression of your unique love story, which is so much better than a carefully-scripted commercial or a picture on a poster. It’s real, it’s true, and it’s 100% original. That’s why I absolutely adore creating outside-the-box engagement rings and wedding bands for the alternative bride. Whether working with heirloom gemstones to create custom engagement rings or handcrafting unique rings fit for bridal wear, creating alternative bridal jewelry is all about celebrating sweet memories, heartfelt romance, and love that lasts a lifetime.
Here are a few reasons to consider looking beyond the traditional for your engagement ring:
Not everyone wants a traditional gold band with a big rock at the top. Today, engagement rings can look any way you want! Maybe your style is ultra-modern and chic or maybe you’re more of a hippie boho girl. You can find a ring that reflects your style (or subtly point one out to your partner!) On that note, there’s no reason you need to follow the traditional script of who picks the ring. Today, lots of couples shop together or buy rings for each other. I even designed my own engagement ring!
Speaking of designing, another great benefit of going the non-traditional route is that many of us who design these types of rings don’t work for big brands like Tiffany’s or Kay. We work for ourselves, which means we’re easy to get a hold of. It’s also very possible for independent designers to create custom bands for a ring you already have, such as an heirloom ring. You can even mix and match designers! I absolutely love it when a couple reaches out directly with ideas for their engagement ring or wedding band.
Beauty and Affordability
You absolutely do not - I repeat, do not - have to spend two months of your salary on an engagement ring. That rule was made up by people who wanted to sell diamonds! Alternative stones such as sapphires and emeralds make for stunning bridal jewelry. They can be just as rare and precious as diamonds, but for a million reasons we won’t dive into, tend to cost much less.
That said, diamonds are simply amazing. If you want that big sparkle without the big price tag, consider a lab-grown diamond. Contrary to popular belief, these diamonds are not fake or synthetic. They are 100% real diamonds, just grown in a lab rather than under the earth. You can get a gorgeous diamond for a fraction of the cost and absolutely no one will be able to tell the difference. Plus, saving money on your stone leaves more budget for the design!
Sustainability and Ethics
Speaking of lab-grown gems, another great benefit is that growing gems has less of a carbon footprint than mining them. Many designers within the alternative bridal movement are committed to sustainability and ethics in jewelry making. For example, my primary metals supplier uses 100% recycled metals. When I use natural stones, I seek out stones that are Kimberly Certified for ethical and nonviolent trade practices. I also frequently reuse and recycle materials right in my own studio.
When you’re speaking to a designer for your alternative engagement ring, don’t be shy about asking where their materials come from. More than likely, they will be delighted to tell you all about it!
Your Original Love Story
Your ring is a symbol of your love and commitment, a step toward the next beautiful chapter in your story. Rather than choosing a cookie-cutter ring, consider something that tells that story. Perhaps you want a ring that contains both of your birthstones or you want to incorporate stones from a grandparent’s engagement ring. Maybe you want to redesign an heirloom or create a band that mimics the shoreline on the beach where you were engaged.
In case you’re curious, I specialize in organic and flowing designs that are inspired by nature. Kristen Baird® Jewelry takes its cues from crashing waves, delicate flowers, and the sky’s brilliant constellations. My signature style, the Ripple Ring, is designed to evoke running water. Many brides come to me with that specific feature in mind, but there are many more designs I offer.
Then again, if my style isn’t your thing, there’s almost certainly someone wonderful out there who can perfectly capture your vision. Whatever you have in mind, finding or designing the ring of your dreams has never been easier. When it comes to alternative bridal jewelry, the possibilities are endless!
Kristen, I love looking at your beautiful pieces and am always in awe of your creativity. Years ago I met you in Savannah and fell in love with a beautiful ring which my husband ended up purchasing for me. Every time I wear this ring I get so many compliments. It’s one of my very favorite pieces and has a special meaning to me.