Few pieces of jewelry carry as much beauty and symbolism as the engagement ring. It represents commitment, transition, and - of course - love. No two love stories are exactly alike, because no two couples are exactly alike. So, it’s natural to want a ring that celebrates your unique personality and romance. One of the great privileges of being a jewelry designer is getting to play a small part in the precious moments of so many couples. When it comes to custom engagement rings, it’s important to find a designer who not only shares your vision but understands your story and wants to celebrate it along with you. I’m here to help guide you through the many decisions you’ll make while picking your ring and help you determine if I’m the right designer for you.
Here are some of the most common questions I receive about custom bridal jewelry.
Do you make custom engagement rings?
Of course! I’ve been designing jewelry since 2010 when I was studying at SCAD and professionally since 2012. Custom engagement rings have been an important part of Kristen Baird® Jewelry since the very beginning.
How do I know if you’re the right designer for me?
Every piece of Kristen Baird® Jewelry is an original work of art inspired by nature and handcrafted with love. If you love the Kristen Baird® style, I will go above and beyond to make sure you adore your engagement ring.
If you take a look around my site, you will get a good feel for my unique style. I especially recommend taking a peek at my commissions page. A commission is when a patron requests an original piece of art in the style of that artist. If you’re thinking about working with me, the bridal piece you have in mind should fall within the Kristen Baird® umbrella. Once you reach out, I will send you to an intake form with specific questions about your design. Next, we’ll have a conversation to make sure we click. After that, we’ll get started!
I always consider my custom pieces to be collaborations. I want to hear your story and get a feel for your personality and tastes. I’ll also share sketches and photos with you throughout the process so we can refine the design until we both agree that it’s perfect.
Are there any designs you won’t do?
If the ring of your dreams doesn’t fit the Kristen Baird® style, I might not be the right designer for you. That’s okay! There are so many talented jewelry makers out there and, depending on what you want, I may even be able to point you in the right direction. Maybe you’re looking for mid-century minimalism or maybe you love that vintage antique look. I want you to be absolutely thrilled with your designer, even if that designer isn’t me.
However, if you have found a ring you love online and are looking for something similar, it is unlikely that I will be able to assist you. As a matter of respect for myself and other artists, I do not attempt to imitate anyone else’s work.
Are natural diamonds “better” than lab diamonds?
Absolutely not! Diamonds that grow underground and diamonds that grow in a lab are both stunning and wonderful. I use them both in my jewelry frequently. Lab diamonds are chemically identical to natural diamonds and cannot be distinguished by looking at them, even by a professional such as myself. They are also less expensive, which leaves more budget open for your custom design! That said, there is a certain romance to a natural diamond grown in the Earth over thousands of years. It’s truly a matter of personal preference and I support both options!
Can I get a colored stone for the center?
Heck yes! You can do whatever you want!! It’s your ring. When I designed my own engagement ring, I used a color-change spinel as the center stone and I LOVE it. Traditions are great, but they’re not set in stone - or should I say gemstone. Start your own tradition.
Have you ever done engagement rings in silver?
Plenty of times! I often recommend setting the center stone in a contrasting metal such as rose or yellow gold to add a little extra pop and flair. Even just a bit of gold can really elevate the piece. That said, I also do fully silver upon request. In fact, for those with specific metal allergies to gold, it’s a great option!
What type of setting is best?
Traditionally, most brides choose prong settings for their engagement ring, because they are a beautiful way to display your stone prominently. However bezel settings, which go all the way around the stone, are becoming more popular. They are extremely secure and a great choice for an active lifestyle. There are also “in-between” settings, such as low-set prongs with halos or semi-bezels just to name a few. Together, we can determine the right setting based on your needs and style. (For more info on ring settings, check out this blog post.)
Should I get a wedding band at the same time?
If you already know you’ll be wanting a wedding band to pair with your engagement ring, it’s great to mention that early on. That way, I can work the band into the conception of the overall look. Even if we don’t end up actually crafting the band until later, it’s useful to get a jump on the design and logistics!
Should I get a matching wedding band?
Up to you! The perfect band doesn’t necessarily have to “match.” It can contrast, compliment, mix, match or mingle! Head over to our “bridal pairing blog” to see some of my favorite combos.
Can I use family stones?
Typically, yes. Sometimes, no. Truly a case-by-case basis. Reach out to chat!
Do you make wedding bands for men?
Absolutely! Guys deserve beautiful, original, and well-made wedding rings too. I love creating special pieces for men that reflect their personality, taste, and story.
Can we reuse metals?
This is also very much on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes metals are reusable, but oftentimes not. Generally speaking, yellow gold can often be reused, but rose gold cannot without being melted and re-alloyed. White gold can get very brittle when melted down, so I might be able to make a small bezel or ring setting out of reused white gold, but a whole ring is unlikely. Very old rings might have impurities in the metal that make it difficult to re-use. Truly, it just depends on the scenario and that’s what I’m here for! I’m here to help and be a resource.
Can you change the color of my metal?
Unfortunately, not. The process of re-alloying metal (changing it from yellow gold to white gold, ect.) is extremely difficult, costly, and time consuming for small batches. It would not be the efficient choice for either of us. That’s when it is in our best interest to source new metal, but fortunately, I have wonderful suppliers who work in recycled metals so we know we are getting great quality material that is still 100% recycled!
Can I “trade-in” scrap metal for a discounted price on my ring?
Yes! I can send out your scrap metal to be refined and weighed. I will then apply the value of “trade in” to your ring. It’s a great way for me to keep my jewelry-making sustainable and for you to save a little money.
What is a realistic budget?
It depends on your goals, materials, and design concept. Our most cost-efficient rings are the “ready to ship” rings. Silver bands start at $80 on their own and $150 with a stone. Gold bands start at $425. Add stones and go from there. Next, I have my “quicker-to-ship” rings. These pieces already have set designs, but there is also tons of personalization involved. You may have a one-of-a-kind bezel, for example, or you may be adding extra stones or contrasting metals. Examples of these rings include my Dandelion Bloom Rings and the Kristen Baird Collaborative Experience rings. There’s depth and variation in these pieces to make them one-of-a-kind, but they are based on pre-established designs so there is a system in place to allow for quicker turnaround. Win, win!
Finally, completely custom designs typically start around $2000 and go up depending on the complexity of the design and the materials. Of course, every project is unique so these are simply ballparks. Reach out for more info!
Depending on the build and the time of year, custom rings can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months. (The months of October through January are typically blocked off for the holiday rush, so keep that in mind.) I also have an assortment of “quicker-to-ship” pieces and combos. That said, the best thing to do is always to just reach out and ask.
The one exception: please do not call me on a Friday needing a full engagement ring for Sunday! This has happened before and there’s truly nothing I can do. It simply takes longer than that to make a handmade ring! Plan ahead, and I’ll do everything I can to help out.
I want you to feel 100% certain that you have chosen the perfect designer for your engagement ring. Hopefully, this Q&A has given you the information you need to take the first step: reaching out! From there, we can start to get to know each other and begin dreaming up ideas. I would be honored to collaborate with you to create a piece that celebrates your unparalleled love.