When it comes to engagement rings, we all want something unique. The problem is when you walk into a big-box store, you don’t really get the feeling that these rings are, well, one of a kind. Yes, all the rings are gorgeous. But is someone going to get that same exact ring as soon as you leave? The best way to get something unique to you is with a customized engagement ring, but in the past that has typically been out of reach. Not only did you have to rely on finding a great designer in your area, but if you did find someone you liked, they could end up costing close to double. Thankfully, technology has changed all that.
Where to Find Customized Engagement Rings
One of our favorite stores doing custom right AND in budget is Frank Darling. While their rings are designed and manufactured in New York City, they work virtually with couples around the globe to help you create the perfect custom-tailored piece, no matter where you’re located or what your budget is.
On top of that we’re a big fan of their focus on sustainability, working with environmentally-friendly materials such as 100% recycled gold and platinum (which is exactly the same as newly mined gold, but without the environmental damage). Plus, every small diamond in their ring settings is recycled, which is as sustainable as it gets.
All of their diamonds are ethically-sourced as well. Frank Darling utilizes The Kimberly Process to guarantee they are conflict-free, as well as other technology for mine-to-finger traceability.
Ready to Design a Customized Engagement Ring?
OK. So how does this work? Say you want a custom ring…but you’re not totally sure of the details? We were shockingly surprised at how easy (and fun!) the process with Frank Darling was. Here’s how it works:
Take the Free Dream Ring Quiz
The quiz takes three minutes, and helps you figure out what style you like the most. (Start it here.)
Need wedding planning help? Our wedding e-book will teach you everything you need to know!
You choose whether you want to design an engagement ring/diamond ring, or wedding band/eternity band. (Seriously, don’t miss their stunning wedding band collection.) Then, you can start choosing options such as prong vs. bezel setting, number of carats, type of band, etc.
After you take the quiz, you’ll receive a sketch of what your design would look like all together. Here are the ring selections we made during the quiz:
- 3-carat lab grown champagne diamond
- Two-tone solitaire band with diamonds
- Mirror-polish bezel setting (that will also sit flush with a matching wedding band they can make)
WGM Says: Frank Darling is known for their beautiful, low-profile settings, especially bezels. A bezel setting means the center stone is surrounded by a metal rim, rather than prongs, which will protect your stone even more.
And here is the sketch from the design we made!
Book an Appointment With a Designer
While the ring quiz is a great way to get a sense of what you might like the ring to look like, once you’re serious you’ll want to book a consultation with one of Frank Darling’s amazing designers to get started on your custom ring. The custom design process is free for orders $2,000+.
Your designer will then work with you over email to help visualize your design using photos and sketches. When you finalize the design, they will then help you pick out your stone based on your preferences and budget.
WGM Says: In addition to the custom design process, you can also shop from their gorgeous ring collections online. Their unique settings are made to order around the diamond of your choice, and range from fashion-forward and modern to romantic and traditional. You can search for diamonds using their incredibly helpful new search tool, which allows you to filter by not only cut and carat, but by grading lab (IE: GIA), polish, symmetry and more.
Try at Home
Ready for the coolest part? Once you place your custom design order, they will make a 3D model of your ring, and send you a PDF of the rendering to approve (which takes about one week). You can also have them send you a 3D printed plastic prototype to test the fit and preview the design. After you approve the mockup, the ring takes about three weeks to make. (And don’t worry. Once you receive the custom ring, it’s eligible for return just like all Frank Darling rings, and comes with a lifetime guarantee and free shipping. Just be sure to check out their FAQ for more info.)
WGM Says: Frank Darling also offers a super convenient Try at Home kit where you can try on up to three sterling silver replicas from their online collection for free. It also includes a ring sizer!
READ MORE: How to Find Your Ring Size
Show Off Your Customized Engagement Ring
Whether you choose a completely customized engagement ring or one from their collections, we love how easy and transparent Frank Darling is making the entire ring-buying process. I can’t tell you what a game-changer it is knowing there is a way to get a custom ring at any budget, either through their custom design process, or customizing one of their made-to-order rings online, in 2-3 weeks.
Speaking of which, we wanted to share a few of our favorite modern engagement rings and wedding bands from their ring collections, below. Just choose the setting you like, then select your stone from their collection of ethically-sourced and sustainable diamonds.
WGM Says: Travel a lot and don’t want to take your engagement ring with you for fear of losing it? Frank Darling can make you a sterling silver/cubic zirconia replica. They also offer placeholder rings for the proposal if you want to pick out the ring together!
Billie No. 1
With a 1mm round comfort fit band, the low profile bezel setting is fabulous and functional with an oval diamond.
Harper No. 5 Pavé
This 1.5mm pavé band brings all the attention to your gorgeous emerald solitaire.
The Baguette Eternity
Whether you choose this as a wedding band or to start your ring stack (or celebrate another milestone!), the baguette eternity band is made from recycled gold and platinum.
Parker No. 9
Why have one stone when you can have three? This low profile bezel setting is perfect for the pear-shaped diamond and pear side-stones, which can be color matched to your center stone.
Mason No. 15
A half-bezel setting lets the princess-cut diamond show her stuff, while also allowing the ring to sit flush with most wedding bands.
Mason No. 11
This ring should really be called the Sneaky Pete, because at first glance it looks like a traditional halo, but from the side it’s surrounded by a halo of diamonds. (See it in action here!)