Lab-Grown Diamonds 101: Custom Engagement Rings
Who doesn’t want a one-of-a-kind engagement ring?
In times past, custom-made engagement rings were something only the super wealthy and famous could afford. This, however, is no longer the case today. Designing your own custom ring is now simple, affordable, and accessible — thanks to recent technological advances and the success of lab-grown diamonds.
Now, you can say goodbye to the days of having to buy only from a limited selection of diamond rings that jewelry stores try to sell you. Whether you prefer ultra-modern, classic, or vintage-style engagement rings, creating a custom ring has never been easier.
What Are Lab-Grown Diamonds?
Lab-grown diamonds, like natural diamonds, are made of crystallized carbon. They have the same hardness, DNA, brilliance, and fire. The only difference between the two is how common (or uncommon) they are and how they are formed.
In contrast to naturally occurring diamonds, which were formed billions of years ago deep within the Earth’s crust, lab-grown diamonds are created above-ground by scientists in a laboratory.
Natural diamonds are also more difficult to obtain than lab-grown diamonds.
Here’s where it gets interesting — even though the technology for creating lab-grown diamonds has been around for 50 years, it has only been in the last five years that rapid advancement in the technology has allowed scientists to produce flawless stones with the same sparkle as their earthly counterparts.
To the naked eye, lab-grown diamonds are indistinguishable from naturally occurring diamonds. This is why lab-grown diamonds (also known as ‘cultured diamonds’ or ‘man-made diamonds’) have become increasingly popular in recent years.
Still not convinced?
Here are some more reasons you should consider building your own engagement ring.
Why Choose a Lab-Grown Diamond Ring?
Lab-made diamonds are beautiful and affordable — you can get incredibly rare diamond colors like red and blue created at a price that won’t break the bank.Talk about a steal!
They are also environmentally friendly and ethically kind — making them the perfect stones for your complete peace of mind.
The Checklist: Build Your Custom Lab-Diamond Engagement Ring
First, some housekeeping.
1. Set a budget
Buying an engagement ring is a significant investment and getting it customized is a very extensive process. You don’t want to come out of the process worrying about how to pay for it instead of focusing on the celebration that an engagement ring is supposed to herald.
So create a budget and stick to it. This will help you stay realistic about your options and guide your decisions throughout the process.
2. Start the process early
Customized engagement rings can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete. Craftsmanship takes time and is best left in the hands of professionals. If you have a specific date in mind, allow at least a three-month allowance.
That said, always ask your designer about their lead time, as it will vary throughout the year; jewelers, like many other businesses, have off and on peak seasons.
Engagements are especially popular in the early summer and spring, so ring designers are extremely busy from January to March.
Starting the process early will give you time to go from design to completion, as well as wiggle room to request changes, ensuring that the ring you end up with is one you’ll absolutely love!
Now, for the interesting part!
3. Decide on a design
There are three basic design elements to consider — the cut of the stone, the band, and the setting.
Traditional ring cuts include cushion, round, princess, emerald, oval, radiant, pear, marquise, Asscher, or heart. You can also leave your lab diamond uncut for a more unique look. Uncut diamonds, also known as “raw” diamonds, are not cut to fit any setting. They are set on a band exactly as they were created, and the setting is custom made to fit the stone.
You can choose either silver, white gold, platinum, or yellow gold for your band. But where’s the excitement in that? Why not color a little outside the lines? Consider recycled metals, rose gold, titanium, and palladium besides these traditional options.
As for your ring setting, there are many options, including bar, halo, bezel, prong, cathedral, channel, tiffany, bar, tension style, flush, vintage suspension, pavé, three-stone, shank, and cluster settings.
One last thing on design, consider whether you would like some contrast on your ring. Yes, most engagement rings have white diamonds, but a pop of color (perhaps a black diamond) can make your ring look more interesting.
4. Find a jeweler
Going through the custom ring process with a reputable jeweler will make the entire experience go smoothly.
A reputable jeweler will only work with lab-cut diamonds that have the perfect balance of the 4Cs — cut, carat weight, color, and clarity — and, yes, lab-grown diamonds are graded using the Gemological Institute of America’s universally recognized method of diamond grading.
When considering a ring designer, you should also look for one who already creates rings in your preferred styles and would be willing to take on even your most unconventional design choices. This way, you can be certain that you will end up with a ring that you adore.
5. Confirm the finer details
Even though all of these are fairly common, it never hurts to ask.
Speak with your jeweler and get assurances about the purity of the metal and the grade of the diamond. Ask to see the stone’s grading certificate; lab-grown diamonds are certified to confirm their quality. Request it in writing, along with the ring’s total price.
Request for design proof in the form of a sketch. Confirm their return policies; this way, if the ring delivered isn’t what you expected, the return process will be quick and easy.
Take pleasure in the process of designing your engagement ring.
The advice provided here is intended to assist you; it is not meant to scare you away from what is actually a fairly simple exercise. Take care, yes, but you don’t need to be a lab-grown diamond expert to create a stunning custom engagement ring.