Custom Rings Can Make the Day


(Tuesday, August 14, 2007 7:53 AM EDT)

Ordering a custom engagement and wedding ring is an easy way for wedding couples to make sure they get at least one thing exactly the way they want it for their big day.

Middleburg jewelers Thomas Hays and Darlene Felton handle a good number of custom ring orders, and recently shared their insights and advice on the custom-ring-buying process.

Hays, the owner of Thomas Hays and Son and a jeweler who has been in the business for 36 years, said there are numerous ways couples can get their rings customized, including engravings and filigree.

“Some people like three-stone, some want a solitaire,” he said. “There are different elements of design that they come thinking about. It's always their choice, and I give them a lot of leeway, so they get exactly what they want. The only time I interject is when it doesn't look right.”

Right now, antique reproductions in platinum are a popular choice for couples designing their rings, but uniqueness is usually what they're looking for, Hays said.

“Just as their wedding and life together is unique, if they can have their ring done especially for them at a price that is comparable to something off the shelf, who wouldn't want that?” he said.

Hays recommends that couples put their orders in as early as possible, but generally it takes between three weeks and one month to complete custom rings. And coming in with a clear vision of the design desired is very helpful.

“Come in with specific ideas,” Hays said. “The more detail they have for me, the easier the process is for the two or three of us.”

Felton, owner of Felton Jewelers, likes to think outside the box when it comes to custom engagement and wedding ring designs.

“My favorite aspect of customizing a ring: gemstones of color!” she said. “It doesn't just have to be diamonds.”

Often couples see aspects of different rings that they like and customizing gives them the chance to combine designs, Felton said.

And at least at her jewelry store, couples can be sure they are getting a truly unique piece. “We always promise to never make those rings again,” she said.

Advice for couples on the prowl for the perfect rings? “You probably dreamed about what you want your ring to be like. Be good at articulating that to the jeweler, and we can make it happen,” Felton suggested.

“Don't be shy!” she said.

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