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The Pros and Cons of Custom Engagement Rings

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Custom engagement rings have picked up a lot of popularity in the past decade. According to some sources, about 45% of engagement rings sold today have a least some custom aspect, and this number is only expected to grow as time goes on. Part of the reason for this gradual growth in popularity is jewelry production technology has become a lot less expensive. While jewelers used to design and craft the entire piece by hand, now jewelry modeling software allows even complex designs to be produced in a relatively short time. This reduction in labor lowers the cost for the producer and consumer.

Today, custom engagement rings are available from many jewelry retailers and independent jewelry studios. While it’s ideal to sit down with an actual jewelry designer and discuss the creation of your piece, you can also consult with staff at a jewelry store who can then work with an independent studio or manufacturing house to produce your piece.

Here are some quick pros and cons of choosing a custom engagement ring over a pre-made ring:

Pro: You Have Nearly Unlimited Freedom To Create Something Unique
Let’s face it: most engagement rings you find at the retail store aren’t that “special.” Although you can find a beautiful solitaire or another traditional ring while browsing, they likely won’t have the perfect ring for her. Many men find a custom jeweler because they want the freedom to build a completely unique piece that captures her personality and values.

Working with a professional jewelry designer, they can choose everything from the gem, the metal color, and the overall design. As most women want something that matches their unique style and aesthetic, this is an important benefit of choosing a custom ring.

Hands holding diamond. Emerald.

Con: Too Much Choice Can Be Overwhelming
While unlimited freedom can be a good thing, it may makes things a little complex for a guy who doesn’t know much about jewelry. The ideal situation for custom ring design is that the man explores the ring options with his partner. That way, he has a better sense of her preferences and desires for her engagement ring. Of course, many proposals are a surprise, so this isn’t always feasible.

If you’re a man choosing on your own, it’s best to have some guidance along the way. Working with a designer one-on-one at a custom jewelry studio allows you to explore different creative possibilities for the ring, and they can help you create something that looks great and also matches her tastes.

Jeweller repairing a gold ring. Focused on ring and fingers.

Pro: It Can Actually Cost Less Money
Believe it or not, working with a custom jeweler can actually save you money. Of course, this depends on which studio you choose to work with and the specifics of your piece, but some independent jewelry studios don’t markup the final price of the ring in the same way that national chains like Zales and Kay do.

Essentially, if your custom engagement ring has little to no markup, you’ll be saving around 20% or more on the final price. This makes a huge difference on an expensive item like an engagement ring.

While some jewelry studios choose to pass the savings along to the consumer, others may charge a premium on a custom engagement ring because of the extra development involved. If you’re unsure how your chosen studio prices their engagement rings, sit in on a few consultations and ask as many questions as you can about how the price is broken down.

Closeup of a jeweler leaning on a bench sketching out new jewelry designs in a notebook while working in his shop

Con: You Usually Can’t Return It
One of the main cons of choosing a custom engagement ring is that you normally can’t return it if the proposal doesn’t work out as planned, or it turns out she doesn’t love the ring. This makes sense, as a custom engagement ring is produced especially for one person, and can’t really be resold for another customer.

If the proposal is called off, usually the only option is to sell the diamond or other gem to recoup some of the money. On the other hand, if you’re engaged but she doesn’t love the ring, there are always ways to remedy the situation. For instance, if she wants a different gem, it’s relatively easy to remove the current stone and add a new one. In the same way, if she loves the expensive diamond but she’d rather have it with a different setting, you can work with your chosen jeweler to develop a new design. And since she can help you develop the new look, she’ll be sure to love the final product.


Although custom engagement rings are a great choice for the majority of couples looking for a unique and romantic ring, they’re not right for everyone. If you think she’d prefer a simple diamond solitaire without much embellishment and want to have the option of returning the ring, buying her ring from a retail store can be a good idea. If she’d rather have something special for her and maybe even less expensive, it’s a good idea to consult with a custom jeweler.

Interested in learning more about custom engagement rings? This blog can help you learn about some of your options.

CadCamNYC is a jewelry design studio based in New York that works with high-end designers and private clients. For more blogs on fine jewelry, visit