What are the different types of engagement rings? We don’t mean the different shapes – which you can read more about here! But rather the style of the engagement ring. We throw around descriptors like “Designer engagement rings” or “Estate engagement rings” here on the blog, but how do they differ from, say, a custom engagement ring? Or a semi-custom ring?
Each of the different types of engagement rings has its own merits and turnaround times for creation (which we’ve also discussed before.) But let’s dive into exactly what the different types of engagement rings are, including a few examples for visual aide (our favorite.) Presented in no particular order:
Designer Engagement Ring
A designer engagement ring is one made by a premium, um, designer. These are brands with their own workshops and headquarters who usually don’t sell directly to the public, but partner with jewelry retailers to deliver their beautiful baubles to the brides who love them. We opened Diamonds by Raymond Lee to make more room for engagement rings like these, as our offerings from Verragio, Gabriel & Co., Simon G. and A. Jaffe were slowly taking over Raymond Lee Jewelers. We opened an engagement ring destination, gave these gorgeous designer engagement rings some breathing room, and added Tacori and Henri Daussi to our lineup.
What you need to know: Most designer engagement rings are sold without a center diamond. They arrive in our showroom set with Cubic Zirconia so shoppers can get a better idea of what the finished ring will look like. So no, that price doesn’t usually include the diamond. The settings themselves are made in precious metal (usually – some brands use sterling silver set with diamonds for their showroom models) and come loaded with “live” accent diamonds. Once you choose your center stone, it typically takes anywhere from 2-6 weeks, depending on the brand, to order your setting, place the diamond of your choice in it, and wrap it up pretty with a bow.
Semi-Custom Engagement Ring
Semi-Custom rings start out as designer settings, but are them modified to fit your exact specifications. For example, if you love this Tacori RoyalT oval setting, but you want to add the halo from this Tacori Petite Crescent, plus two side stones on either side, we’d go the semi-custom route with you (and a reminder, Tacori engagement rings are super easy and freeeeeeee to customize – in this example you’d only pay for the extra metal and diamonds, no added fee.)
Or let’s use this Verragio semi-custom set as another example, because it’s one of our all time fam-faves. We took this setting, popped a way, way bigger diamond in the center, and soldered a beautiful wedding band to the setting to create a bold, triple shank ring that fulfills all the duties of a wedding set in one fabulous fell swoop.
What you need to know: This option will take you to the top end of our 2-6 week estimate. We need to order your ring, then let the designers and jewelers work their magic to ensure the final product a) perfectly matches the gorgeous vision in your head and b) is structurally sound enough to last you a lifetime of happiness.
Signed Engagement Ring
What you need to know: Prepare to pay a premium for these gorgeous rings. While it’s true that Tiffany, for example, only uses certain quality diamonds, all it means is that you can rest assured you’ll find the best GIA certified diamonds in Tiffany rings. It doesn’t mean you can’t find them elsewhere, they’re just pre-screened by Tiffany diamond experts. So you are paying for the name plus the prestigious jewelers and gemologists who are proud to associate with such a name. Shopping for these signed engagement rings with an estate jeweler is a great way to save money – but we’ll get to that.
Ready-to-Wear Engagement Ring
RTW engagement rings, like their name implies, are fully loaded with a center diamond. These rings aren’t mutually exclusive to designer engagement rings – our Henri Daussi rings typically come with the perfect cushion cut diamond already set, because those settings are crafted around the center diamond. But this category also includes the rings we make in-house, like when Jeff, Lee, or Erin buys a stunning diamond that inspires them to run straight to our jeweler for the perfect setting.
What you need to know: This category is a great way to save money if you aren’t focused on an intricate setting. If you prefer the look of a classic, three stone emerald cut set in platinum, buying ready-to-wear will save you thousands on the setting and give you more room in your budget toward bigger and higher quality diamonds. They also include another category of rings…
Estate Engagement Ring
Estate engagement rings are pre-loved rings. They can be antique or vintage (see below) or only 5 years old. They are a great way to save money and are eco-friendly – no new materials were mined to create these rings. They also can include signed rings from luxury, but mass producing, jewelers like Cartier & Tiffany. However an estate Tiffany engagement ring will cost you considerably less than it would at the boutique.
What you need to know: These rings don’t typically lend themselves well to much customization. In the case of antique rings, the metal and diamonds are old and delicate, so we don’t want to destroy the ring by manipulating it too much. In the case of a Tiffany ring, the diamond is perfectly matched to the setting and sold together – especially because the ring’s “papers” its provenance and certification add to its value. To separate the Tiffany diamond from the Tiffany setting would decrease the value of both. So if you love the Novo ring in the Tiffany pic above, but you want to put a more budget friendly, smaller diamond in the center, we’ll work with you to create something similar, but it’s really unlikely that we’ll take apart the ring. The exception is vintage, which we’ll explain below.
Antique/Vintage Engagement Ring
Antique engagement rings are over 100 years old. Vintage engagement rings are 20+ years old. So those marquise rings from the 90’s? Vintage (and due for a comeback!) These rings are a great way to save money, stay eco-friendly, and get a really unique ring with a love story all its own. Check out some of our favorites here.
What you need to know: Vintage rings lend themselves extremely well to customization, for the most part. If it’s not a “signed” ring, we have no problem swapping this center diamond for that one, adding diamonds to the band, dipping a yellow gold setting in rhodium to change the finish, etc. Antique rings are delicate, heirloom pieces with histories all their own and are best left untouched. Both are stunning, romantic options perfect for classic brides.
Custom Engagement Ring
Custom engagement rings are created out of thin air mixed with your hopes and dreams. It involves you, coming to us with a spectacular idea, and us making that a reality. You can read more about the process here, but essentially, we would work as partners with you to involve you in the entire design and crafting processes. The end result is your dream ring, unlike any other.
So, what are the different types of engagement rings that speak most to you? No matter which kind calls to your heart (or budget) Diamonds by Raymond Lee and Raymond Lee Jewelers have you covered – between our two showrooms we have hundreds of rings from every category all just waiting for you to say “I do.”