Do just the mere words, “carats and stones,” cause your hands to instantly tremble? Let’s be clear. We’re not talking about the hands of the anticipating recipient; we are talking about the person doling out the big bucks to purchase a piece of custom jewelry.
If the quest to impress and captivate your lover for life sends you into such a frenzy that you’re running stop lights on the way to the jeweler or stepping onto a descending escalator at the mall, then you need some words of comfort. The first words are: You need not act like you are buying a house or Lamborghini. Not even close!
Even carats and stones can offer ways of curbing costs while imbuing your paramour with the kind of glow only rendered by custom jewelry—affordable custom jewelry, nonetheless. Sure, you can certainly shoot for the stars when it comes to price, if you and your lover care only about the bling and bang of your stone. But many couples want to keep an eye on future expenses inherent to living together as well. This is where knowledge of getting the most bang for your buck comes into play.
In this effort, simply follow a few of our ensuing “do’s and don’ts” when it comes to deciding on the number of carats, size, or cuts of stones, and you’ll be golden!
DO Work with a Custom Jeweler
The word, “custom,” understandably sends a shot of apprehension through your pocketbook’s veins. However, working with a custom jeweler can actually save you money on what you might call the “raw materials” of your unique expression of love.
How you ask? A custom jeweler deals with budgets all the time. All they need to know is the amount (or range) you’re seeking to spend. You can rest at somewhere around $2,000 to $3,000 or you can set your budget at $8,000 and above. You and your mate’s desires will be the designators; no one else.
As for the components of your ring or other masterpieces of jewelry, a custom jeweler will offer ways you can cut costs—as in the cut of a stone (i.e., diamond) or its carat weight. Did you know that just by buying a 1.8 carat diamond you can save considerable bucks compared to notching a 2-carat stone? Your custom jeweler does. Furthermore, when you see the prototype from your jeweler, you will most likely not even notice the difference in mass. Money well saved already!
Furthermore, don’t forget that custom jewelers will not flinch at customizing an existing heirloom piece with stones. You can save some money and still come up with a unique design that will speak to your lover’s heart by incorporating a family heirloom in your design.
Even the presentation of said diamonds can result in savings without compromising the beauty and expression of a piece. Custom jewelers know this as well as anyone.
DON’T Fly Solo into the Arena
As Bette Midler once opined in song, “You’ve got to have friends . . .” This proves true along your journey for carats and stones. According to an article in Vogue, 90 percent of the time, the heartthrob in your life stores an image of the stone and ring in his or her head and, moreover, has shared this vision with a close friend or family member.
Take a journalist’s approach, and start querying those closest to your partner. Hopefully, they are discreet enough to not leak your query to your significant other.
Friends whose rings predate your prenups can serve as cost-saving resources. They can make custom jeweler recommendations and cite a jeweler who may specialize in the exact tastes and favored esthetics of your lover without charging an arm, a leg, or a finger. Essentially, they can be your field team. This can be particularly true for custom LGBT jewelry. Such couples wish not to encounter hesitations, trepidations, or outright discrimination, all which only stand to sour such an otherwise glorious event.
Others close to you can also lend insight on some of your future partner’s preferences that escape your awareness for one reason or another. For instance, your lover may hint to one of your friends that he or she feels a bit embarrassed when another friend in your circle brings all his or her bling to the most casual occasions, even when just hanging out. This knowledge might say to you, “Whew! I don’t have to spend big money on mere showiness.”
DON’T Ignore the Settings or Essential Components
Be creative! Think a little outside of the box…even when watching your budget. If a humungous stone is far beyond reach, consider a piece-by-piece approach. What is referred to as a “halo” setting by jewelers amounts to a radius of smaller stones around a not-too-expensive center stone. It can indeed enlarge the appearance of the center stone and provide a retro look to the piece, if that is desired. There is indeed strength, and savings, in numbers.
Want more options? You can even reduce the normal amount of metal used in the ring. Choose a prong (i.e., the foundation for and collar around the precious stone) with a lower profile. It actually exposes more of the stone to offer a prodigious feel. It also eases the task of cleaning the ring. Just ensure that your minimalized prong is made of platinum, much stronger than other metals and an excellent co-habitant with the gold band of the ring itself. Also, it’s important to remember that platinum is much more expensive than gold. So, go with a very low-lying prong in this case.
DO Parlez-vous Pavé
Got the urge to splurge but not the purse for it? You can feign the famous and elite a little by going with pavé diamonds. Similar to the aforementioned halo effect, pavé diamonds simply consist of a cluster of tiny diamonds in place of a larger stone. Think of looking at the Milky Way galaxy in the sky. Its stars still shine as brightly and intriguingly as other stars, though they form a cluster. When small enough, such stones actually save you money as compared to larger diamonds or stones, even when you line your entire band with them.
Final (Thoughts) and Cuts
An article in TheKnot.com sums up the road to success in designing custom jewelry that fits your significant other as well as your budget.
First, remember that the naked eye cannot discern the perfect from the nearly perfect stone in many cases. The cut of the stone, its adornment, and a slight reduction in carat weight serve as ample examples in this vein.
Secondly, except in the case of the prong, consider white gold as a replacement for platinum, which is much more expensive than gold, as already mentioned.
Lastly, should both of you be the kind who are “not-so-sold” on surprises, shop as a team! Your custom jeweler, at Carats and Stones, will then receive direct input from the recipient and better comprehend what you two are all about as a couple. This can be invaluable in finding the custom piece of jewelry that leaves both of you with a future budget for your life together and, more importantly, a fabulous custom piece that resonates with your love for each other.
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