Choosing an engagement ring

January 26, 2016

Choosing an engagement ring or wedding ring is both exciting and daunting. It signifies the start of your next journey of your life, but the task can be sometimes stressful as there are many choices available to pick the perfect ring for your love ones. I personally love custom rings, as they are one of a kind. Big or small rings doesn’t matter. What matters the most is that it made just right for you and your personality. That is as unique as you.

I met Emily Gill a while back when we worked on a photoshoot together. This lovely lady artist creates custom jewelry, and have completely stolen my heart with her designs – both organic and classic style. So I spoke to her about her process, design, and helping you choose the perfect engagement ring:


(Interlocking Engagement Set, Platinum and Diamonds)



  • What is the typical process when it comes to designing a ring?
Designing fine jewellery varies from client to client, which I love so much about my job. Some couples like to work together, other times I will meet guy or girl coming to me to make a surprise ring to propose to their partner with. Since I try to be inspired by various time periods in jewellery, and have both organic and classic inspired collections, my clients are each drawn to my work for different reasons. Typically the process begins when my clients are inspired by a piece I have created, but envision it with new elements to make it truly their own. Using existing samples of my work I typically meet with clients, pen and paper in hand, and we deconstruct what they like about a design that speaks to them, and try to change it to make it unique. Though sometimes handed photos of rings from the internet, I try very hard not to make replicas for a few reasons: part of the magic of working with a designer who is also an artist, is to create something one of a kind for the occasion, and with so many creative ideas and passion for what I do, I would find it surprising that together we could not come up with something new and exciting…in short, it is a challenge to create new designs so I insist on it where I can! We choose a gemstone as a focal point, I allow clients to see a few gemstones or diamonds that work within their budgetary and style criteria, a design is drawn up, various models are made either on the computer or by hand, and then the ring is transformed into the finished product. As a goldsmith I do a lot of this work myself, so each ring is truly loved and overseen start to finish by me.
(Sapphire and Black Diamond Side Detail, 18K white gold sapphire engagement ring)
  • What’s the typical timeline from designing to finished product?
I have made miracles happen for clients in a week, this is possible if creating single stone rings or rings from existing models that I have molds for and can expedite the process, but the typical turnaround time for a custom ring made from scratch is 4-8 weeks if it involves setting many stones. The time of year also affects the timing, so I always urge people to start months before they think they need to, just to get ahead and so the process is relaxed. This also means the finished product is perfect, and goldsmiths love perfection as much as their clients.
(Natural Blue Spinel Emerald Cut with diamonds in 14K white gold)
  • Is there any advice you would give for people choosing engagement or wedding ring?

Go with your gut when it comes to style, who you work with, visit local jewellery stores (my main retailer is Made You Look in Toronto, and my home base) to get an idea of what prices are like by local designers. Work with someone who makes you excited about the process not scared or intimidated or forced to spend more money. These sales tactics might be good for the company but working with a passionate friendly designer is more fun and relaxing, and anyone making custom work will know the ins and outs of their processes and should be able to explain them to you with confidence.


(White Sapphire in blue diamond hexagon halo in 14K white gold)

  • Have you seen any trends when it comes to ring designs?
Yes! I absolutely see several trends in couples who come to shop and design with local creative jewellery designers. They are looking at classic rings, with an art deco look and feel. While collaborating on designs we are trying to create a ring that is timeless and nods to antique, but has a strength and vibrancy to it. You may see rings coming out that have crisp very graphic patterns. Round gemstones set in square or cushion halos, emerald cuts and pear shapes definitely are getting more attention. Marquise are also rising in popularity.
Coloured halos in champagne diamonds or coloured gemstones as focal points instead of large diamonds are also in trend. Girls no longer seem to adore only white diamonds, but they adore colour in subtle, sophisticated hues available in other gems. Diamonds even come in blue, purple, cognac or green tones….If they aren’t picking out coloured stones they are exploring yellow and rose gold to add colour. Sapphires for example come in every colour of the rainbow. We should be seeing coloured stones around in what used to be primarily diamonds in all white gold, art deco designs. The colour aspect of this growing trend is youthful and fun, while the patterns we put them into are reminscent and respectful of timeless designs created for our grandparents and great grandparents.
Men are still intrigued by classic designs, though we are seeing more use of texture. Matte finishes, brushed or hammered bands, and even the incorporation of colour by way of two tone golds (white gold with thin elements of rose or yellow gold). I recently made a heavy 18K palladium white gold band in a dark gray tone with a stripe of sterling silver to contrast. In the silver we set a small diamond, not on the outside, but on the inside of the ring. Secret elements make rings magic and give them a personal twist that only the couple knows about. That is what custom design is truly all about.
(White Sapphire Black Enamel and Diamond Halo Deco ring in 18K yellow gold)


  • Is there any proposal story you have heard from your client that you want to share?

So many of my clients work together as opposed to creating surprises with the design, the ring they make together and the experience is so important to their relationship that although it is never 100% a surprise, I hear stories of partners hiding a ring from their girlfriend for 6-8 months after it is long out of my studio and just when she was at the brink of demanding it because she missed the design process so much, that he popped the question on top of a canyon in the Arizona desert while in the middle of a fairly aerobic hike, for example, standing in front of a breathtaking view. Those are true intimate moments. Of course I’ve heard it all, rings hidden on the end of fishing rods, proposals on gondolas in Venice, on stage proposals at open mic nights. Everyone has their way, and like their rings, they are unique.


(Deco Baguette Ring in 18K white gold)


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