Ring Design 101:
Not everyone can walk into a store or browse online and without hesitation decide on the perfect ring. There are those who can, but they are the exception. Ring shopping can be overwhelming. There are so many different options and so many different variables to consider when conjuring up the perfect ring. We’re here to help. The following is a simplified framework to consider when designing a ring (stones, metal, silhouette, setting, and finer details).
Stones or lack thereof are a great place to start. Not using stones in your ring? Perfect, move on to the next step. Planning to incorporate stones in your ring? Great! Here are some things to consider:
Type: Diamonds, rubies, and sapphires are all different types of stones. There is an endless selection of precious and semi-precious gemstones you can choose from when building your ring. It’s important to know what colors you are attracted to and go from there.
Stones also vary in durability which is important to consider as well.
Shape: Shapes include round, oval, pear, fancy (alternative/asymmetrical), and many more. We will discuss this more when considering the silhouette of the ring, but the shape of your stone or stones will play an instrumental role in the aesthetic of your ring.
Size: Size, also known as carat weight. Is another factor you will want to consider when choosing stones for your ring. The size of the stone or stones you pick will be determined by a few different things: budget, silhouette/aesthetic appeal, and proportion.
Choosing a metal can be fairly simple. You will want to consider price, durability, and color. A majority of metalsmithing artisans will be working in either platinum, gold, or silver. If your chosen metal is gold you will be given the options of yellow (yellow in color) rose (pink in color), or white (silver in color). Gold also varies in karat or gold content. A higher gold content will result in both a more valuable product and a softer product.
The silhouette or form of the ring is determined by the shape and dimensions of the rings itself. Do you want a minimalist solitaire piece or do you want the ring itself to look like a majestic bird? The silhouette or form of the ring can be rendered in various ways:
Stone Arrangement: The way you group or position your stones can determine how the shape of the ring will appear. You can arrange your stones to resemble an ethereal flower, regal crown, or other iconic imagery (the shape of the stones will help you achieve this). You can transform a simple solitaire ring by simply offsetting the stone for a subtle asymmetrical look. The possibilities are truly endless.
Shape of Metal: When creating a custom ring, think about it like a sculpture. You can manipulate the metal into practically any shape you want, it just has to function as a ring. This could pertain to the shape of the band (round, square, wavy, etc.) or the shape of the ring itself (do you want the body of the ring to be formed like a geometric shape, organic matter, or even an animal?). Again, the possibilities are endless.
Dimensions: Dimension refers to size. How much finger real estate do you want the ring to encompass? How deep or thick do you want the metal to be? To sum it up, how much space do you want the piece to inhabit and how heavy do you want the piece to be?
If you’ve decided to opt out of stones in your ring you can skip this step! However, if you’ve chosen to incorporate stones in your ring, this part is crucial but simple. How do you want to nestle the stones in your ring so that they don’t fall out? There are a variety of ways to set your stones and this will affect both sustainability and aesthetics. Examples are as follows:
Prong (3-6 prongs)
Really all you're considering is how the stone is going to be surrounded by/housed in the metal.
When we discuss finer details, we are essentially talking about add-ons. These are things like texture, milgrain, engraving, patterns, cut-outs, filigree, detailed profiles, etc. Anything that could be considered ornate or non-essential, but perhaps most meaning
This has been a crash course in ring design. It is not intended to be all-encompassing nor strict law. This is merely a simplified guide intended to assist and provide insight. This is also a useful framework for designing other types of jewelry (earrings, pendants, bracelets, etc.) ! Whether your intention is to make something symbolic or to make a piece of wearable art, the jewelry making process can be simple or extremely nuanced. It is a matter of intent, style, and vision that determine your next step in designing your perfect piece.