What Rohan and Hiep learned designing their own engagement rings
Melburnian Rohan Astley says he had a “big plan” for his proposed partner Hiep Pham.
But after canceling a trip at the last minute, he ended up popping the question with an empty box.
“We both wanted a ring, but we have different aesthetics and styles,” Rohan explains.
Hiep didn’t just say yes after a surprise picnic proposal in the park, but loved the idea of designing their own rings together.
“It ended up being the exact engagement I could have hoped for,” he says.
“I was very excited to create a bespoke piece…although it is small, it is essentially what I consider a sculptural work of art.”
So what does designing your own ring entail? Is it expensive? How do you know which stone to choose?
That’s what Rohan and Hiep learned after recently going through the process together.
Cut costs if you’re on a budget
Bespoke items are always more expensive than off-the-shelf items, but Melbourne-based designer Eloise Falkiner says there are a few options that can help you stick to your budget.
It starts with the stone you choose for your ring.
“Diamonds are obviously going to be quite expensive, but you can get lab-made diamonds, which have the exact same chemical makeup; they’re just lab-made rather than natural,” Falkiner says.
Another part to consider is the band, which Rohan and Hiep did when they created their rings.
“We were given a range in terms of the carats of gold we wanted for the bands, and we ended up going with the 14 carats because it was actually cheaper and we didn’t feel like it compromised the design of the look,” says Hiep.
Know the pros and cons of different stones
Wearing your ring every day can make it more prone to damage and wear. That’s why Ms. Falkiner recommends choosing a “hard gemstone.”
“A diamond, sapphire, or even a lab-made gemstone will not scratch [and] crack so easily,” she says.
“They will over time, but you want something durable enough if you’re going to wear it every day.”
Opals and pearls are another popular option, but Ms Falkiner says they don’t mix well with perfume.
“Some people choose opals [and pearls] because they’re beautiful, but they come with a warning… you can’t spray perfume on them, and they scratch.”
Chemicals like perfume break down the pearl’s outer layer (known as nacre) and that’s why jewelers recommend avoiding perfume and other products like hairspray.
Opals are not as durable as other gemstones, so they are more prone to scratching and cracking, especially when exposed to high heat.
Find the right designer
It’s a memorable experience to create an engagement ring with your partner, but finding a designer who can perfectly combine your individual styles can be a challenge, says Rohan.
The process for the pair also involved measuring their finger, looking at different stones, picking one they liked, and eventually choosing matching bands.
“The magic is actually in how similar they are rather than how different they are. Mine only has one stone; Hiep’s has more,” Rohan says.
Ultimately, for Rohan and Hiep, the long process resulted in an eternal object.
“I’m so proud to show it to others too and it’s so cool that I can call it my engagement ring too,” Hiep adds.
“I’d like to think that at some point it might be really special to be able to pass my ring on to someone else.”
This article contains general information only. You should consider obtaining independent professional advice based on your particular circumstances.
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