Blog / Tips on Making Hand Forged Rings Budget Friendly

A little known fact is that there are many ways to alter ring designs to make them more budget friendly. The wonderful thing about custom made jewelry is that many parts of a ring can be just that, customized to taste or even to a budget.

Pave Set Designs

Pave Set engagement ring designs have been all the rage the past few years. Removing or decreasing the amount of pave from parts of a ring eliminates diamond carat weight and also labor costs, the savings of which would be directly passed on to the consumer. This can be done for example by eliminating pave on the band of a ring which can substantially reduce costs (Fig. 1). Aside from cost reduction, omitting pave on a band produces a glossy beautiful appearance. Other small ways of saving costs would be foregoing pave from the stems of a ring design or the donut. In summary, any time pave is decreased there is a net cost savings to the consumer.

Comparison of two Engagement Rings with and without Pave Bands
Fig. 1 Two Victor Canera Engagement Rings. L:Pave Band. R: Plain Band.

Trilogy Ring Designs

Three Stone Rings with Varying Side Diamond Sizes
Top: 1.70ct Center w. 0.80ct Sides. Bottom: 1.9ct Center w. 0.45ct sides.

With Trilogy Engagement Rings, otherwise known as three stone rings, the carat weight, measurements and quality of the side diamonds play a prominent role in the cost of a design. For example, selecting E-VS1 side diamonds with a total carat weight of 1.00ct would be costlier than choosing 0.80ct stones that are H Color and VS2-Si1 clarity. It is safe in most instances to simply use “eye clean” clarity for the side diamonds while going a shade or so lower in color than the center stone. The difference in color would be very difficult to distinguish especially if the center diamond and side diamonds employ different facet patterns. Trilogy designs that use tapered baguette side stones or trapezoid shaped side diamonds are also priced out in millimeter lengths. For example, tapered baguettes that measure 6mm long each are priced higher than 5mm tapered baguettes even if they theoretically had the same carat weight.

Labor Costs withing the Context of Hand Forged Jewelry

Hand Fabricated and Hand Forged Jewelry is extremely labor intensive as compared to other forms of jewelry manufacturing such as using CAD\CAM and casting. We feel very strongly though from our decades of experience in jewelry production that hand forged jewelry is superior in craftsmanship and quality to CAD\CAM and cast manufactured jewels in almost every aspect. It is not unusual for just the base metal work (hand fabrication) of a ring to take many days to complete. This time consuming nature of hand fabricated jewelry means that a significant portion of the cost of a jewel are made up by labor costs. Any changes in a ring design therefore that reduces manufacturing time would in turn decrease the cost of a ring. This can apply directly to Intricate and Ornamental Ring Profiles of some designs that feature “filigree” or “ajour” which substantially add to the time it takes to manufacture a ring and therefore its cost (Fig. 2). Many shoppers aren’t aware of this fact and we believe it’s important for a consumer to do a cost to benefit analysis of intricate profiles by asking for a break down of the added cost of these profiles. In summary, simplifying the profile of a ring by eliminating ajour (with or without pave), filigree or other designs can lead to significant cost savings without effecting the top down view of a ring.

Comparison of an intricate vs simple profile in ring designs
Fig 2. Two Victor Canera Ring Profiles L:Intricate Filigree Profile. R:Simplified Profile.

Cost Differences between Platinum & Gold

A common misconception is that using white gold as opposed to platinum can lead to significant cost savings. As noted above, the majority of the costs of hand fabricated and hand forged ring designs are typically made up of labor and\or diamond costs where very little precious metal is actually used in modern ring designs where delicacy is treasured. Furthermore, the large historic price premium of Platinum over gold has been reversed. As of the writing of this article, 24K Gold stands at $1,196 an ounce and Platinum $919 an ounce. Meanwhile the Advantages of Platinum over White Gold can’t be underestimated.

In summary, there are numerous ways to modify and\or simplify fine hand fabricated rings making them into a budget. We invite clients to discuss with us the strategies that can be taken to decrease the cost of a ring.