Yes, even one of the most romantic treasures in a bride’s life, her engagement ring, can now take shape on the computer screen! Since no physical jewelry store could possibly display the thousands of ring and stone options available, surveying the entire array online is a huge advantage. It can also be quite overwhelming—although definitely fascinating! We should know. We put ourselves in the position of a suitor about to pop the question (or possibly a couple designing their dream ring together) and went through the step-by-step process.
To do this, we chose 5 well-known jewelry brands that offer virtual design services. They consist of Blue Nile, Brilliant Earth, Ritani, Zales, and James Allen. Then, we did our best to present their distinct features and options in table form, to help you gauge if this approach is for you!
Virtual Ring Design Services: What Do They Offer? How to Use Them
The virtual ring design experience was certainly eye-opening, if not mind-boggling! So many incredibly beautiful settings and diamonds to choose from. So many possible combinations and variations.
But all 5 sites we visited attempted to make the process as easy to use and attractive as possible. Although the size and breadth of their “inventory” differed, all had these key components to address ring buyers’ questions and concerns:
- A design process in a step-by-step approach: 1) select your diamond, 2) select your setting, 3) view your finished ring.
- Tables presenting the thousands of options available, but providing filters to help narrow down the choices to the look and budget the customer is looking for (by price, style, metal for the settings; by price, stone shape, cut, carat, color and clarity for the diamonds).
- Helpful features like “bestsellers,” an “inspiration gallery,” and the like to give buyers pre-designed ring samples to look at and guide their selection.
Explanations of the 4 C’s of diamonds: cut, carat, color and clarity and how the variations in these affect the appearance and affordability of the stones being offered.
- Visual appreciation of each modification made in the design appearing right before your eyes—from choice of metals to change of setting to variations in the shape and 4 C’s of the stone.
- A comparison feature that pulls together several options you have made, and compares these for you—in terms of how they look and how much they cost.
- Rotating image of your ring design, as well as shown worn on a hand.
- Logistical matters, such as delivery time, free shipping, free return policies, financing or lay-away plans.
- Special considerations on selected sites, such as the origin of the diamonds from conflict-free, ethical sources supported by certifications.
- Incentives such as being able to preview your made-to-order ring (in-store) before paying; or discounts for quick order placement.
- Virtual assistance via a shopping expert that will correspond with customers through chat or email.
Tada! Our Ring Creations
So did we come away with engagement rings of our own? We certainly did! See the gorgeous results below.
#1 Our sample ring from BLUE NILE
Diamond: Princess Cut 0.31 carat ($304)
Setting: Tapered Cathedral Solitaire Engagement Ring in Platinum ($780)
Total price: $1,084
#2 Our sample ring from BRILLIANT EARTH
Diamond: Round 0.30 carat ($770.00)
Setting: 18k White Gold Budding Willow Ring ($925.00)
Total price: $1,695.00
#3 Our sample ring from RITANI
Diamond: Oval Cut 0.32 carat ($476.00)
Setting: Three-Stone Halo Diamond Band in 18k Rose Gold ($3220.00)
Total price: $3696.00
#4 Our sample ring from ZALES
Setting: Engagement Ring 14k White Gold with Side Stones 1/5cttw ($901.25)
Diamond: Princess Cut .40 carat ($1355.00)
Total price: $2256.25
#5 Our sample ring from JAMES ALLEN
Setting: 18k Yellow Gold Double Claw Prong Pave Set ($930.00)
Diamond: Round 0.30 carat Pink ($760.00)
Total price: $1,690
*Please note that the prices quoted above may vary from time to time, so it is best to visit the actual retailer for obtaining an accurate price.