I asked my husband (then boyfriend) about the situation and told him that I would love to design my ring, depending on cost. So he gave me the go-ahead to do all the research I wanted and to find out how we could make this work. I will take you step-by-step in the process to help you or your loved one narrow down their decisions and make that dream ring come to life. ((( This is something that I dream of doing as a profession. I want to create proposals and design rings/jewelry...and when I saw that the 3D printer was in this contest...I had to enter. If I had a 3D printer, I would be able to physically print the ring designs that go into casting to become gold. That is HUGE happiness. :D )))
Anyways, we need to move onto your dream ring, right? Right! :) Whether you make it for a right-hand ring or for engagement and marriage, I'm sure this will help you out.
Step 1: Choosing Your Stone
Let's talk about basics. Gems are rated on Moh's Hardness Scale, basically, just a scale to tell you how strong your stone will be in terms of resistance to scratching or cracking, chipping, etc. In my experience, you want to stay in the 8-10 range. An example of an 8 graded stone is a topaz, and 10 would be diamond. We all know how expensive diamonds are, and we think of them being so expensive because of DeBeer's marketing. Part of my belief in diamonds is the fact that they are a ten on the hardness scale, that makes it "forever" to me. That still doesn't justify the diamond companies to control their output and value.
But...you can always take it down a notch. Do you want a diamond substitute or do you want your own stone that is beautiful in itself, no matter what it is called? You can choose the stone by color or by its reaction to light/how it behaves, or maybe you want something that is more dense...it's all up to you. Just stay within that range of 8+ through 10 on the hardness scale.
What I chose - Originally, I wanted a pink diamond. But that's a laugh because they are verrrry expensive. When you get into colored diamonds, they are called "fancy" when they naturally occur in nature. Their color is so brilliant when they are set in jewelry because they are probably enhanced. Some stones get heat treatment to enhance their color and some are colored enough to need non-cosmetic enhancement. What I mean is this - if you find photos of expensive rings that have fancy diamonds, they sometimes have an open cup, set under the stone, in gold. This cup reflects the light and gives color to the bottom of the stone so that the color seems deeper. *Ahhh, tricks!* ;)
I went with Morganite, which is like a pink ruby. It's rated 7.5-8 on the hardness scale. It was a risk to go with this stone because we weren't sure how it would hold up. The awesome jeweler said that it would be fine. No guarantees, but it would be fine during the crafting of my ring. Looking back at this decision...wow, awesome choice. I just wish it were a little harder because I have microscopic chips in the table (top flat surface) of my stone. Maybe I knocked it on a wall, or something metal...but it is noticeable to me because I focus on the tiniest details.
Again, stay with 8-10. :)
Now, what is an 8-10 gemstone? Technically, you're looking for corundum. It's graded at 9, it happens to be twice as hard as topaz, which is an 8. This is a great range for a center stone if you aren't going for diamond. I found this link that will give you an over-view of some stones and their ratings. http://bit.ly/jzPVW7
Suggestions: Sapphire (9), Ruby (9), Emerald, Alexandrite, Aquamarine, Balas Ruby, Cat's Eye, Chrysoberyl, Gahnospinel, Goshenite, Heliodor, Morganite.