You want to propose to the one you love, but you don't necessarily want to go down the line of buying a traditional engagement ring. You would much prefer to create something yourself. Give it that individual feel, and make the ring much more of a personal item.
This instructable will show you how to create your own engagement ring with a bit of designer know how and direct you to the resources you will need to make it.
First though, a little about me. I'm an industrial designer, not a jeweller. That meant that when I wanted to create an engagement ring to propose to my girlfriend, I had lots of lavish ideas of what I could do. I quickly realised that living in a small flat meant that hiding tools to build the ring manually wasn't really an option.
The first thing I did was to research. User edwatkins has an amazing tutorial on how to build a three stone ring, so I took a bit of inspiration from there. I shall say the same thing as he has; this is not necessarily the correct way to make a ring, but it is how I did it.
Step 1: Purchase the Stone
There are loads of factors to consider here; the clarity, the weight, the cut... I had a number in mind that I had saved up and searched to find the best diamond I could get for the price. It may be tempting to get a lower quality stone that is bigger - I would recommend against it. Getting a stone with good clarity means it sparkles that much better and makes a huge difference to the ring.
Step 2: Model the Stone
First, you need to model the diamond in CAD. For this, I used digital callipers to measure it and replicate it virtually. Try to be as accurate as you can at this stage, as it will make it much easier.
To model the diamond, I created a half profile and revolved it to create a perfect shape.
As for the software side, I used Pro Engineer for my ring, but there are plenty of free software packages that you can use to do this.
Examples: TinkerCAD, Autodesk 123D, 3dtin, SketchUp...
Step 3: Model the Ring
After finding out the ring size for your proposed wearer, model the main body of the ring in CAD. You can check all the way through that the stone fits in it properly.
When creating mine, I found that by having spaces underneath the diamond, more light could get to it and thus make it sparkle more.
With the arms to hold the stone, I created these longer so that they could eventually be bent over to hold the stone in place. I would say you need a minimum of four of these.
It is worth checking what sort of style the recipient would like first - the last thing you want is for them not to like it!
Step 4: Rapid Prototype
To create the physical ring, I used the services of i.materialise to rapid prototype the ring.
The way they did it was to print the body out of wax, then investment cast it out of gold afterwards. It has to be said, the service that they delivered was fantastic. Apart from being exceptionally helpful (and very reasonable with costs), they also took photos of the process along the way, to show the mould before casting and the polishing of the body afterwards.
Step 5: Check Fit
Step 6: Fit the Stone
Most local jewellery shops will offer a service to set stones that have fallen out etc, so it is worth approaching them for advice.
Personally, I used my local jewellers who took about a week and a half to set the stone in place.
Step 7: Find a Box
Step 8: Ask the Question!
Good luck to any of you who wish to follow in my footsteps, I can assure you that it is worth the time and effort you put into it!