How to Make a Solitaire Engagement Ring





Introduction: How to Make a Solitaire Engagement Ring

You've reached that stage.
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

The first step in the process is arguably the most expensive. Being as the ring's shape is greatly effected by the size and shape of the stone, this is the part you need to buy first.
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

This is the part where the designer know how came in useful, but is something that you can pick up quite easily.

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

This part takes a lot of work. To make it look right, you need to focus on the details!
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

I would be very surprised if you were on instructables and hadn't heard of 3d printing, but for those who haven't, the process is fairly simple. A machine takes the cad data and splits it into 2d layers, then prints them out of a material layer by layer to make a 3d shape.
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

Once the ring's main body has arrived, you can check the fit of the diamond inside (this is why it was so important to measure accurately at the beginning!).

Step 6: Fit the Stone

Stone fitting is an art form, and something that I wasn't willing to attempt myself!
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

Going with the handmade feel, I went for a wooden box to hold the ring, especially as it makes the white gold of the body stand out a bit more, but this is completely up to your own tastes! It is worth spending that little bit more money on though, as a cheap looking box will detract from all the time and effort that has gone into the making of the ring!

Step 8: Ask the Question!

I took my girlfriend away to Bruges on a surprise trip to ask the question, and it couldn't have been a more perfect experience! Everything went to plan, and my now fiancée loved the ring!
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!

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    37 Discussions

    I always go past this when I'm looking at ring projects. It's by far one of the most beautiful rings I've seen done on instructables. Love it!

    What was the thickness of the claws/prongs that you designed? Is there a minimum that you should stick to?

    I am a master silversmith and wire jewelry artist and want to congratulate you on mastering this project. I also want to suggest a couple of easier, more economical ways to create an engagement ring, or any other gemstone ring, that will allow you more design flexibility. If you go to some jeweler's supply sites, you will find ring settings that are already cast. I would suggest a sterling silver setting because they are much less expensive, easier to set and they look the same as white gold. Sterling silver is a precious metal that steadily increases in value over time, plus, if you make a mistake and damage the ring, you won't have to spend an arm and a leg to replace it or have it repaired. There are tons of designs to choose from and you can even have them customized to your liking. Many of these settings will allow you to set some accent stones along with your center stone. Keep in mind that smaller stones are much more difficult to set, so you may want to play it safe and order a single stone ring. There are countless design possibilities. Look for easy set or snap in settings, which will allow you to set the stone yourself. Some jeweler's supply web sites have video tutorials on how to set their settings, but you can also search on YouTube. They are quite easy to master, once you see how it's done. After you choose a setting, look for a calibrated diamond to fit and any accent stones your setting requires. You may also want to purchase a gem setting tool which will allow you to tighten the prongs without damaging the stone or setting. If you couldn't find the setting you liked in the correct size, you can take it to a jeweler to be sized. It will be less expensive to do this before you set the stones. Once you have your gemstones and setting, you are ready to make the ring. I think you'll be amazed at how easy it is to pop the stones in and tighten the prongs and you'll have a gorgeous engagement ring that you made yourself! Another way to do this would be to search the Internet for sites that offer wire jewelry tutorials. You can learn to make an engagement or gemstone ring in a short amount of time and end up with something very unique and artistic. You can start practicing with some inexpensive copper wire until you are confident enough to make your ring in sterling silver or gold. To get an idea of the type of rings you can make with wire, search for 'wire engagement ring' and for 'wire gemstone ring'. Try doing the same search on too. I'm attaching a couple of pictures from my Etsy shop. I get a lot of orders for my wire wedding bands and engagement rings and my customers tell me they just wanted something different than the average jewelry store ring. Many people are even ordering colored stones rather than diamonds. Whatever method or design you choose, have fun with it! A handmade ring will have much more meaning and sentimental value.

    1 reply

    Hi, I saw your comment and would love if you could recommend some of the supplier websites for me. I have a diamond I received as a child from my great great grandfather and I would love to have it set. Thanks

    Hi! How much did the box cost/ where did you find it? Nice ring!

    Hi There. I was wondering if you happen to have the CAD file for this ring? Would love to check it out and modify it for my project.

    Hi, lovely ring.

    I'm interested in doing something similar, where did you purchase your diamond? Could you /anyone suggest the best places to buy in UK/Europe for non-trade (one offs). Ideally it would be an alexandrite ring that I would be making.

    1 reply

    Hi Hoppa,
    I got mine from 77 diamonds. ( They appeared to be a very reasonable cost and came with all the certification behind the diamond - something you want to look out for!
    Good luck with your project!

    Sir, I love you.
    Saved in bookmarks for future reference.

    Godspeed for you and your fiancée.

    So did the i.materialise website give you a wax version of the ring? Or did they just take the design from CAD, print it from wax possibly, then made the cast and finalized it with the type of material you wanted it as seen in the picture?

    Thank you for your comments ireiss and Honus :-). I can only agree with everything you said. I know little for instance, and English is not my native language, you explained way better than me :-).

    I know that the design he used is common today. And it looks great ... Maybe my perception is biased... but even done properly, personally, I wouldn't use it for an engagement ring. It is not because of aesthetic reasons, but only because it looks, and I believe it is, not as solid as the classic/old design.

    I have to admit, maybe because I'm half German :-P That for me, Strength would override the style in that case... to ensure that even after 50 years of everyday wear, your stone will still be there, and as well maintained as the fist day.
    By cons, for a more casual ring, why not...

    In fact, it brings a question to me : Was that design really intended to be used for engagement rings? I wouldn't be surprised that they are selling that design as engagement ring, even if it wasn't intended for that at the beginning, just because people were asking for it ...

    Actually as a "Metal Smith" I can say that you actually did the job well, ask any jeweler, the style is often called a Tiffany setting because the light comes from below and the "claws" (some call them paws...the holders for the stone are very well teacher would love to have a student like you in his class...) anyway very well done!

    1 reply

    Light does not come from below a Diamond. A Diamond set in a full depth bezel setting will have the same brilliance as a Diamond that is set in an open setting. Diamonds are cut so they reflect the light through the top of the stone (called the table.) Well cut stones reflect light better than poorly cut stones. As a stone setter, the most important thing to me is the cut of the stone- it far outweighs color or clarity in terms of the brilliance of a Diamond. For earrings though I'd go with higher color vs. clarity as the stones are typically smaller but that's just me. :)

    The result is impressive! Congratulations!

    But you took many risks by designing your ring without consulting jewelers. As an amateur jeweler myself, I can point a few flaws in your design that could reveal dangerous over time. First of all, your stone has nothing to seat on except the four arms. Usually, there is a ring, slightly smaller than the stone, on witch the stone sits. Then we make an other ring underneath, much smaller, just under the pointy tip of the stone, and the four arms are soldered to the seat and that smaller ring. The difference in diameter between the two rings gives the angle of the arms. The arms are partially inserted in the rings. Meaning that you cant place the stone without grinding the arms a little just at the level of the seat, and thus, making them easier to bend over the stone.

    Because of your design, your arms are not as strong as they could be and could easily bend if they receive a shock. And if one of the arm bends, because the stone has nothing to seat on, it may start to wobble and fall. More over, because your arms are joining at their base, your stone has to be farther from the finger that it could be, exposing it even more to shocks.

    It would be really sad if you lose the stone, so be really careful! If I were you, I would design a new ring for that stone! The risk of losing the stone is really high, especially for an engagement ring worn every day and exposed to daily little accidents! You could keep that ring and put an other stone on it, for a more "casual" jewel for example, for occasions, where you are more careful and calm.

    Well, once again, I'm not saying that to simply criticize and say the few things I know about jewelery. The result is amazing, congrats :-D And for a non jeweler, it is impressive! But I don't want you to lose that stone... and the risk is high, so I could't stop myself.

    2 replies

    Actually as a jeweler I can say that having taken a professional class his is in a style that Tiffany actually uses and there are in fact many diamonds that are actually set in the manner he has done...however usually the Claws (or as I have said in another write up, paws are cut out in a certain way think literally like they were paws to hold it...) Most use the standard you use however the style that he uses is quite common these days its how you indent or form the paws/ claws that matters most in either setting but in yours even if not formed correctly it will hold... far better only because he has not filed an indent for holding the stone (which give the "Paws/Claws" effect) to each of the sticks (or as some call it stems). you may see your self as an amateur but you could with just a little learning become a pro.

    What you really want is to cut a seat in the prong to hold the stone. With a typical brilliant cut round Diamond this is done using a 45 degree hart burr. You really don't want the majority of the underside of the stone (called the pavilion) to rest directly on the prong so the angle of the prong should always be more vertical than the angle of the pavilion. The cut you put in the prong will hold the stone by the outer edge of the stone (called the girdle.) Different shape stones require different cuts in the prongs- some stones like Sapphires typically have a thicker girdle and the pavilion has more of an acorn shape so you need to design the ring with slightly thicker prongs- this also applies to princess cut and radiant cut Diamonds as well. The depth of cut in the prong should also never exceed 1/2 the depth of the prong.