Know What you Want

Create an Heirloom Engagement Ring

July 5, 2018
Words by Robbins Brothers, The Engagement Ring Store
Photos courtesy of Robbins Brothers, The Engagement Ring Store

One trend that continues to grow amongst Gen Z and millennials who are looking for the perfect engagement ring is using family heirlooms. Many modern-day couples are turning to the sentimental and personal value found in heirloom engagement rings to make for an unforgettable marriage proposal. For example, the world recently experienced one of the most iconic weddings of all time – The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Prince Harry incorporated two of his late mother Princess Diana’s diamonds into Meghan Markle’s stunning three-stone engagement ring. The custom ring is not only beautiful, but holds a great deal of sentimental value for the couple. While we all can’t get our hands on a royal ring, you can still sparkle like Meghan by creating your own custom heirloom engagement or wedding ring. 

There are many different reasons people are turning to heirloom rings to propose. For some, it may be more cost-effective to use a ring passed down from generations instead of buying a new one. For others, the sentimental and personal value behind a family heirloom makes it that much more special to propose with and wear for years to come. Whatever the reason may be, there are several steps you must follow when creating a ring with a family heirloom. 

Get Approval

First and foremost, it’s important to get the family member’s approval before using an heirloom that’s been passed down. Since the item is being passed down, you may think you’re already in the clear. However, if you plan to personalize and create a custom ring of your own, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Be sure to discuss any changes you want to make to the original heirloom with your partner and family before taking the next step.

A Reliable and Trustworthy Jeweler is Key

First things first, you must find a jeweler who you respect and trust. Unlike other material items, engagement rings are forever and retain a lot more sentimental value than a custom handbag or shoe. Shopping for the perfect jeweler can be a challenge, but once you find the perfect one, everything else should go according to plan. A few ways to identify a trustworthy jeweler before making the commitment are:

  • Check out their reputation and ethical standards
  • See if they are straight shooters or if they beat around the bush – just in hopes to upsell you
  • Ask about their return policy and ring insurance/warranty
  • Make sure they don’t pressure you into making a decision right away – they should work with your timeline

Inspect the Heirloom

You have the perfect piece of jewelry you want to incorporate in your heirloom engagement ring, but before you start making plans, be sure to have it inspected. It might seem like it would be a seamless process of taking one diamond or gemstone from one ring and adding it to another, but it might not be that simple. It’s essential to take the heirloom to be inspected by a professional before you make any changes. This will help identify any previous damage that the piece may have. The person who had it before you may have had the item for many years, leaving room for various forms of damage. Although you may not be able to see it with the naked eye, minor damage can still affect the quality and longevity of your future ring. Whatever it is that you may be using the heirloom for, will affect the outcome of your ring if there are initial issues. Having these issues fixed upfront will avoid any additional damage that could arise in the future – allowing your ring to have a longer lifespan.

Weigh all of Your Options

There are multiple ways of incorporating a family heirloom into your engagement ring. If you like the style and look of the ring, but want to update it, consider adding a wedding band or two to frame the ring. Something as simple as this can celebrate the history and heritage of the ring but create your personal style. Possibly the most popular choice is taking the center diamond and putting it into a new setting. This process allows you to give the ring your own unique personal touch, but at the same time, keep the sentimental value from the historic stone. Your jeweler may also be able to take all of the diamonds from the ring, not just the center, and custom-make a new ring based on your idea of perfection.

Know What you Want

One of the worst things that can happen is to not love how your ring turned out, especially after you take a sentimental heirloom and make alterations to it. Before you let the jeweler start the custom design process, make sure you are 100 percent confident in what it is you want in your engagement ring – this should include every little detail. The shape, cut, color, band design, metal, how you want the heirloom incorporated, etc. Once you receive your ring back, it should match exactly what you imagined, leaving no room for disappointment.

Whether you plan to use the original heirloom as-is or incorporate it into a custom design, it’s crucial to follow the above steps to ensure the final result is the ring of your dreams. For heirloom inspiration and additional tips on creating a custom heirloom, click here.

About the Author: Sharon Lehew is the General Sales Manager of Robbins Brothers, The Engagement Ring Store in Scottsdale, which specializes in proprietary and designer engagement ring settings and loose diamonds. The company also carries an extensive selection of wedding bands, promise rings, anniversary bands, three-stone rings, earrings, pendants, and bracelets. To learn more about Robbins Brothers, please visit

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