Dear PoPville – customized engagement rings?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Phil

“Dear PoPville,

I am hoping for some help from the PoPville community on where in the DC area to get a customized engagement ring. I am admittedly new to the process and have no clue how it works. I know there was a PoPville post on engagement rings back in 2011, but that was geared towards vintage rings, which isn’t quite what I’m looking for.

Any help would be great!”

55 Comment

  • Mervis Diamond Importers – you might even meet Ronnie!

    • At least when we shopped there, most of their loose diamonds were certified by EGL Israel, not GIA or AGS.
      Doesn’t mean the diamonds are bad, but we had one re-certified and it turned out to NOT be as good a deal as it seemed. Caveat Emptor.

  • epric002

    what does “customized” mean? that you want to design it?

  • Check out Market Street Diamonds in Georgetown. They are awesome – all the staff are super friendly and helpful. And they do custom work. We’re getting our wedding bands from them.

  • HaileUnlikely

    Not DC area, but I haile recommend Brilliant Earth, in San Francisco. Their business is mostly online. While their main selling points are conflict-free diamonds and recycled metals, they do nice custom work, too.

  • Market Street Diamonds in Georgetown. Dino Lonzano did an amazing job of designing and executing my wife’s engagement ring and matching wedding band. Fair price for the quality and the service was first rate!

  • Ascot Diamonds in Arlington!

  • Dominion Jewelers in Falls Church hands down. I went there and got a unique engagement ring designed for my wife. Nice family own business.

    • my first comment on a post ever. dominion jewelers is absolutely the best option. they can custom make anything, and they work with you through the entire process. i highly recommend making an appointment with rochelle. she is the daughter of the owner, and has been helping my family for years. there’s no pressure, but i recommend you just seeing what they are about. my mom still stops in to say hi when she is in town. it is in falls church, but so worth the metro / uber situation, if you do not drive.

  • iGorman downtown is very knowledgeable and professional. Highly recommend.

    • I definitely second IGorman! A friendly, knowledgeable staff and they never pressure you or balk at your budget. They are more than happy to work within your means and want you to be happy. I had such a great experience. They have many diamonds and other gemstones and a number of modern and traditional settings.

  • Went to Quest Jewelers out in Virginia, they did a great job on a custom ring and gave a pretty decent price.

  • Try Adam Keshishian Jewelry in Chevy Chase, on Willard. He had a good selection of diamonds and spent a lot of time working personally with me on the design. Pricing was reasonable.

  • My husband got stones from both of our families and took it to Irwin Gross in Bethesda. My ring is amazingly gorgeous and it didn’t seem overpriced (granted, we provided our own diamonds)

    • I’m glad you had a good experience, but I would thoroughly discourage anyone from using Irwin Gross. He made me a beautiful custom ring and then ruined it. The entire process dealing with him was very unpleasant. Not only did the stones in my ring keep getting loose, but he made changes to my ring without my express consent, and then was extremely rude to myself and to my family when I asked him to change it back. We are still trying to fix the ring so that it looks the same as when my fiance gave it to me.

  • I. Gorman Jewelers at 1133 20th St NW

    My fiance worked with one of the designers at I. Gorman to create a custom setting for my engagement ring. We went in for their engagement ring event last spring so we were both able to try on some rings together and talk directly with the designers. Almost all of the designers are willing to create custom settings, so you just have to narrow down the workmanship and overall styles you prefer.

    It was an easy process, and I love knowing that no one else has my ring 🙂 I absolutely love it!

  • Check out pricescope. It’s an online community of diamond- (and other gem-) crazy people. These people know everything.
    Lots of good information on how to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money, and they can probably give you dozens of recommendations on where to go to design your own depending on your price range.

  • Not DC-based, but I really enjoyed customizing my ring with

  • We used

    I know, I know. Sounds cheesy. But they had a ton of options for men and were able to customize my wedding band so it pairs with my engagement ring.

  • Blue Nile.

  • We used Tiny Jewel Box in Dupont/Farragut

    We had a very delicate family setting we wanted to put a different stone in. They sold us the stone, and did a great job.

    • My engagement ring is from there and I absolutely LOVE it! Their staff is incredibly accommodating and are happy to work with whatever you need.

  • My husband designed mine at Greenen & Sons in silver spring. Wanted to use some heirloom stones. And our wedding bands are from (formerly) Fabuluster on Etsy now Brent&Jess. They have our finger prints on them and worked to customize them.

  • Washington Diamond in NOVA is great.

  • Try Shah and Shah jewelers on K St ( I picked out an already-unusual design, a reproduction of a filigreed Victorian ring, with really delicate etching along the top. I asked them if they could extend the etching around the whole of the ring, and at no extra charge they sent it to their engraver in NYC to have it customized for me. The result was really stunning and my wife still gets lots of compliments on it. They’d probably be happy to work with you on a customized design.

  • I am currently working with Dominion Large selection of settings and they do lots of custom work. They worked with me to find a stone in the cut I wanted, which was a little less common, in the right size range when they didn’t have one in stock and we designed a custom setting. So far everything has been a great experience. I highly recommend them.

  • Masica Diamonds. Located in Rockville, maybe a 5 minute walk from the White Flint metro. I went everywhere when ring shopping with my girlfriend including the places mentioned here. She had the “this is the place” vibe after our first visit with him, but we wanted to be open minded and go to other places. And we did, and while the experience was OK….it never felt like we had a hand in the design. It was more like “we have hundreds of loose stones and 5 settings.” With David, my girlfriend basically designed her ring.

  • Kings Jewelry in Old Town. They have a goldsmith that does 3-d models of the ring so you can see it before its made. He’s very creative and takes pride in his designs.

  • Masica diamond in rockville. Great prices and awesome guy

  • Greenan and Sons in downtown Silver Spring–did a beautiful job on mine! Congrats!!

  • We found that both I Gorman and Tiny Jewel box were great for checking out cool/innovative designs. Ultimately, my wife went with a jeweler based in the Torpedo factory ( who also made rings for my brother & sister in law. It helped that my wife already had a diamond, but that isn’t necessary. My advice is to look at rings from lots of different jewelers to get a better idea of potential options.
    Also, if the OP is the future bride, make sure your fiancee is well liquored up during the ring hunt process! If the OP is the husband-to-be (I’m assuming this is a hetero couple?), let your fiancee choose the design. The process may be a time consuming pain in the ass for you, but if your wife-to-be is anything like mine, she’ll be happy she got the exact type of ring she wanted.

    • Yeah if there is anything I learned from this, make sure you do the entire process right. It’s her ring, she will be the one wearing it every day. Just be prepared for the gut punch when it comes to talking dollars.

  • Also not in DC – but in the NYC diamond district… SH Zell. It’s a family owned and run business. They are fantastic to work with… friendly, honest, knowledgeable, are very respectful of your budget, and do lovely work. They built my customized engagement ring after working with me to come up with a final design having shared some different elements I liked from various other rings.
    They will work with you via email, phone, and mail and

  • I probably over-researched diamonds and rings when shopping for my wife’s engagement ring, including visiting a lot of the known stores in the area. The majority of your cost is going to be in the diamond, and a number of stores can do a custom job on the setting for you, and the price variation in that won’t be huge… so focus on getting a good deal on a good diamond.

    For the diamond, focus on GIA or AGS-certified ones. They’re fairly consistent in how they determine quality. A comparable grading for an EGL certified diamond will often be of lower quality, or in the least, the grading between EGL diamonds will be inconsistent. This matters, of course, because of cost. If you’re going to lay out the money, be confident in what you’re getting.

    Consider some of the online options, such as Blue Nile. If you price out diamonds from virtually any DC-area store and then compare it to what the comparable would cost you from Blue Nile, you can save a good amount by going online. Recommend getting on the phone to talk to them once you’ve found one (or a few) that you may be interested in. They’ll sometimes wave additional charges or make different shipping arrangements to close the sale or make you feel more comfortable with the purchase. In the very least, Blue Nile offers you a great tool for price comparison to whatever store you’re looking at.

    I also went to Shah & Shah for the actual ring— appointment only. The both evaluated and appraised the Blue Nile diamond, and did a custom engagement ring. I was ultimately happy with what they put together.

    A few ideas other ideas to save a little– if your potential fiance is not picky on shape, some of the non-traditional cuts are a little cheaper. Also, carat weight is important consideration: a 1.00 ct diamond will be much more expensive than .99 carat diamond, but the difference to the eye will be minimal.

    Be smart in what you buy– your ring will never be more valuable to anyone else but you and your fiance.

  • I asked the PoP commentariat about this last June:

    Based on the comments, I ended up meeting with people at Market Street Diamonds, Shah & Shah, Boone & Sons (on Conn Ave), and I. Gorman. I was impressed with all of them, though I felt that Shah & Shah ultimately had the best combination of price (second only to Boone) and appreciation for what I wanted the ring to look like. The ring turned out beautifully.

    • I went with Boone and Sons in Chevy Chase for my wife’s ring/diamond. I did a ton of research, and was very pleased with their price, and have been very pleased with the service after the fact. If considering online vs. a local store for diamond/ring, in my experience it was nice having somewhere local that my wife could take the ring to get fitted perfectly with no additional hassle on her end (no additional $$). Also if you need any repairs, one or two of the accent diamonds on hers have come out, no charge/no questions asked.

  • Try Etsy. Just go to the website and search for custom engagement rings. Find an artisan that has a style you like and message them to talk numbers/design.

  • Shah & Shah let us work with them on the design of the engagement ring and they were very reasonable about price. I would recommend them any day.

  • justinbc

    Another vote for Dominion Jeweler. We took in the image of exactly what we wanted and they not only matched it but improved upon it, and I felt the price was very reasonable. The service is really friendly and I believe they’re one of the largest custom makers in the area. We looked at several of the other ones mentioned and their level of custom work really wasn’t that deep.

  • My fiance had my ring made at Market Street Diamonds. I CANNOT CANNOT CANNOT recommend them highly enough. They are AMAZING. He surprised me while we were on vacation, and because of a series of events, he had 1.5 weeks to work with MSD to design and fabricate the ring. They did an amazing job. Their customer service is incredible and their craftsmanship is the highest quality. They also have a beautiful selection, in case you choose not to design your own ring – but either way – you can’t lose there. We were so happy we are having our wedding bands made there. Here is their website:

    • +1. I customized several engagement rings there (for the same engagement; they have a good return policy).

  • I know a great small independent jeweler in Bethesda that helped me make an amazing, unique ring. Send me an email and I can hook you up. My friends recommended him and I wasn’t disappointed at all.

  • I agree with a previous poster, both I. Gorman and Tiny Jewel Box (in downtown DC) are terrific for fresh and innovative options. Both have extremely competent, friendly and knowledgeable staff. I’ve purchased jewelry from both. DO check them out for ideas. But, both are rather pricey. Once you have a good sense of what you want, and are in search of a good DEAL, I would highly recommend Diamond Exchange in Rockville, MD. They’re in a nondescript shop in an equally nondescript strip mall on Rockville Pike, but they have THE best deals in the area!

  • Lawrence Miller & Co. In Old Town – a wonderful experience, great guys.

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