How to make a custom wedding / engagement ring in Bangkok, Thailand?

Making a custom wedding or engagement ring in Bangkok or anywhere in the world has never been easier or cheaper today.   With the power of the World Wide Web you can now source your gemstone or diamond in wholesale, chose your custom design and get it all 60 to 90% cheaper than any major jewelry or brand store.  This again is due to getting the “center or main” gemstone/diamond in wholesale which is the largest cost component in making any ring.  You can read more about how to buy the cheapest diamond in our previous blog post – Where to buy the cheapest diamond in Bangkok, Thailand? 

Another advantage you will have in Bangkok compared to most countries is the cost in making a custom ring as labor charges here are a lot cheaper and you won’t be sacrificing quality.  Examples in how good Thai jewelry craftsmen are you can see on the previous designs we have done for our clients on our Facebook page or YouTube channel.

So, how does one make a custom wedding or engagement ring?

There are many methods in manufacturing your ring and it really depends on what level of customization you would like and how much you would like to spend. Below I have discussed three of the most popular methods and will try to explain the pros/cons for each method.

Standard Mold Design Ring – Cast Jewelry

For most modern jewelers, both traditional store front and online, they will typically provide you a standard mold design to make your ring as this method is the most fastest & cost effective for the seller and manufacturer.  In this method, the manufacturer would first make the initial wax model design either by using CAD/CAM or hands free form.  With this initial wax model they will then make a “silver master mold” which is the finished ring produced in 925 sterling silver.  With this silver master ring, they can now reproduce the same ring design repeatedly like a newspaper printing press, by using this silver ring to make the rubber molds, which then makes the wax molds and then re-cast to make the finished ring jewelry.  You can read and see images of this process in this website: http://www.wikihow.com/Cast-Jewelry.

Example of CAD/CAM ring image from an online store
Example of CAD/CAM ring image from an online store

For most online stores, you will find CAD/CAM generated ring images instead of actual finished product images.  This again is to save the sellers money from keeping too much stock or inventory.  The only negative with these computers generated images are that you don’t know how the actual jewelry finishing is until you get your finished ring product.  To be safe, I do recommend asking for some “actual” finished ring images or videos which the online store have made previously before purchasing.

Pros/Cons of this method are provided below:

Pros:

  • Cheapest & fastest method for seller and manufacturer as the most time consuming and labor intensive process is making the “initial wax model.” Because the silver master mold has already been made in this process the making of the jewelry is now like “photocopying” the same ring design.
  • Easier and more accurate to reproduce these rings.
  • Modern complicated designs are easy to produce & achievable – example, popular halo ring design.
  • Possible to set more fragile stones like emeralds, as side of jewelry won’t push around the stone. This type of damage usually happens with “traditional bench method.”
  • Safest method in terms in knowing how the ring will turn out as most sellers or jewelers will have ready-made, produced rings beforehand and so, can show you the finished ring look.

Cons:

  • Poor manufacturers can “disguise” sloppy work or other craftsmanship problems which can occur with cast jewelry.
  • The only thing that holds the diamond or gemstone in “bead setting” cast jewelry is the top bead and not sideway pressure that traditional bench method will have. So, if the top bead breaks you can lose the gemstone.
  • Mass produce designs sometimes does not fit the center gemstone or diamond exactly in terms of shape or dimensions. This is especially true for expensive big three gemstones – i.e. rubies, sapphires, or emeralds – as these gemstones never have exact dimension sizes or shapes. Due to not being perfect fit for the ring, there is always a risk for losing the center stone or damaging the structural integrity of the ring.
  • Personally, I usually find these type of rings a little mechanical or “impersonal”

Free Form Wax Carving Method – Cast Jewelry

This is the method we use to manufacture our custom engagement or wedding rings.  In this method, all rings are custom made initially in wax form using a block of wax and carving it down.  You can see some the finished wax results in the images below:

These wax models are made by hand and does require a lot time, skill and experience especially for more sophisticated and complicated design.  These rings do differ from producing the wax by computer CAD/CAM software as they don’t have the exact precision a computer will calculate.  However, I find free form wax rings to have a more “personal or human touch” plus “individualistic unique style” when compared to computer generated CAD/CAM produce rings which are more “mechanical or impersonal.”  Again, this is just based on my personal experience when producing both types of rings for my clients and others might have different experiences.

When manufacturing this type of ring you will have to provide the jeweler the following items:

  • Center or main gemstones/diamond and side stones
  • Exact Ring size
  • Type of metal you would like to manufacture the ring (18k white gold, 950 platinum, 925 sterling silver, etc.,)
  • Design you would like to make

Pros/Cons of this method are provided below:

Pros

  • Can manufacture unique and complicated designs that fit the “main stone” and other side stones exactly based on their measurement or specification. As the initial wax model is made by hand “uniquely”, the measurement for center stone and side stones will be taken into account when producing the ring.  This will provide higher security to center gemstone plus having lower risk integrity of ring breaking.
  • Can inspect the “initial wax model” before making the finished product to see if you are satisfied with design.
  • Possible to set more fragile stones like emeralds as side of jewelry won’t push around the stone. This type of damage usually happens with “traditional bench method.”
  • Has a more “personal” or “human-touch” as wax was made by hand and in my opinion makes the rings look unique when compared to Standard Mold Design.

Cons

  • Poor manufacturers can “disguise” sloppy work or other craftsmanship problems which can occur with cast jewelry.
  • The only thing that holds the diamond or gemstone in “bead setting” cast jewelry is the top bead and not sideway pressure that traditional bench method will have. So, if the top bead breaks you can lose the gemstone.

Old-school Traditional Bench Method or Hand Fabricated

The oldest way of making jewelry is the traditional “bench made”, also called hand fabricated method which has been used for thousands of years. This is dying art and it is becoming more and more difficult to find skilled goldsmiths who can make this type of jewelry.  With this method there is no wax, computer models, or prefabricated pieces and was a predominant method in making jewelry prior to 1900s.   Less than 5% of all jewelry is made with this method today.  With this method the jeweler will first take a raw piece of precious metal wire or bar like Platinum, Gold or Silver and then will go through the process of cutting, hammering, heating (or annealing) and shaping the metal to the desired design.  This process requires skill of making the piece physically by hand (Jewelry Mounting), setting the gemstone into place and polishing finished jewelry.  This method is most complicated and takes the most skill and time.  If done correctly, these type of jewelry are most unique as well as most durable.

However, please note, if you do decide to make your jewelry with traditional bench method, you do have to make sure the person doing it is very skilled or else the finished product will just look bad, odd looking and incomplete in comparison to modern jewelry designs.   Example of how wrong a bench made jewelry can turn out, you can see from our personal experience with an earlier ring we made in India for our client, which still uses this method.  We made this ruby jewelry ring from a world-renown goldsmith and as you can see from the images below the finished product didn’t come close to what the client wanted for her engagement ring.  Only when we reproduced the same ruby gemstone ring here in Thailand, then we got what we wanted.  This again does not mean there isn’t any good bench or hand fabricated jewelers out there, but you do have to make sure that that he/she is skilled in their craft.

Hand-fabricated ruby ring made in India
Hand-fabricated ruby ring made in India

VS

Free-Form Wax Finished Ring from Thailand
Free-Form Wax Finished Ring from Thailand

Pros/Cons of this method is provided below:

Pros

  • Most durable type of jewelry as it has been in the process of hammering, annealing and shaping by hand. Because the goldsmith does the shaping by hand (or hammer) instead of pouring the metal into shape in “cast jewelry mold”, the finished metal for this type of jewelry is the most compact.
  • In the “beading setting”, the top metal bead plus the side of the metal supports the gemstone or diamond and therefore the stones are secured from the sides and the top. Therefore, if the top bead breaks, you still won’t lose your gemstone.
  • The finished product is truly unique, one of a kind piece.

Cons

  • If constructed badly this type of jewelry will definitely look bad, odd looking and incomplete. As this type of jewelry is the “least forgiving.”  This means the goldsmith has to be excellent in his trade, which in today’s world is very rare.
  • Due to being very time consuming and highly skilled process, this method is the most expensive and requires the most time. Normal cast jewelry can be done in 3 to 5 working days, while hand fabricated jewelry can take 3 weeks to 2 months to make a single unique piece.
  • Limited in type of designs you can produce especially if you want the delicate “halo design rings, etc.,” which are the most popular designs today.
  • When setting soft gemstones like emeralds, opals, corals, pearls, quartz, etc., the goldsmith must be very skilled or else there is “a large risk” in cracking the gemstones due to side metal pressures or the annealing process.

In Conclusion:

So, what from the top three methods is the best?  This depends on what you are looking for and how much time and money you would like to spend.  For the most unique and durable type of jewelry, the traditional bench method is still the best.   However, it is also the least forgiving if your design is complicated.   For more complicated designs, cast jewelry is still safest and fastest method in getting the job done.

Also, what I found with my experience is that free-form wax carving method does have the right balance in being unique, modern and with finishing which looks delicate and stunning.   This method is more expensive than mass production rings, but if you are coming to Bangkok, you will have the skilled labor that can do this in fraction of the price compared to western world skill workers, without sacrificing the finished ring quality.  In fact, the total cost in making a custom ring is just a small amount compare to total sum when buying a stunning color gemstone or certified diamond center above 0.50 carat. If you do decide to purchase your ring in a traditional retail / jewelry store, you won’t be only paying for the ring, but also the center gemstone in full ‘retail rate’ which is usually 60 to 90% more compared to wholesale.  As center gemstone usually account for 90 to 95% of your total cost, you most probably will be paying more for a “mass production” ring in these brand stores than you will, if you purchase from true wholesaler.

Some examples of rings which we have made in Bangkok can be seen on our YouTube channel or Facebook page. If you are coming to Bangkok to visit or to live here then why not take advantage in buying custom engagement ring, instead of the “same old” mass production rings in jewelry/retail store.  You definitely will have something unique, which is meant only for your girlfriends/fiancée hands and won’t cause a dent in your wallet.

________________
Thai Native Gems Diamond Search & Custom Engagement Ring service:
If you are in the market looking for the best diamond and custom hand made engagement ring in Bangkok, Thailand contact us and let us know what your budget is and what you are looking for.   From this initial information, we will swiftly find and email you 4 to 5 center diamond options to choose from that we feel fits your needs best.  Unlike other traditional or online dealers, I am not looking to sell you anything, but will provide you honest, frank and objective opinion in what we think is best in the budget you offer.  This service is free, and there absolutely no commitment to buy any of our suggestions.  The only thing you have to do is not respond to our email and you won’t hear from us again! So, you truly have nothing to lose!

How do we compile this diamond list?  Our search process is provided below:

1) We first will contact our local diamond supply network and check if there are any stones that fits your requirement in Bangkok, Thailand.  We have over 50 contacts in Bangkok and will check ALL to make sure we can provide you the best deal.

2) If not satisfied, we will then check online through our extensive global network sifting through over 900,000+ diamonds and will find you the best diamond.  The only setback when choosing the diamond from this global list is, it can take one to two weeks to arrive to Bangkok.

What type engagement rings can you make and how are they made? 

1) We usually set our engagement rings in 18k yellow or white gold or 950 platinum settings.  Our rings are all hand-crafted and made by highly skilled Thai craftsmen.

Examples in some of the rings we made you can see on our YouTube channel and shown below:

2.45 carat GIA Triple Excellent Make Diamond Platinum Engagement Ring

1.51 carat Classic Solitare Diamond Engagement Ring

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Contact us today to get all your wholesale gemstones, diamonds and jewelry needs.  We can Source, Search and Supply anything you require.

What will you get if you contact us

  • Get wholesale and highly competitive prices of gemstones & diamonds from anywhere through our extensive network of contacts around the world
  • All stones sold by us is verified in house by our GIA Graduate Gemologist or certified
  • We provide personalized service and NOT the same old “One Size Fits All” Approach

You can learn more by clicking here or image below

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