It’s 2016, and gone are the days where one person is fully in charge of choosing an engagement ring. Between couples splitting the cost and nontraditional engagement rings, there are lots of modern trends around getting hitched that are totally normal these days, and customizing your own engagement ring has been added to the list. There are tons of rings out there, but why not create your own to make sure it is truly what you and your S.O. want? We chatted with Oded Edelman, CEO and Co-Founder of James Allen, who gave us some fab advice on what to look for when creating your own design. So, listen up and open up your Pinterest board, because after this, you’ll be pinning your favorite custom ring designs all day long.

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Tell us a bit about James Allen. How did it get started? What’s the idea behind it?

“James Allen is the story of three diamond guys who saw the potential to disrupt the most old-school of industries and deliver a more modern way to buy diamond jewels. I grew up in a family that had been living and breathing diamonds for three generations. In 2006, together with James Allen Schultz and Dean Lederman, I created James Allen with the goal of bringing the world’s highest quality diamonds and largest selection to your fingertips – and doing that at the best price. We believe in providing meaningful education, friendly support and total transparency every step of the way. Collectively James, Dean and I have over 60 years of experience in the diamond industry and have added many more experts to the mix since.”

What are the advantages of designing your own engagement ring?

1. You’re in charge. “Designing your own ring really puts you in the driver’s seat, not just in terms of the aesthetic design of the ring but also in regards to the diamond’s specifications. Each ring setting and diamond can be tailored so many different ways. As compared to shopping in a traditional retailer where the rings are preset and you only have a few options to choose from, designing your own ring opens you up to an endless amount of options. This means you can get exactly what you want and not have to compromise on quality or cost.”

2. It’s personalized. “Custom designed rings are also the perfect way to express your unique relationship. Many people believe that custom designing your own ring is expensive and time prohibitive, but that is simply not the case. Our non-commissioned customer service team (available 24/7) is able to assist you in everything from selecting the diamond to choosing the setting and finally popping the question.”

3. It can involve both of you. “Many couples are choosing to design or select their ring together, which is a huge advantage for the other person because they know they can surprise you with what you really want. James Allen makes it easy to collaborate on the process or even just drop hints.”

What are the three main questions you think couples should ask themselves when looking for an engagement ring?

1. Are we looking together? “While shopping together is growing in popularity, some couples might want the element of surprise. Decide in advance how involved you both want to be in the ring selection and design process.”

2. What’s our budget? “Many couples are having realistic conversations about budgeting for the ring, and that’s not a bad thing. Decide what your priorities are — with online shopping, you can find many different diamonds and settings that fit into many different budgets. We offer hundreds of beautiful engagement ring styles and over 70,000 certified conflict-free diamonds. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Don’t sacrifice on cut. Instead, go for eye-clean clarity and color. Diamonds with excellent or ideal proportions cost slightly more, but will look larger and more brilliant than any other cuts.
  • Select an “under-size” diamond (a diamond that weighs just under a cutoff weight such as 1 carat or 0.5 carats), to save substantial sums of money on a diamond that looks essentially the same as a cutoff weight diamond to the naked eye. Online retailers are a great source of these “under-size” diamonds as they have tremendous supply (James Allen has 70,000+ diamonds in our inventory!)”

3. What’s most important to you (i.e. color, clarity, cut, carat)? “Determine what’s most important for both of you; this will make the diamond selection process easier. We display our diamonds and rings with our proprietary High Definition 360° Diamond Display Technology, enabling you to see and interact with every diamond before you purchase it.”

What is your single best tip for couples about to start shopping for their engagement rings? For girls dreaming up their perfect engagement ring?

For couples: “Don’t be afraid to talk about it. There are so many tools and resources available for you to explore your options together and you want to feel confident knowing that you’ll get it right. At, we’ve got you covered. We combine generations of experience with the latest ground-breaking technology, and we hand select every diamond that appears on our site to ensure you’re getting the best quality.”

For girls: “Know your options and become an educated consumer. You’ll be wearing this ring for the rest of your life, so don’t be shy about making sure it’s something you really want. From the cut of the diamond to clarity and special touches like rose gold or gemstones, there are so many ways to express yourself through your ring. You can even create your dream ring on and send it to your partner.”

What engagement ring styles are currently trending for the most common bridal archetypes?


1. The Glam Girl: “Marquise: The marquise shape has a long, narrow surface area, creating the illusion of greater size. Tip: Let the stone stand out on its own with a solitaire ring setting, or enhance it with smaller side stones.”


2. The Traditionalist: “Round: Also known as Brilliant Cut, round diamonds maximize light return from the top of the diamond. More than 60% of engagement rings feature this as their center stone!”


3. The Boho Bride: “Asscher: This cut has a vintage appeal in its bright, shiny and clear appearance. Tip: Inclusions can sometimes be more obvious with this cut, so opt for a high-clarity grade.”


4. The Modernist: “Emerald: Long lines give emerald-shaped diamonds an elegant and sophisticated look.”


5. The Minimalist: “Smaller stone: You can always opt for a smaller stone and emphasize the details of the band with a more delicate ring. A thinner band is also a great choice for understated beauty.”

We’re always looking for color inspiration — when thinking gems and diamonds for Spring 2016, what should we be on the hunt for?

“The gemstone classics never go out of style. James Allen offers three kinds of sapphires — blue, yellow and pink — as well as rubies and emeralds. Another option for adding a bit of color to your ring style is with fancy colored diamonds. We offer a great selection of yellow, pink, blue, green, orange and brown.”

What metals and ring styles are trending for 2016?

“While 2015 saw a rise in mixed metal engagement rings and/or pairing with their respective wedding bands, we’re going to see a trend toward the ever-classic yellow gold in 2016. Yellow gold’s warm hue has a hint of old-school tradition and is going to be paired with more modern setting styles and stone orientations. Many brides are trying to differentiate themselves and personalize the ring, and platinum/white gold has been the standard for quite some time. Branching out to other metals, especially a tried-and-true one like yellow gold, gives them that personalization and unique touch without straying too far from what’s traditional and broadly appealing. In addition to engagement rings, we’ve also seen yellow gold spike among wedding bands.”

Are you ready to dream up your own custom engagement ring? Tweet us your favorite styles @BritandCo.

(All photos via James Allen)