The word custom is often synonymous with expensive and out of reach. But Frank Darling is breaking down barriers that exist in fine jewelry shopping to offer custom options at affordable prices and with ethical practices at the forefront of their business. And it starts with engagement rings!
Customer Austin Raggets, of Columbia-Tusculum, was impressed by the attention to detail and smooth process he went through. “I didn’t know anything about diamonds, nothing about rings,” says Raggets. “[The designer] gave me high-level [information]—insurance, clarity, color, I didn’t know any of that. I really wanted to make sure that I was getting a quality diamond.” Raggets says he FaceTimed several times, selecting from a variety of diamonds, going through the design process, and ultimately, he says, choosing the perfect ring for his fiancée, Sarah Fretwell. “I liked what Frank Darling stood for. I also had a tight time frame. I went through some different changes [and the designer] made it happen within two weeks.
Ready to start creating your own? Here’s how it works.
Take the ring design quiz
“When people think about designing, it’s daunting and scary and it’s going to cost too much and take too long,” says CEO and co-founder Kegan Fisher. “We wanted to make an easy entry point and get your feet wet [with our] 20-question quiz.” The online quiz is made to guide you through the engagement ring process, teach you the important elements of buying a piece of jewelry, and ultimately provide you with just the piece you’re looking for.
Once you submit the quiz, Frank Darling’s designers will put together a sketch based on your answers. Not interested in continuing? No strings attached. But if you choose to continue, you’ll be paired with a designer who will work with you throughout the whole process. From the band and prong styles to the diamond choices and placement, there are unlimited options for you to add a special touch. Raggets says he knew what Fretwell wanted, and he used a variation of one of the stock options. “Sarah knew she wanted an oval and knew she wanted gold, and to sit lower to her finger as possible. The ring that I ended up getting, there’s no metal at the bottom. It’s set into a halo, with diamonds around it and then one solitaire diamond.”
Whether you’re designing the ring as a couple or going the traditional surprise route, Frank Darling offers the option to see your design first. They’ll create the ring as a 3D print or send along a series of rings made with faux diamonds to try on. Fisher says if you’re shopping together, make it fun! Pop the champagne and spend the night trying on rings.
Pick your stone
Frank Darling has a gemologist on staff ready to walk you through choosing a diamond. There’s three options: lab grown, recycled, and natural—each are ethical and sustainable options.
- Lab grown: Made all over the world, lab-grown diamonds are atomically the same as a natural diamond, but half the cost. Fisher says couples are opting for affordable, lab grown options in order to spend more on the honeymoon.
- Natural: Frank Darling only offers conflict-free diamonds that are sourced and traced low in the supply chain so they know the level of sustainability. It’s the priciest route, but most traditional.
- Recycled: Diamonds that are bought back by the diamond industry are cleaned up and reshaped. It’s a great way to stay sustainable.