How a top Toronto jeweller designs elaborate custom engagement rings

How a top Toronto jeweller designs elaborate custom engagement rings

Aret Oymakas, the owner of local boutique design studio, Livia Diamonds (a unique destination for Engagement Rings in Toronto), has been working with engagement rings since he was a kid (he grew up as a 3rd generation Armenian jeweller from Europe). For the past two decades, he’s been working in the jewellery industry and has recently taken what he’s learned to create a whole new engagement ring buying experience. He focuses on designing gorgeous custom creations that perfectly sum up each couple’s one-of-a-kind relationship. He says on his personalized process: “It’s kind of like building a house.” Here’s a look at how it’s done.

First, Oymakas sits down with the couple to chat about their needs and budget. These days, most people want something with meaning and character. “My specialty isn’t cookie-cutter rings,” he says. For inspiration, couples can browse over 200 different styles displayed in his studio.

At the initial meeting, Oymakas learns about the couple, discusses ideas and draws preliminary sketches—his goal is to creatively translate meaningful moments, symbols, or hobbies into a beautifully unique design. For instance, he regularly adds in a woman’s birthstone to a diamond halo, repurposes gold from a family heirloom or incorporates the couple’s initials into the stone’s setting. “As long as the design is structurally sound, the sky’s the limit,” he says. One fairy tale–enamoured woman even ended up with a subtle, Cinderella-esque carriage underneath the stone’s setting. Depending on the complexity of the ring, the design phase for the perfect custom piece can take up to a couple months and four meetings. During this time, Oymakas uses advanced software to create a computer rendering for the client.

Once everything is agreed upon, Oymakas’s nearby production facility 3D-prints a wax mold of the ring. Normally, this green wax model is all the couple gets to see before making the purchase, but Oymakas takes his service one step further: he casts a replica silver ring and sets cubic zirconia stones into the ring so his clients see exactly how the piece will look on their hand before fully committing. (“Most people are very visual”, he says.) To the untrained eye, the model looks identical. At the end of the process, Oymakas will give this version to the couple to bring along on any travels.

If there are small changes to the silver model, they’re made in the mold before it’s re-cast in gold or platinum. These days, Oymakas does more mixing-and-matching with metals. “Rose-gold accents are very trendy,” he says. Once the final engagement ring comes out of the casting machine, it’s polished, the chosen diamond is set and Oymakas makes any engravings. Then, it’s polished a final time and appraised for value.

All of his rings are made with ethically sourced diamonds, and they typically fall in between $4,000 and $10,000. Oymakas’s frankness usually ends up saving his customers more than a few bucks: “I always educate clients about the different diamond price-points — a lot of the time, they realize they can get exactly what they originally wanted with a less expensive stone,” he says. In terms of value, customer service and personalization, it’s a great alternative to big chains like Birks or Tiffany’s.

This is a sponsored post, which means it was paid for by our advertising partners. Learn more about Livia Diamonds at liviadiamonds.com.