Looking to make a distinctive statement in the form of an engagement ring can be a daunting task. Thankfully, contemporary jewellers are now rewriting the design rules of engagement, and there are several ready-made, made-to-order and bespoke options to meet your proposal needs. For those wanting an individual twist on a timeless engagement ring, here are some Australian and New Zealand jewellery designers offering just that.

The Line of Sun
Alice Tsakirakis of The Line of Sun creates modern heirlooms with a nod to the past. Working with the ancient technique of lost-wax casting, Tsakirakis’ designs reflect patterns and textures in nature. One of her signature techniques is to embed precious stones deeply into the metals, a step beyond using a claw setting (although she does that beautifully, too). While many of The Line of Sun’s pieces are already one-of-a-kind, Tsakirakis’s bespoke service is an opportunity to add your own personal touch.

Lucy Folk

Lucy Folk’s made-to-order Mes Yeux ring collection expresses the designer’s love for all things travel, art, design and wellbeing – and is created to celebrate life’s milestones. With Folk’s eclectic combinations of gemstone settings and metal finishes, these refined pieces incorporate hints of raw texture alongside geometric or square-cut diamonds. You can customise them for an even more individual touch, and for something completely one-of-a-kind, look to Folk’s bespoke service with master jeweller Craig Spark.

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Tessa Blazey
Handmade, wax-carved rings are jeweller Tessa Blazey’s specialty. Crafted in her Melbourne studio, Blazey’s pieces are often fantastical – think rare, uncut gemstones set within jagged, grasping claws, and imperfect matte finishes. The undone nature of Blazey’s work welcomes ambitious designs, but for those unsure where to begin, the jeweller offers loose gemstones for proposals, which can then be set via a collaborative bespoke process.

Katherine Bowman
Taking cues from art history and nature, Katherine Bowman’s rings are finely detailed, incorporating irregular tool marks and hand-engraving into her signature styles. Both provenance and the environment are important to Bowman – her mindful work focuses on the use of reputably sourced materials within very small production runs.

Welfe
It’s all about texture for designer Welfe Bowyer, who's returned back to Aotearoa after several years in Melbourne. Predominantly self-taught, Bowyer’s signature designs consist of matte finishes juxtaposed with melted and eroded surfaces in gold, silver and bronze. These geometric statements pay homage to the designer’s career in architecture, with his work inspired by brutalism and ancient ruin, but on an intricate scale. Some rings are all about showcasing the beauty of the stone, while others make a statement of the metal itself.

Courtney Marama
The design philosophy of Tainui, Ngāti Korokī Kahukura and Ngāti Ranginui jeweller Courtney Marama is inspired by her Māori roots. Her jewellery collection and bespoke taonga show her respect for the environment and her heritage, combining self-taught lapidary (stone cutting and polishing) skills with modern silver and goldsmithing techniques. The results are precision-cut and polished gemstones sourced in Aotearoa – she uses Coromandel carnelian, Bay of Plenty obsidian and West Coast pounamu. All the stones come from local rivers (or old riverbeds) and beaches, and have passed through no more than three sets of hands using ethical and environmentally sound practices. Marama is fully booked for bespoke orders in 2022, but keep an eye out for upcoming availability.

Hera Saabi
Jeweller Maeve Woodhouse creates fluid, intricate pieces under her moniker Hera Saabi. She’s inspired by the tension created by juxtaposing imperfection and symmetry, and her pieces often incorporate both of these elements – from hand-carved, twisted wreath earrings to rounded bean-shaped rings and precious gemstones encased by tiny metal renderings of human hands. Woodhouse’s bespoke pieces take interest in nature one step further – browse the label’s Instagram and you’ll find pieces that incorporate castings from Kōwhai trees and the black sand of Tāmaki Makaurau’s rugged west coast.

Charlotte Penman
Each Charlotte Penman piece is created through mindful practices, using recycled gold and silver, and gemstones that are often hand-selected overseas by the designer herself. Penman is inspired by antique jewellery, and you can see this in her take on traditional silhouettes, which she combines with intricate textures, symbols and coloured gemstones for contemporary, heirloom-quality pieces.

Found Treasure
Auckland-based creative Naomi Lewis has turned an obsession with crystals and minerals into a burgeoning jewellery business. Aptly named Found Treasure, the studio produces small runs of ready-to-wear jewellery inspired by the sea, and also offers a bespoke service. Lewis’s links to the ocean and the earth are woven throughout her pared-back designs; past bespoke commissions have included green and blue sea glass (found by the couple on their first date) set into matching gold rings with blue sapphires and green peridots.

This article was updated on July 14, 2023.