Men Design One-of-a-Kind Rings for 'The One'

Men have traditionally wandered from jewelry store to jewelry store in search of the right rock for "The One." But a new trend allows them to design a ring all by themselves.

Many jewelry boutiques and online retailers now work with consumers to design and customize their own diamond engagement rings.

“I did a lot of research with antique-style rings and was unimpressed by the offerings. When I read [a write-up about a design-your-own diamond service] online, I thought, 'Wow, I can actually make her a ring,'” said T. Paul Powell, a 25-year-old program director who searched high and low for the diamond to give his fiancée, Naomi Frame, 27.

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At least 82 percent of the brides-to-be in the United States receive a diamond engagement ring. So as a diamond is a girl’s best friend, the diamond designer is becoming the guy’s new pal.

“Darrin Plesh [the sales associate at Lockes Diamonds in New York City who assisted Powell] helped to create the ring by identifying what I liked in the digital photos I brought en masse," Powell said.

"Once I chose a diamond, we sketched out some crude drawings that were taken to the ring designer. A rendering was produced and when I finally found Naomi's ring size it was put into production,” he explained.

Others avoid pounding the pavement altogether by designing their own rings at Web sites such as Blue Nile.

But critics question the chances of an engagement ring being one-of-a-kind forever. Brad Pitt and ex-wife Jennifer Aniston filed a $50 million lawsuit against a jewelry designer that began selling imitations of their wedding bands, which were supposedly "one of a kind." Eventually the case was settled out of court.

However, many grooms say it's the thought that counts.

According to Sunny Lai, 42, who also designed a ring for his future wife: "The process is really more important than the actual result or the final product ... the process of actually taking the time to help make it, rather than buying it off the rack. When people ask her about it or when she speaks about it she can say, 'Oh, look, my fiancé helped custom design this just for me.'”

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