High and ultra-quality factor (Q) optical resonators have been used in numerous applications, ranging from biodetection and gyroscopes to nonlinear optics. In the majority of the measurements, the fundamental optical mode is used as it is easy to predict its behavior and subsequent response. However, there are numerous other modes which could give improved performance or offer alternative measurement opportunities. For example, by using a mode located farther from the device surface, the optical field becomes less susceptible to changes in the environment. However, selectively exciting a pre-determined, non-fundamental mode or, alternatively, creating a “designer” mode which has one’s ideal properties is extremely challenging. One approach which will be presented is based on engineering a gradient refractive index (GRIN) cavity. We use a silica ultra-high-Q toroidal cavity as a starting platform device. On top of this structure, we can controllably deposit, layer or grow different materials of different refractive indices, with nm-scale precision, creating resonators with a GRIN region co-located with the optical field. Slight adjustments in the thicknesses or indices of the films result in large changes in the mode which is most easily excited. Even in this architected structure, we have maintained Q>1 million. Using this approach, we have demonstrated the ability to tune the properties of the device. For example, we have changed the thermal response and the UV response of a device by over an order of magnitude.