Recently, we were blessed to be celebrating the marriage of my brother-in-law (yes, finally!) to a lovely woman, whom he is now happily traipsing through the Italian countryside with on their honeymoon. As they say in Italy, a heartfelt “Auguri!” to the both of you, W & R!
(it might be of interest to note that just last week my husband and I celebrated the 11th anniversary of our own elopement and honeymoon in Italy, which said brother-in-law rather hilariously also accompanied us on…)
Earlier this year, in anticipation of their upcoming nuptials, the happy couple paid a visit to my studio to talk about creating the perfect engagement ring. After discussing the range of available diamond shapes and cuts, they settled on a gorgeous Asscher cut diamond.
The Asscher cut diamond – developed in 1902 by Joseph Asscher in Holland – is a stepped square cut diamond, often called the ‘square emerald cut’. Like an emerald cut it also has cropped corners. With its series of squared steps, the Asscher cut is like a tiny ‘hall of mirrors’ designed to draw the eye inward into the diamond. It is a rare and lovely choice for an engagement ring, well balanced and sophisticated.
Once the diamond was selected, the next step was to design the custom setting for her new diamond. We went with a classic 4-prong with clean modern detailing – an ideal complement to the Asscher – creating a beautiful piece that symbolizes their new found life together.
Recently I experienced one of the most incredible ‘firsts’ of my entire career. A new client, Mia, contacted me about making a custom engagement ring. After a few preliminary back and forth emails, we decided to set up an appointment to meet in the studio and discuss designs. Her boyfriend, Joel, came with her to the appointment; they worked together on the design, choosing a gorgeous ruby as the focal gem with a small brilliant white diamond accent, set into white gold. I had already warned them that I was leaving soon for Italy for a month, and would not be able to finish the ring until after I got back. They had made plans to leave on their own vacation just a couple of days after my return. We managed to get to the finished metal stage the day before they were to leave, with the only remaining step being the setting of the gems.
The plan was for Mia and Joel to come to my studio Monday evening after work to see the finished metal and have a final sizing. When they arrived my 6 yr. old daughter and her best friend were playing in the studio, but thankfully they graciously indulged the kiddo’s intrusion. I was very excited to show them their all-but-the-last-step finished piece. I took the ring out, gently laying the ruby and diamond on top of their settings, and carefully handed it to Joel for him to place on Mia’s hand. As he took the ring I noticed his hands were trembling a bit. He turned to Mia and slowly, quietly asked, “will you marry me?” An incredible electricity seemed to charge the air in the room for a moment – she looked up, startled, thrilled, and said ‘Yes!’ She gingerly put the gems down and they hugged and kissed each other giddily. The girls were so excited they were cheering; I looked at Joel – incredulous – and asked “is that the first time you asked?” and he said that yes, it was…
It was the most amazing thing, and I felt like the luckiest person in the world to have a job that lets me witness such incredibly powerful moments.
Life is good.
For thousands of years, the ruby has been considered one of the most valuable gemstones on Earth. The birthstone for July, it is the gem most often associated with passion and fire. Along with sapphire, it is from the corundrum family, and is one of the hardest gems known to man, second only to diamond. The only thing that separates a ruby from a sapphire is trace elements within the crystals, but only red corundum is entitled to be called ruby, all other colors are considered sapphires.
From the Greek word adamas meaning “invincible”, diamond is the birthstone for June. Dating back to the 1500’s, when it became commonly known that it was the hardest mineral known to man, the diamond has been the gem of choice for engagement and ceremonial rings the world over. Naturally, when selecting a gem for the ring one plans to wear to symbolize a relationship’s enduring love, the eternal diamond is a beautifully brilliant – and practical – choice. (It is also thought that Egyptians believed a vein in the left hand’s ring finger, the vena amoris or “vein of love”, ran directly to the heart. Romans were among the first to practice wearing their engagement rings on this finger.)
Over the past few months I have had many different brides come into the studio to design a diamond engagement ring to symbolize their love. Some have come with beautifully classic diamonds passed down to them from their grandmothers and aunts, in hopes of transforming them into clean modern designs. Another was seeking to create a diamond ring that felt like an incredible ancient treasure recently unearthed. Still another chose a diamond with perfect color, clarity, and cut proportions to celebrate the 25th anniversary of her marriage.
It is such an honor to be able to create rings which celebrate the sacred ritual of joining two individuals together, to play a small part in one of life’s happiest moments celebrating love. To hear people’s stories about how they met, what it was that drew them together, and what remains most important to them, and then begin the process of transforming this information into an object of beauty using precious metals and gems, this is the wonderful challenge. Few things are more satisfying then witnessing the joy people feel when they’ve created their own diamond rings, as unique and individual as them.