How to Get the Engagement Ring You Want

 

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The world of engagement rings is vast. With so many incredible options, it can be hard to hone in on one design before being completely drawn into the next. Should you choose platinum or yellow gold? A modern setting or an organic design? Before launching my own jewelry collection, I spent my years working for goldsmiths and selling jewelry in galleries. I was romanced by one perfect ring after another. It seemed unfair to have to choose just one!

With the plethora of options in mind, let’s think of how difficult the challenge of choosing an engagement ring is from your partner’s perspective. There’s a lot of pressure on him to pick a ring that’s perfectly ‘you!’ and he wants nothing more than to get it right. His goals are to find a ring which is timeless, personal and beautiful, but unlike you he’s probably spent far less time daydreaming about what that ring could be. If you could give him a little guidance for his quest, would you do it?

If you’re in a relationship you can probably sense when you’re on the marriage track, even if you don’t know a proposal is drawing near. Some couples decide to shop for the ring together, but it is still very common for most couples to want the act, and the ring, to have an element of surprise. If this is you, I’d suggest starting a little research of your own. My to-do list below helps you consider your options and tells you how to pass along key information without ruining a surprise.

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10 Best Jewelry Boxes – 2016

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Your jewelry is a work of art. Shouldn’t the place you store it be beautiful too?

In addition to decorating your vanity, a jewelry box helps keep your collection safe when it’s not in use.  Organizing your jewelry reduces the likelihood of chains tangling and the mates to your earrings going missing. Proper storage also protects delicate gemstones from scratching against one another. You can achieve serious peace of mind knowing your jewelry is safely–and stylishly– tucked away in a safe place.

Today I’m sharing 10 of my favorite jewelry boxes available in 2016. Mother’s day is around the corner, and if you’re anything like me you’ve gifted a fair amount of jewelry to your Mom over the years. Perhaps this year you’ll find that a jewelry box is both a personal and practical gift. [and if you need help filling it, I’ve got you covered.]

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1. Tesora Jewelry Box, Sung Wook Park, Anthropologie, $48

Two beautifully crafted industrial materials merge in this container stack. It’s the perfect place to store a few pieces on a bathroom vanity or console.

 

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2. Stow It Jewelry Box, Sung Woo Park, Umbra – $60

Clean lines and clever drawers make this jewelry box as fun as it is functional. The felt lined pockets and ring slots make this a great place for your keepsakes.

 

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3. Liza Wooden Jewelry Box, Mele & Co , $90

If you find your zen by organizing things neatly, you’ll love the multitude of compartments in the Liza jewelry box. Each slot is perfect for keeping earring mates together and protecting softer stones like opals and pearls from scratching against neighboring gems.

 

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4. Grand Lacquer Jewelry Box, West Elm – $153

The center ring slots and deep swing-out drawers for bangles make this West Elm box a winner in my book.

 

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5. Antique Gold Jewelry Boxes, Pottery Barn – $129

Place your most artful pieces under a glass display. The engraved details along the golden frame add a touch of elegance.

 

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6. Selma Jewelry Box, Crate & Barrel – $149

Clean contemporary lines, plenty of slotted ring storage and a light linen interior make this jewelry box a home-run.

 

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7. SAIC Valet Jewelry Cabinet & Mirror, CB2 – $249

Reduce visual clutter by storing large statement necklaces behind this functional mirror for your vanity.

 

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8. Toulouse Jewelry Box, Jonathan Adler – $295

A wild speckled motif paired with the velvet lined interior (plus compartments! loads of compartments!) makes this jewelry box anything but ordinary.

 

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9. Hampton Bay Jewelry Armoire , Home Decorators Collection – $319

A full size jewelry armoire provides ample storage for your fine jewelry, watches, and fashionable baubles too.

 

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10. Hartford Jewelry Dresser , Dot & Bo – $829

A modern day replica of the George Nelson jewelry console at a more conservative price. Pair it with a modern mirror to complete your favorite dressing nook.


 

Quick tips for safe jewelry storage:

  • Slow the growth of tarnish on your silver jewelry by storing pieces in airtight ziplock bags.
  • Precious metal and gemstones [especially diamonds!] can scratch neighboring gems. Store soft pieces such as opals and pearls away from other items (try employing the ziplock method above)
  • Create an itemized list of your collection for reference in the event of loss or theft.

 

Rose Gold Bypass Ring with Sapphire and Diamond

Playful – check! √
Colorful – check! √
Sparkling – checkcheck! √√

Bypass rings, like this rose gold, sapphire and diamond piece created for a client at Gallery of Jewels, are a fun way to display a duo of gemstones that have a personal meaning. Perhaps they showcase the birthstones of your two beloved children. They could symbolize you and your partner in perfect harmony. Or maybe, you’re drawn to the playful open design and have two favorite gems you’d love to display. Any way you slice it, this freeform design is sure to start a conversation.

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Anniversary Wedding Set

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Here’s a long overdue look at an awesome set of custom rings.

Jen and her husband Shane were married for 9 years before we met to talk about their wedding rings. They had eloped years ago, and with their 10th anniversary around the corner they began to think about upgrading their wedding set. It’s a very long story… but without Jen I would have never met my husband (It’s thanks to her that he and I ended up in San Francisco at the same time years ago). As you can imagine, I was honored to have this chance to thank her with my time and art. I’m forever in her debt!

It was important to Jen and Shane that the new rings reflected their personality. Jen has an amazing eye for design and had created jewelry of her own years ago. We had fun hanging out in my studio, talking shop and gems and tools and deciding on the perfect style for their wedding set.

The engagement ring we designed was a yellow gold version of my fragment engagement ring using a stellar black rose cut diamond. To stack alongside it, we crafted a palladium Tioga Band and incorporated some of her family diamonds into the mix. Shane’s band is a Flat Diablo Band in palladium with brushed finish and comfort fit interior.

When the rings were complete, Jen and Shane whisked away to wine country to celebrate their 10th anniversary. I wish them all the love and happiness for the years ahead.

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Handmade Gifts

This year I skipped the gift of treats which I usually send to my galleries in favor of something a little more personal. My Dad and I made wood turned pens from bloodwood and zebrawood on my Grandfather’s lathe. It is a hobby my father picked up a year ago and knew I would also enjoy . Each one takes about an hour to create and is finished with gold plated findings. The founder of Makers Market took a moment to write about receiving her gift.

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MINI Reinvented

This November I had an incredible opportunity to team up with MINI USA for the MINI Reinvented campaign, a celebration of craftsmanship and a look at the all new MINI Clubman. I was one of eight San Francisco makers chosen to talk about the design and execution of my collection to their visitors, and of course, to show off a little jewelry. The pictures below were captured by their lovely photographers at the event. Visit the link above for even more!

Remembering XOXO2015

Recently I began sharing a new segment in my email newsletters titled “What’s Making Me Happy.” Here I share a new discovery, event, or activity that makes my life a bit nicer, and hopefully it will inspire yours too. The following excerpt is from last week’s mailer and I felt it was too powerful, too special to share only with my email list. If you like what you see, take a minute to subscribe. Enjoy!

WHATS MAKING ME HAPPY

This past September marked my second year of attending XOXO, an experimental festival celebrating art and technology, hosted in Portland, Oregon. The festival features live concerts, podcasts, and various meetups, but the heart and soul of the festival comes from its inspiring keynotes given by creators, designers and innovators from every corner of the Internet. This year’s list of guests included Heather Armstrong, “queen of the mommy bloggers” and author of DooceLisa Hanawalt, designer and producer of Bojack Horseman, and former NPR correspondent Alex Blumberg (This American Life, Planet Money) who is the founder of the broadcasting startup Gimlet Media. Over the past few weeks these keynotes have been released online and I’ve been watching them once more. I’m so moved by the earnest and heartfelt stories from these creatives and entrepreneurs.

Some of the takeaways from this year’s talks were ideas of self expression, vulnerability, and failure, and even death. The presenters shared they ways they dreamed of new ideas. They adapted to chaos along the way. They told us how they overcame obstacles, including themselves. They revealed the raw and difficult emotions encountered when they made the decision to walk away from ideas–even if they were working. These keynotes are powerful conversations for anyone aiming to share their gifts with the world.

 

Featured below is what I believe to be one of the most powerful sessions of the conference with Amit Gupta, founder of Photojojo. He shared with us his vision, his tenacity, and the life-altering shift when diagnosed with leukemia and faced with his own mortality. Not a dry eye remained in the house.

Designing Rings for Mom and Dad

My mother wears a ring on every one of her ten fingers. This is probably from where my fascination with gems and jewelry began, as a young girl I examined each of her fingers and coveted the colored stones set atop of her golden bands. She was never really one for diamonds. Her engagement ring was a pink sapphire with a star that danced across the surface as it moved. She preferred to collect gems of different hues and shapes, often looking down at her hands when we passed a jewelry store, humming “I could really use a green pear-shape for this finger.”

The list of her preferences goes on: Cabochons, yes. Prongs, no. And yellow gold only — That was, until her daughter was a broke college student crafting jewelry out of silver. She then graciously welcomed silver jewelry into her wardrobe.

This year she and my father entrusted me to redesign their wedding set. They married in their early twenties and began with a modest set of rings. They were lovely, but lightweight. For their 20th anniversary they had upgraded to a heftier set of bands, and 15 years later they found themselves ready for a third iteration. I was honored to take part in this new chapter.

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We gathered up all 6 of their old rings and re-used the gold. The new bands would still contain elements of the old. I had sold my mother on the merits of diamonds over the years, but she was still drawn to the idea of vibrant colors (“I would really like a blue, and I think it needs to be square!”) Thus, the center gem for my mother’s engagement ring became a princess cut blue diamond.

We agreed upon a water-inspired motif for the new bands. Whether they’re on river with a canoe or a in a ship out on the ocean, my father and mother are at peace when on the open water. Growing up in Michigan our family weekends often revolved around the lakes and our boats. It seemed only fitting to draw upon these memories for their new set of wedding bands.

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Egyptian Coin Cufflinks

On the heels of our last custom project, monogram cufflinks,  is this hand fabricated pair of cufflinks utilizing Egyptian coins. These coins, which are no longer in circulation, feature intricate imagery and two-tone metals.  I placed into a simple heavy bezel with sturdy cufflink backs. The detail in these coins makes one want to dig the change from their pockets and dream about the possibilities.