Thursday, June 22, 2017

My Engagement Experience

I have spent a significant amount of my career finding the perfect ring for others, when finally last June came my turn.  Unconventionally I set out ring shopping with my mother.  Josh was open to me styling my own ring since jewelry is something I’m incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about.

To start, the best advice I can give is talk to your friends then try on everything before making any kind of decision. Try on styles that you would never imagine trying on, try the big stone and a small stone, try different metals, try everything. By doing this you’ll positively know when you found the perfect ring.  By talking with friends they will tell you where and who they went to, what they liked and didn’t like about the process. This really helps you to know what to expect when going to different shops.

My adventure started out just like that. I asked around and conceived a list of places to look, then tried on EVERYTHING, even if it wasn’t my style.

In the end I decided on a local jeweler Bario Neal. I knew I wanted a three stone style with a yellow center.  Why did I choose yellow? Well, I knew I was going with a simple design so I wanted a way to give the ring a personal twist. Having worked extensively with jewelry, I have seen so many engagement rings and really wanted something of my own that I have not seen repeatedly.  Also the journey of the yellow diamond intrigued me, so I liked the idea of having a little bit of history on my finger.

Photo by Bario Neal

Happy with my sketch, I waited for the jeweler to receive in a choice between two yellow cushion cut Kalahari diamonds from their contact in Namibia.  In cooperation with De Beers, this Namibian source mined and manufactured these diamonds. So not only am I aware of the origin of my stone, I also know I was ethically supporting the diamond economy locally in Africa.  Having this much information about my ring really got me curious and I further delved into how the yellow diamond came about as a engagement choice historically.

I found that India has been the birthplace for some of the world’s most incredibly colored stones.  These stones were very much part of past Indian culture. In fact, different colored diamonds were used within India’s caste system in the sixth-century.  

Brahmins, the priests and rulers, had white to colorless diamonds.
Landowners and warriors were defined by brown diamonds.
The merchant class, yellow. The lower classes then had heavily included grayish to black diamonds.

Beyond using colored stones as an identifying tool, fancy colored diamonds were seen as a nuanced novelty.  They did not garner popularity until the discovery of the Australian Argyle Mine in the 1980’s.

Now we have coined trade terms such as Canary and Champagne as well as other tantalizing titles to describe a diamond's color.

A diamond's journey to discovery is an arduous one where nature incubates the stone into existence in a very specific way.  The mineral carbon under intense heat and pressure within the earth’s mantle is nature’s recipe for a diamond.  Once created that diamond is then carried to the earth’s surface by a release in pressure, often some sort of volcanic activity.

Colored diamonds are produced because of the presence of trace elements. In my yellow diamond’s case, nitrogen is the reason for color the stone. The amount of nitrogen determines the color intensity. I loved the softness of the yellow in my stone in contrast to the hard yellow color of the 18 karat metal I chose.  The stone had a delicate feel, giving off a nurturing sensitivity about the beginning of this new part of Josh and I’s relationship.  It fit exactly how I felt.

So on top of color I was intrigued by story that this particular diamond had to tell, it became unique to me as well as being aesthetically pleasing to my taste.

You can check out Bario Neal's Spring 2017 collection here as well as other fun jewels: