I make custom engagement rings for all budgets and, as I’ve said before, I prefer the woman to be involved in the design. If the bride-to-be is not personally meeting with me because the man (or woman) who is proposing is trying to maintain some element of surprise, I want him (or her) to come in with pictures the ring’s intended recipient has torn out and/or specifics she has written down. Trust me on this. It’s much better for the lady to be thrilled with her ring than 100% surprised by the proposal but disappointed by her jewelry. Well, to be honest, I don’t mind if a few women are bummed out by their rings because I just so happen to specialize in engagement-ring redesigns. But I only enjoy redesigning rings that were purchased from other jewelers. If I’m doing the original ring, I want to get it right the first time!
My gorgeous graphic designer Lori Kadezabek — who is responsible for the look of my website and blog — told me a while ago (a) her fella, Brian “Roley” Riolo, had my contact information and (b) she dreamed of a non-traditional engagement ring. I thought she meant that she didn’t want a classic, prong-set, round diamond solitaire, so I threw out a couple of ideas about different gems, cuts and settings. Lori absorbed those, then got back to me and told me what she really wanted was an engagement-ring version of my Edburga poison ring.
I can promise you that neither I nor Brian would have guessed that!
Engagement rings experience a lot of wear and tear because many women never take them off (I always take off all my jewelry at home, and I never wear any to the gym, the pool or the beach). I told Lori I’d like to make adjustments to my original design to make a ring more suitable for constant use. Mechanical elements in jewelry are always delicate, so Lori’s ring wouldn’t open and close like my Edburga. I’d make the shank out of blackened 18K white gold instead of blackened sterling silver. And I wanted to swap out the original cabochon-cut rose-quartz stone — through which you can see a diamond — with a white sapphire. The Mohs’ scale of mineral hardness rates gems and other minerals from 1 to 10, with 10 being diamond, the hardest naturally occurring substance. Rose quartz is a respectable 7, but sapphire is 9, and white sapphire is often used for watch faces because it doesn’t scratch easily. To give the stone the pink hue of the rose quartz, I’d set it in 18K rose gold rather than the yellow gold of my original design.
When Brian emailed me this year and told me it was time, I placed an order for a custom-cut white sapphire and got to work, finishing up in time for Memorial Day weekend. That was perfect, because Brian had a beach proposal in mind. Lori and Brian first met briefly in the summer of 2005 on the beach in Manasquan, N.J. A couple of months later, they ran into each other again at a mutual friend’s birthday party and had such a blast they became drinking buddies … then best friends … and then, within another couple of months, boyfriend and girlfriend.
After the weekend, Lori emailed me the whole story:
“We were at our family’s beach house and [Brian] tried to get me to take a walk to the beach with him a couple different nights — and I’m usually always down for a night walk on the beach but for some reason I just wasn’t this weekend. So Monday (Memorial Day), we spent the whole day on the beach and decided to call it a day around 4 PM to head to a local store to shop for some board shorts. On the drive down to the store I mentioned that I wanted to take a walk down by the bay later and that I love it down there. We shopped, ate, drank wine, and a few hours later, he asked if I wanted to go to the beach for the sunset. I was like, ‘Umm the sun doesn’t set on the beach — it sets on the bay’ and he said, ‘That’s perfect, didn’t you want to go down there anyway?’ Done and done.”
“We were taking pictures, sitting on the bench just chilling and watching the sunset. After the sun set, we’re just chatting about whatever and I sit on his lap to give him a hug or whatever and he tells me he loves me and gives me a kiss. I turned around for a second and before I know it there is an (amazing) ring in front of me and he is asking me to marry him!!! I was shocked and kinda didn’t believe it was happening … I think there may have been a ‘Shut up, really? You finally love me?’ and I think maybe a ‘pinky promise?’ was thrown in there. It was perfect … just like my RING!!!!”
While I shed a few happy tears for Lori and Brian after re-reading that, you can look at some photos. Here’s Brian getting a kiss and looking all like, “SHE SAID YES!”
Here is a closeup of the the ring — July’s Jewel of the Month. The picture was taken by photographer John Muggenborg (also an engagement-ring customer of mine).
As you can see from the front view, the way the light passes through the white sapphire makes the perfectly round diamond underneath the sapphire look oval, creating a striking cat’s-eye effect.
I got another email from Lori this month that said, “I cannot even tell you how many peeps are loving my ring! They think it’s the coolest thing ever, they’ve never seen anything like this before, and it’s so perfectly ‘me.'”
I’m thrilled that Lori is thrilled. All engagement rings are special but this one probably takes the (wedding) cake because it’s so unique. I’m sure the November wedding will be equally special. Congratulations again, Brian and Lori!
Oh, and for the rest of you, my original Edburga ring is available exclusively on my website. There’s only one left. Purchase it here!
Patti @ NotDeadYet Style says
Wow, got to be one of the most beautiful rings, EVER! Happy wishes to the young couple, and congrats to you, Wendy for a breathtaking design (not in the Seinfeld baby way, either!) xoxox
Ha ha! That was a great episode.
Oh just slay me right now, that Lori’s version of the ring is gorgeous.
I love that she went for something unique! It truly is something special! Traditional engagement jewelry always looks a bit out of place with the rest of the large jewelry we wear daily so I love everything about this!
Good point about the other large jewelry!
Such a pretty, unique ring! I love it.
They look so happy!
And what a cooool ring. The photos don’t even look real — the front view with the diamond floating — so incredible. Awesome job as always WendyB.
sulky kitten says
Original and beautiful – just perfect. I love romantic stories.
Holy crap! That is the most incredible ring I have ever seen!
Coolest engagement ring ever!
that is one cool ring
Susan Partlan says
There’s something so romantic about a custom engagement ring. Lori’s ring is fabulous, no wonder she’s receiving so many compliments.
miss cavendish says
I really, really like this.
Kira Fashion (@KIRAFASHION) says
I’ve never seen a ring like this… so unique and awesome…
kisses and congratulations for the great job Wendy!
Megan Mae says
So beautiful! It really does have an almost unreal optical illusion effect to it. I think it’s so great that you get to work with people who are asking for what they really want, not cookie cutter rings.
It must be awesome to work with people who are all happy and in love. Awww.
the ring is so good.
i have an opal- so i am all for alternative wedding rings.
Ahhh Wendy!! Everything you do is so amazing, I am so very proud to wear this ring and brag about how great it is! 🙂 It is definitely unique that’s for sure… as am I, which is why it’s such a perfect fit! I thank my lucky stars that Roley (Brian) was also down with it. I wasn’t sure if he would actually go for something so non-tradish when it came to “go-time” but what a fantastic surprise!! Couldn’t be happier. Thanks you so much! I am so obsessed with the ring… and my man! <3 Lori
Miss Janey says
LOVE this, WendyB!
That ring is totally one of a kind and awesome! And the story to go along with it made checking it out that much more fun. (:
That's Not My Age says
That engagement ring is stunning – I love its organic feel, and Brian & Lori’s engagement photo is brilliant. Great story.
Lynne DeVenny (@ExpertParalegal) says
This is a good example of why we should speak up when asked what kind of ring we’d like to have, especially if it’s a ring that is worn every day. I’m so glad she received the proposal, the man, and the ring of her dreams.
Once a year, I get a little royalty check, and this year I’m hoping it’s enough for a WendyB ring (no jewels in it o’ course) and a pair of Frye boots. It’s good for a woman to dream big 🙂
This ring is gorgeous…and even prettier and cooler in person, if you can imagine that! It is so funky and beautiful at the same time…just like the girl it belongs to! I couldn’t stop squealing with excitement when I saw the ring in person, and I couldn’t stop the happy tears for my dear friend when I just read your blog! Ummm, I might sneak it off of Lori’s ring finger every time I see her to try it on mine… hehehe 🙂 Great job Wendy!
Stunning!! So beautiful, I love the “cat eye” affect
I’m speechless. So stunning.
It sets a whole new standard for engagement rings!
Rownak Jahan says
This is a great ring. The eye effect is amazing. this is not something you see every day!