Continuing our celebration of Stuller’s Year of the Wedding™, we are highlighting stunning engagement rings and the Stuller associates who wear them.
Every couple is different and so is their journey to “I do.” Sometimes a couple finds each other in the most unlikely of places and at a time when they least expect it. For tools & supplies technical specialist Paula, her perfect match was a coworker of more than 20 years, but it was quite the journey to get there. Follow along on a story that epitomizes the saying, “Love is patient.”
This is Paula and Keith’s ring story.
Paula began her career at Stuller in 1995 in the stone setting department as a specialist. Within her first few years at Stuller, she experienced personal ups and downs, which ended with a divorce after 16 years of marriage. While not an experience anyone would want to go through, she looked forward to a new beginning and focused on supporting her children.
At the time Paula had started at Stuller, Keith had already been with the company for three years and was a master stone setter. They worked together in the stone setting department for a few years and became friends. As time passed and their friendship grew, Keith decided to take things to the next level and asked Paula on a date. Having already been married and divorced, Paula was hesitant at first, but knew the Keith was a good man and decided to pursue the opportunity.
Paula’s Perfect Ring
As Paula would say, she loves “bling.” She told Keith that if she ever did get married again, she would want to “do it big.”
With his connections in Stuller’s CAD/CAM team, Keith took a yellow gold Stuller mounting (now discontinued) that featured baguette diamond accents. In addition to the baguette accent stones, he filled in areas between those stones with round diamond accents. Then, he added a platinum setting complete with a marquise diamond. Keith is a certified gemologist and was very picky about what stones he wanted in Paula’s rings. With a service we now call Special Orders, Keith was able to source the perfect marquise diamond in the clarity and quality he wanted.
Paula got Keith’s wedding ring and provided him with options. She chose three options from the catalog and told him to pick two. She wanted to make sure he would like the ring, but still wanted an element of surprise. He picked his two options, and she chose a simple two-tone band made with yellow and white gold to match the style of her ring. She also had their wedding date inscribed on the inside of the band.
Five years after they were married, Keith also had matching bands made for Paula to go on either side of her engagement ring. Paula is a fan of having two bands accompanying an engagement ring. With the help of some friends in CAD/CAM services, Keith was able to get Paula’s ring under the guise of they wanted to practice making an imprint with her ring. What actually happened was Keith soldered two bands onto the ring and gifted her the complete ring for Christmas that year with Paula’s children.
The Journey from “Yes” to “I Do”
A Holiday Proposal
As you can imagine, things progressed very well for Paula and Keith. While Paula was enjoying their time together as they became serious about their relationship, Keith is the type of man that knows what he wants and made his intentions clear. In 1999, Paula was under the impression she was getting a watch for Christmas from Keith. However, while opening gifts with his family, she opened a watch box to no watch.
She looked at him and whispered, “It’s empty.” He smiled and told her, “Look again real good.”
Paula removed the watch collar from the box and laying there was the beautiful ring Keith had designed and customized just for her. She excitedly accepted his proposal.
Patience is a Virtue
While she was incredibly happy to be engaged to Keith, she wasn’t quite ready to get married again and Keith was a patient man. Every six months after their engagement, Keith would ask her, “Are you ready to get married?” Each time she replied, “Not yet.” Unphased, Keith would accept that answer and prepare to ask again in another six months.
This six-month routine repeated itself for over three years. While many would be shocked to hear a story like this, Paula and Keith were not in a rush. They had each other and that was enough. That is, until Paula came to a personal realization.
A True, South Louisiana Wedding
In March 2003, Paula was at her bench in her new role in the modeling department. The thought came to her, “That’s a good man I have. He’s taken ‘no’ every six months and still treats me like a queen and puts me on a pedestal.”
On her break that day, she walked up to his office in stone setting. She told him that she knew it was not his usual check in time, but she was now ready to get married. He replied with a simple “okay” and went back to work. As she walked back to her bench from his office, she was a little confused at how nonchalantly he responded. In fact, she turned around and went back to his office to talk to him about how he felt about the wedding, but he was gone.
Confused and slightly anxious at Keith’s sudden departure from work, she went home at the end of the day wondering what he was up to. As she walked in the house, she saw Keith sitting in the living room and on a table was a marriage license ready for them to get married that upcoming weekend.
Within three days, Keith and their families were able to coordinate a wedding true to their southern Louisiana roots. Complete with their families, they celebrated the next stage of their lives with a crawfish boil at their home and the rest is history. Paula and Keith remain happily married to this day and still work at Stuller along with several members of their family.
A Stuller Happily Ever After
The beautiful thing about love is that it can be unexpected and find us when we least expect it. Paula and Keith’s story is one with a long winding journey, but also with the happy ending they both deserve. The fact that their Stuller family was able to be along for the ride the entire way made it all the better.
Fall in love with the other stories in our collection!