“When a male penguin falls in love with a female, he searches the entire beach to find the perfect pebble. And when he finally finds it, he waddles over to her and places the pebble right in front of her feet. If she picks up the pebble, it means she accepts the proposal.”
Being a creative designer at one of the largest jewelry manufacturing and distribution facilities in the United States definitely has its perks, especially when it comes to designing your significant other’s engagement ring.
I wanted to give my girlfriend, Katie, something that fit her description of a “dream engagement ring” with some added uniqueness of course. I knew she loved pear-shaped stones, the halo style, a lower setting, and dainty shoulders. While doing some of my own research, I stumbled across a gemstone I had never seen before – Morganite.
The color of this gem ranges from a bright pink to a peachy-brownish color. I was drawn more toward the peachy-brown color and thought, “I bet that would look great with rose gold.” I showed Katie pictures of the newly discovered gemstone and she fell in love, just as I had. So after many months of conversations over great design ideas, paired with thumbing through her Pinterest boards, I had gathered enough intel to move forward with designing the perfect engagement ring.
Much like the male penguin’s search, the first step I took was looking for that “perfect pebble”. Working at Stuller, I was blessed with the opportunity to have my hands in the design and production of the ring every step of the way, which landed me first in the diamond and gemstone vault to hand pick the center stone. I was determined to find a pear-shaped Morganite that had the peachy-brownish color I desired. Of course, I wanted Katie to have a nice sized rock on her hand, but I was thinking somewhere in the two-carat range, give or take. Little did I know that the color I was seeking was going to be in the three-carat range, 3.04ct to be exact. They allowed me to break the seal on its case and hold the gemstone in my hand. I was sold. This was the one. THIS was the “perfect pebble”.
From there I searched Stuller’s 3C collection for a simple, dainty ring that had a pear-shaped halo and diamond accents on the shoulder. But there was nothing that would fit a three-carat stone. The only mountings in stock that really held that stone were mostly pendants with the exception of one ring that just wasn’t quite what I had envisioned. So, I found a ring that was very similar to what I wanted and then worked with CAD and CAM modelers who took the basic design, customized it, and designed it to fit the specifications I needed. Thanks Terrell Vincent and Kim Begnaud! It wasn’t the simplest of tasks, but they made it seem easy. After we had a resin cast made in the shape of the ring and all was in working order, it was cast in rose gold and sent to the metal mold department. Once, I spent a week there to learn more about the production process – great experience. The talented people in that department polished and prepped the ring to be set. Thanks Robin Foreman!
When they were finished setting the stones, they called me in to see the final product. When they handed me the ring for the first time, I was shaking. It was overwhelming to not only finally see a design go all the way through the process to final product, but also realize that it was MY ring to give to the woman who deserved it. With it finally complete and only two days left until the planned proposal, I couldn’t wait to have this perfect piece of jewelry in my possession.
At the last minute, I added a final touch like the cherry on top of a sundae, or the signature on a freshly finished painting, I asked that they engrave the nickname I’ve called her more times than I’ve used her actual name, T-Bird.
Now, with her dream ring holding the perfect pebble, I was ready to present it to my T-Bird. Funny thing is, I didn’t even need a big fancy ring. She was already nodding her head “yes” with tears in her eyes when she saw me get down on one knee. She’ll tell you herself that she’s a simple woman and doesn’t desire materialistic things, only unconditional love, but I think she deserves it all, and the best of – at that.