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Tales from the Emotional World of Engagement Ring Design

Some of the most coveted designers in the business reveal their sweetest, funniest and most surprising stories

Luxury jewelers are thriving in the engagement ring arena, turning out pieces as unique as the purchasers and wearers. For your browsing pleasure, some of the most stunning sparklers are gathered here, accented by stories from their creators on what they’ve seen and experienced while working in the high-value, high-emotion field. 

On a creative usage of materials:

Rings by Anna Sheffield

Rings by Anna Sheffield

“I had a couple who wanted a diamond to match the Northern Lights, which they were engaged under sans ring. We found them a gorgeous green-gray hazy stone and I ended up setting it inverted in a really simple, yellow gold ring. I love that one for the stone and the story.” —designer Anna Sheffield 

“On the morning of [my daughter] Danielle’s wedding, I took a walk with my husband and we looked down and saw this small rock. When I picked it up, I noticed it was naturally heart-shaped. I knew it was meant to be, so I took it home and surprised her later with it set in a necklace.” —designer Lisa Frankel, Phillips House 

“We once had a client ask if a diamond grill could be re-made into a ring.” —designer Danielle Frankel, Phillips House 

“I’m always searching for unique materials or diamonds with interesting cuts. My latest engagement collection includes rare versions, like the waterfall and rose cut. I’d been collecting these diamonds for years.” —designer Monique Péan  

On working with the unexpected:

Rings by Phillips House

Rings by Phillips House

“We have a friend who’s quite feminine and lady-like, and she purchased a very simple, understated ring. Later, she inherited a huge pear-shaped ring from her grandmother and that was that. It turns out that her grandmother was a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall and when she wasn’t dancing, she lived a very fast-paced lifestyle.” —D.F.

“Sometimes a very soft-spoken, tiny girl will end up with a big black diamond bauble and a tattooed, downtown NYC girl will want a traditional solitaire. I think that’s the best. We should never be predictable, even to ourselves.” —A.S.

On design DILEMMAS:

Rings by Monique Péan

Rings by Monique Péan

“We had a future mother-in-law designing a ring. At least she asked: ‘Should I design what she wants or what I want?'” —L.F.