JJ: What made you want to create a custom ring?
Because we got married so young, I never really got an engagement ring. It was a loaner followed by a temporary, with the idea I'd get one down the road. After a while my tastes began to change, and I started to see too many girls wearing the generic diamond engagement ring. I thought about it and realized that I wasn't generic so why should I have a generic ring that so many other people would have? Plus, although many were so beautiful, they didn't really seem to fit "me" and my personality and what we represent as a couple. So we decided to design our own ring with elements, styles and colors that meant something to us, that represented our relationship, our journey together. And the result would be a story of our journey together as a couple represented in a beautiful ring I could pass on to my children.
JJ: Tell us about the personal elements you wanted to incorporate into your ring.
First we found the stone. Although I love diamonds (what girl doesn't?!), I needed something more special. I'm not an ordinary girl, so to get a diamond seemed too predictable for me. I fell in love with purple sapphires -- natural, unheated ones that change color in different lights. Danny found me a gorgeous stone, just the perfect shape and size, and it changes from a beautiful purple to a rich pink as daylight turns to night. I'm fascinated by it, and it's very unique and complex... just like me! After we got the stone we worked on the band. It took a while for me to figure out exactly what direction I wanted to go in, but eventually I decided being my "engagement" ring, I wanted elements from our wedding and from our honeymoon in Ireland. The purple sapphire sits in a seat that looks like a crown. This crown was taken directly from the King of Connaught bowl my husband bought for me at the Waterford Factory in Ireland while on our honeymoon. It's a nod to our magical time in there, as well as the "king and queen of your kingdom" element in our Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony. The two moonstones flanking the sapphire are representative of Andrew and I -- separate they are unique and beautiful, but together create this amazing end result. The engraving along the band was taken directly from the outside of the Greek Orthodox cathedral where we got married. It's a floral motive which represents life and the conquering of evil and death. Under the stone on the band's underbelly the band houses a clover cross -- a motif often used throughout medieval Europe. This is our favorite time period and a nod to our christian faith. Also, when you turn the ring upside down and hold the sapphire up to the light and look through the bottom, the sapphire looks like a stained glass window of a medieval church.
JJ: Was there anything about the design process you were not expecting?
I was surprised how detailed the computer rendering would be! It was so exciting and amazing and fascinating to see my ideas literally plugged into a program and have it be generated! It was amazing. I also didn't think it would be so fast! The hardest part of the whole thing was me conceptualizing what I wanted; once you figure that out then the actual rendering of the jewelry and process to make the ring was very fast and easy.
JJ: Are there any moments in the design process that stand out to you?
Bonnie was outstanding. I put poor Bonnie through the ringer. At first I was all over the place with what I wanted and was getting so confused on what direction to go in and at one point got so overwhelmed, I just wanted to settle on something to get it over with. But Bonnie was so patient and funny and sweet and put up with the ever-evoloving design process as the ring showed itself to me. I was really impressed by that because many people would get frustrated and push their ideas on to you to just move the process along. Bonnie and Danny were very patient and offered great ideas and were very honest about some things I wanted but that weren't going to work for the ring, and I appreciated that. A few times Bonnie told me to think it over, focus, and get back to her with what I come up with. And I really, really appreciate that. I also love how up for anything she was -- the crazier my idea the bigger her eyes got but she worked it in and managed to somehow get my idea out on the program. She is amazing and so much fun to work with!
JJ: Why did you choose Joseph Jewelry?
Honestly we were looking for a jewelry store for all of our jewelry needs after we moved to Seattle from Southern California. We'd driven by Joseph Jewelry a hundred times since our daughter's ballet school is nearby. Every time we drove by I felt a connection to it, like something was pulling me to go there. Finally we did and were greeted by a very friendly and smiling and warm Danny. It was one of those "instant perfection" things -- I knew right then and there as we introduced ourselves to each other and shook hands that this was the place for us and we'd be very well taken care of. We've never been to another jewelry store since moving to Seattle! And have gotten this ring designed, Andrew's roman ring fixed, our daughter's first pair of earrings, a beautiful cross for myself, and our baby's baptism cross here, so already in two short years Joseph Jewelry has been there for a few many important events in our family's life. And we'll continue to come to Joseph Jewelry for all of the special moments in our life for years and years to come.
JJ: What are your thoughts about the finished pieces?
I am in awe of my ring. Andrew picked it up from Joseph Jewelry without my knowing, and then took me out to dinner for my birthday. He got the chef to bring the ring over in its pretty box on a plate in front of the whole restaurant. I was so excited and nervous and shocked and picked the box up and opened it up. All I could do was stare at it with probably the most idiotic expression of shock and happiness on my face, and I heard the couple next to us gasp as they saw it. Even the chef quietly said "wow" as he stood back from our table. I was so overwhelmed with how beautiful it was and how perfect it was, and how much detail and effort and craft was put into it. Andrew ended up proposing to me again at the restaurant and of course I accepted. And then spent the rest of the evening marveling at our beautiful ring. As I looked at it more carefully, at every angle and every detail -- I became overcome with emotion. I saw our little life's story right there in front of me. I was struck at the amazing craftsmanship from the engraver who did such a spectacular job, it's hard to put into words. I saw and started laughing at all the emails and meetings with Bonnie and figuring out how to finish this ring. And I realized how many people it took to make it happen, and I was touched at how dedicated they all were at Joseph Jewelry to making me the perfect ring. I honestly felt, Andrew as well, that they wanted it to be beautiful and perfect and special and unique for me too. I felt like I wasn't another number or customer, but that they put in their all and loved the final piece as much as I did. And that kind of service, that kind of feeling like you know you're being taken care of, that ability to give them your total trust from finding the right stones to design and input is just priceless. I am so excited to work on future projects with them. And cannot thank them enough for helping Andrew give me something me and my children's children will cherish forever.