• Charlotte G Furneaux

The Ring: What kind of Engagement Ring does a Ring Designer wear?

Photo by Charlotte Furneaux

As a jewellery designer, I see hundreds of clients and their rings over the years. I’ve seen everything from huge solitaire diamonds, to grandma’s modest vintage ring. I have seen every gemstone, style and size under the sun. So what kind of engagement ring does a jewellery designer pick for herself when she finally gets engaged? I am thrilled to share that with you.

My ring design started roughly over a decade ago while I was going to the Alberta College of Art + Design for my jewellery + metals degree. I was getting

exposed to so many new designers and that exposure really started to form my own jewellery tastes – not just in what I made, but what I liked to wear.

Once I started my time at Gem by Carati I had the benefit of designing some amazing rings. As a result of those designs I got a really great feel for how different rings wear, and what kind of maintenance each of those rings needed over time. No ring is completely impervious to damage, but there were certain things I knew I wanted (and wanted to avoid) on my own future ring.

Original 3D Design I created of my ring

My list of Must-Haves:

  1. Easy to clean – I wanted a ring that I could keep clean with little effort and I could easily do it myself with minimal equipment.

  2. No diamonds on the shank - Even though there are settings that better protect those diamonds, I didn’t want the hassle of having to replace them– even if it meant ten years down the road.

  3. I wanted a large center stone – I have bigger fingers, and it just makes sense to get a center stone that suits your hand proportionally. This also means I can get away with thicker claws and shank which means a stronger ring!

  4. PINK, PINK AND MORE PINK – I love light pink jewellery. Pink diamonds, rose gold, morganite; I just can’t get enough of it. Besides, as a mostly pink human, it seems to suit my natural coloring.

The Sapphire and Diamonds

When I finally met my partner, Dean, I had the opportunity to have my ring made. With a lot of help from Justin, the owner of Gem by Carati and gem finder extraordinaire, we picked out the nicest pink sapphire I had ever seen! It is just shy of 2 carats, and just the right size. Justin also sourced us two beautiful side diamonds that are a beautiful warm J color that perfectly compliment rose gold. They are wonderfully clear and sparkle like crazy. Justin has a really amazing talent for finding beautiful diamonds for a good price, so I am really lucky to have that connection.

Finally, a designer and goldsmith I really admire, Noam Carver, helped me put all the gorgeous pieces together. The ladies at Gem helped me make sure that the ring was perfect when it arrived in the store, so there was at least a little surprise when I received it. Finally, on a brisk September morning, my fiancé popped the question. By this time next year, I will be a happily married woman!


My 18k rose, yellow and silver Chris Ploof Wedding Band

Once, while flying through Portland, Oregon - I came across the work of a designer I still love today, Chris Ploof, in one of the airport jewellery stores. It was a simple princess cut diamond set into platinum with a Damascus steel shank. I was in love. My father was a carpenter and the textures reminded me of wood grain. He and I used to make furniture together when I was young, so jewellery making always felt like my own version of carpentry but with more fire. I started my research on Chris Ploof and saw he also used materials like “mokume gane” (Japanese for woodgrain metal). The mix of tones and patterns always spoke to me, as well as the shifting nature of the patterns as you wear it. My fiancée and I have picked out some complimentary Chris Ploof wedding bands, and we can’t wait to finally wear them on our big day.

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