A Colorful Valentine’s Day Love Story


When I met “Tomily,” it was my first experience with a couple that is so close that they had merged their names into one for correspondence. I knew immediately that this adorable pair would stop at nothing short of stunning for a ring to commemorate their romance of ten years (and counting).


Pictionary: the next

Tommy and Emily first met in college after their two best friends started dating. They were introduced at a house party that Tommy was throwing where partygoers were encouraged to draw on the walls in the basement. They found themselves in a drawing competition where they took turns drawing themselves as famous duos.


The jury is still out on who won… ;)

Wiser than their years

Tommy and Emily knew it was love almost immediately, but were very young when they met. After dating for three years in college, they decided to pursue their futures in different states. They spent two years apart, learning more about themselves and growing individually, before deciding to move to the same city. They fell in love all over again, the timing was right, and they knew it was truly meant to be.

Weather vs. sentiment

Tommy originally planned to propose in Ann Arbor, where he and Emily first met, but he couldn't convince her that going to Michigan in February would be a fun vacation. (Have to say I agree with Emily on that one.) They wisely chose Maui instead.

Tommy planned a 3AM trip to the top of Haleakala to witness the famous sunrise from above the clouds, as it would be the perfect moment to pop the question. Mid-vacation they made their journey up the ancient volcano and watched an amazing sunrise (along with 100 other tourists) as Tommy fingered the ring box in his pocket.


With early morning temperatures at around 40 degrees, one by one, the other tourists headed down the mountain for warmth, but Tomily’s Michigan weather training allowed them to be the last couple standing. Suddenly, Tommy dropped to one knee and proposed with a speech he admits to having practiced more than a few times in front of a mirror. He presented Emily with a gorgeous diamond (in a temporary setting) and Emily said yes before they both burst into tears of joy!

Will the REAL ring please stand up?


Soon after returning from their romantic excursion, I received a message from Tommy asking if I would meet with him and Emily to design her dream engagement ring. In Emily’s words: “I had some anxiety because I had a vision in mind and wasn't sure how it would translate. I had admired Kate Middleton’s sapphire and diamond engagement ring, but wanted to reverse the color scheme (i.e., have a diamond center stone with a halo of blue sapphires).”

Together we explored their idea further and determined that reversing the color pattern just didn’t look as good as they had hoped it would.

A few weeks into the process, they decided to switch course and chose an all-diamond ring set in platinum.

Although the halo-style ring design was fairly straightforward, there were still many decisions to be made along the way. What size would the accent diamonds be? What would the “basket” of the setting look like? How high would the diamond be from the top of her finger? And so on.


We played with the dimensions of the piece so that it looked perfect on Emily’s finger and put the main focus on her gorgeous 2+ carat center diamond.


And they lived happily ever after…

Once all of the details were decided, it was time to turn this image from ink and paper to metal and gemstones. The excitement, and nervous energy, was palpable as we waited for my goldsmith to work his magic. In what seemed like forever, but was actually only a few weeks from that point, I was able to present Emily’s finished ring in all its platinum and diamond glory.

Here’s Emily again: “Gigi was so exceptionally patient, open, and helpful at every step of the process. Her ultimate goal was clearly to deliver a ring that we would be thrilled with, and we had a great time collaborating with her. The finished product was more beautiful than we ever could have imagined. I have never been so smitten with a piece of jewelry in my life.”


Happy Valentine’s Day!

gigi signature


Photography by Kien Lam

Repost: Mom’s Diamond Gets a New Life!


My mom was married back in 1963. She and my dad spent countless weekends camping, but that didn’t bode so well for her wedding ring. Within the first year of marriage, her ring somehow was lost at a campsite. (I completely think some squirrel picked up the sparkler and hauled it back to his home in a hollow tree where it still lives today, but that’s just my theory.) At any rate, mom lived the next 25 years with just her wedding band…no diamond.

Then one night in Carmel, dad surprised her with a new diamond ring for their 25th wedding anniversary. He had spent SO much time and effort researching just the right stone for the ring. To say she was surprised was an understatement. I remember her calling me on the phone, and she was so in shock she could barely speak!! Originally it was set in a traditional prong setting, but years later, she had it reset into this platinum design.

mom's diamond ring
mom's ring

Mom hasn’t worn her ring for a few years now, and it was just collecting dust in her safety deposit box. Then something wonderful happened. My brother met the woman of his dreams, his true partner and soulmate, and found himself in need of an engagement ring. Well hello, diamond! What can we do with you?!

ring sketch by atelier gigi

You may remember reading about Atelier Gigi a while back, and I knew she was the woman for the job. The first step was sending the diamond down to the GIA to have it appraised. Gigi then gathered photos of various ring designs. She wanted to find out what attributes my brother liked, and what he didn’t like. Using this information, she started sketching. She came up with a few options, but my brother and I both fell in love with this one.

With the clean, modern setting and the two half-moon diamonds on either side, it was just perfect.

I knew my sister-in-law to be would swoon! Gigi brought in some choices for the side diamonds, and I was able to help select the ideal set, as my brother doesn’t live locally. I’m impressed how we were all on the exact same page throughout this process.

A few weeks later, the ring was ready. Mom and I went up to the city to pick it up. It turned out even better than I could have imagined! Here are a couple photos Gigi took with her iPhone….

diamond ring by atelier gigi
diamond ring by atelier gigi
diamond ring by atelier gigi

Has your jaw hit the floor yet?!

Mom transported the ring up to my brother’s house, and he had to hide it for a whole week. I can envision him opening the box that week and peering into its depths; I know he could barely wait for the proposal to take place.

Fast forward a week, and my brother and his soon-to-be bride were off to Tahoe for a surprise over-nighter. I must say, she was NOT expecting to be proposed to on the gondola in Heavenly…but she said, “YES!!”

Scott + Tricia!!!

Just writing this story brings tears to my eyes. My family is extremely blessed to have Tricia and her son in our lives. I wish her, my brother and their three children a lifetime filled with love, happiness and adventure. Can’t wait for the wedding!! xoxo

Reposted from Jewelry Fashion Tips by Amy Roseveare: Mom’s Diamond Gets a New Life!

Planning the Perfect Proposal Through Espionage & Intrigue


James Bond, George Smiley, Jason Bourne, and Patrick Scardino???  While you’ll probably recognize the first three clever, resourceful, and secretive characters, the last one may be an enigma to you.

Pat is just like you and me. He doesn’t own an Aston Martin or have a spy camera in his Montblanc pen. What he does have is a curious mind, a big heart, and a desire to delight his significant other, Julianne.

Now Pat and Julianne had been dating for a few years, and discussed the possibility of making it “official,” but Pat still wanted his proposal to be a big surprise. So he took some clues from the masters of intrigue, and decided to employ some simple tools used by all successful spies…


Step 1: Prepare for the "op"

When Pat and I first met, he was armed with photos of rings that his girlfriend loved. He had asked her sister, Jaclyn, to assist in the fact finding mission, and she provided key details that helped him narrow down his choices. He discovered she wanted a classic, 4-prong platinum diamond ring with French pave-set accent diamonds on the shank. He was totally open to my guidance on the specifics (for example, selecting the center stone), but his main goal was to give Julianne the ring of her dreams.

Step 2: Check in with HQ

The “how and when” of the proposal is where a lot of would-be proposers get stumped, so take a page from Pat’s book. Pat had planned a surprise weekend getaway for the two of them, and all Julianne knew was to pack a bag for warm weather. He informed her boss that he wanted to whisk Julianne away early that Friday afternoon, and asked her to plan some “meetings” so the extra time off would be a surprise as well. (Her boss was so supportive that she even wrote fake agendas for the meetings!)

Step 3: Lay the trap and wait

Now these two love-birds are very fond of San Luis Obispo, as it is Julianne’s alma matter and her little sister currently attends school there. It was also the perfect get-away spot for Pat’s plan, as he could use a visit to her sister as a part of the ploy. Not wanting to rush things, he stashed the gorgeous engagement ring in his backpack, and their first adventure was a fun night of partying with Julianne’s sister and some other good friends from the area.

Step 4: Confuse your prey


The next morning, Pat suggested they go for a hike (which, admittedly, was a bit strange, as they were both nursing a bit of a hangover). Julianne acquiesced, and they were soon on their way to what would turn out to be the most memorable hike of their lives!

As they walked along the lovely San Louis Obispo coastline, Pat found a romantic spot and suggested they take a bit of a rest and look at the view. Unfortunately, other hikers found this spot just as lovely, and it seemed as though every time he was about to pop the question, one or more hikers would traipse through and ruin the moment. Eventually, there was a break in the action and Pat spotted his chance. He looked Julianne in the eyes and told her how much he loved her, and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. She gave an enthusiastic “Yes!” and the tears began flowing from both of their eyes.

The case of the disappearing family

After many hugs and kisses, Julianne wanted to share the exciting news with Pat’s and her family. She whipped out her cell phone and started dialing, and dialing, and dialing….

Strangely, after numerous calls, not one of their family members had answered their phone! (Unbeknownst to Julianne, Pat had secretly arranged for the families to be unavailable.) Slightly crestfallen, she returned with Pat to the Spyglass Hotel and they prepared to start their first day as an engaged couple.


Without family to share in their good news with, Pat suggested they have a lovely brunch at the Dolphin Bay Resort.  Julianne agreed and, expecting a quiet table for two upon their arrival, the floodgates opened again as they were greeted by each and every one of their immediate family members! A joyous celebration ensued, and continued into the day as the families ventured to some of the couple’s favorite wineries.

Smiley’s Friends…

Having had their personal and family celebrations, it was now time to let their closest friends in on the secret. As they drove back to San Francisco on Sunday afternoon, word started to spread like wildfire.

But Pat had one more surprise hidden up his sleeve…

During the drive Pat casually suggested that they stop off at the Columbus Café in SF before they went home. (The couple first met at this locale some four years earlier.) Expecting a mellow evening, Julianne was once again taken aback as a huge rush of friends came out of the shadows to welcome them with open arms.

The spy retires (or does he?)


Having done his duty for king and country (and the wine/cocktail industry), Pat reluctantly put away his 17 passports and fake mustache as he and Julianne ended their memorable weekend with a well-deserved night’s rest.

The Debrief: 3 key lessons learned from a master spy

  1. Secrets are allowed, even encouraged, when they are used for good and not evil.
  2. Know your mark. When choosing a ring, do your research! You may like Art Deco, but your partner may be a modernist. Put yourself in her/his shoes.
  3. Enlist the help of suspecting (or unsuspecting) friends and family to make this an event that includes all of the special people in your lives!