A love story that almost wasn’t written

From setting-up to settling down: When a good friend knows best


At some point in our lives, we’ve all had that well-meaning friend who insists that we would be a great match for someone they know. It’s a story that usually ends in, “Whatwere you thinking?!,” or, at best, a funny tale to tell at dinner parties for years to come.

Good things happen to those who wait (Or, should I say, “avoid?”)

Nadia Kennedy had a feeling that her friends Janet and Prentice would hit it off…if she could only get the two together in the same room. Much to her chagrin, the future lovebirds did an excellent job of avoiding each other for well over a year. Nadia was not going to give up easily however, and arranged to meet each of them for dinner at the same place and time one fateful night in 2011. “I was immediately attracted to his easy-going, genuine personality,” Janet said. Prentice felt similarly, “she had the most beautiful and warm smile; I instantly felt comfortable and that I could just be myself in her presence."

Flash forward

Five years passed and the couple often spoke about their hopes and dreams of building a life together. Unbeknownst to Janet, Prentice was secretly plotting to design a custom engagement ring and craft a proposal that Janet would never forget. Julianne, his friend from work, sent him my way. (Click here to read Julianne and Pat’s story.)We hit it off immediately, and a very collaborative process ensued.

Narrowing down the choices…

Narrowing down the choices…


An imperfectly perfect day: Boba, Bison, and Bling!


The platinum and diamond ring was completed just in time for Prentice’s surprise proposal and I waited with baited breath to hear how it all went down. Here’s the proposal story, as Janet shared it with me…

I had just finished submitting my applications for residency and was lucky to get a long weekend off. Prentice offered to plan our time together and would only tell me that we were having dinner at a nice restaurant one evening. Work kept me from being on time the morning of our proposal, but Prentice waited patiently for me. I tried to coerce him into telling me what our plans were as we drove to San Francisco, but he would only say that we had some time to fill before going to see the bison at Golden Gate Park. Along the way we stopped at Purple Kow, my favorite boba restaurant in SF. We then went to see the bison, but, unfortunately, the bison didn’t want to see us.

We opted for Plan B and decided to walk around a nearby lake. It was a beautiful day and I suggested we spend sunset at Twin Peaks (where Prentice had taken me after our first date together). “Coincidentally,” Prentice already knew when the sun would be setting that day, so we headed toward the vantage point when the time was right. As we approached our favorite spot I thought it was odd that Prentice kept driving, but he said he wanted to go somewhere a little less crowded for a change.  We eventually found a secluded spot and started our trek up the mountain. Prentice held on tight to me as we battled the gusty wind - my hair was blowing all over my face and I could barely see anything! We made it to the top and enjoyed a beautiful (albeit cold) sunset. As the sun was setting, I remember Prentice saying such sweet things to me, and before I knew it, he was on one knee asking me to marry him!

And then someone popped out of the bushes…

Moments after the proposal.

Moments after the proposal.

A (very cold) friend of ours was hiding at the top of the mountain and came over to take photos of the special moment. After that, we went to our car and called our family and friends from the parking lot. Quite some time passed before I asked Prentice when we were going to dinner. He seemed to be stalling, but eventually typed the restaurant into his GPS and we headed out. I didn’t know it at the time, but he had typed the wrong location into his phone so that he could surprise me yet again! When we arrived at our real destination, Prentice led me to a gazebo in back where many of my family and friends were waiting to celebrate with us. He and my sister had even flown my mother up from Los Angeles for the party, which was the icing on the cake of an already perfect day.

A man of many talents

I like to have professional photos taken of some of my custom projects, and this ring was one of those pieces. The shots were great, but Prentice wanted to try his hand at capturing the beauty of Janet's ring through his own eyes. Photography is one of Prentice's many talents, and I was thrilled to receive these stunning photos shortly after the proposal:

Check out for more great photos.

But wait! There’s more…


The story doesn’t end there folks, as Prentice had another idea up his sleeve. He had originally wanted to incorporate a medical theme into the engagement ring, but we decided it would limit the design process. Still wanting to celebrate all of Janet’s hard work while in medical school (and not wanting her to lose her newly acquired ring), he decided to design a necklace from which she could safely hang her ring when her duties required jewelry-free hands. This would be his first Christmas gift to Janet as her fiancé.

Well, the piece was such a success that I am now crafting and selling the stethoscope-shaped pendant in silver, gold, and platinum variationson Etsy. Best of all, Janet modeled the piece for my marketing materials!



The partnership continues…

As I write this story, I am in the process of designing Janet’s wedding band and ordering a great band for Prentice. I feel so honored to be this lovely couple’s jeweler of choice and look forward to following their love story for many years to come.

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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!

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Photography by Kien Lam

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!