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When we think of the ideal Pratiksha bride, we think of someone like Maggie: a digital-savvy woman with a modern aesthetic and vision. For her big day, she had imagined a pair of elegant and dainty diamond drop earrings that would be a stylish, versatile, and a smart investment for her jewelry wardrobe. We were so pleased to work with her to design a pair of custom earrings for her wedding day, and this special, one-of-a-kind gift to herself was the perfect compliment her bridal look!
Tell us how you met your husband:
“We met on Tinder. Our first date was a Skype video date!”
Can you share your proposal story?
“Stuart planned a surprise party for me, and proposed during the party in front of 50 of our closest friends.”
Tell us about the jewelry:
The earrings are made in platinum. They feature 18 round diamonds set in a cascading drop, with a total weight of 1 carat of diamonds in tapering widths.
We love Maggie’s idea of creating a special pair of drop earrings for her wedding because they’re a perfectly timeless style that can be worn with anything. The earrings you wear on your wedding day will featured heavily on every photograph (even more than your engagement ring), so it’s a really good idea to spend some time thinking about your bridal jewelry and how it will tie into your look. Maggie’s dress featured a high neckline with lots of detail, so it was a wise choice to skip a necklace in favor of these dangling earrings. They feature such a romantic silhouette, resembling falling snow and shimmering clean lines. This set of diamond drops will always keep memories of her special day close to her heart.
What revvs our engine? As designers, we really love the challenge of repurposing diamonds, gemstones and pearls into a brand new treasured jewelry piece. Styles and sentiments can change, but it doesn't mean that the stones in your old jewelry deserve a prison sentence, condemned to a life sitting your jewelry box or shoved underneath your bed. Collaborating with our clients to craft pieces of jewelry around their stones is very empowering for both parties. We get to explore creative solutions while our clients get to harness the value of their precious stones, turning it into a masterpiece that they designed for themselves.
Have a look at some of the brilliant ways our clients have recycled their fine jewelry diamonds and gemstones.
Created from the side stones of our client's old ring
After bringing in an old ring, Joan wanted to use the diamond baguette side stones to design a new cocktail ring. We helped her choose an oversized emerald-cut blue topaz as the focal point, adding a generous splash of color and maintaining the clean lines of the step-cut stones. The result was a beautifully unique and contemporary topaz ring that took our breath away. She said, “I’ve always wanted a custom signature piece that is uniquely mine!”
Fashioned from 4 diamonds from our client
When our client asked us to dismount her four diamonds, we realized that they slightly graduated in size. With four slightly different sized diamonds, we made a digital rendering using the exact measurements of the stones. After setting the largest diamond into a jump ring with a halo of tiny stones, the other stones were added to the bail for an elongating look. The end result was a gorgeous daily pendant that she can wear out with friends, in the office, or at any fancy event.
Crafted from an unworn wedding ring
After our client had grown frustrated with trying to sell her old engagement ring, Lillian still saw value in the gorgeous princess diamonds, and so did we. We crafted two new layered necklaces from the diamonds, creating a solitaire slide pendant from the center stone and stacking the side stones into a bar pendant.
Thrilled with the new contemporary look, our client remarked “I love that I now have two beautiful necklaces to wear, instead of just letting an old ring sit in my safe deposit box!”
Repurposed from our client's broken ring
We didn’t create our client’s original engagement ring, but when the head broke off the band (yikes!), she brought it to us for a repair and a revamp. She had an idea to match the new band with one of her favorite sapphire stackable bands, which she often wore along her wedding ring stack. The new, cohesive look offers a gorgeous splash of royal blue along the sides of the set, and we just can’t get enough of the new contrasting style.
Do you have an old stone you'd like to breathe some life into and create a new piece of jewelry? We'd love to talk to you about your options. Check out some other beautiful pieces our clients have created for themselves as a "just-for-fun" treat in the gallery below.
The PJ Custom team has been privileged to craft engagement rings for over thousands of proposals globally, from Paris to Iceland to Texas. As a family business of crafters and designers, we cherish being a part of our clients' important life moments as they start their own beginning as a family. Proposals mark the point where two paths become one, and family cultures and values blend together to create a brand new story.
To honor #NationalProposalDay today, we rounded up stories of where some of our favorite "forever" moments happened.
A Paris Pratiksha Proposal
Matt popped the question to Sarah under the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Sporting a very unique and sparkly engagement ring, Sarah says "I am beyond elated with this beautiful piece of jewelry, and can't believe that this is what I get to look at for the rest of my life. The three rows of diamonds mean "I love you" and the two rows of baguettes symbolize Matthew and me."
A Private Proposal Dinner at Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, India
On her first trip to India, this lucky bride-to-be received the royal treatment for her proposal. A private dinner on the terrace awaited her at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, complete with flowers, candles, musicians and dancers. "It was truly the most romantic night of my life!"
A Snowy Mountaintop in Aspen, Colorado
On their last day of a ski trip, Kirk proposed in Natalie's favorite place in the entire world with her dream ring. "I love that I have a ring like no one else's!"
A Surprise Christmas Day Proposal at His Future In-Law's House
Sneaky sneaky... David tricked his future fiancee by telling her he would fly out to her parents' house the day after Christmas, even booking and cancelling a flight to show evidence! But in reality, he flew in Christmas day to pop the question. "Her dad and sister helped me execute my master plan. I took pictures along the way, including me at the airport, on the plane, and at her front door. I texted them all at once... surprise!"
A PJ Picnic Proposal on Art Hill in St. Louis, Missouri
Andrew told Andie he wanted to marry her after just two dates, but for his proposal, he organized a classy picnic on Art Hill. "I set it up complete with champagne, snacks and flowers. When she arrived, I got down on one knee. Both of us were so excited, we sort of forgot to eat!"
A Library Hunt in Philadelphia with All Their Family
This couple bonded over their love for museums, monuments, memorials and books before the big question. "Jamie proposed in the beautiful Free Library of Philadelphia. He led me through the library on a scavenger hunt. Each of our family members was there with a book and the next riddle."
Tomorrow we turn the calendar page to mark the official season of love! Valentine’s Day ramps us up because there are SO many different ways to honor timeless love with fine jewelry, including gifts of love to yourself, a parent, sister or bestie. Amongst the women who choose and purchase their own fine jewelry, over half of the brides we work with are actively designing their own engagement rings. We love this turn of tradition on its head, where women are taking charge of the piece of jewelry they’ll be wearing every day for the rest of their lives.
Take a note from PJ Custom bride, Heidi, who had a hand in the design of her engagement ring, but still got a wonderful surprise for her proposal. We love this method of engagement jewelry design because everyone wins while the romance is still kept alive. This PJ Custom couple’s Valentine’s Day engagement is particularly special because Neal picked out a beautiful and famed location – the Taj Mahal – to pop the question during his fiancee’s first visit to India. Built in 1643, this historic location’s name means “Crown of the Palaces,” and it was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to be “as beautiful as his love” for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
TELL US YOUR STORY!
Heidi: Neal and I met through friends. A fun fact about us as a couple: we are polar opposites! He took me to India for my first time, and proposed at the Taj Mahal on Valentine’s Day.
I gave him several pictures but didn’t know which idea he would go with, so the ring was a surprise!
Pratiksha only uses the best quality and I get compliments ALL the time. It’s something about the design and quality that catches people’s eye.
I’m swept away by the level of detail of this proposal! I can’t imagine a more romantic backdrop than some of India’s most beautiful buildings and scenery.
One of the very best parts of working in custom jewelry is being a part of our clients’ milestones and life journeys. We create one-of-a-kind custom pieces that commemorate events such as engagements, weddings, births, retirement and celebrations for parents, anniversaries, career achievements, and holidays. These pieces are created to last for decades, long after these milestones are celebrated, serving as a delicate reminder of our most special memories and moments enjoyed with family and friends.
This month, our dear client Anjali will be celebrating her first wedding anniversary with her husband, Jamie. Nearly two years ago in November 2015, we designed a beautiful custom engagement ring for her based on some inspiration pictures and ideas. Months later in September 2016, we created a custom matching wedding band for her and her fiancee on her big day. To honor their first anniversary, we sat down with Anjali and got the details about their love story and her engagement ring design process with Pratiksha.
Anjali: Jamie and I first met in D.C. when we first worked for the same consulting firm. Our client was only a few blocks away from all the incredible museums, monuments & memorials in the city. We became lunch buddies who would escape the office to wander around the stunning D.C. buildings! We bonded over our mutual love for architecture. One day, I had to cancel on lunch since I was buried in work, and he went out of his way to bring me back my favorite lunch. It was so sweet! He asked me out soon after that, and I was thrilled.
A few years after he asked me out, I moved to Philadelphia for graduate school. Knowing my love for both books and architecture, Jamie proposed in the beautiful Free Library of Philadelphia. He led me through the library on a scavenger hunt. Each of our family members was there with a book and the next riddle. When I finally met Jamie at the end, he asked me to marry him and I emphatically said, “Absolutely!”
Yes! I sent him very specific inspiration pictures. But the final engagement ring was a surprise!
Jamie picked a stunning diamond for the ring, and the twisting shank design was the perfect touch. It's very symbolic of intertwining, eternity love. We created a band that matched the curves of the twisting shank for a perfectly matched pair, like Jamie and Anjali. Happy anniversary guys!
As summer temperatures hit the high nineties here in Texas, wedding season is in full swing. Whether it’s your turn to walk down the aisle, stand by your bestie’s side as a bridesmaid, or indulge in open bar glory as a guest, there’s something for everyone to love about romantic, balmy summer weddings. You can probably guess what excites us most about wedding season: sparkling engagement rings!
That’s why we were delighted to be a part of a stunning, ethereal bridal editorial for Dear Gray Magazine. The goal of the photoshoot was to capture a very romantic, dreamy bridal session using angelic pastel colors, soft flowing fabrics and shimmering accessories that set the tone.
Shot against the French neoclassical architecture of the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco, California, the photoshoot was aided by west coast fog, a dream-like haziness that must be seen to be believed.
The Annabeth Debutante Morganite Ring with Diamond Leaves was the perfect pairing for the shoot. Playing off the bride’s Roman-style backdrop and golden leaflet headpiece, the delicate Debutante Ring is set with romantic rose gold and a 1.12 carat champagne-blush morganite.
Colored gemstone engagement rings and wedding bands are exploding in popularity, topping our custom jewelry requests at the Pratiksha design lab. Sapphires, tanzanites, rubies, emeralds and morganites have been used as center stones, matching side-stone pairs, or within the wedding band.
Ring Design by Pratiksha Jewelry / Styled and designed by Ivory & Vine Event Co. / Bridal Headpieces by Maggie Wu Studio / Stationery & Calligraphy by Sarah Ann Design / Location the Legion of Honor / Wedding Dress by Crystal Designs / Bridal Shop the Blushing Bride Boutique / Hair and Makeup by Natalie Issa / The film lab used was Goodman Film Lab / Photography by Stephanie Brazzle Photography
It seems that snow flurries, twinkly lights, and the holidays give couples the warm-and-fuzzies—the holiday season is the most popular time of year for couples to propose tying the knot. Because of this, the fall has become engagement season for jewelers, who help clients pop the question with breathtaking bling.
But not all jewels (and jewelers) are created equal. With such an investment, it's of utmost importance to understand what you're getting and what factors are most important to consider.
If you're considering buying a diamond for your partner, you likely already know about the 4 C's: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight. But how can we use this information to make the best purchase? We've outlined six of our best tips for choosing your diamond that you won't find in Diamonds 101.
GIA is considered the highest standard for grading,whereas other laboratories like EGL USA, IDI, and AGS are more generous with their grading policies. For this reason, we recommend reducing the grading of non-GIA certified stones by one grade when comparing them with GIA certified stones. Ultimately, it is important to remember that diamond grading is subjective and not mathematically defined. So if one lab consistently calls one color grade "H" while another lab calls the same color grade "G", it’s perfectly reasonable as long as they do so consistently.
Every lab has its quirks: one may be looser in color, or clarity, or perhaps more forgiving of certain inclusions. What makes the lab’s certificate authoritative is consistency in these grading practices. It is for these reasons that we recommend staying far away from stones with certain low-reputation lab certificates, including those from the now defunct EGL-International.
Diamond certificates include a top and bottom diagram illustrating the stone’s unique arrangement of inclusions. Using these diagrams, inspect your stone with a loupe to verify that the certificate provided matches the stone being offered. Some inclusions may be difficult to find even with a loupe; ask your gemologist to help you find them!
The quality of a diamond’s cut directly affects its brilliance and is one of the most important factors when evaluating your stone. At the very best, a round "ideal" cut diamond will show high fire, brightness, and perfect symmetry—resulting in a hearts and arrows effect. Be aware that grades offered above this GIA recognized grade are created by the diamond seller to inflate the value of their stones. There is no difference between an "ideal" stone and a "super ideal", "signature ideal", or similarly described stone.
You go into the car dealership looking for a modest sedan and come out with a fast-and-sporty, full-loaded coupe with all the bells and whistles—many that you won’t ever use. The same can happen with a diamond, too. While many would adore having a colorless, flawless diamond, the price difference between it and a pretty-much-completely-perfect diamond can be astronomical. Further, it can be very difficult for even the trained eye to tell the difference! For many people, diamonds in the range of F-H in color and SI1-SI2 in clarity hit the sweet spot for appearance and price. Take advantage of the nuanced spectrum of colors, clarities, and grading criteria to pick a stone that is ideal for you and your budget.
Diamond prices jump at half carat and full carat marks, so aim for a stone that is slightly below that size for the same look without the same price tag. For example, 0.95ct looks identical to 1.00ct but is much more attractively priced.
They’re the unsung heroes of your big day: they helped you pick your gown, DIY’d your wedding décor and planned all those endless little details. Give back with gifts to your bridesmaids to show how much you appreciate their support.
While everyone appreciates a personalized gift, we all know what happens to that hot pink “John + Maggie Bridesmaid Squad” t-shirt.
Consider a more subtle personalization that acts as a reminder of the big day without screaming “souvenir”:
Matching jewelry sets
Give each bridesmaid a matching pendant or bracelet charm that coordinates with your wedding colors—they can even wear them for the ceremony.
A monogrammed pendant is cute, personal, and pretty much foolproof.
A cute stackable band with the wedding date, her initials, or even the coordinates of the ceremony’s location is a memento she can wear every day. You could even consider giving a pendant or ring with a personal short & sweet message to each bridesmaid engraved on the back or inside.
Create a custom-made jewelry set that represents your bridal squad. Get inspired by your wedding décor: create a design inspired by your floral arrangements, colors, fonts, and other motifs. You could even create a design representing your destination wedding, such as a conch shell for a tropical wedding or a cute branch bar necklace for a woodsy locale.
You scoured the internet (read: Pinterest), flipped through hundreds of bridal magazines, sifted through scores of jewelers and diamond listings and finally found the one. They proposed. Now what? For many brides, the blinders are on for anything but the big day once the ring is on the finger. But between the day you get engaged to the day you say, “I do”, there are several other major jewelry decisions to make.
Don’t let your wedding band be an afterthought: consider what type of band works best for you while you’re choosing your engagement ring. You may decide you want to always wear them stacked; you may realize you’d like a band that can also stand alone for times when you’d rather leave your engagement ring at home. Either way, your band is just as personal of a choice as an engagement ring and you want to be sure that what you choose meshes well with your lifestyle.
Here’s a quick breakdown of common band styles for you to consider:
Pros: Simple, timeless, and wears well with little maintenance. Comfortable and works well with solitaires.
Cons: Pairing this style with an elaborate or highly diamond-embellished engagement ring can look like an afterthought.
Pros: Sparkly and feminine, pairs beautifully with halos and styles with diamonds along the shank. Doesn’t have a “top” so it can spin freely on the finger.
Cons: Can be expensive since diamonds circle the entire band. Since diamonds are exposed on the palm side, there is slightly more risk of damaging stones. This style is extremely difficult to resize later.
Pros: The look of an eternity with half the stones. Smooth shank on the sides can be more comfortable for everyday wear. Easier to resize than a full eternity ring.
Cons: “Spinning” on the finger can reveal the ring’s diamondless side.
Pros: This style nestles nicely against a larger center stone or elaborate engagement ring, creating a more cohesive look and eliminating gaps.
Cons: Because the style is contoured, it can look out of place if you want to wear it without your engagement ring.
Pros: Sparkle, sparkle, sparkle. Rows of diamond make these rings more eye-catching and easy to wear as a standalone.
Cons: Generally these styles are wider in width. This, coupled with the larger look of diamonds, can sometimes overpower your engagement ring.
Pros: These unusual rings are designed to fit around your engagement ring to create an embellished “triplet” look. The pieces essentially become one ring but can be separated for different looks.
Cons: Because the band has an empty center in which your engagement ring is supposed to fit, it looks very out of place to wear it alone.
Pros: Brightening up a classic look with pops of color from stones like ruby or sapphire creates a unique and eyecatching look.
Cons: Bright colors can be tougher to coordinate with other jewelry, making this style better for fashion-forward women.
Pros: A set of bands with matching motifs—say, an engraving, shape, or finish—unifies the pieces in a romantic way. With both partners having an input on the final style, it’s like carrying a little part of them around with you wherever you go.
Cons: As much as you love them, you may not want your partner having style input on your ring’s look. Because of the custom designs and embellishments, these styles are also typically worn standalone or with very simple engagement rings.
DO: pick the same metal as your engagement ring. This isn’t simply a “fashion faux pas” piece of advice: metals wear differently. Platinum and white gold look the same when first purchased but will become very different (and very mismatched) over time.
DON’T: feel compelled to match rings. Maybe your partner really likes yellow gold and, well, you really don’t: it’s ok to pick a different metal or style that suits your taste. After all, do you and your partner regularly wear matching… anything? Make them a pair with mutual (albeit subtle) embellishments, like inner inscriptions.
DO: try on looks outside of your shortlist. You may love the look of a couple styles, but trying on a wide range of looks may change your mind. Take your time and investigate all your options.
DON’T: wait until the last minute to choose bands. Give yourself at least a few months before the big day to find your bands. Between research, shopping trips, and customizations such as ring sizing or inscriptions, you want to be sure your rings are ready for your wedding day.
DO: make sure your ring and band have something in common. A simple repeated motif—engraving, stone shape or color, and metal, for example—will help unify the pieces.