Our story today starts with a dream. But not a good dream, rather, a nightmare. On the morning of July 12, 2019, Summer texted me at 8am to tell me that she just woke up from a dream where Travis had just handed her a yellow ring. He did not even propose; he just handed her, and I quote, “a three stone princess cut invisible set center stone yellow sapphire in white gold.” This was the opposite of everything Summer wanted—so truly a nightmare. Thank goodness she woke up. I made sure to take notes on her retelling, and used it as an excuse for her to make me a Pinterest board; she called it “Yellow Ring Insurance.”
If you read the first post in this series, you’ll know I was pretty clueless when it comes to engagement rings. Everything I know, I learned from Summer or Pinterest. Engagement rings, however, are Summer’s jam, and she is also very, very picky… so when Travis first approached me about helping pick out an engagement ring for Summer, I panicked on the inside a little bit. I directed him to the Pinterest board, and pointed out the Oval Gatsby, a ring from Heidi Gibson that Summer had mentioned to me by name more than once. I asked him to let me know if he needed more clarification on what Summer might want—I was happy to increase the premiums on her yellow ring insurance plan by sneakily asking Summer some more about it.
/ Summer: I was obsessed with the rose gold oval Gatsby with vintage detailing, I am pretty sure I drilled those words into Travis’s head. But, when it came down to it, I didn’t want a ring that I knew a lot of other women had, I wasn’t sure if the style would be comfortable in every day life, and it was more expensive than a lot of other options I liked. In the last couple photos of my Pinterest board you can see solitaire style (which is not me) rings that were pinned solely because they link back to Do Amore, the company that ended up making my ring. /
Unlike Summer and Joe, Travis and I do not have a nine year friendship, so I opted to let him take the lead here. After our initial conversation, I didn’t hear much more from Travis until one day, when he revived a group text with me and Joe called “Summer Doesn’t Know” (aptly named for her birthday weekend surprises during our trip to Nashville) with a CAD design of a ring from Do Amore. Y’all, I saw this ring, and I was like, “oh, shit.” Not because the ring wasn’t beautiful, on the contrary, it’s gorgeous. But it was nothing like the Oval Gatsby. I hastily pulled up the Yellow Ring Insurance Pinterest board (which, honestly, I had not looked at in months). Oh, okay. I calmed down. All of Summer’s recent pins on the board had been much, much more like the CAD Travis sent me. I pointed that out to Travis, briefly told him about the emotional roller coaster I had just been on, and validated that this design was on track relative to the rings Summer had been pinning.
/ Summer: I probably should have given Kathryn a heads up when I changed my ring trajectory. Once I’d ruled out the Oval Gatsby (which obviously only works with an oval diamond) I realized that the diamond shape I really loved was emerald cut. I went about trying to see how that might look in a vintage-style but nothing I found was quite what I wanted. Since we’d done a custom ring for Kat, and I was pretty picky about my diamond specs, I thought I’d look for designers to make my vision come to life.
Do Amore stood out to me because they work with charity:water to help fund water wells in developing countries. If Travis was going to drop a chunk of change on a shiny rock, I wanted part of that relatively frivolous purchase to make a real impact. When I found out they would make a custom ring and allow me to choose my own diamond (as long as it met their ethical standards, which go beyond the Kimberly process so that ruled out a few contenders) that sealed the deal. /
It turns out Summer and Travis had been talking a lot about the ring design, which I wasn’t exactly aware of. I didn’t dare bring it up to Summer, because I didn’t know how much she knew… and I didn’t want to know how much she knew, because I didn’t want to get too comfortable talking about it with her and then let something slip that I shouldn’t, you know?
/ Summer: You may remember that I am a control freak and also obsessed with getting a good deal, so before Travis ever started designing a ring I was scoping out diamonds. I learned all there was to know about emerald cut specs and used Rare Carat to narrow down all the emeralds on the market to the ones that fit my qualifications. Since their search features let you get very specific I was able to specify everything I wanted, right down to depth and ratio, in my search.
If you don’t know how the diamond market works, most retailers who carry loose diamonds can source pretty much any diamond on the market, you aren’t limited to their stock. Also, a lot of retailers will list the same diamond, but they might have different prices—check the GIA number. Rare Carat will have a gemologist review a diamond for you for free, so I got a few reports to help me figure out if the ones I liked were as good of a deal as I thought. Once I found the one I liked, I had Do Amore price match it for me. (Not affiliated with Rare Carat or Do Amore at all, they were just super helpful.) /
I asked some clarifying questions about the CAD design we received, and Travis relayed them to his designer. Travis also showed the design to Summer for some initial feedback, like “hey, is this close to what you want? Just making sure I’m on the right track.” He got some feedback from Summer, and then it was time to ask for a redesign.
The most challenging part of ring designing was the most challenging part of real life: communication. Travis only communicated with his designer from Do Amore through email, which meant that we needed to know the right ring jargon in order to ask for what we wanted and be sure it was understood. I did lots of googling and lots of email wording for Travis. The first redesign we asked for was to remove the bars on the end of each shoulder, because Summer was concerned they would poke on either side of her fingers. She also wanted the shoulders to be more tapered on the edges, but we don’t think they quite understood what we meant by that (#communication), so the second design only had the bars removed.
/ Summer: My instructions to Travis were “low profile, bezel set center stone, octagonal halo with vintage detailing on the shoulders, make it look vintage and timeless.” Sweet Travis, in an effort to maintain an air of mystery, only sent me the top right photo with no specs. The problem with this is, if you don’t know this is a CAD, you don’t have any allowance for details like lack of milgraining, chunky looking metal, and a center stone that appears more radiant than emerald, so I was a little harsh. /
After we received the second CAD, it was time for some drawing. It was clear we didn’t communicate the tapering desires very well, so Travis and I each tried to draw what we meant. Then Travis showed the design to Summer, and she drew it too. We sent Summer’s drawing back along with a few other rings to use as examples of what we meant.
Once we received the third design back, Travis showed it to Summer again (does it surprise you that she was expecting her proposal?!). The tapered shoulders were not as dramatic as she expected. Summer wears a 4.25 on her ring finger, so we didn’t exactly have a lot of space to work with. In the end, Summer decided she liked the first, original design the best, so Travis told his designer from Do Amore thanks but no thanks for the redesigns, and signed off on the original one! Then it was time for production.
Here’s where things got a little dicey: the ring wouldn’t be ready until late December, right around the time Summer and Travis would be traveling, first coming to Texas for Christmas, and then flying to NYC for our New Year’s trip. Travis opted to send the ring to Joe’s parent’s house in New Jersey, so that Joe or I could sign for it. I was the only one home when the ring came, and I was so excited to see it after I signed for it that I ripped open the top of the package as soon as it was in my hands. Then I realized, maybe I should ask Travis if it’s okay I open it first… oops! But, it was.
I sent these photos to Travis and Joe and gushed over it in the meantime. The ring was even more gorgeous in person! Joe and Travis picked up the ring from Joe’s parent’s house on the day that Summer and I got our nails and went to see Frozen II together. You know the rest of this story: Travis proposed to Summer in DUMBO, she said yes because it was not a three stone princess cut invisible set center stone yellow sapphire in white gold (and because she loves him and wants to spend the rest of her life with him, obviously), and they lived happily ever after… at least until the wedding planning started.
Click here to read Part I, all about designing Kathryn’s ring!
Looking for more wedding planning? Check out Something Old, Something New, our blog series about wedding planning from the perspectives of a bride who’s just been through it, and a bride just starting the process!