Sofia's Blog

SOFIA + GEOFF’S STORY

In celebration of Valentine’s Day and SK Love Stories, it is only fitting that we chat with the couple that it all began with… Sofia and Geoff Kaman. Read on for a tale of two people who fell in love and together created a flourishing business and a beautiful family.

So tell us… How did it all begin?

Geoff and I met in Feb of 1998.

We met at work, more precisely the gym where we both worked in our twenties. I taught a 5:30AM spinning class to sleepy adults before running off to my day job of teaching riotous first graders. Geoff worked the opening shift, where he was a personal trainer while teaching himself computer coding till the wee hours of the night. We would see each other in passing, have fleeting conversations, and share a very basic common ground— the need for caffeine! Which brought us to our first date.

After class one morning, Geoff casually asked if he could talk to me. We stepped off to the side and he said in the most confident, yet easy-going way, “Would you like to go on a date with me?” And before I could answer he added, “how about for coffee?”

So we went, and we talked and talked about our life adventures to date. Geoff had been in the Marines, deployed in Iraq, come back to civilian life, spent time sailing a boat in the Caribbean, learned how to snowboard in Crested Butte, built airplane frames in Texas (where we both had grown up), drew comic books for fun, and had recently landed in LA where his dreams of working in graphics or a design based business lead him to learn coding. Meanwhile, I had quite the opposite life- gone diligently through college, then graduate school, then had a steady job as an elementary school teacher. I loved creating jewelry (an obsessive hobby, really) but I didn’t have the confidence to believe that I could follow my passion and my heart to design jewelry for a living. I think it’s true about opposites attracting…!

Wedding details, please! 

We got married in December of 2000.

Both of us wanted a tiny wedding to celebrate with immediate family and friends, 40 to be exact. Santa Monica was our home and our wedding was held there, at a quaint historical building called The Victorian. It was an evening affair, held in the upstairs library of this beautiful old home. Being notoriously camera-shy, I told my parents I didn’t want a photographer at the wedding. To which my mother replied, “Then I suppose there won’t be a wedding!” So, begrudgingly, I hunted for a wedding photographer. Now, let’s remember, friends, wedding photography in 2000 looked more like stiff, posed family line-ups than the beautiful, editorial, natural style that we so commonly (and fortunately) have access to today.

In any case, I finally found a friend of a friend, who had once shot a wedding and had a camera. Yes, high standards. I told him I didn’t want anything contrived, just to disappear into the background. Our wedding was shot on film, not to be artful, but because it was pre-digital everything. In retrospect, I really should have listened better to my mom about taking that aspect a little more seriously, as most of our pics are out of focus, poorly lit, and well, look like anybody’s uncle with a camera could have taken them!

And about the ring(s)…

When Geoff proposed, much before we started our jewelry business, he knew I would want to design my ring so he gave it to me in a simple four-prong solitaire. Little did he know that this would set the stage for endless renditions. In fact, the diamond has now come out of a ring entirely and is fitted to a sweet gold pod pendant that I wear on my “family” charm necklace. I guess you could say I’m quite sentimental about things in non-traditional ways! For example, I always have to wear a ring on my left hand when I leave the house. Which ring that may be, however, changes with my mood. Over the last 18 years I’ve worn about six different rings, some of which I’ve made, some vintage, some have been given, others bought for myself, all of which have brought a smile to my face when I look down at it. They’ve been guilty of distracting me when light perfectly hits while gripping a steering wheel, or created countless brilliant sparkles on an airplane. They’ve reminded me of joyful times, as well as have been angrily left on the nightstand after a spat or two.

Whatever ring I’m wearing doesn’t really matter I suppose. My feeling about rings is that they are treasures to be enjoyed. They are a beautiful representation of a couple’s love, but also a representation of personal style and can reflect the changes we go through in life together.

Tell us a bit about your lives now.

Eighteen years later, and we haven’t killed each other yet! 😉 Our greatest treasure is our daughter Ella, who’s turning 13 in one month!

It was shortly after our wedding, in January of 2001, that Geoff encouraged me to take a chance and start my jewelry business. In 2014 Geoff was able to join me full-time in our business as our technical and web guru, but throughout that entire time he’s been my partner, my champion, my rock.

Last year we opened a new, bigger space where we work under the same roof, like we did many years ago. A lot has changed, but also a lot has stayed the same! ❤️❤️❤️

GHAZAL + PAYAM’S Story

We are thrilled to announce the re-launch of SK Love Stories, which celebrate the timeless narratives of special couples falling in love. We are kicking off this series with an enchanting and beautiful couple, Ghazal and Payam Doostzadeh. Try not to shed a tear after reading their innocent high school friendship turned lifelong partners, love story.

Names:

Ghazal + Payam Doostzadeh

Current Location:

Venice, CA

Wedding Date + Location:

November 4th, 2017 at the Ebell of Long Beach.

How It All Started

Ghazal and Payam’s story started back in 2000, when her family won the green card lottery and immigrated to the United States. But the luck didn’t stop there, because only 4 years later, Payam would win a lottery of his own and meet the love of his life. Ghazal and Payam started their relationship when they where both in high school in Irvine, CA, tackling dances, honors classes and strict curfews. Ghazal recalls their first date. She went to Payam’s show at The Spectrum, and promised her parents that she was just going to support her best friend… and to be fair, she wasn’t lying. Ghazal and Payam shared a very deep connection from the very start. They would talk on the daily, discussing their goals, dreams and desires to take on the world together. The strong foundation that they were building would guide them through the good times and the bad.

The Proposal: How It Went Down

On July 3rd, 2016, Payam and Ghazal headed up to Big Sur, one of their favorite places in California to reconnect with Mother Nature and the goodwill she brings. They decided to wake up in the early a.m. in hopes of catching the sunrise but ended up with thick marine layer and the peacefulness of the coastal morning all to themselves. They found a big hill that they hiked up to which had beautiful views of the ocean, and Payam suggested that they come back to the vista point later to take pictures when the sun was out. So later that afternoon the soon-to-be engaged couple hiked back up that same hill, now boasting impressive views of the California Coastline, and started taking pictures at the top. Payam asked Ghazal to turn around and face Bixby Bridge, instructing Ghazal to stay put while he was reloading his film. The truth though was that Payam was reaching into his backpack to take out the ring and then got down on one knee and asked his bride-to-be to turn around. Payam went on to explain how the four points of her ring symbolize the cardinal directions of a compass, and that it would be a constant reminder of their journey of love together.

The Ring

From Payam: “Picking a ring out for Ghazal was a little bit of a process. Considering it was something she would have for her entire life, and that conversations about marriage were already on the table, I figured she should have at least a general idea of what I would propose with. We made a trip downtown, and found some other local designers, and we both were just not really feeling it. Then, one of Ghazal’s friends suggested we look into Sofia’s work, and we couldn’t believe we had been walking by the Venice location almost every day without going in. It only took a couple of minutes until we both saw the Genevieve engagement ring and knew it was the one. I tried to play it off cool and said we’d keep our options open, but the next day I started talking to Sofia about making a custom one in a slightly larger size and with a platinum band. We’ve since added two Alethea Diamond Tiara Rings as wedding bands to complete the set and we couldn’t be happier. The rings really complement just how beautiful and unique Ghazal is.”

The Wedding Day

The ceremony was the couples’ favorite part. It started with a beautiful violin performance by Payam’s cousin, followed by a saging ceremony by their best friends. The couple wrote their own vows, which to this day still brings tears to their eyes. The performance by Payam’s band was also one the most special, touching and memorable moments at the wedding for the bride,  groom and ALL their guests.

The newlyweds took off to Thailand soon after and gushed that it was truly one of the most magical trips. While in Thailand, they were approached by a lovely Canadian photographer when walking on the beach and got asked to take some “casual” wedding photos during sunset. Without any preparation, they ended up having their own private/tiny wedding #2!

Credits:

Wedding Photographer: Winsome & Wright

Thailand Photographer: Zsuzsi Pal Photography

Engagement and Wedding Rings: Sofia Kaman

Do you have a special story of your own to share? Click here and share with us to be featured!

TOP 5 JEWELRY ESSENTIALS YOU NEED

Whether your last year was tumultuous, exhilarating, life-changing or hum drum, there’s never a better opportunity than the New Year to clear out the old, messy bits and organize our lives… or at least our jewelry boxes. Having all the bling is fun, but let’s be honest – you probably are not wearing your grandmother’s brooches, nor your middle school fling’s heart-shaped pendant on a regular basis. So, after you recycle, re-gift and re-design, which pieces do you keep around? We’ve narrowed down our top five jewelry essentials we think every gal needs in her jewel box all year, every year.

1.) SMALL DIAMOND EARRINGS

A pair of  diamond earrings are a classic staple that never goes out of style. A subtle sparkle that can be worn with any outfit is key. For a twist on traditional single diamond studs, see our Trilogy Diamond Cluster Earrings – the perfect option for a dainty everyday pair. Crafted in matte gold with a cluster of three dainty diamonds and a bit of rustic texture, wear these lovelies daily and move them to your second holes when you’re stepping out for a night on the town and want a little extra bling!

 

2.) A PERFECT STACK

The perfect stack is a non-negotiable when it comes to necessity in a woman’s jewel box. (For tips on how to build your perfect stack click here!). The ease of wearing individually or together is what makes a stack so important. If you’re running errands or going for a hike, you might only wear one or two rings on different fingers to have a small sparkle statement, but if it’s a dinner party or night out with girlfriends you’re attending, you can easily layer on that stack for the ultimate effect. You can find one of our favorite stacks below or click HERE to shop our stack of the week!

3.) A DAINTY LAYERING NECKLACE

Another no-brainer and the easiest way to dress up an everyday outfit: a simple and pretty layering necklace. Pick one that is dainty, with just enough sparkle. Wear with your casual looks and layer on top of it when you’re ready for a little extra! A few of our favorites that will serve this purpose are the Mini Baguette Bezel Diamond Necklace and the Rounded Daisy Charm Necklace (if you’re the floral type). Minimal and understated, both options give you the flexibility to wear with any and everything and layer up as you please!

4. ) A STATEMENT RING

What is a jewel box without a statement ring that reflects your unique personal style? Statement rings have the ability to pull together an entire look together and are also extremely versatile: wear solo to make it the star of the show during the day, or layer with your other stacking styles for all the bling on a special night out. Most loved in our collection? Our Torn Paper Bands from our Poesie collection, as seen below.

5.) A POP OF COLOR

The most fun essential to any jewel box: a pop of color. While neutral diamonds are the most obvious choice for classic, everyday wear, a pop of color can be the eye-catching missing piece. Add said pop of color to your other everyday pieces to bring in some personality. Below is our Blue Sapphire Simple Solitaire-Square Band layered with a sparkly stack to give the look a final touch!

We hope this new year brings you lots of love, laughter and sparkly new additions to your jewelry wardrobe, and we look forward to sharing our passion for jewels with you!

~SKFJ team XOXO

INSPIRING WOMAN: Elizabeth Messina

We are so happy to introduce this week’s Inspiring Woman, Elizabeth Messina. Photographer, artist and author, Elizabeth is not only a master of capturing the moment, she’s a true pioneer who has carved out a distinctive niche in the world of wedding photography and risen to the top! Read on to find out what keeps Elizabeth motivated creatively, where she finds her inspiration and how she deals with creative struggles. 

Elizabeth, your work has given rise to a unique genre of artful wedding photography. Can you describe your style and what inspires it?

EM: Thank you. I think my style is intimate and artistic, even moody at times. I am an artist at heart. I adore photographing women and people in love. I am also drawn to capturing beautiful spaces, still moments, longing, sadness, the sky, life…… I’ve had a love affair with natural light and film for sometime now. Arte is air for me. I hope my work evokes an emotional or visceral response from the viewer. I yearn to capture feelings, not just images. Arte provides a bit of grace amongst the mundane demands of day to day life. I put a lot of effort into running my business and being present for my family, but underneath it all, I am always an artist in my heart. Beauty has a place, has meaning in our complicated lives. Arte matters. Weddings are full of such sweetness and joy, it’s an honor to capture people in love.

Did you ever doubt your creative direction? How did you deal with that?

EM: Creativity can often be elusive. This is true not just when I photograph weddings but with all of my work. I am extremely critical of my own images and am very rarely satisfied. I strive to be better and more consistent. Photography is an interactive and constantly changing arte form. I try to remain engaged and thoughtful about light and compassion each time I compose an image.

What sets your photography apart and what about your photography do you take most pride in?

EM: Photography is my passion. I am most proud that I have been able to do it for so long. My first camera was a gift from my mother when I was twelve years old. I was in love instantly with making images. At such a tender age, I did not know photography would be come such an important part of my life. Photography is the language of memories. There is an intangible quality to making photographs that defies language. That is what I love. Each shoot I am in search of a language I do not fully understand, a gesture, something authentic. I hope I can continue to capture memories and make arte for many years to come.

You are constantly around new people in settings where emotions are high. What has being a photographer taught you?

EM: The dance of the unknown. There is great beauty in how a shoot unfolds. Although I feel confident as a photographer, I do not know what or how the day will reveal it self. There is a gentle magic that I want to discover. Sometimes it is how the window light caresses the curve of a cheekbone. Other times, it is the connection between myself and the subject. A shoot for me is a quiet, sacred space. I try to remain present and respond. I strive to create images that honor both my inner voice and each couple’s unique and beautiful wedding day.

Do you have a favorite image you’ve shot, and why is it “the one?”

EM: I could never choose a favorite. There are so many moments and images that are dear to my heart. I’ve chosen a few of those to share with you in this interview. The images that linger with me are ones that capture something I cannot put into words but rather encapsulate a feeling.

Thank you for sharing, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth has been a true inspiration creatively, and we feel very lucky to have had the chance to work with her and experience her magic first hand! (We’ll be posting some of our favorite shots from our past shoot with her on IG this week!) We hope you enjoyed learning about her creative process much as we did. Below you will find ways to keep up with all the beautiful projects Elizabeth Messina has to come!

Website: Elizabeth Messina

Shop: The Arte Department

Instagram: @elizabethmessina

 

INSPIRING WOMAN: Mary Beth LaRue Aporta

This week we were lucky enough to get a word with the radiant Mary Beth LaRue Aporta, a life-coaching, yoga-teaching, mother and founder of Rock Your Bliss, a movement encouraging self-love, authenticity and community. Read about Mary Beth, how she got to where she is today, how she deals with creative blocks and her thoughts on being a foster mama.

Mary Beth, you are a yoga teacher, life coach, wife, mama and co-founder of a blissful company Rock Your Bliss. How did this lovely journey begin?

MB: I moved to Washington DC after college to work for a magazine. I was at a desk all day long and found myself becoming pretty depressed. I found a yoga class down the street and immediately fell in love with how it felt to be back in my body and breathing deeply. I signed up for a yoga teacher training and after another year at my desk job started teaching and freelance writing, leaving the desk behind. I moved to Los Angeles a couple of years later where I immersed myself in a lot of new teachers and practices and met my BFF Jacki Carr, who I started Rock Your Bliss with, and my husband Matt Aporta, not long after that. He proposed with a ring designed by YOU. 🙂

How important is creativity to you? Do you ever find yourself creatively stuck, and how do you find your way out?

MB: Absolutely important. I’m pretty aware of the things that suck my energy – emails, too much time on social media, overthinking etc – and try to spend an afternoon in the park or coffee shop with just my notebook every week. My yoga mat is also a place where I explore creativity as well as reading and writing.

You remind us about the importance of self-love. What are some of your favorite ways to appreciate and to love yourself?

MB: Time outside in nature, writing, bubble baths, getting a facial and my brows down at Browdown Studio, wearing anything other than yoga clothes to just be out and about (too many years in them I guess!), meditation.

What does it really mean to you to “rock your bliss”?

MB: Living an authentic and vulnerable life that was meant for you. When I was younger I often found myself living someone else’s “shoulds” or values and if I would’ve stayed on that path my life would’ve looked very different. The life I’m living is so where I’m supposed to be.

What has being a new and foster mom taught you about life?

MB: Ahhhhh.. everything. Our little guy came to us at six days old and is now 9.5 months old and we still don’t have any idea if he will be with us forever. But honestly none of us know what is coming tomorrow or in the next hour and the best thing we can do is live boldly, vulnerably and give 100 percent of ourselves in the face of uncertainty. I am so grateful for the gift of unconditional love no matter what conditions are present. We are capable of so much more than we might think or believe.

Thank you for sharing, Mary Beth!

Staying true to your personality, self, and style is the approach we believe in when it comes to designing wedding jewelry as well. Working with Mary Beth and Matt on a ring that reflected her individuality and style was a dream! We hope you enjoyed learning about the good she is doing and are as inspired by her bliss-crafting as we are. Below you will find where to keep up with Mary Beth and her adventures to come!

Website: Rock Your Bliss

Blog: www.marybethlarue.com/

Instagram: @marybethlarue

INSPIRING WOMAN: Monica Stephenson

We are so excited to launch a month of Inspiring Women! Each week in October we’ll be sharing the stories of dedicated women who make the world a better place, whether it be through giving back or adding creative value to the world around them, or both!

We’re happy to start our series with Monica Stephenson, founder and president of Anza Gems. Monica has spent 20 plus years working in various aspects of the jewelry industry. Since 2008, she has been writing about jewelry, designers, and trends on her award-winning jewelry blog, www.idazzle.com. Monica first traveled to East Africa with a jewelry documentary film, Sharing the Rough, in January of 2014. She went out of curiosity and a sense of responsibility to truly see where gemstones originate. What she saw there changed her life. Read on to learn how Monica blazes her own glittering, gem-filled trail while she makes a meaningful impact on people’s lives.

You are a leading woman in the gem industry, shedding light on ethical gem mining and giving back to local mine communities. What got you started in jewelry and how did you find yourself starting ANZA Gems?

MS: As I’m sure you can relate, jewelry has been a lifelong love affair. Over the twenty plus years I’ve been in jewelry, I’ve occupied a number of different roles, including sales, buying, helping Amazon launch their jewelry business, and blogging since 2008 at idazzle.com. In 2013 I saw a tweet about a jewelry documentary that was going to East Africa to tell the story of a gemstone from the dirt to finished piece, and I was totally hooked!  

I traveled with the film, Sharing the Rough, and ended up so moved by the miners and dealers and communities there that I started ANZA Gems in 2015.  I figured there had to be a way to help the people in the gem trade in Tanzania and Kenya participate more in the global gem market. I buy rough gemstones when I travel there several times a year, and have them faceted in the US by artisanal precision cutters. Many of these gems end up in designer fine jewelry, showcasing the beauty of East African gems, and supporting artisans at every level, from mining to faceting to the finished piece.  Ten percent of the purchase of every gemstone goes back to primary and trade schools in the gemstone communities we source from. We’re also working on other initiatives that support Tanzanian cutters to earn a living by faceting to precision standards. 

What were some challenges you faced when starting ANZA Gems? Are any of those challenges posed due to being a woman in the mining industry?

MS: When I thought of this business idea—a completely vertical supply chain based in developing countries with little to no infrastructure—it occurred to me that it was INSANE. Totally bananas. ANZA means “begin” in Swahili, and I figured that it was so crazy, I just had to start somewhere.  

There are major challenges that range from some political instability in the countries where I travel, to shipping and banking issues, to three steps forward then two steps back with some of our philanthropy we provide. Nothing is easy and you cannot take anything for granted. But I will say that many, many things have gone beautifully and there has been such respect and support everywhere, sometimes when I least expect it!  

When I travel to the mines in Tanzania and Kenya, I’m often one the only Western woman they have ever met! But I always feel welcomed, and will sometimes share a cup of tea or a meal out in the bush. And they definitely remember me the next time I visit! I think the potential challenge lies more in dealing with the traditional gemstone community in the United States. I come from a perspective of transparency and support for everyone in the supply chain, and hope that others share that philosophy. I find myself supporting women where I can in every facet of the business, from the Tanzanian Women Miners Association (TaWoMa) to women gem cutters to designers to photographers and more.  If we build a culture of support for women, we all win!

ANZA Gems gives back to the communities where the gems are sourced from by providing meals and opportunities for growth. What has been the most rewarding part of the entire experience and process?

MS: Um, all of it?!  For all the challenges of this business, there are many moments of joy: visiting the Maasai primary school and going to one of the student’s homes; making true friends and visiting their families with my own family, seeing gems faceted by a newly graduated lapidary student…

It’s also rewarding to see gorgeous jewelry created with these spectacular gemstones and Fairmined or recycled gold and platinum. It is jewelry that does so much good, for everyone involved. That’s some good karma.

You’re quite the globe trotter. Can you tell us a little bit about your wildest “gem hunt?”

MS: I’ve had a couple of very interesting gem adventures, but probably the wildest was one of my first gem buying trips. I had just arrived in Tanzania for the Arusha Gem Fair, and saw a Facebook post by my friend Okeno, who has a grossular garnet mine in Kenya. I commented that I would love to see his new mine sometime, and he responded, “how about tomorrow?”

The plan was to leave midday right after the gem show, drive about 4-5 hours across the border to Voi, Kenya, spend the night, drive 3+ hours to the mine after breakfast, visit the mine, then drive the 7 or so hours back across the TZ border to the Kilimanjaro airport for my flight home. There was no time to spare, we would lucky to make the plane, and there was no margin for error, nothing could go wrong…

Of course, I said “twende” (let’s go)!! And Okeno drove like a rally driver over dirt roads (elephant tracks?), we crossed the border into Kenya despite a power outage at the immigration office, and made it to our hotel. The next morning, we drove through increasingly isolated bush to the mine, visited with the miners (and saw the scorpions they had just killed), and got to see their progress tunneling to find the elusive and glorious tsavorite! Then it was back in the car, fishtailing through the red dirt and acacias, Maasai and baobab trees just a blur as we raced through Tsavo park, back across the border, and pulled up at 7:20pm for me to make my 9pm flight back through Amsterdam and on to Seattle. I was filthy and my hair was in dreadlocks, but it was totally worth it!  

What is your favorite gemstone -and why 😉

Oh, this is like the favorite child question for parents!  It’s so impossible!  But, for you, I will try. I find I’m more in love with garnet every day. The variety that comes out of the ground in East Africa is pretty stunning: kiwi to tsavorite green, apricot, rosé, and raspberry, fanta orange spessartite, the list goes on… Garnet polishes beautifully and is relatively affordable.

But then there is spinel….and those unheated natural sapphires from the Umba Valley region of Tanzania…

Thank you for sharing, Monica! 

We are so happy to share Monica’s incredible story with you all and hope you find her as motivating as we do. Sofia will be featuring her gems in some upcoming designs and we couldn’t be more honored to collaborate with such an inspiring woman! Below you can find where to keep up with Monica as her journey continues!

Website: Anza Gems

Blog: idazzle

Instagram: @anzagems @idazzle

Stack, Stack, Layer, Repeat:
How to Build Your Dream Stack

Stacking rings are a versatile way to a style a statement look that is as unique as you are. Layer your favorite delicate, diamond stackable rings or detailed vintage bands to create a beautiful self-expression. Rings have always served as markers of special events. Why wear one at a time when you can treasure all those precious memories together?

Our newest collection, Oceana Luxe, is all about stacking and layering within the collection as well as mixing and matching with the pieces you already have in your jewel box. Read on to discover our tips on how to build your dream stack!

1) HAVE A FOCAL POINT

Your focal point should be the star of the show, the piece that initially catches your eye when you look down. Although a diamond looks great, your focal point can be a pretty gemstone too, and should ultimately be a piece you really love. And who doesn’t like a pop of color? Make it meaningful by adding a loved one’s birthstone or maybe your favorite color. There are no rules here!

Our limited edition collection, Oceana Luxe features Australian Boulder opals in shade of azure blue, sea foam green and splashes of crimson red sunsets to draw you in.

2) A LITTLE SPARKLE

Adding some bling to your stack will give it that certain, ahem, je ne sais quoi, provided by that glittery touch. And don’t be afraid to add more than one sparkly piece! The more, the merrier.

3) MIXED TEXTURES

Playing with textures and even mixed metals creates depth and gives your stack some excitement. Have fun mixing some textured matte yellow gold bands with a shiny white gold accent. Or stick with a single shade and vary your shapes- round, squared, bumpy, smooth. The contrast will create undeniable drama – the good kind.

Stacks are a fun and easy way to collect pieces that you love and wear them all at the same time. Click HERE to get your stacking on!

Happy stacking! x

How to Build your Wedding Stack

Recently Bride’s Magazine asked us how to craft the “Ultimate Ring Stack”, and did we have some tips!

Keep reading the full interview to see what Sofia recommends for building not just the perfect wedding stack, but any ring stack!

How many rings should be in a stack?

At least 3, but the more the merrier. We say build a well curated stack until you run out of room. Then pick another stacking style to work on!

Can you mix metals? What about stones?

Yes, and yes. My number one take-away is that there should be one “focal point” or theme to a stack. If a bride chooses yellow gold to be the common thread, then she can definitely mix all textures of yellow gold, along with different stone colors.  Rather, if she likes a mixed metal style, I would stick with one color stone, something neutral like a white or champagne diamonds to pull the look together.

How should a bride go about layering different ring styles?

Again, my advice would be to pick a common theme. Maybe a bride is drawn to different textures or would like a mix or modern and vintage. If she likes textural pieces, I would stick with one color metal and then play with different silhouettes. Part of the fun in creating a bridal stack comes when we see each personal coming up with a different way to express her individuality.

Are there certain silhouettes of rings that brides should look for when building a stack?

You can play with different shapes when creating a stack, but in general my tip would be to stay with a similar profile in all the rings. By profile, I’m referring to the thickness “chunkiness” between the fingers. When you start to vary this dimension the stack tends to look out of balance. Some pieces will protrude farther past others and the set will not look cohesive.

Should you opt for a different engagement ring design if you know you want a stacked set of bands to go with it?

Great question! There are basically three ways to go about this.

1) If you like a big, bling-y look, you can have a raised mounting that sits up above the shank (band) of your ring. This style ring will show off the sparkle, and allow you to have a flush, layered stack.

2) Then there are low mountings that are set partially into the shank. Overall, this gives a lower profile to the ring, and a more subdued look. In order to achieve a flush stack, this will require the additional bands to frame this central area by following the contour of the low setting.

3) Finally, you can go with a low mounting and pair it with bands that do not conform to the shape of the mounting creating a more eclectic, “collected” look. This will result in negative space where the bands don’t touch, which can sometimes look good, when that negative space adds a design element. You just need to be careful with this long term. As the rings will be rubbing against each other over time, they can begin to wear one another down, especially if the metals are mixed and have different hardnesses.

What is a Rose Cut Diamond?

Romantic, subtle, and full of character, the Rose cut is an antique-style gem cut that is making a revival in modern jewelry, and is a favorite diamond cut found in many of my designs. The Rose cut, first developed during the late 16th century, is fashioned with a flat base (no pavilion) and a dome covered with triangular shaped facets. 

Antique Rose cut diamonds were designed to sparkle in candle-lit rooms, scintillating with diamond’s unique fire, like no other gem. I love using Rose cut diamonds today for much the same reason- the understated beauty of the diamond shines through without the high-wattage sparkle of a “full” or brilliant cut diamond. This is due to the physical shape of the Rose cut. Being flat on the bottom, when light enters the top of the stone, there are less opportunities (less depth and facets) for light to bounce around and return to your eye. Much of the light passes through the stone, hence the reduced brilliance. However, the reduced carat weight for the same diameter can be considered a “pro” to this cut. The Rose cut is a perfect choice for someone wanting a a diamond with a larger surface area for a (generally speaking) lower cost than a brilliant cut of the same diameter. 

While modern Rose cuts can often be calibrated, there are countless organic shapes available. These unique, freeform shapes appeal to someone who is drawn toward natural designs with a vintage inspiration, making them the perfect choice for many our designs!

To see what these gems look like in action, check out out my top picks of engagement rings with Rose cut diamonds below.

Click here to see our entire SK collection of Rose cut diamond engagement rings.  Enjoy!

Can We Speak in Flowers

Why Flowers?

“We plant, we nurture, we grow and we give, different flowers for different moments in time, but all for the same purpose: to say that which cannot be said, and to say it with beauty and with grace.”  ~ Vanessa Diffenbaugh

In so many cultures through time, flowers have been central to the human experience.  From east to west, ancient societies to modern, whether we celebrate, love, mourn or pray, we do it with flowers in our hands.

What is the Language of Flowers?

The Language of Flowers is a form of secret communication through the use or arrangement of flowers. Meaning has been given to flowers for thousands of years, and some form floral language has been practiced in traditional cultures throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

The Victorians embraced all things romantic, and the Language of Flowers was no exception. Gifts of blooms, plants, and specific floral arrangements were used to send a coded message to the recipient, allowing the sender to express feelings which could not be spoken aloud in Victorian society.

Flower symbolism could be seen widely in jewelry, which by nature is designed to celebrate all the important moments in life. Victorian jewelers crafted roses, violets and forget-me-nots for courtship jewels. Orange blossoms proliferate in wedding rings. And wreaths of cypress are ever-present in mourning jewelry.

Flowers and their secret meanings are central to the inspiration behind this collection.

 There are five main flowers: the pansy, daisy, rose, dahlia and lily of the valley that we’ve created in gem-set designs,  hinting their unique messages in the form of pendants, earring charms and rings. We then evolved these simple shapes to more elaborate floral cluster designs. We call these gemmy bouquets, Giardinettis, after the original Giardinetti pieces made in the 17th century. Meaning “little gardens” these tokens were not meant to be secretive, but rather a more obvious and friendly expression towards one who is cherished- a mini garden that never fades.

Also dusted throughout the collection are several one of a kind pieces, incorporating original antique components with our signature designs, creating one-of-a-kind pieces filled with history and sentiment.

Our latest additions to the Language of Flowers collection incorporate old world enamel craftsmanship, reimagined in some of our everyday classics, like stackable bands and signet rings for the modern woman with a vintage persuasion at her heart.

Our styled photoshoot was inspired by visions of an Odalisque, a dreamer, a lover.

Florals focused around the rose, perhaps the most classic symbol of love. A lush set designed by Amy Nicole in shades of amber, dusty rose and white created the perfect warmth and richness this vision deserved.

Gowns by Gossamer, one of our favorite spots for ethereal garments in Los Angeles, added the rich details and feminine silhouettes. Soft, natural looking make up and hair provided by our fave stylist Jenny Bowker. The dreamy Katiusha Feofanova was the perfect muse for this romantic campaign. And no shoot is complete without the craft and vision of our very own S. Elle Quintana behind the lens.

photography: Stephanie Elle Quintana @selle_studios

floral : Amy Balsters @amynicolefloral

gowns: Gossamer @shopgossamer

model : Katiusha @katiusha_feofanova

hair & make up : Jenny Bowker @sistergolden

poem : @nayyirah.waheed