Jewel Journal

EMMA + JOHN’S STORY

Hello! Kennedy here, our Social Media Director at SKFJ. The month of February is a fun one – it’s the month of love. And being in the wedding business, we have a lot of love to celebrate. This is why we invented SK Love Stories, where we feature couples that we’ve had the absolute pleasure of working with to create their dream ring(s) to symbolize and celebrate their unique love. I’m chiming in because I personally had the pleasure of working with Emma and John at one of our pop-ups in Chicago. They were one of our first appointments, but one of the most memorable. Emma and John casually strolled into our suite with what felt like the intention to simply play with some shapes and styles. After trying on one certain Annika ring that featured a very special Old European, it was quite obvious it was the one. After some design changes and a very adorable pom-prosal (see below), this lively couple is engaged to be married. Read on for their sweet love story that took place in high-COVID times!

Names: John Barlow + Emma Ward

Current location: Chicago, IL

Meeting date + location: March 2020 – Hinge App

Wedding date + location: November 4, 2023 – Barcelona, Spain

Sofia Kaman Love Story Engagement

Back to the start of all of this – how did you lovebirds meet?

Emma hit on John via Hinge in late-March 2020, right before COVID lockdowns began.

Your first date – give us the details.

After talking for a while on Hinge, we got to the point where we finally decided to meet in person and go on a date. While we were discussing getting something on the calendar, COVID lockdowns began and all of the restaurants and public spaces in Chicago were closed indefinitely. With the typical dates no longer available, John came up with the idea to do a “Facetime date”, where we would both get delivery from the same restaurant, in order to be able to comment on the food so it felt like we were actually dining out together. John would then Venmo Emma the cost of her meal. The date went surprisingly well and we Facetimed late into the night. John was a gentleman and paid as promised. After the success of the Facetime date, we discussed how much we wished we could meet in person. With COVID lockdowns still in place and Chicago’s cold winter still ongoing, options remained limited. John proposed meeting at his place for dinner. In order to make Emma comfortable with the idea, John sent a picture of his driver’s license, to prove his identity and for her to provide friends and family should she go missing. She agreed. Emma was dropped off by her six-foot-tall, D1 water polo player sister, who was going to “handle things” should she not hear back from Emma throughout the night. John greeted Emma at the door in an apron and was preparing soup and homemade bread for dinner. We watched a movie and did a puzzle. The rest is history.

Sofia Kaman Love Story Engagement

When did you first say “I love you”? Who said it first?!

Right away, probably two weeks into dating. We were both equally infatuated. We aren’t sure who said it first, but it was probably John because he’s a Pisces.

How or when did you know that your significant other was the one?

It was very early, probably one or two weeks after meeting and spending time together. Both of our prior relationships had been with toxic, controlling partners. We immediately bonded over how free we felt with each other, our empathetic natures, and our ability to heal and support each other.

Sofia Kaman Love Story Engagement

The proposal – please tell us the story!

Emma had a series of intense, unexpected surgeries the first year of our relationship. John stood by her side and supported her through it all. (This was another factor that showed Emma that John truly was the one). Something that helped Emma through the surgeries was John’s promise that they would get a dog after her final surgery. Enter Monty the teacup Pomeranian. A year into getting Monty, the most precious, tan Pomeranian, they decided he needed a friend. Turns out the breeder still had Monty’s biological brother and sole littermate. It was destiny. Emma flew to Pittsburg to pick up his jet-black brother we named Merlin. ANYWAYS, Emma was getting back from a 12-hour night shift as a labor and delivery nurse, when John let the Pomeranians out in the back yard after she had parked. Monty was wearing a little sign around his neck that said “Marry” and Merlin was wearing a sign that said “Me”. John then came outside wearing a heart-shaped sign around his neck with a “?”. Emma was so stunned (and tired from her shift) she stood there blankly for a second as things registered. Then she immediately walked to John and hugged him. He got down on one knee as the poms ran around them both. It was truly a magical Pom-posal.

What is your favorite thing about your significant other?

Emma loves that John is patient, calm, collected, and a loving attentive Pomeranian/cat dad. Emma also loves that John is a foodie and likes to cook. John loves Emma’s empathetic nature, surprising humor, and constant undying support.

Sofia Kaman Love Story Engagement

Do you have any notable stories that have stood out over the years – hilarious, sentimental, anything!

Since most of our time as a couple was spent in the vacuum of lockdowns, we had a lot of time on our hands. One time we got really into watching seasons of Rue Paul’s Drag Race. Emma does hair and makeup for weddings as a side-gig, so decided to do drag makeup on John, and ended up creating his drag alter ego, “The Duchess of Rockwell”. Another time, John got into a phase (probably about 3 months) where he was absolutely determined to learn how to shuffle dance, as all the cool kids were doing on TikTok. Emma was recovering from one of her surgeries at the time, and John would shuffle dance with flapper hands to make her laugh hilariously. The jury is still out on if he shuffle dances well.

What’s your go-to date night idea?

Ordering in, Pomeranian cuddles, and watching a range of shows or movies depending on our mood. Be it Yellowstone, The Great British Baking Show, or Rue Paul’s Drag Race, we have range. We recently bought a Japanese futon, which allows us to lay on the floor to get extra cozy.

Let’s talk jewels – how did you choose this ring?! Who took the reins on designing or choosing your ring? Give us all the deets.

Both Emma and John wanted a non-cookie cutter, unique, vintage-inspired engagement ring, that was as much of a work of art as a ring (high standards, we know). In the quest for the perfect ring, John stumbled upon Sofia Kaman while searching the web for “Mermaid Style Jewelry”, because Emma has always loved mermaids. John instantly became obsessed because they had the “Mermaid Vibe” (whatever that is) he was looking for. John showed Emma Sofia Kaman’s Instagram and she fell in love. We were planning a trip to Santa Monica to try rings on in person, when destiny struck, and Sofia Kaman did a pop-up event in Chicago. John immediately booked a time to meet. Emma had no idea what she wanted, but Kennedy was amazing and so beyond helpful. We loved so many pieces, but Emma kept going back to one solitaire ring, that had a beautiful Old European Cut diamond as the star. Since Emma works in healthcare, she wanted something low profile she could wear under sterile gloves. The setting of the diamond she fell in love with wasn’t as flush as she wanted, so Kennedy proposed putting the diamond in a Billie setting. We were sold and bought the ring the same day! We can now confirm the Billie setting can be worn with sterile procedure gloves with no issues at all. And of course, it is complemented by ALL the laboring moms on how beautiful it is!

Alright – so what does the future hold for the two of you?! Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?

Creating one big happy family with the addition of human children.

Finally, if you could add any piece to your SKFJ collection, which one would it be?!

We will take them all, thanks. No, Emma likes the Small Melt Ring, Evangeline – Knife Edge Band, Engraved Leaves Band, French Cut Channel Set Band, and the Scalloped Crown Band.

Do you have an SK Love Story to share!? Submit it here for your chance to be featured next.

2022 Holiday Gift Guide

It’s officially the holiday season and our hearts are bursting with excitement. We *passionately* wave hello to garland-adorned entryways, trees dressed in twinkling lights, and the warming sense of hope that fills the atmosphere during this time of year. ‘Tis the season we adore, picturing smiling faces unwrapping golden delights that will carry immense amounts of sentiment for a lifetime and beyond. The Glitter Gals are here to serve and have hand-selected ten of SKFJ’s most gift-able baubles, each one sure to leave hearts swooning this holiday season!

torn paper band with diamond stripe

DIAMOND STRIPE TORN PAPER BAND

On the first day of Christmas, you gave to your true love…our coveted Diamond Stripe Torn Paper Band, of course! For those who walk the line of glamour with a touch of bohemian tastes, this eclectic treasure boasts the perfect soft, everyday style and if our history with this piece has taught us anything, it is that it would absolutely be the most loved gift unwrapped this year.

DIAMOND TEARDROP NECKLACE

THE HOLLYWOOD DIAMOND NECKLACE

Indicative of the glimmering lights that have inspired Los Angeles’ most infamous alumni, this sexy, spiked layering chain is ideal for the glitzy style maven in your life. If your gifted gal frequently sashays from one glamorous outing to the next, we are positive that this glittering chain is her perfect companion. Equally opulent worn alone as it is paired with other pieces, this glamorous statement piece is sure to be a special adornment under any tree. We’ll cheers to that!

DIAMOND PAPERCLIP HOOP EARRINGS

DIAMOND PAPERCLIP HOOP EARRINGS

Fit for any earring lover, the paperclip earrings are sure to become the newest quintessential addition to your receiver’s everyday jewelry collection. Glimmering in gold and carefully paved with over one hundred tiny diamonds, there is no better way to start the New Year than being decadently adorned with these chic, sparkling hoops. Minimalism at its finest, we boldly claim that these are the perfect pair of earrings for any woman in search of a dazzling duo that does it all!

SMALL HEART SHAPE COLLET WITH EMERALD ON BALL CHAIN

HARMONY HEART SHAPE EMERALD COLLET CHARM ON BALL CHAIN

This Christmas, you gave them your heart…and by heart, we mean an emerald heart, of course! In celebration of an upcoming year filled with balance, prosperity, and growth, our sweet Harmony collet charm necklace is the perfect piece to gift a loved one at the brink of success. Although, we can’t help but think that this hopeful heart would be the sweetest collectible in any jewelry collection! Adorned with an eye-catching heart-shaped emerald, this delightful bauble is our version of a Holiday miracle.

TORN PAPER WEDDING BAND WITH 5 DIAMOND STARS- 3MM

TORN PAPER BAND WITH 5 DIAMOND STARS

For those on your nice list….5 glimmering golden stars! A woman without jewelry is like a night sky without stars, so we are sure that this piece is just the thing any whimsical woman in your life has been missing. Utterly sweet and stackable, this band would make for a perfect gift this holiday season.

PAPERCLIP PLATE CHAIN

THE SHIMMER PAPERCLIP PLATE CHAIN

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that you can’t go wrong with an everyday layering chain. In our hearts, “layering season” isn’t just a season, it’s a lifestyle. If your recipient harbors the same mentality, we highly recommend adding our glossy Paperclip Plate Chain to their jewelry collection this holiday. Minimal with a touch of flair, “The Shimmer” paperclip plate chain nonchalantly suggests, “I’m chic.” We are utterly obsessed with its ability to up the ante on any minimal neck stack while keeping the overall tone neutral and classic! From the bottom of our (golden) hearts, we couldn’t imagine a more perfect gift!

VICTORIAN PEARL RING

VICTORIAN PEARL RING

We always say, there is nothing that evokes romance quite like a vintage ring. Brimming with a lifetime of narratives, and an unparalleled charm, we are sure that these heirlooms would be cherished and passed down for generations to come. Romantic and feminine, we think our Victorian pearl ring would make the perfect gift for any romantic soul in your life. A love letter from times past we can’t help but swoon over the thought of this sentimental piece being unwrapped this holiday season!

DOUBLE DIAMOND STUD EARRINGS

Give the gift of glimmer! Twinkling with a time-worn charm, our dainty Double Diamond Stud Earrings boast a perfect mix of understated, asymmetric and subtle qualities. For the loved one who appreciates rustic details, a minimal aesthetic and the perfect pinch of sparkle, these sweet studs would undoubtably become the newest go-to’s in your giftee’s jewel box!

CONFETTI DIAMOND STACKING RING

We can’t think of a better way to ring (pun intended) in the new year than with a dramatic toss of of confetti! Twinkling with joy, this dazzling band can be worn any which way for a fun surprise of mixed sparkles, or layered up with other diamond bands for a dazzling fun-fetti look. A celebration of a stellar year in 2022 and all that’s to come in 2023, this piece would ultimately be the gift that will leave your recipient cheers-ing to life all night long!

ANNIKA - 2.48 PEAR SHAPE DIAMOND ENGAGEMENT RING

ANNIKA 2.48ct PEAR SHAPE DIAMOND ENGAGEMENT RING

If you anticipate this year ending with the most beautiful gift of all, the promise of forever, then we’ve got you covered. This past year we’ve has the pleasure of working closely with couples near and far to create their unique tokens of love. Many shapes and styles have traveled through our doors and onto loving hands in 2022, but now that the year is coming to a close, we can confidently state that this year was certainly the year of the pear. We believe that this is due to the shapes unique and elongating presence on the finger, but of course, the extra room for sparkle never hurts! Glittering with antique charm and set in our widely-loved Annika style, this 2.48ct unique engagement ring would absolutely make any lover’s heart burst with unbridled joy!

Still feeling lost? SKFJ’s Glitter Gals have you covered! Shop our extensive curated holiday collection filled with sparkles and cheer HERE or feel free to email us at stylist@sofiakaman.com for any personalized recommendations. Happy shopping!

Dishing on Lab Made Diamonds: Our Top 3 Reasons to Treasure One!

unique engagement ring, lab made diamondsSKFJ Glitter Gals here with a very important message for our jewel loving bunch… the votes are in and lab is not drab! While we can’t argue with the allure of one of nature’s sparkliest miracles…a natural diamond, we also feel the need to communicate the benefits of  lab grown diamond rings. Over the past years, we’ve been thrilled to create a myriad of lifelong treasures with sustainability in mind using lab made diamonds. As their popularity continues to rise, so do the questions that come with the territory. Lack of proper education has lead to a some skepticism surrounding them. With the release of our newest engagement ring drop of lab grown diamond engagement rings, we figured it was the perfect time to share what we believe are the Top 3 Reasons these glimmering diamond alternatives are taking the jewelry world by storm!

unique engagement ring, lab made diamonds

SUSTAINABILITY

In our modern age of electric cars and advanced solar energy, the world continues to push an eco-conscious state of mind and many industries (jewelry included) have had to step back and reassess their ways. It’s no secret that the diamond mining industry has been associated with unethical practices, and many conscientious brides-to-be are in search of more sustainable options. Not only do lab made diamonds avoid the damages to the earth incurred with mining, but one of our lab grown suppliers, Diamond Foundry, has discovered an additional way to help the environment. They have developed proprietary plasma reactors that source their carbon from nasty greenhouse gases (like methane) crystallizing it into diamonds! So, if you are after an ecological choice with the same sparkle and benefits of a natural diamond, lab made diamonds may just be the perfect option.

unique engagement ring, lab made diamonds

CARBON COPIES

Say it with us now – lab grown diamonds are chemically, physically, and optically identical to natural diamonds. The durability and sparkle that makes diamonds the coveted choice for unique engagement rings remains the same whether the diamond is earth made or lab grown. Available in all shapes, sizes, and cuts, they offer the same benefits as natural diamonds in nearly every avenue. It is imperative to note the distinction between lab made diamonds and diamond simulants, such as cubic zirconia and moissanite. Lab made diamonds are 100% pure carbon crystal while simulants do not harbor the same chemical and physical properties as natural diamonds. When natural diamonds are formed in the earth’s mantle, it is through extremely high pressure and temperature. This occurrence causes the element carbon to rearrange on an atomic level, and thus take on the solid form of a diamond. Lab made diamonds have the exact same composition as natural diamonds, except that simply, they are diamonds created in a lab.  They walk like a diamond, talk like a diamond, shine like a diamond; one could even say that they are carbon-copies (pun intended)!  And, just like natural diamonds, once they have been created, cut, and shaped, lab diamonds are sent to an independent gem lab to be certified by an expert.

unique engagement ring, lab made diamonds

COST

Put simply, lab made diamonds offer all of the delicious sparkle that we know and love at a fraction of the price. If you are after a large carat size and/or a whiter stone for your unique engagement ring, those 2 factors make the largest contribution to both the visual impact and to the cost of the ring.  Generally speaking, lab diamond engagement rings are usually 30-40% less expensive than natural diamonds, allowing your budget to perhaps reach those larger sizes and more colorless stones. Feel fabulous rocking your chunky sparkler knowing that you have made a conscious choice. Head to our Instagram or Lab Grown section to see how these beauties shine, and maybe pick one of your own to treasure forever!

 

Favorite Unique Engagement Ring: Sloane

unique engagement ring, pear shape diamond ring

It’s true, we can’t deny the lure of a classic solitaire engagement ring, but what if we said there was an option with a touch more je ne sais quoi for our style mavens out there?

Sass, glamour, and a sui generis disposition collide in one of our favorite unique engagement rings, Miss Sloane. Crafted for the fashion connoisseur who wants the look and feel of minimalist engagement rings with a bit of charisma, Sloane stands out as the alluring choice that will warrant a serious double take from any looker. Featuring a completely non-traditional band that wraps around in a snake-y fashion, Sloane’s slight opening provides the ring with adjustable power. A sparkling hidden halo delicately surrounds the underside of the stone for the perfect finishing touch, boasting a sweet surprise for the wearer’s eyes.

unique engagement ring, pear shape diamond ring

There is simply no denying that pear shaped engagement rings are experiencing a major comeback in the jewel sphere. Quite frankly, they are becoming one of the top choices for many of the about-to-be brides that waltz into our showroom. Their timeless asymmetry provides the illusion of a larger size in comparison to some of the other diamond shapes, so one could say that they are a better value with a sizable surface area. Set east-west, this unique pear shape diamond ring provides just the right amount of finger coverage all while elevating the look of the classic pear silhouette.

Whether worn as an engagement ring or a fabulous right hand ring, the Sloane is made for the woman that isn’t afraid of a little (or a lot) of extra attention and SPARKLE! Although we are truly in love with her as a pear shape ring, there may or may not be different versions of Sloane on the way… Be sure to keep an eye on our New Arrivals  for more updates!

Unique Wedding Bands for Your Capsule Jewelry Wardrobe

This year, we have seen a major pivot in the realm of fashion. While micro-trends boom in and out of glory, most are reverting to chic and long-lasting pieces to construct what has been coined as a ‘capsule wardrobe’. Put plainly, forever investment pieces are so in and anything that will only get a few wears is so out. When it comes to jewelry this can refer to many things, such as the materials your pieces are made of (learn about different golden materials here), or the actual silhouette of the pieces that you are purchasing.

Building the perfect set of stacking rings to compliment your unique engagement ring can be tricky, as you want to ensure that your special sparkler is always the star of the show, and that you are choosing pieces that will maintain their charm for years to come. Much like fashion, there are plenty of micro-jewelry trends (do jelly bracelets ring a bell?), however, if you are meticulous about your picks, you will find yourself with capsule pieces that will withstand the test of time!

gold wedding band, unique engagement ring

WIDE GOLD WEDDING BAND

Classic and timeless, plain gold wedding bands are a timeless staple in any jewelry wardrobe. Paired with a unique engagement ring, they create a standout look that is perfect for any bride looking to add a touch of edge to their stack. You can’t go wrong with the straight cut of a classic cigar band, but if you are in search of something a bit more artful, variations like our Torn Paper Bands provide a bit of flair with their irregular edges.

wedding bands with diamonds, unique wedding bands, unique engagement ring

CHUNKY WEDDING BANDS WITH DIAMONDS

When it comes to the art of stacking rings, we can’t say no to a touch of sparkle. Wedding bands with diamonds are a classic choice, but for a capsule piece, we are all about slightly larger diamond bands due to their versatility. Pair a larger diamond band with your engagement ring for a super sparkly look or wear it alone for an equally glittery appearance on simpler days. Pieces like these will never go out of style and will surely serve as forever go-to’s in your jewel box.

unique wedding bands, unique engagement ring

UNIQUE WEDDING BANDS

If you adore the look of stacked wedding rings, it may be time to experiment with what we refer to as nesting bands to perfectly embrace every curve of your stone. Stacking rings is a true art-form, and if you don’t mind a little bit of extra pizazz, these unique wedding bands can amplify the overall experience of your set. When it comes to capsule pieces, the name of the game is keeping it classic. With this in mind, we think the subtle curve and minimal appearance of our Melt Bands provide the perfect middle ground between a playful and sophisticated look that will carry you through each and every season.

salt and pepper diamond, salt and pepper diamond ring, unique engagement rings

HONORARY MENTION: SALT AND PEPPER DIAMOND RING

P.S. if you didn’t already know it, fall is in full swing and what many people don’t realize is that a wedding band doesn’t always need to err on the side of traditional. If you are a serious style maven who perhaps has already completed their ring finger wedding set and wants to keep stacking up the bling (ahem, push present), we think you could use a salt and pepper diamond piece in your jewelry repertoire. Don’t be afraid to wear this on your middle or pointer finger alongside your wedding stack for a chic and moody look that will turn heads for the rest of time.