Engagement Ring Shopping: Designers That Shock and Delight

  • 01 of 15

    Engagement Ring Hunting with @AThousandFacets

    Clockwise, from top: Gillian Conroy; Rebecca Overmann; Ruta Reifen

    As the name suggests, A Thousand Facets (aka @athousandfacets) is well, multi-faceted—she’s an advocate for an international community of emerging jewelry designers and artists, an Instagrammer extraordinaire and passionate blogger/curator. All of which makes her the perfect resource for this post: the ultimate insider’s guide to the jewelry industry’s hidden gems. All happen to have a refreshingly unique perspective on engagement rings and wedding bands, many of whom you have likely never heard of before. That is, until now.

    Not everyone has the money to buy expensive jewelry all the time, but you can “save your money, try to find the one piece you'll have for a lifetime,” says A Thousand Facets’ founder who prefers to be known simply as “Joanne.” “It's important to have one piece that you cherish.” 

    Given that engagement rings are probably the consummate example of this type of jewelry, A Thousand Facets is a proponent of shopping indie designers—the quiet, unsung jewelers with a background in design, architecture and fine arts and/or a cultural heritage that informs their work in ways that rarely get exposure at the commercial level.

    “When you buy from an artist, you are buying their creativity, their hours on a bench, their love for the craftsmanship, their education, their passion,” says Joanne. “These designs carry not only a beautiful stone or a precious material, they are carrying part of their designer's soul.”

    In the six and half years since founding A Thousand Facets, Joanne has featured more than 1,500 jewelry designers and artists (she is an obsessive researcher, constantly on the hunt for what’s new and next) on ATF’s various digital platforms. She makes a point of meeting the jewelry designers in person, visiting their studios to better understand their craft, their passions and how both are reflected in their collections and custom pieces. “My blog and Instagram feed are like my taste—fun, eclectic and quirky,” she says. “Everything I feature is something I would wear.”

    As are the gorgeous engagement rings she handpicked for us in this slideshow. Plucked from all corners of the earth, it’s a diamond-flecked journey that takes you from San Francisco to upstate New York to Copenhagen, Denmark and beyond. Click through and enjoy the ride!

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  • 02 of 15

    From Ruta Reifen Jewelry...

    Ruta Reifen

     “Having met Israeli designer Ruta Reifen, I’m able to appreciate and understand the beauty of her work even more—because she is an absolutely beautiful person. A classically trained goldsmith, she began her career as a contemporary jewelry artist; today, she translates her strong aesthetic and keen sense of color into tiny fine jewelry sculptures. I truly love this engagement ring, which also reflects Ruta’s signature inspiration: nature and the sea.”

    14k gold and white sapphire ring with pear-shaped white sapphire center stone, $1,900, Ruta Reifen Jewelry

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  • 03 of 15

    From Shimell & Madden...

    Shimell & Madden

    “Shimell & Madden are puzzle masters, and like a puzzle, each piece needs to be perfectly aligned. This British duo’s work reflects extreme accuracy and precision, and that’s what makes it so modern and bold. Their bridal collection is perfect for the non-traditional bride who wants to make a statement.”

    18k yellow gold and pavé diamond Four Circle ring with a .70-carat diamond center stone, $7,500, Shimell & Madden

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  • 04 of 15

    From Judi Powers...

    Judi Powers

    “While working in book publishing, Judi Powers fell in love with the art of designing and making jewelry. And she’s doing everything right. She’s a huge advocate for sustainability and ethically-sourced materials, and draws inspiration from childhood memories, nature, even Buddhist architecture. I love this vibrant tourmaline engagement ring for the bride who thinks outside the box and wants something completely striking and different from the norm.”

    Recycled 22k gold ring with a pear-shaped, rose-cut tourmaline center stone, $1,250, Judi Powers

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  • 05 of 15

    From Johnny Ninos...

    Johnny Ninos

     “Professor. Woodworker. Incredible jeweler. Johnny Ninos is a renaissance man with a very different sensibility. Even though I’ve never met him, I understand his passion. I’ve been a fan of his work from the first moment I saw it: It’s edgy, but romantic, like nothing I’ve seen before, and that makes it more beautiful. Inspired by nature, and the world around him, he lives a life of purpose, and this is reflected in every piece he creates. His Barnacle series gets me every time.”

    Set of 18k gold solitaire diamond engagement ring with overlapping, diamond-accented Barnacle contour bands, $5,850, Johnny Ninos

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  • 06 of 15

    From Alp Sagnak...

    Alp Sagnak

    “Originally from Turkey, Alp Sagnak is a third-generation goldsmith who lives for his clients’ stories. With diamonds running through his veins, he’s more than a designer, he’s an artist. His new collection, Pitch Black, is perfect for the bride who wants to stand out, start conversations and create new stories. This collection is also perfect for stacking—five rings look superb on any finger.”

    Silver rings featuring 1-3 carats of black and white diamonds, $300 to $2,800 each, Alp Sagnak

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  • 07 of 15

    From Geoffrey Good...

    Geoffrey Good

    “Located in beautiful Hudson, New York, Geoffrey Good has an absolutely gorgeous studio/store. He is a true architect and has extensive knowledge of jewelry construction and craftsmanship, having worked with incredible companies such as Cartier, Sotheby’s, and Christie’s. In addition to his core collection, he creates custom designs for private clients. For example, this engagement ring incorporates the bride’s husband’s family crest. Sadly, you can’t see it in this shot but it’s a really clever detail.”

    Custom 20k pink gold engagement ring with an orange sapphire center stone surrounded by rose-cut diamonds, price upon request, Geoffrey Good

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  • 08 of 15

    From Hannah Blount...

    Hannah Blount

    “I was immediately drawn in by this designer’s work when I first saw it five years ago, and today I can say it: I have a Hannah Blount jewelry obsession. I have a couple of pieces from her Vanity collection, which also includes rings that could work as engagement rings, such as her Little Pinks set featuring the daintiest blush diamonds in rose gold. It’s the glistening stack you’ll be looking at all day long!”

    Assorted 14k rose gold rose-cut diamond rings, prices start at $490 each, Hannah Blount

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  • 09 of 15

    From One Stone...

    One Stone

     Originally from Hawaii, Shane Yamane, the designer behind the NYC-based line, One Stone, brings a modern personality to his designs, but he also respects classical lines, pushing his jewelry to offer today’s woman something truly unique. His custom work is incredible, and he’s made engagement rings for a few of my dear friends. Needless to say, they were thrilled.”

    Palladium-plated 18k white gold and pavé diamond engagement ring with a .45-carat rose-cut diamond center stone, $2,195, One Stone

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  • 10 of 15

    From Gillian Conroy...

    Gillian Conroy

    "There’s an easiness to Gillian Conroy’s designs that I love. Having trained in London, Italy, and her native Ireland, her work is elegant, organic and meticulously crafted. Every time I see her work, I’m in awe. I love this octagonal ring, which is perfect for the minimalistic bride who loves clean lines, but is not afraid to push the limits!”

    18k yellow gold ring with a bezel-set, 1-carat gray octagonal diamond, $4,800, Gillian Conroy

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  • 11 of 15

    From Vicente Agor...

    Vicente Agor

     “When you meet Vicente Agor, you immediately fall in love with his contagious smile, and he is so passionate about his work. The designer’s new bridal collection, Bond, is charming, ethereal and every piece has a beautiful story behind it. Inspired by the sea and waves, the rings are perfect for the adventurous and romantic bride. His Abiding Love ring is one of my favorites—its soft curves make me happy every time I see it.”

    18k white gold Abiding Love engagement ring with .59 carats of diamonds, $4,965, Vicente Agor

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  • 12 of 15

    From Facon Facon...

    Facon Facon

     “The best way to describe Facon Facon designer Charlotte Christina Larsen? Cool. I met her at a trade show years ago, and I loved her collection: clean, bold lines, modern and sophisticated. Based in Copenhagen, she creates innovative, architectural pieces like this ring, which would make a great engagement ring for a strong, confident woman  who’s not afraid to be herself.”

    Black rhodium plated sterling silver and champagne diamond Skyline ring, about $965, Facon Facon

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  • 13 of 15

    From Monica Marcella...

    Monica Marcella

    “When you spend time with Monica Marcella, the day is just brighter. A trained jeweler of Mexican and Argentinian heritage, she’s been designing since she was a young girl. What’s unique about her approach is that she doesn’t sketch out jewelry designs or use a CAD system in advance; rather, she develops ideas for pieces by handling and playing with the materials themselves. So her creative process is very organic from start to finish and this definitely comes across in the final product.”

    Assorted recycled 18k gold diamond engagement ring sets, from $3,740 to $4,220, Monica Marcella

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  • 14 of 15

    From Rebecca Overmann...

    Rebecca Overmann

    “I had the pleasure of visiting Rebecca Overmann’s workspace in beautiful San Francisco a couple of months ago, and was immediately inspired by the high ceilings, natural light, and marvelous view. Rebecca has impeccable taste in diamonds, and she makes them come to life by the designing the most incredible ring settings for them. She lets the diamonds speak to her, and let me tell you, they are saying a lot!”

    One-of-a-kind 18k yellow gold engagement ring with 2.35 carats of diamonds, $16,215, Rebecca Overmann

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  • 15 of 15

    From Tura Sugden...

    Tura Sugden

    “Tura Sugden knows who she is as a designer and you can feel it in each of her pieces. Her designs are delicate and beautifully structured, but there’s a raw honesty to her aesthetic expressed in diamond slices or stones with inclusions, which I adore. This chocolate diamond ring is just an absolute dream!”

    Recycled 18k yellow gold halo style engagement ring with .616 carats of autumn diamonds, $5,500, Tura Sugden