June marked 5 years since I married my very best friend. (Kind of hard to believe but not really when you’ve been together for 12+ years and think back on everything you’ve accomplished and have experienced together!) We celebrated in very low-key “us” fashion which is exactly how we prefer to spend our weekends. We’re not big on gifts and usually skip them altogether opting for experiences instead, but this year I wanted to do something extra special to commemorate the sweet milestone. I had been feeling guilty that I hadn’t worn my original engagement ring in a while (since my Nana had gifted me the most stunning antique 1930’s diamond ring the previous Christmas). As much as I really loved the classic style of my engagement ring, the antique ring felt more me at this time in my life. My guy was actually the one who kept bringing up the idea to have my diamond repurposed so I didn’t feel too guilty when I finally decided a redesign was a great idea. I already knew I wanted to work with Melissa Joy Manning to design it and was beyond excited to get the process started while in New York this past February.
Our initial meeting and Melissa’s design process literally took a matter of minutes (although I hung out in her studio far longer!) as she and I were on the exact same page. I knew I wanted to switch from platinum to gold, since I now wear primarily all gold, and wanted more of an organic feel to go with the rest of my everyday stacking rings. I thought I had originally wanted mini white diamonds surrounding the band until she suggested black which she thought felt more “me” and modern (similar to this pinky ring style). I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of that because I love black diamonds so much!
Melissa and her team let me watch (and document) the entire process–starting with the creation of the band and setting of my original diamond in New York at their Soho studio, and finishing up with the addition of the black diamonds in their Berkeley location. It was so interesting getting to see the behind-the-scenes of my ring in the making as well as to see the rest of her pieces being made. I could have hung-out and watched all day long. Also, mainly because you’re surrounded by the prettiest / coolest selection of jewels that you can’t help but want to play dress up with.
The final step ~ setting the black diamonds!
So much love for the decor and earthy vibe in Melissa Joy Manning’s Berkeley store (also have you been to her New York boutiques?–all are unique in their own way and so worth checking out!).
Photography | Stephanie Russo