How this Jeweler Designed a Natural Diamond Engagement Ring for His Bride-to-Be
Jordan Peck of Brevani tells writer and comedian Brandon Borror-Chappel about the quest to create the perfect ring.By Brandon Borror-Chappell |
Photos courtesy of Brevani.|
If you read my previous piece, then you already know all about what it’s like to propose when you are friends with a jeweler (it rocks). But what if you ARE a jeweler? Just ask Jordan Peck, the co-owner of Bachelor Nation-loved jewelry brand Brevani, who recently proposed to his now-his fiancee with a natural diamond ring he designed himself, with enthusiastic help from the family business, of course.
So, tell us the Brevani story.
Jordan Peck: It’s pretty typical for the jewelry industry. My parents have been in the business for around forty years; they founded the family company Color Merchants back in 1987. I joined right out of college in 2014, and my sister Allison joined a little bit later after dipping her toe into the corporate world. The Color Merchants brand was mostly focused on birthstones and color pieces, and Allie and I had a different vision for what we wanted to create. We wanted to shake things up and make some pieces that were more diamond focused—a bit more fashion forward. We really use Allie’s eye and style as a guide. We brought our new pieces to a trade show, our retailers loved them and the rest is history.
How’d that feel?
JP: Oh, it felt fantastic! Allie and I were looking at each other both thinking, “All right, we’re onto something.” And Dad’s new business mantra is, “If Allie likes it, it’ll sell.” We started to add more and more of our new stuff to the Color Merchants collection, but it started to feel like it should be its own thing. We figured we should let Color Merchants be Color Merchants and we needed the room to do our own thing, so we launched our own unique brand together, Brevani, and it’s been amazing.
We work well as a brother-sister duo; she’s design oriented, she’s great at marketing and branding… and I’m more focused on the operational and technological side of things. But we both know and love what we make, and I think we’re both good at selling it. We fit well together.
Well, we’re very happy for you guys that the business is going well. But the main reason for our reaching out is to congratulate you on your recent engagement. Can you tell us about your fiancé?
JP: Thank you! Yeah, Jodi and I just got engaged on July 9th of this year. But it had been in the works for a while. We met in high school back in 2008 and dated for two years before breaking up when I went off to college (I am a couple of years older). Before I left for school, her brother-in-law pulled me aside and said, “Listen man, you’ve really got something here—a great girl, a great family—whatever you do, find your way back.” He loves to gloat about this and I’m sure he is going to tell that story at our wedding and take all the credit for us being together. But he was right, Jodi and I stayed good friends, we’d see each other during breaks, catch up and see how each other was doing. Six-and-a-half years ago she got a job at PWC which happens to be a few blocks from my office. We met up for drinks and then, uh… started dating again. And we’ve been together ever since.
Do you remember a specific moment where you tipped over the edge and thought, “OK, this is going to be forever?”
JP: It sounds corny, and I’m not sure she’d answer the same way, but I knew for a long time. I knew in high school that we had something special. Being together just came easy, I don’t think there was any one particular moment; I just understood over time that with her, I was right where I wanted to be.
Why you gotta make us cry?
JP: Sorry. But yeah, I knew I was going to ask her early on, but I didn’t feel any sort of pressure to rush into anything. Like, there was never any sense of “oh, we’ve been dating for two years now, when is the proposal coming?” We both have careers we care about, she’s the smartest person I’ve ever met, and she deserves to be able to commit her time and energy to the things she wants to accomplish. And we knew we had time to do that—that five or six years down the road… or even six-and-a-half like it wound up being—we’d still be together. It was just a matter of waiting for the right time. And around February of this year, I felt like the time was right.
Speaking of pressure: you’re in the biz. Did you feel like you had to blow everyone away with whatever you gave to her? Let’s hear about the ring!
JP: Oh yeah, I’ve been getting comments for years, like, “Oh man I can’t wait to see the ring you give her someday.” But no, the pressure didn’t feel like… pressure. I knew I had to deliver, but I knew I was going to. I wasn’t going to go budget shopping for lab-grown, I wasn’t going to get something with bad clarity and I know how to buy stones. I did feel like I had to manage some expectations—like if a friend of mine whom I’d helped was thinking, “well I got a two carat stone, so obviously Jordan’s going to get her six carats.” And I’m like… buddy do you have any clue what a six carat diamond looks like?! She wouldn’t be able to use her hand. Also, I still have to, you know, pay for this. I can’t just go to a mine and grab a big rock. But I can go directly to sources I know are reliable, and that makes it easier.
Why was it important to you that the ring was made with natural diamonds?
JP: For me it’s about rarity—the ability to get something that’s one of one. Something that’s been as it is for a billion years, that’s withstood the test of time. I understand why some people gravitate toward lab-grown, but as a company we’ve always taken a strong stance that we only use natural.
A lot of modern couples collaborate on the ring. Was Jodi aware this was happening? Did she give you input?
JP: The only thing I knew from her was that she wanted a three-stone ring. I told her I’m in the business, just tell me exactly what you want and I’ll make it for you! After waiting a few weeks to see if she’d make up her mind, I realized the right play was to go ahead and design it myself. I called an overseas friend of mine who sells wholesale diamonds and said, “Hey, I need a stone.”
“Okay, what are you looking for?”
“No…I need a stone.”
He paused, then, “Ooh you muthafucka!” A week later he flew to New York and called me from the airport. “I’m on my way to your office.” He showed up with two beautiful oval stones and said, “Listen. You’re gonna buy one of these stones, and it’s not this one.” And, yeah, he was right. I don’t even remember what the other one looked like. He was all excited about the one he knew I was going to buy. “It’s got this amazing oval cut, so even though it’s a three carat stone, it presents like a three-and-a-half or 4 carat. I bought it a few months ago, I was saving it for a special occasion; this is it, you gotta take this.”
I showed it to my father, who’s still in the office a few days a week, and he looked at it with a loupe and just said, “Yup, buy it.”
When I showed my mom and sister, they teared up; they knew exactly what it was for. But I still had to figure out what to do with it. I talked with some of our vendors, I looked through what other people had done with three stone settings, with oval cuts, and then just went for it myself. I sat in our office with a box of diamonds from the safe, just lining stones up with a fake ring to see what looked good together. I went with tapered baguettes beside the center stone which I got from another friend. I had to make sure the color matched and all that.
I brought it to one of our CAD (Computer Aided Design) modelers and told her I needed a thin band that had to line up with the smallest tapered end of the stone. We went through a few mockups and then sent it to print. Everyone I worked with on this—my family I’ve known my whole life, and our head of production has been with us for twenty five years. And everyone was so excited about it. This is something we do every day for our customers but… it was cool. It felt really special. A week later I got the ring, I set the stones and I put it in the safe.
Kind of scary once you have it, huh?
JP: I’ve heard stories from my friends who’ve done this already… They’ve hidden it in their sock drawer or some compartment of their backpack, but then they get searched by the TSA. And here I am, I’ve got it locked in a safe in a jeweler’s office. Yet still, every day I was checking on it, making sure it was still there, making sure it looked good, just… pondering it. It’s fun and exciting to think about proposing but having the ring just makes it all so real. If everything goes well, you’re giving her something that will hold special meaning for her for the rest of her life, something that will still be shiny and exactly the same as it was when you gave it to her when you are both old and gray.
Your ring-getting/making process sounds pretty dreamy. Do you have any guidance for wannabe grooms who aren’t part of a multi-generational jeweler family?
JP: I get it. A lot of people enter the process tense and uncertain. A little suspicious even. It’s an industry where unless you grow up in it, it’s difficult as an outsider to feel comfortable. To that I would say: trust your gut. It’s one of the biggest purchases of your life. If you don’t feel right for whatever reason, just start the process over somewhere else. I want people to understand that most of these businesses are run by multiple generations of people who love making beautiful things, and who love to celebrate the best parts of life. And our pieces are personal. We want you to not just get a beautiful thing, but to get the right thing. We trust that if we’re passionate about trying to get that right, the rest of it will fall into place.
How did the proposal go? Does she like the ring?
JP: On one of our first dates we ever went on we got lost and were just wandering around and ended up going to see the Statue of Liberty. She’s very much a detective so I had to plan every detail of the day with the help of our families. When that day came, I told her we were going to dinner with my sister, and when we got down to the water’s edge, I confessed the lie and got down on a knee and asked her. Then we went back and celebrated at our apartment with my family, and her family had flown in from Arizona, which was part two of the surprise I’d arranged. And then when we went back downstairs for part three and walked into a room where sixty or seventy more friends and family were waiting. Orchestrating all that was pretty scary, but still not terrifying. Like, I knew she was going to say yes, but you still have to ask, and she still has to say yes. In my email to our friends I said, “Either way, we’re gonna be drinking.” Yeah. Glad they were happy drinks for sure.
And yes, she loves the ring. She tells me she finds herself just looking at it multiple times throughout the day, so that means I did my job well.
Will the Jodi ring be available for the masses to purchase?
JP: No. We don’t actually really do bridal or engagement. I’ve had a lot of friends come to me when they reach that point, and I help guide them, but now our focus for the business is elsewhere.
Well, it’s beautiful and we wish you two happy wedding planning, the best day of your lives and lots of good days to follow. Thank you, Jordan!