When launching Estelle Galerie, a carefully curated repository for handmade-to-order jewelry and vintage relics at the end of 2022, I hoped to eventually expand into the natural diamond category. After over a decade as an accessories and jewelry editor, I never expected it would happen so quickly. In early 2023, dear friends and now clients, Michael Malanga and his fiancée Megan Gouveia, asked me to design the wedding rings they are exchanging next month. While grinning ear-to-ear, I immediately said yes. We began that very day plotting designs for their Catskills nuptials.
After sending some initial sketches to the couple, we all got on Zoom to discuss. I was in Paris where I spend part of each year in the Estelle Galerie design studio, and they were in New Jersey. It was important to each of us to share that in-person experience. It’s imperative that every single detail from the initial sketches to the final ring be as personal and intimate as possible. After all, jewelry is just as permanent as a tattoo so it’s nothing to be taken lightly.
Mike, who was new to wearing jewelry, chose our classic, slightly rounded, “Harold” band with a finish somewhere between a matte and brushed in 18k gold. For a man who wasn’t well-versed in wearing jewelry, I was so impressed that he was open to wearing diamonds. When in the market for a ring you plan to wear daily, whether a wedding band or otherwise, I always suggest clients opt for a design with timeless elements. I suggested setting two natural white diamonds inside the ring, only visible to him, one on each side to anchor it, representing him and Megan. I love the duality of something that looks both minimal to the eye and comes with a hidden surprise, often known only to the person wearing the piece.
For Megan, the process of deciding what style of wedding band she wanted was a bit less exact.
She wanted a design that would complement her beautiful engagement ring without detracting from it. I wanted to create something that was unique and special, and timeless to her. I love a challenge and it’s always a fun challenge when you have a jewelry lover as a client!
Megan chose our “Liv” wave band in solid 18K gold. She loved the idea of different-sized and shaped white natural diamonds sprinkled throughout. We chose eleven diamonds to represent the years they have been together and opted for a polished finish to really make the stones pop! We went with one of my favorite diamond settings. I was delighted that Megan loved it as much as I did. First utilized during the Victorian era, the embedding of stones within the band was initially done for security. Today, however, they are admired as minimal, elegant, and timeless silhouettes. These settings are also a great choice for those on the go. You won’t have to worry about snagging your diamonds.
We hand engraved matching M + M in both of their rings for the final finishing touch.
“I knew for a while that I was going to propose,” recalled Malanga. “To have our dear, dear friend design our wedding rings? That was a no-brainer for us. You guided us (me especially) so well throughout this process. You translated our desires for these wedding bands, into the designs, and the final products. It’s been amazing to do this with you and we’re so thrilled to wear the first-ever EG (one-of-a-kind) wedding rings!”
I couldn’t help but wonder, when everything comes full circle like this, is this why I got into designing rings after all?