I am one of the many people who realized their partner in quarantine was also their partner in life and got engaged during the pandemic. Those early days of the pandemic were wildly scary and confusing. We were fortunate, and having our health and each other at that time to discuss options for an engagement ring to symbolize our commitment was the sweetest escape.
I was always more of a fashion girl rather than a jewelry girl but very “diamond-curious.” At the time that Anthony (my now-husband) and I started our search for an engagement ring, I had coincidentally just accepted a position with the Natural Diamond Council. I was basically in an all-things-diamonds masterclass every day simply by going to work. My diamond curiosity soon exploded and I couldn’t stop thinking about them, the same way I used to think about the Nicholas Ghesquiere era at Balenciaga! I became obsessed and suddenly my entire discover page on Instagram was square after square of juicy, sparkly diamonds to ogle at and serve as inspiration for my upcoming engagement ring.
Read More: Wedding Inspiration for the Vintage Bride
There are so many engagement ring options out there which can be totally overwhelming but also reassuring in that there is something out there for everyone. To narrow it down for myself, I broke it down by going off of what I valued. I knew I wanted to wear this ring every day and therefore it was important to me that it would work seamlessly into my everyday uniform. I love fashion and wear lots of vintage clothing, so wearing a super blinged-out platinum ring every day didn’t make sense for my personal style or personality. I knew I preferred a round diamond, yellow gold, a gypsy setting, and an antique or vintage ring after lots of searching online and popping into the occasional boutique to take a casual look.
I eventually found Ashley Zhang and loved her assortment of vintage and antique rings mixed with her own collection. Anthony and I set an in-person appointment when it was safe to do so at her showroom to try on rings together. I narrowed it down to 5 “yes” rings that I would be excited to receive as my engagement ring and let him take it from there. Several months later, Anthony proposed in September 2020 with an antique Ashley Zhang yellow gold gypsy set old European cut diamond ring. He said he chose this ring of the 5 favorites because of the way my eyes lit up when I tried it on in Ashley’s showroom. Sigh. It’s everything.
Fast forward 10 months later to our elegant wedding day. Because we got engaged during the pandemic and things were still uncertain around weddings and over-the-top celebrations in New York state, we decided to do a very intimate wedding of 30 guests. We got married in the Catskill Mountains at an Inn tucked away in the woods. We are both from Upstate New York and knew we wanted the setting to be natural and lush.
Jewelry and diamonds became a big part of planning my look for the big day. I have never thought so much about diamonds in my life after getting engaged and planning my wedding. My full lace wedding dress and Monica Vitti / Priscilla Presely hybrid inspired veil by Varca Bridal was a whole lot of look so I tried to tone down my jewelry choices for some balance. In the end, I of course couldn’t help myself and still piled on rings, bracelets, and earrings. I swear I am a Marie Kondo freak most of the time but an over-the-top fashion maximalist at heart.
Within the months leading up to the wedding, I got very into shopping for vintage diamond jewelry on Instagram through independent sellers. I purchased a diamond cluster pinky ring from @chronos_curios and a bezel set diamond tennis bracelet from @gold.finery. I layered the tennis bracelet with a mini twin diamond bracelet from A.M. Thorne that my husband gave me. I also borrowed my grandmother’s diamond ring from my sister which is 3 rows of marquise diamonds. Ashley Zhang was kind enough to let me borrow her diamond pave hoop earrings with gold dog clips and baroque pearl charms. I added a single diamond fringe earring from Ashley Zhang which I loved as a layering earring for multiple piercings. I also added a few diamond huggies for a little extra sparkle to finish off my jewelry for the evening. Before the wedding ceremony, I gave both of my sisters who were co-Maids of Honor baroque pearl and diamond earrings from Chan Luu.
Our wedding was magical! I loved every part of the planning process and have already carried this newfound love of diamonds sparked by planning my own wedding into the future as my wishlist continues to grow.