When Your Father Designs Your Engagement Ring Using Heirloom Diamonds

Kate Lagos of the LAGOS jewelry family shares her engagement ring design plus custom wedding day jewelry.

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LAGOS Founder & Creative Director Steven Lagos with Kate's Ring

Growing up in a jewelry family, Kate Lagos knew her engagement ring would be special, expertly designed by LAGOS founder and creative director Steven Lagos. “My dad has always been a gem hunter,” she shared exclusively with Only Natural Diamonds. The three-stone ring has inherent LAGOS qualities yet is simultaneously unique to Kate’s personal style—although her taste has much of the LAGOS ethos as the LAGOS Brand Stylist. “I wanted something that felt special but also timeless,” said Kate.

Ahead, Kate shares her engagement story—a total surprise!—the passed-down diamonds that now sit in her engagement ring, and the custom earrings she and her dad worked to create for her special day.

Only Natural Diamonds: Tell me your proposal story! Were you surprised?

Kate Lagos: Yes, I was surprised when Adam proposed, and I have a video to show it! For my 30th birthday, September 2021, we planned a trip to Scottsdale with many of our friends. As the planner in our relationship, I planned the entire trip for everyone. The day before my birthday, several of our friends requested to go on a hike, but it rained for over 7 hours, which never happens in Arizona. As we waited out the rain, I questioned why we needed to go on a hike that specific day. The rain stopped just an hour before sunset. So, we rushed to get out the door and hiked through the desert to see the most beautiful sunset with our close friends. There, we took photos as a group and then one of just the two of us. That’s when he dropped to his knee to ask the question.

Adam proposes to Kate in Arizona

In disbelief, I screamed and ran in the opposite direction to compose myself. Then I was able to face him beaming with excitement and say, yes! We toasted with a glass of champagne and hiked down in the darkness of the desert. Although I thought maybe this could be it, it truly is a fun surprise once something special like that happens. I wouldn’t change any of it!

OND: How did you and your fiancé meet?

KL: My fiancé Adam and I met at age 14 at Camp Tockwogh in Worton, Maryland.

How did your fiancé work with your dad to design the ring?

KL: In the summer of 2021, Adam asked my dad for his blessing, and for his help designing a ring for the proposal. I had already shared what I wanted with them both, just in case! Adam provided input based on our discussions, and then my dad jumped in with his expertise.

Kate and Adam on their wedding day

OND: What went into the design from your dad’s perspective?

KL: It’s something he’d been waiting to do for a long time and that we’d discussed over the years. My dad has always been a gem hunter. He loves searching for and finding the perfect stone. He picked out the center diamond and designed the setting of the ring itself.

My beautiful ring has three diamonds. The two flanking trillion-cut diamonds are from my mother’s original engagement ring. The center is a radiant cut set in platinum with an East–West setting. It’s a rectangular shape like an emerald cut except with facets like a round brilliant diamond. The setting is a classic style mounting in platinum with the center stone set perpendicular to the finger.

Kate’s engagement ring and Adam’s wedding band

OND: How does the Lagos ethos and signature style play into your ring? How will it play into your wedding day jewelry?

KL: LAGOS is super identifiable and unique, which was important to me when picturing my ring. I wanted something that felt special but also timeless. So much of what we do gets passed down for generations, so I also incorporated the two side stones from my mom’s original engagement ring for sentimental value. And of course, we only use top quality materials like all natural diamonds and 18K gold. My engagement ring is platinum, and our wedding bands are gold, which speaks to the two-tone craftsmanship that LAGOS does best.

OND: Why was it important for you to have a natural diamond ring? And why is it important for Lagos to work with natural stones in general?

KL: Growing up in the jewelry industry gave me a greater understanding for the value of these limited materials. It was important to me to have a natural diamond because it is truly one of a kind and made from the earth. Taking a precious stone that the world created and gifting it to someone you love is so meaningful. I look at my hand every day and it puts a smile on my face. And that’s exactly what we try to do for all occasions for our customers.

Kate’s custom LAGOS earrings

OND: Tell me more about your wedding day jewelry!

KL: My dad and I designed my earrings and also the wedding bands for both me and Adam. I am lucky to be able to bring ideas to him and work together to make them come to life.

OND: What was it like growing up being part of such a major jewelry legacy and family?

KL: As a child, I was surrounded by jewelry and grew to love it and develop an innate talent for styling our Caviar collections. I came to understand the industry more as I got older. Today, I am grateful for what our company stands for – strength, smarts, and integrity – and what we deliver to our customers: strong, smart, independent women.

OND: How do you hope to carry the Lagos ethos into the next generation?

KL: I want to continue supporting women, offering them choices to help them express their personal styles. So much of what we do is about offering options through different silhouettes, materials, colors, etc. My design collaboration with my dad – the KSL collection – is an example of how I’ve been able to take our classic Caviar collections and offer something for the next generation.

Kate and Steven Lagos on her wedding day

OND: What’s it like working with family? Do you bring work home with you? Do you ever bump heads?

KL: Working with family is a special opportunity that many people don’t have. I’ve learned a lot from my dad, seeing the world through his eyes and being able to share my own point of view. It’s fun to share our ideas and grow together.

The line between home and work can be thin sometimes since my job requires me to wear many hats. But I make time for everyone and try to remember how lucky I am to have these opportunities.

OND: What does luxury mean to you?

KL: Luxury to me is something that feels rich. And that doesn’t necessarily speak to price points. It’s about quality and the experience that makes something luxurious.