When the time comes for an engagement ring, many women already have an idea of what they love, a mental (or literal) Pinterest board of diamond styles and inspiration put together over years. But for men, many who never contemplated the multi-faceted world of natural diamonds, the process of buying a ring to propose with can feel like venturing into a foreign country where they don’t speak the language. That was the case for Montreal-based healthcare consultant Raveen Owerie, who realized that he would need to dive headfirst into diamonds, to find the ultimate symbol of love for his Toronto-based girlfriend Mili Jain, a communications executive.
“It took Raveen three months of daily explorations into the cut and clarity of solitaires, ring sizes, and the symbolic meaning of the engagement ring before he got the perfect oval, brilliant-cut diamond solitaire set over an intricate pave-studded infinity band custom-made for Mili.”
“When I decided I was going to propose, I knew I had to talk to [Mili’s] parents and find a ring,” he said. “But the truth is, I don’t look at rings and I don’t buy jewelry. Unless you have context, a lot of it doesn’t make sense. You don’t know the value of things.”
A lockdown love story
Raveen and Mili were introduced through a mutual friend last year, which may have been serendipity because on their first date they discovered that they had attended the same high school and grown up in the same neighborhood in Montreal, but their paths hadn’t crossed. But because the two lived in different cities (Montreal and Toronto, respectively) they were separated throughout the initial pandemic lockdowns in Canada. The couple spent a lot of time on video calls getting to know one another, and both believe that the distance helped them understand each other more deeply.
Designing with heart and soul
Raveen wanted the proposal and the ring to be a complete surprise, and decided to figure out the perfect design for her by himself, based on the symbolism of the different cuts of natural diamonds, which band would suit her hand, and what design would align with her fresh, original style. Although he had friends as sounding boards and the skill of jeweler Hovsep Lepejian to execute his vision, he was committed to creating something he loved for her.
The intertwined nature of their lives was a large inspiration, and that was the thought behind the detailed, pave diamond-studded, platinum infinity band whose two streams loop but never stray too far away before finally finding each other, much like the couple themselves. He chose the band even before picking the natural diamond solitaire.
“The most challenging part for me was the center stone. It’s the biggest investment of the whole piece and you want it to be special for your partner,” he said. “When I got the idea of an oval diamond, I thought it was perfect. It is classic and pretty, but still different.”
When men buy diamonds
Diamonds have always been the domain of women, in advertising and in life. In 1947, De Beers came up with one of the most successful slogans of all time: “A Diamond is Forever.” Following that, diamond rings became a symbol of romantic love and were positioned as something women desired, which men needed to purchase but not necessarily understand.
Despite complete attention to detail, Raveen’s calculation on the right size ultimately resulted in the ring needing to be resized, just one of the sleuthing acts that most men are expected to navigate. After a crash-course in natural diamonds, which included the episode on diamonds myths and legacies from the Netflix show Explained, Raveen understands the complexities many men face. “I can coach guys now. All rings used to look the same to me until I had to buy a diamond ring myself. I think most guys get hung up on the metrics of the cut and clarity that ultimately might not be worth it,” said Raveen. “I know a lot of people buy the rings online but for me, it was very important to experience it with all five senses. Since it was custom-designed, the most enjoyable part was seeing the final product. My parents came with me to pick it up, which is a nice memory.”
The long-awaited moment
For the surprise proposal, Raveen planned a weekend stay at a beautiful family-run inn just outside Montreal, telling Mili it was a camping trip. But when they got there, he took her to the inn’s dock on the lake to see the sunset, before getting down on one knee with the ring. They were both in regular clothes—jeans and hoodies—and they had the lakeside all to themselves. Mili was taken completely by surprise by the intimate gesture.
“I always wanted a proposal that was true to us as a couple and I think that that’s what he did,” she said.
As for the ring, Raveen’s deeply considered efforts were worth it.
“I can’t stop staring at my hand. The fact that he weaved our story into the ring makes it feel like I carry a piece of him when we’re apart. He put so much effort into learning about diamonds and designing a ring that he wanted to see on me and that makes it even more significant,” she concluded.
Unknown to him, Mili had always envisioned an oval diamond for herself — his design is an affirmation to seeking and following one’s heart.