How Kathryn and Jeff designed a custom engagement ring
Kathryn and Jeff are proof that, when something is meant to be, it will be. They connected online three times before ever agreeing to a date. Today, theirs is a love story for the ages. Now on the other side of a picture-perfect wedding, we sat down with Kathryn and Jeff to share their remarkable love story and their experience creating a delicate custom engagement ring.
JK: When did you know Jeff was the one?
Kathryn: I remember it very clearly. We’re a blended family, and we were driving my kids back to Kelowna. We had music going, and the next thing I know I Want It That Way by the Backstreet Boys comes on. I naturally start singing because I love carpool karaoke. Jeff starts belting it out, then the kids start singing.
I thought to myself, this is perfect. Here in this moment, we’re able to be and be silly and be ourselves. I hope that we can be this way all the time.
Tell us all about the proposal!
Jeff was having what was going to be his 40th birthday. I had the wonderful idea to throw him a surprise party. I had his family from across the country fly in for it and we rented a cabin up at Big White.
I later learned he had been thinking about proposing for some time but didn’t know how or when to do it. Overcome with emotion by having all our friends and family together, he decided that he would pop the question the next day.
We had a massive roast dinner, and Jeff got up to give a speech. I thought he would thank people for coming, but it turned into him talking about our relationship. Then, he got down on one knee and proposed.
What inspired you to create a custom engagement ring?
I have extremely tiny fingers. I knew that any of the designs I liked would end up having diamonds going down the sides of the ring. You can’t always size something like that easily.
Why did you choose to work with JK Schmidt Jewellers?
When I moved to Kelowna, I went into JK Schmidt looking to get an appraisal done on jewellery that I wanted to sell. Krista was so kind, and from there, we built a lovely relationship. When Jeff and I started talking about getting engaged, I reached out to her because I knew it would have to be a custom engagement ring. [link to custom jewellery page]
Tell us about your experience shopping for a custom engagement ring.
Krista brought in a few different stones. We picked the centre stone for the ring and looked through the different showcases. I narrowed down a few styles that I liked the look of and told Jeff I was not letting him off the hook. I expected a second proposal with a ring, and I wanted him to genuinely pick it himself.
In my family, jewellery was gifted for any type of special occasion. Engagement rings from the shop we used to go to have a blue sapphire underneath the centre diamond. I’m not a huge fan of sapphires, but I love this idea of a sentimental stone that was a nod to something in my family. Jeff knew I liked blue topaz, so instead of having something made with sapphire, he had it made with blue topaz on the side.
Blue topaz symbolizes love, communication and friendship. The particular setting he picked has a rose gold infinity symbol. He had the blue topaz set in the middle of the infinity symbol because that’s what you need in a marriage: love, communication and friendship.
JK: What about your wedding bands? Are they also custom?
My wedding band took forever to figure out. The stones on my custom engagement ring meant that nothing would fit flush. Krista took my engagement ring back and added gold underneath to raise the whole thing so it would fit the band perfectly.
We ended up picking an eternity band with diamonds all the way around, with a combination of Canadian diamonds—because my grandfather was a diamond miner in Canada—and lab-made diamonds to offset the cost. The ring has five marquise cut stones, each one representing one of our four children plus Jeff.
For the wedding, I also took in old pieces of jewellery and had them make big beautiful dangly chandelier earrings with blue topaz.
JK: Have you had your wedding yet? Give us the details!
We got married on the beach in front of Pacific Sands Beach Resort in Tofino and had a crab boil under a tent in the rainforest. I like to joke and say we got drunk on garlic butter and bubbles and danced on the beach.
Jeff and I went first, just us and a photographer, to the end of Pettinger Point and said our vows. Afterwards, we went to the beach and said our vows again, this time in front of our friends and family. We savoured a bottle of sparkling wine on the beach, ate oysters and drank wine.
JK: Now that you’re both pros, do you have any advice for other couples looking for the perfect engagement ring and wedding bands?
I think it’s important to have discussions with your jeweller about your values and what’s important to you. For me, sentimentality was important, and I had high standards for diamond quality.
If you go and pick something out of a showcase, you’re not going to have a product that is unique to you. And, when you do custom, there are ways to be economical with it. Going custom honestly saved us thousands of dollars.
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