I recently tied the knot with my Japanese beau, Yuji. We performed the civil ceremony here in Singapore, where we both met and live, and we will be continuing the celebrations with a traditional wedding party later this year in Tokyo. Stay tuned for more on our wedded bliss in subsequent posts!
In this post I wanted to share the story behind my beautiful engagement ring. After I said, ‘yes’ last year (he popped the question on my birthday!), we decided to go for a custom-made engagement ring and wedding bands. Both of us are creative types and we wanted more ‘creative control’ over the priceless symbols of love that we would wear forevermore.
At first, I considered having a non-traditional engagement ring and I browsed Google for coloured gemstone rings and vintage styles. Below is a mood board of my inspirations.
I fell in love with the idea of an Alexandrite ring and I started reading more about it. Alexandrite is a precious stone that changes colour depending on the light and temperature. The hue can turn from yellowish-green to bluish-black and even purple! These stones are exceptionally rare, found only in certain parts of Sri Lanka, East Afrika and Brazil. I was able to find a jeweller in Singapore called Madly Gems, who had samples of Alexandrite gems at their Tiong Bahru store. Unfortunately, when I saw the stones in real life they didn’t look nearly as pretty as I imagined. In fact, they looked rather dark and gloomy.
However, I very much liked the vintage setting of the picture of the Alexandrite ring (below), so I decided to keep the style but with a classic diamond instead.
Next, we sought a jeweller and we considered different stores across the region, including in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand. From a price perspective, there was no material difference (after all, diamonds are diamonds) so we focused on expertise, flair and customer service when making our choice.
When I visited their website, I read the following poignant statement which moved me:
Out of habit, I rub my thumb on the pendant, feeling the polished gold and its exquisite details. The funny thing is, it feels cold in my hand but warm in my heart. Perhaps I felt your presence, perhaps I felt your love. It is authentic, and it is overwhelming.
The statement refers to the Draco pendant, which is an Eastern dragon holding on to diamonds.
I decided to get in touch! Bryan, one of the founders of Draco Diamonds, invited us to his Geylang studio for a chat and to show us examples of his work. When we arrived, I was surprised by how young Bryan looked. He explained that he and his partner, Javian, had recently moved into their current premises although they had set up the business several years earlier in 2014.
As the name suggests, Draco Diamonds specialise in diamonds and engagement rings. Bryan kindly spent thirty minutes discussing how diamonds are graded; this is known as the 4Cs. First, you have to consider the cut, which can be round princess, emerald, asscher, marquise, oval, radiant, pear, heart, or cushion.
The cut that looks most brilliant is the round cut, which is a popular choice for engagement rings.
The second C refers to colour. A scale of D-Z is used to rank diamonds from colourless through to opaque or yellow-like. The third C is for clarity (i.e. flawless or blemished) and the final C describes carat (i.e. how big it is).
I was impressed by the patient manner in which Bryan shared his knowledge, and I saw the flame of passion in his eyes as he spoke about his craft. I consulted with Yuji and we agreed that we wanted to work with Draco Diamonds for our rings. We liked the idea of supporting an up-and-coming local business run by ambitious young artisans.
On my next visit, I showed Bryan the picture of the ring I had in mind and he recommended a G-colour diamond of SI2 grade. He created a 3D rendering of the design for me to sign off on before commencing production. A few weeks later, the ring of my dreams – the most beautiful engagement ring in Singapore, was ready! The below photos were also taken courtesy of Draco Diamonds.
Together with my beautiful ring, I received a certificate from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) authenticating the cut and grade of the diamond.
Meanwhile, Yuji had been busily designing his own wedding band. Yuji wanted something that was unique as well as masculine. He chanced upon a seashore meets Gaelic pattern and requested a heavy-set ring in white gold with the pattern engraved on the outside.
This design was a little harder for Bryan to create, as the pattern was so intricate. Getting the thickness and size right was just as delicate a process, and Yuji met with Bryan several times to try on prototypes, measure his finger and review 3D renderings.
But, the wait was worth it and in the end, Yuji had a wonderfully crafted ring. For my wedding ring, I opted for a plain white-gold band. Here are our wedding bands together!
If you are considering a custom piece of jewellery, I would highly recommend Draco Diamonds. They are expert in their craft and do more than just engagement rings. Most importantly, their customer service is second to none. Bryan was always super responsive to our questions via WhatsApp and he often travelled to meet us at our home or work for fittings. The final rings were also gorgeous!
Geylang East Avenue 3
Block 1013 #07-116
+65 8768 3453