Engagement rings are more than just a piece of flashy jewellery to show off to friends and family; they’re a symbol of love, commitment, and a story like no other.
Throughout the years, York Jewellers has had the honour of playing a key role in many such stories, and we'd like to share some of these inspiring, heart-felt, and tear-jerking moments with you in our Engagement Ring Love Stories series. Enjoy!
Doug and Lauren
Diamonds Under Pressure
When you’re the head of an award-winning jewellery store, pressure is high to create a remarkable ring for your own partner.
It’s a good thing, then, that York’s Managing Director Douglas Ely did just that before getting down on one knee and popping the question to his now fiancée, Lauren.
“There was a lot of pressure making this ring,” confessed Doug.
“Actually getting to sit there and make your fiancée's ring is something really special. From a feeling point of view, it was by far the best thing I've ever made on the bench”.
“It was one of the best experiences I've ever had within my career and my personal life”.
With so much love, soul, and consideration poured into its production, it was a ring destined to capture Lauren’s heart and prompt that all important “Yes!”.
Photo credit: https://www.juliastrang.com.au/
“He nailed it,” confirmed Lauren.
“He opened the box and I looked at it and went, ‘Oh my god, it's huge!’. I still can't get over it. I still can't believe it's on my finger and that he made it for me. I think that’s the most special part - that he made it”.
“We always had this ongoing joke that I would like a pink diamond just because they're so rare and they're obviously not producing them from the mine anymore, and there's a little hidden one underneath. He absolutely nailed it”.
“I didn't want that to take the feature but I wanted that special piece to be there for sure,” Doug explained.
Though he took the reins when it came to the proposal itself, Lauren was certain to make her wishes known to her adoring partner.
“Given what I do for a job, I wanted that moment to be special and I feel like I took control of it. Although there were a lot of hints coming from Lauren. I think what, five times you [Lauren] mentioned that you wanted a photographer there? Just subtle things,” Doug laughed.
It was a wise request, for the picnic proposal that ensued was ‘picture perfect’, and one worthy of sharing for generations to come.
Photo credit: https://www.juliastrang.com.au/
Jess and Maddi - Love at First Sight
It sounds like something out of a fairytale, but when Jess laid eyes on Maddi, it really was love at first sight.
“I knew I wanted to marry Maddi the first minute I opened the door. I know it sounds really cheesy, but literally as soon as I saw Maddi I kinda just got this wave of emotion. It's almost like your life flashing before your eyes, but obviously in the most unexplainable way possible,” Jess confessed.
“It really was quite beautiful, and I remember it as if it was yesterday”.
It took only a year and half before both knew it was time to pop the question, but being a same-sex couple, there was one hurdle; figuring out who would do so first.
“I got hints that Jess was planning something and I said to my mum not long before that I was going to start doing the same. Everyone that I told said ‘Oh no, don't do that, just wait’. Everyone knew, but me, so she beat me,” admitted Maddi.
“I had to get her off the market quickly, you see,” laughed Jess.
Originally from the UK, Jess wanted to propose with a ring that Maddi would love, and that captured the beauty of her new home in Australia.
“Being in Australia for me is what my home is. For me it really is someone's heart, and Maddi is my home. I thought of having an Australian opal being the centre of the ring. Obviously all girls like diamonds, so we had to get diamonds everywhere around it too,” said Jess.
Finding the right jeweller was crucial to bringing this vision of the perfect engagement ring to life.
“It was quite difficult to find someone or some sort of jeweller that would be able to get exactly what's in my head on a piece of paper and design it,” said Jess.
“I went into York Jewellers and met with Bri about designing the ring”.
“Her energy was just really calming. It made the whole experience so much easier and less daunting. She was able to help me get what I thought I wanted and put it into a delicate design that would be perfect for Maddi”.
The finished product is a sight to behold, and allowed Jess to propose with confidence that Maddi would love her custom made engagement ring.
“As soon as I got down on one knee and I showed her the ring, you could see the pure surprise on her face. Perfect. So yeah, it was a very happy day for us. York Jewellers pretty much hit the nail on the head,” said Jess.
Holly and Nathan - The High School Sweethearts
Star crossed lovers from the get go, Holly and Nathan connected online when life’s circumstances would keep them apart.
“We first met when we were in high school, but we weren't at the same school, we were actually at two different schools and met through a friend,” Holly explained.
“I flicked your friend a message asking for your phone number, and then we started texting from there,” Nathan said.
It was a meeting by happenstance, but one that seemed woven into their fates, with the pair hitting it off almost immediately despite the physical distance.
“After school everyday we'd login, send each other a message, it was really fun. And then we got to meet in person and start dating.”
When spending quality time together, things just ‘clicked’ for Holly and Nathan. No challenge was too great for their effortless relationship.
“It was pretty much love early on, so we knew that we were right for each other. Nathan has really great family values, I love his family, he gets on really well with my family, so from early days it was clear that we were a fit.”
“Four years in, we went overseas for six months and that was fantastic,” Nathan said.
“It was a good test for our relationship, and we passed with flying colours. We then came back and started our careers and whatnot. There's no big challenge in our lives, we just move through everything with ease together.”
After sharing another seven years of adventures, laughs, and unshakeable adoration, Nathan knew it was time to pop the question.
“Holly likes to think she's the person who proposed to me. But we were talking about rings and things for years, and Holly changed her mind a few times, so I'm glad by the time we got to the point where I actually proposed, she knew exactly what she wanted.”
Seeking to create something that would be treasured by his beloved not just now, but forever, Nathan turned to the team at York Jewellers to bring a timeless engagement ring to life.
“For eight months I had no idea that Nathan had this in the works, was already designing the ring with Doug, and sourcing diamonds. So it was really nice to find out when he did propose, that it wasn't just a spur of the moment decision, it was something that he'd decided on a long time ago.”
Witnessing the careful consideration Head Jeweller Douglas Ely brought to creating Holly’s ring, the couple has now trusted York with designing their wedding bands.
“It was really an enjoyable experience working with Doug at York. We obviously met a fair few times when designing the ring, and now Holly's been brought into that process with her wedding ring.”
“It was really fun for me to see how it all works. Obviously I've got this beautiful sparkly engagement ring, but I wasn't really in the process, aside from giving a few hints about the style that I liked. It's been really awesome to get to try on different wedding bands and see what works, and see the sketches. It's been really exciting. I love it.”
Katie and Patrick - A Perfect Proposal
There are few things more nerve-wracking than finally popping the question to the person you love. From the venue, to the weather, to the wording of the proposal, there are near limitless things that can go awry, which is why it’s so special when everything goes off without a hitch.
Such was the case when Patrick got down on one knee and proposed to the woman of his dreams after four and a half years of inseparable love.
“For the proposal, Pat had planned a very special holiday and just gave me a list of things to pack. We went to Batemans Bay and Pat had booked a boutique hotel right on the harbour front, and we were in the penthouse”.
“I walked out onto the balcony and he'd set up a beautiful cheese platter on the table and there was romantic music playing - which I didn't even realise until he proposed. He just proposed right on the balcony, looking over the water. It was so beautiful. I wouldn't have changed a thing”.
While it's safe to say he nailed most everything about the occasion, the ring itself took it to another level. Not only was it designed to suit Katie to a tee, Patrick even had a hand in its construction!
“Doug allowed me to come in and be part of the construction phase, so I was there with him in the workshop doing little things that made me feel important, but I'm sure he was doing all the hard work,” laughed Patrick.
To commemorate this unique and personal experience, the York team put together a booklet containing happy snaps of Patrick’s stint as a jeweller, as well as the design phase.
“I thought that was so sweet, something that we'll be able to have forever,” gushed Katie.
As with most perfectly laid plans, this was a proposal a long time in the making.
“When I finally did it, she said, ‘oh, I've been expecting that for a while now’ and I think it was the perfect time”.
“I'd been asking Katie a few times, ‘what do you think of that shade?’ and ‘What do you think of that shape?’, that sort of thing”.
“Then one time she had another ring in at York getting repaired, so I got Doug to measure the size. It was her ring finger from her right hand, so I knew it would be pretty much in the ballpark for the engagement ring.”
“I always knew that I'd be going to see Doug at York to get my ring. He was really good with the design of custom rings, and he took a lot of my ideas and ran with them to make them a little bit more special”.
This clandestine collaboration resulted in a ring that left Katie stunned.
It was the perfect ring. I couldn't have made it any better myself.
Keep your eyes peeled as we share more engagement ring love stories in the days to come.