A Diamond in the Rough: One Groom Designs His Fiancée's Engagement Ring

Engagement Rings

Photos: Courtesy of Diamond in the Rough

As the president and creative director of a jewelry company known for its unconventional aesthetic and devotion to quality, bride Anjanette Clisura couldn't have just any engagement ring. In fact, Anjanette—the co-owner of Diamond in the Rough—couldn't even have one of her own designs. "I proposed pretty spur of the moment," her fiancé Dominic Sinesio says, "so because I didn't have a ring at the time, the biggest challenge then became what to get a woman who designs jewelry. I realized it was the perfect opportunity to do something most guys don't: to design it myself."

On a flight from Los Angeles to New York, Dominic—who co-owns a branding agency—put his pen to a paper napkin and sketched ideas (1) for Anjanette's ring. Obviously, he knew to start with his fiancée's love for rough diamonds, the natural, unrefined shape of which dictated the ring's handmade design. After examining a batch of stones together in Diamond in the Rough's studio, the couple settled on a slightly yellow diamond with a distinct inner luminosity (2). Dominic went through multiple variations on how to wrap the metal band around the stone in a way that would both be structurally sound and convey a sense of delicacy. "He did such an amazing job," says Anjanette. "When I took the design to my jeweler, he couldn't believe this was Dominic's first time designing jewelry."

From there, Anjanette stepped away from the creative process so that the final result would come as a surprise. But that still left her with the question of what to do when people asked to see her engagement ring. "I had the letters FPO ["for placement only"—the term for a mock-up] henna-tattooed onto my finger," Anjanette says. "It took a little explaining, but then people got it and thought it was funny." To commemorate their unique engagement ring situation and shared love of typography, the couple also designed a diamond bracelet with the letters FPO (4), which they had produced in New York. In the subsequent weeks, Dominic took his ring design from mechanical drawings to wax model (3), and through several stages of stone casting, with Anjanette being kept in the dark the entire time (even though the process took place in her own office!).

And then, without even a hint to Anjanette, the moment arrived for Dominic's grand reveal. "We were out to dinner at a restaurant and there the ring was, on his pinky finger," says Anjanette. "I looked down at it and I just couldn't stop smiling. But then, of course, I had to examine all the little details, which are just so beautiful." One of those details is an inscription inside the band (5) that says "KNOWING," a word the couple says embodies the connection they've shared since meeting in 7th grade. Now, more than 25 years after they first knew, Anjanette and Dominic will wed in New York City this Saturday. —Phillip B. Crook


Photos: Starr Digital

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