I have always been a particularly strange kid – according to my mother. Growing up she’d always find rocks everywhere. In my pockets, in my jackets, in my backpacks – any kind of slightly shiny stone would find a home with me. Little known fact, I had a shiny pet rock for 15 years. Its name was Shiny (I know… I am an excellent name giver).
Around 12 years old, I saw a historical article on Cartier’s Patiala necklace and choker, and I knew from then on – I really loved shiny expensive rocks.
In my early 20’s, I found myself having breakfast at Tiffany’s – as an employee. While my time there was brief, I absorbed as much as I could about the commercial retail space and my top takeaway was: find yourself a good custom jeweller.
You see, for places like Tiffany’s, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels or Harry Winston – anything created by their master jewellers is unaffordable for the average consumer and I am an average consumer but with the misfortune of having an above-average taste.
So, what’s a girl with Maharani-level expectations but a pauper’s bank account to do?
Obviously, window shop for the shiny things she can never afford.
About 4 years ago, a man decided he really wanted to marry me and wanted to pop the question. Why? We don’t know, but he did. And so, this lovely, kind, and generous man asked me, “what kind of engagement ring do you want?” and without hesitation, all my years of hoarding jewellery knowledge came flooding out as word vomit and I blurted out “A CUSTOM MADE ENGAGEMENT RING!
So, we began our search for the jeweller whom we would be putting our money and trust into creating a custom engagement ring. I needed someone who could create the antique and period designs I loved but in a modern, delicate, and wearable way. In a world where everyone we met kept showcasing Solitaires and Halo Engagement Rings, emerged Sin Kim.
First, I need to caveat, that for a girl who is obsessed with jewellery – I never actually thought about what kind of engagement ring I wanted. I was under the impression I’d live a long and wonderful life as everyone’s cool aunt. So, the only solid direction I gave to both my partner and Sin was – no halo engagement ring. Then came the structural issues I’ve always noticed with engagement rings – setting and prongs. I didn’t want the center stone sitting too high but still wanted a cathedral and claw prongs for every stone on the ring.
I detest bezel settings. So for me, it was a prong-setting engagement ring or bust!
So, I sent over all the inspirations I could for this ring. Most of these inspirational images thinking back… were not engagement rings. They were mostly images of necklaces, crowns, tiaras, brooches, and earrings – very few actual rings. The only themes any of these had in common were nature, floral, and designed in the early 1900s.
While writing this reflection, it occurred to me, why I love antique designs – I have always loved the concept of heirlooms. The way each of those designs has stood the test of time and could be passed down through generations and still mesmerize any present-day onlookers with its artistry.
I wanted that for me.
I think my partner really understood this about me. He knew I would inspect every detail of the ring thoroughly. Does the accent stone size make sense? Is the center stone still the star? Are the spacing and structure sensible? All these factors required Sin Kim to embrace managing 150 instructive emails, various revisions, and multitudes of CADS for the final conception of my engagement ring.
The thing about Sin, which was truly amazing, was the level of patience she exuded when dealing with a client like me and my now husband. Someone who knows what she wants yet has no idea what she wants. For some reason, to our absolute surprise and delight – Sin did not want to fire us as clients. She instead, agreed to work on our individual wedding bands. Sin is consistently unphased and up for any challenge.
And boy did I give her a challenge. Now, making a wedding band for my husband was virtually effortless. I had two looks – and one made it onto his finger, while the other became a staple offering on Sin’s men’s lineup. My wedding band, however, was a unique journey.
I wanted functional and yet I wanted different. I wanted a classic, yet I wanted vogue. I wanted it to compliment my engagement ring while standing out on its own. Sin sat and listened to these chaotic ramblings for 3-2-hour long calls, in addition to 2 in-person meetings. Back and forth I went with all these considerations.
CAD 1 came, then CAD 2, then CAD 3, 4, 5, 6, and suddenly we were viewing CAD number 15 – each similar yet slightly different. To this day, anyone looking at these CADs could maybe differentiate 5 design changes out of the 15. Bless Sin – she’s a saint.
It took me a little over 2.5 years to come to a final design, a band was finally made and moments after I laid my eyes on it, I realized I wanted CAD number 13, not 15. Standing there, staring at my new band – Sin sensed it right away and asked, “what do you want to be changed?”
Sin managed to stay sane not only working with my fiancé but also with my indecisiveness. The patience needed for email after email, call after call, question after question – is truly at the levels exercised by the likes of Mother Theresa.
I think when trying to select a client to provide an accurate and true testament, I was approached simply because Sin not only managed to create our perfect wedding sets, but as of now, we have commissioned Sin for 3 more custom requests.
I am not here to tell you Sin is the best (even though she is), I am just here to say – I keep requesting more Sin Kim custom pieces.