Leave it to me to lose my engagement ring. I searched everywhere, retraced my steps but nothing... and when I realized it was lost, I was absolutely devastated. Mine was a gorgeous deep blue sapphire ring from my husband John, and I was in love with it. I know material things are ultimately not what’s important, but I felt like I lost a part of myself — and a symbol of our relationship — in the process. While I knew that nothing could ever replace the original, I also hated walking around without that constant reminder of John. I decided that even if I couldn’t replace it, I wanted to find something just as special. Enter, Ali Galgano a.k.a. earth angel, founder, and CEO of Serpentine Jewels. If you ever have considered creating a fab, bespoke, one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry, let my experience with Ali prove that silver linings can in fact, be bling-y and gold (and pink too!).
Once we started chatting, I knew Ali was my person — I mean my jeweler. (John is my person!) I love her because not only is she a brilliant female founder with iconic maximalist style, but she is also a certified gemologist, which means she’s an actual expert in the world of diamonds and precious stones I had never designed a bespoke piece of jewelry before and the process can be intimidating, especially when dealing with such high value materials. But Ali and her team at Serpentine Jewels made it fun: It was like hanging out with a new jewelry BFF. I knew I wanted a real statement ring, something unexpected, but I didn’t have a set design in mind. And when I started thinking about this process, it was more about replacing what the engagement ring symbolized — not necessarily the exact ring itself.
I’m the opposite of a traditionalist, so when Ali suggested we look at different colored sapphires (versus just blue) to replace my original stone, I was game. I love color and often describe my style as “toddlercore,” so I figured, “let’s bring on the rainbow!” When Ali showed me some examples of pink sapphires on our first Zoom call, I literally screamed. It reminded me of how I felt when we were choosing colors for launching my Megababe brand, a line of all-natural beauty products that tackle “taboo” body issues. In short it was all me, but BETTER! It was perfect.
Once we settled on a pink color for the main stone — which Serpentine Jewels helped me pick from a full lineup — we talked through my personal style (toddlercore grows up?) to implement the design. Ali took the time to really listen to me and instead of being pushy or over-directing, she took tons of notes and came back with different design concepts. She even brought a full selection of stone layouts over to my apartment to try on my finger for scale. This made all the difference; it helped me visualize the final product and feel really involved in the whole process, as I was able to give feedback in real time.
Serpentine Jewels works with the best manufacturers and master craftsmen in New York City (where I live), so I love that my new ring is locally made by the best in the biz. The whole process — from our first meeting to the emerald-cut final product presented to me in Serpentine’s signature green box — took about three months and I was updated regularly along the way. The pink center sapphire shows off my favorite color and is enhanced by a subtle halo of alternating diamonds set in 18k gold. Because my original engagement ring had a halo, I wanted to ensure this one did, too, as a little nod to the OG. The ring has incredible sparkle, not just because of the baguette diamond accents, but also due to the pavé band; there are literally dozens of tiny round diamonds set side-by-side. It’s blinding in a good way.
When I unboxed the final ring, I noticed that there was a special message inside the band. It turns out that while Ali and I had been working together, she had also reached out to John (unbeknownst to me!) to see if he wanted to include a personal message. This surprise detail turned an already unbelievable design into the most meaningful piece of jewelry, a truly bespoke work of art. Every time I look at it, I know how lucky I am, both because of my wonderful husband and because I get to wear this stunning piece of jewelry every day.
If I’ve learned anything during this process, it’s that designing a ring is only as easy and fun as the person you choose to work with on it. And while I would never suggest losing your engagement ring, at least now, you’ll know who to call if you do.