How Flora Gill popped the question with a bespoke Toi et Moi
18th June 2023
Journalist and writer Flora proposed yesterday to her long term boyfriend with two one-of-a-kind bespoke engagement rings by Fenton.
There is nothing more fun than being on the inside of a secret. So, when journalist and writer Flora Gill came to us and asked us to help design a set of engagement rings for a surprise proposal to her boyfriend Adam we of course said “Yes!”.
They’ve been together over a decade and Flora, an arch feminist who is never afraid to speak her own mind, decided that it was time for someone to pop the question and that it might as well be her.
We started Flora’s appointment with a very blank slate and a firm deadline so it was key that we used this time wisely. Luckily, Flora is a long standing friend of our founder, Laura, which quickly allowed the conversation to progress from pleasantries as both got down to the serious business of creating Flora and Adam’s perfect forever pieces.
Flora has always known that she wanted an Emerald and had originally thought that she would like an Art Deco style piece. However, by trying some pieces on in person it became clear that the more classical pieces didn’t capture Flora’s character. As someone who is joyfully individualistic she's the perfect customer for a one-of- a-kind bespoke creation.
At Fenton, we take huge pride in every aspect of designing the perfect bespoke piece and often the most time is spent on deciding what that piece should look like. Laura had done her homework and was determined to help Flora create something with meaning, as well as adhering to her original brief of ‘big, different and fabulous’. Knowing that Flora’s birthday is in December and Adam’s is in May, she suggested that Flora consider incorporating their two respective birthstones, Tanzanite and Emerald into a single design to visually symbolise the union.
Tanzanites and Emeralds are a lovely combination, the former being a deep blue with hints of lilac which sets off the bright green of an Emerald perfectly. It’s a colour combination that was often widely used in Art Deco jewellery taking us back to Flora’s original starting point.
Once Flora had decided on the centre stones, our in-house bespoke team had to look at the practicality of the design elements. As both gemstones are on the softer side, whilst still suitable for everyday wear, the setting required a little extra thought to create a design that is both aesthetically pleasing whilst still protecting the gemstones. When looking through our books of previous bespoke designs Flora was initially keen on a bespoke signet ring design or chunky bezel before eventually opting for the ever romantic Toi et Moi design as her favourite style.
Toi et Mois have had a rich and fascinating history as engagement rings and are gaining in popularity. They are a great candidate for a bespoke design as the complexity of the piece is increased by the presence of a second centre stone which can either match or contrast with the cut and colour of its counterpart. We were inspired by one of the all time great Toi et Mois - the diamond and emerald ring worn by Jackie Kennedy to create our own riff on the design starring Flora and Adam’s birthstones.
The original ring is prong set and features two elaborate elements featuring marquise cut accent diamonds. Flora opted for a more contemporary design with a simple 18kt yellow gold bezel setting which has the added bonus of providing great protection for her gemstones. Although it looks as if the two cuts are identical, they are in fact subtly different - the tanzanite is a radiant cut and the emerald is a classic emerald cut. This was done to symbolise that Adam and Flora are independent individuals, each unique, even though they are joined in a single piece. We finished the piece by adding their initials under their respective birthstones and an engraving that harks back to the notes they wrote each other when they first started going out.
We were all busy congratulating ourselves on our creative prowess when we realised that we also needed to design a ring for Adam. This was a simpler feat as the consensus was that Adam’s ring should match Flora’s and they should form a matching set. Flora settled on a brushed gold band with a secret Tanzanite and Emerald concealed on the inside of the band along with a matching engraving. Then it was up to our team to turn both of Flora’s designs into a reality and after a series of detailed communications and careful sourcing process, we invited her back to collect her finished pieces in person.
By her own admission, Flora is usually nothing if not opinionated but her reaction was one of deeply emotional silence - ‘‘I am speechless for the first time ever’. Although, she swiftly recovered her usual pithy form adding ‘it’s very original if I do say so myself having designed it’.
The proposal is planned for a Saturday evening in June by Adam’s favourite date spot on the Paddington Basin canal at golden hour before a surprise celebration party with their best friends and family.
If you’re reading this, it means that everything worked out and Adam said YES - Flora and Adam, we couldn’t be happier for you both, here’s to you and the next stage of your journey together!