Most couples are protective when it comes to their engagement ring design. But when master jeweler Roman Malayev had to ask even his wife to sign a nondisclosure agreement, he knew the experience creating a ring for megacelebrity Britney Spears with her boyfriend, Sam Asghari, would be one like no other.
News of Spears and Asghari’s engagement broke Sunday when the duo announced it on Instagram (Spears has since deleted her account to take a social-media break). Spears and Asghari have dated for five years, and both had indicated in interviews their desire to get married.
“It’s a big moment for them. It’s part of their beginning. The whole world is just cheering for them,” Malayev says. “It’s also the biggest secret I’ve kept in my whole life.”
The news has sparked Malayev’s own celebrity, something the jeweler says is humbling, thrilling, and overwhelming all at the same time.
Malayev is chief executive officer of Forever Diamonds NY, a family-owned business with more than 40 years of experience creating handcrafted, custom engagement rings.
But Britney’s 4 ct. solitaire is likely the one that will cement his public reputation. Because of his design, he now has an archive on Perez Hilton, mentions on every social media channel, and a lifetime of links to the “…Baby One More Time” legend.
With as much self-deprecation as he can muster, Malayev says he is taking the newfound interest in his work with gratitude. Forever Diamonds NY’s website has been flooded with traffic for the Lioness, Asghari’s nickname for Spears and what he and Malayev named the ring they created for the singer.
Based on months of conversations, Malayev says, he and Asghari designed a ring that highlights a round solitaire diamond within a cathedral setting. The stone floats among its flush-set diamond prongs and basket. There are several additional diamonds on the ring, including one under the bridge, that only Spears can see.
“With Sam, the first words that came up were ‘timeless’ and ‘classic.’ He wanted me to take those concepts and develop them,” Malayev says. “A diamond in an engagement ring is timeless and classic. But I wanted to go beyond that, to incorporate something modern as well. We removed the legs, creating the floating diamond effect. When you’re looking through the actual ring, that allows you to see the diamond floating on its own.
“It came out flawlessly,” Malayev adds. “It’s another expression of who she is.”
You’ll never be able to buy the exact ring that Spears now flashes on her finger—Malayev says that design belongs to her alone, bearing the heartfelt inscription of “Lioness” inside the platinum band. The jeweler says the nickname is ideal for Spears, who incorporates that strength and ferocity into everything she does.
Malayev says Asghari was “super easy” to work with, “like a regular guy.” He was delighted to be selected as their jeweler, and he hopes to work with them again. When word got out that Asghari was searching for a ring designer, Malayev says, he jumped on the opportunity to design such an iconic ring to show his craft and ability.
“Every designer I spoke with about the ring was amazing with great ideas, but I just clicked with Roman—we really connected on the design, and he was as excited as I was to make it special,” Asghari said in a statement. “That’s why I chose him.”
The design process was top secret throughout, Malayev says. The store even gave the couple nicknames—John and Jenna—to ensure their privacy. That discreetness is something every client receives, Malayev says, and he encourages couples to design their rings together like the future Mr. and Mrs. Asghari did.
“It’s a special time in anyone’s life. You don’t want a cookie-cutter ring,” Malayev says. “You should look for things that are meaningful and symbolic to you. Like the word ‘lioness.’ It’s the perfect word that describes her in all of her essence.… That’s what jewelry is supposed to be—personal and meaningful to the person who is wearing it.”
Top: The Lioness engagement ring, price upon request; Forever Diamonds NY (all photos courtesy of Forever Diamonds NY)Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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