As a lifelong jeweler, Mike Berger knows the importance of secrecy around marriage proposals. But that kind of goes out of the window when the groom-to-be wants to propose after his team wins Super Bowl LVI.
Berger, owner of Lippa’s Estate and Fine Jewelry in Burlington, Vt., says his staff kept the secret of selecting, crafting, and overnight delivering of said ring from L.A. Rams safety Taylor Rapp to his high school sweetheart, Dani Johnson. It was when Rapp got down on one knee on the football field after his team won, with confetti flying and fans cheering, that the cat definitely was out of the proverbial bag on his engagement.
Lippa’s created the custom engagement ring for Rapp through a series of phone calls, emails, and frantic last-minute arrangements that made the whole process not only romantic but also fun for his staff, Berger says.
It started when a sports agent suggested Lippa’s for the engagement ring, Berger says. He and Rapp spoke on the telephone to determine Rapp’s style and budget. Lippa’s searched for and found the type of diamond Rapp wanted, and the jeweler was in the process of finishing the ring in time for Rapp to propose when the couple were on a vacation planned for the end of February.
That whole plan changed when the Rams made the Super Bowl—and when Rapp made one more request, Berger says. Rapp said he wanted to propose when his team won the championship game, and Lippa’s decided it would speed up its process to make it happen.
“My exact comment to him was: ‘I love the confidence,’ ” Berger says. “I told him best of luck in the game and that we’d try.”
That’s when everyone at Lippa’s went into overdrive: The ring was completed on the Friday before the Super Bowl, overnighted to one of Rapp’s neighbors who would be home for the delivery, and Rapp picked it up to give to his longtime love on Super Bowl Sunday. Johnson’s engagement ring features a 3 ct. cushion-cut diamond set in 18k yellow gold, perfect in its simplicity, Berger says.
“We had to scramble to get it done, but we were able to do it. It went straight from our jeweler to his neighbor’s house, and, thankfully, it was one delivery that arrived when it was supposed to,” Berger says. “Everybody in the company was involved in one way or another. We were just fortunate to make sure it got to him in time so he could do it.”
Rapp was “such a pleasure to work with,” Berger says, and the jeweler himself felt like he had won the Super Bowl when he saw the now-viral video of the proposal. Even a local television station did a story on the surprise engagement.
Lippa’s did get to see its work one more time—the ring actually came back to Lippa’s after the big game and successful proposal. The store needed to photograph it and get it appraised for insurance purposes, Berger says, so it will get back to Johnson this week for her to wear for the rest of her life.
Lippa’s has been working with numerous National Football League athletes for more than 10 years and has created everything from engagement rings to diamond stud earrings to custom necklaces for players.
While living in San Francisco, Berger was introduced to an up-and-coming NFL agent by a mutual friend. “We met, had dinner, developed a great relationship, and the rest is history. He’s been referring his clients to us ever since,” Berger says. “It’s been quite an honor.”
Family owned and operated on Church Street in Burlington since 1933, Berger says Lippa’s has a reputation for finding classic jewelry in addition to creating unique custom pieces for clients across the country.
“Whether it’s a celebrity or an athlete or the guy down the street, we strive to make these occasions special and deliver the perfect product they’re looking for,” Berger says.
Top: L.A. Ram Taylor Rapp wanted a special diamond to propose to his longtime girlfriend, and Lippa’s Estate and Fine Jewelry was able to get the ring done in time for the Super Bowl surprise (all photos courtesy of Lippa’s Estate and Fine Jewelry).
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