Even after nearly 10 years of seeing jewel after jewel, I’m so amazed (and utterly grateful) that I can still be blown away by a design. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it happens several times a day, but I remain in awe of it. And this piece in particular is notably stirring, one of those game changers that has me looking at an entire category differently.
In a first for her eponymous brand, designer Gaelle Khouri has introduced a set of wedding rings very much for seekers of an alternative fashion. Her matching set of engagement ring and wedding band is so wondrously special, and there’s a reason for that: It was designed for the jeweler, who recently got married herself.
The engagement ring is a geometric dance of baguette diamonds, with sharp, folded wings hugging around the finger as the ring makes use of negative space to decorate the skin. The sparkling package is fastened with a bow in the form of two diamonds—a yellow oval and brown pear-shape duo. It’s elegantly modern, but harks back to the 1920s just a bit with its angles and baguettes. Traditional brides may seek their forever ring elsewhere, yet the style is easily passable as a fashion piece by those who adore it but don’t wish to wed with it.
A matching wedding band mimics the main ring’s essence, with yellow diamonds of varying shapes alternating with baguettes. One wouldn’t need to pair a band with such a grand engagement ring (it does the job of a wedding set itself), though I could see it worn in situations when the wearer either can’t (or doesn’t want to) show off the partner statement piece.
I was fortunate to get in a few questions with the Dubai-based Khouri, below.
Describe a little bit of your design process for these pieces. What made you want to do a wedding line? What kind of consumers do you envision going for this?
The pieces are very personal—there wasn’t any commercial drive behind them. I was getting married and my husband insisted on me designing a ring for myself. A solitaire ring is somewhat of a boring concept for me: It usually revolves around a beautifully shining diamond stone, and no matter how expensive or rare the stone is, it doesn’t appeal personally to me. I chose to work around it and go for something unusually edgy and different, making the eye notice the design before the stones.
The ring is a strong piece that cannot go unnoticed, but it is also a discreet piece in the sense that you wouldn’t instantly think of it as a wedding ring. I think that this type of design would appeal to nonmainstream consumers with a certain edge in their personality, looking for a valuable piece with character.
Do you intend to expand the collection from the two pieces currently created?
That’s the plan moving forward.
What was it like getting married during the pandemic? Did you have to alter your plans? What advice can you give retailers to offer brides-to-be going through the same thing right now?
My husband and I are both private people, and we had always imagined a small, intimate gathering for our wedding celebration. The COVID situation did restrict us in certain ways but didn’t prevent us from living that very special moment. It was just pure, beautiful bliss, and we are grateful for that. We were surrounded by only a very small number of people, but everybody’s happiness created a very strong energy that has made the day unforgettable.
For retailers, I think women will be more likely to customize their wedding ring and create something very personal moving forward. Also, now that brides-to-be can’t have a normal wedding for themselves currently, they might give more attention and time to the process of designing and creating their wedding ring. Creating a personal dialogue with them is very important.
Are you planning to do anything different with your business for this year’s holiday season?
Following my move to Dubai, I’m trying to settle in and explore the market here. It’s not a secret that times remain difficult for everyone, but the appetite to buy jewelry is still there and we are trying to respond to that.
What do you think will be the biggest wedding trend in 2021?
I think people will opt for private celebrations, which means they can be more creative in the preparation process. They won’t be feeling the pressure to replicate the framework of other weddings in order to make theirs nice and successful. However, I think the pandemic made people more grounded, so they will most likely avoid over-the-top celebrations and people will rather choose simplicity in terms of outfits, location, and overall mood for the big day.
Top: Engagement ring in 18k yellow gold with white, brown, and yellow diamonds, price on request; Gaelle KhouriFollow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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