Lorinczi Jewelry, the boutique studio of jeweler Stacey Lorinczi, specializes in one-of-a-kind custom engagement rings and wedding bands made entirely by hand in San Francisco. An attentive listener, Stacey deftly translates clients’ desires into rings tailored perfectly to their needs. Locally or long distance, Stacey initiates the design process with a broad discussion of the ring recipient’s aesthetic and inspirations. Working collaboratively, she helps clients create a digital mood board that aggregates all the visual sources, personal anecdotes, and motifs they might want the ring to embody. Stacey progresses from loose first draft sketches to more refined versions, and eventually to detailed renderings of the final ring; if necessary, she can even send a wax model to clarify what it will look in three dimensions. The transparent and iterative design process negates any anxiety, and ensures an intimate and engaging experience from beginning to end.

Stacey believes good design is of paramount significance, and that it’s predicated on taste, not on expense. She prefers to reverse- engineer a ring backward from the clients’ budget, attuning the ring to their financial goal rather than imposing her own. With a judicious choice of materials, a beautiful ring can be achieved just as easily with a small as with a large budget. And if the couple already has their own jewelry and wants to re-use it for a new ring, so much the better; recycling inherited gems and metal are wonderful ways to reduce costs, protect the planet, and honor family.

In a market saturated with mass-produced and hackneyed bridal jewelry, designing a custom ring ensures its singularity, and expresses the creativity of its giver and intended. Unlike an impersonal status item, wearing a custom ring conveys meanings shared only by the couple, and becomes a deeply personal, daily memento of the sentiments and stories behind its origin. Cherished jewelry becomes talismanic, conferring a feeling of strength, safety, and integrity on its wearer; the experience of creating it can be equally powerful. At a time when so many things, from the banal to the sublime, are instantly accessible, the experience of commissioning a handmade, one-of-a-kind ring is a luxury one should be proud to indulge.

Stacey offers a few general tips for designing a successful engagement ring:

  • 1) Do your research. If you want to design the ring without your girlfriend’s input, make sure you gather as much information as possible beforehand. Start to notice if she’s been window-shopping for rings— odds are she’s already expressed her tastes, and it’s up to you to take note of the styles to which she gravitates. This is your opportunity to really observe your partner and parse her aesthetic. If in doubt, call in a pinch hitter: a friend who’s more likely to know Prada from Puma.
  • 2) Forget the 4c’s. Don’t get mired in the details of diamond cut, color, clarity and carat. Diamonds are easily sourced and selected; your focus should be on the overall design— the beauty and balance of the ring as a whole— not its constituent parts.
  • 3) Set your budget. Even if you fear it’s on the small side, don’t be intimidated to state it and stick to it. A good jeweler won’t try to talk you out of it, or talk down to you. A small budget is a great opportunity for a designer to be inspired and innovative; many of the best inventions spring from constraints.
  • 4) Know your limitations. If your partner shudders when you try to go clothes shopping for yourself, let alone for her, she’s likely to have fixed ideas about engagement rings— do not attempt to design the ring on your own. Instead, bring her in on the design process from the beginning, and she’ll be thrilled to be part of what is a delightfully memorable and meaningful collaboration.

Of course, once the engagement ring is taken care of, wedding bands are the next step. This is where the groom reaps his reward for all that hard work, deploying his newly minted design skills on a ring that truly expresses his own style. Whether he prefers the simplicity of a straightforward band, or craves something more unusual and one-of-a-kind, Stacey works with the couple to create singular or matched bands that complement the beauty of the engagement ring, and express the spirit of the bride and groom both as partners and as individuals.