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A Self-Gifted Engagement Ring? Jeweler Elizabeth ‘Dilly’ Kirby of Elizabeth Blair Fine Pearls Said ‘Yes’

Ring in platinum with an 8.01 ct. L-color, SI clarity, long emerald-cut center diamond and custom-cut, emerald-cut emeralds, by Oscar Heyman

Harbor Springs, Mich. March 5, 2021. They say the third time is the charm, a fact with which jeweler Elizabeth “Dilly” Kirby agrees, regarding her third engagement ring—a gift to herself.

The ring? An 8.01 ct. emerald-cut diamond with a halo of calibrated long emerald-cut emeralds and more set atop the shank or band. The metal is platinum.

The owner of Elizabeth Blair Fine Pearls first spied the ring, made by Oscar Heyman, at the 2020 Centurion show in Scottsdale, Ariz., and was instantly smitten. Her colleague, graduate gemologist Andrew Brey, who helps her buy store inventory and manage in-store production, was as well, right away.

“It reads a lot bigger than it is,” he explains.

Courageously, he asked the price. Recollects Kirby, “He said, ‘This thing is cheap!’” Why was it priced well? The color L and the clarity grade SI, but the imperfections were really tough to see, and the channel-set emeralds, set end to end, masked the yellowish hue.

“It’s got a long, slim, and low profile, and the emeralds around it disguise the body color—it would read warmer if it were in an all-white mounting,” explains Brey. “We have wealthy clients up here with emerald-cut diamonds, and this one is so much bigger than theirs it shocks me. If you’re going to buy a big bodacious diamond, this is the one. It’s a showstopper; it looks like a million-dollar ring, but it was a tremendous value.”

Kirby just admired it at the show, not making a move. Then both the Oscar Heyman brand and Kirby and Brey moved on to the Select Jewelry Show in Tucson, Ariz., the same day Centurion ended. Kirby visited the ring again.

“I’m not a huge fan of diamonds but this spoke to me,” she says. She bought it out of “an outrageous act of self-love,” not realizing, of course, that the pandemic was just about to touch down in the lives of everyone. But as she stayed in quarantine like everyone else affected by shutdowns, the ring became a source of comfort. “I’m sitting home in my pajamas, petting my ring,” she jokes about last spring. The ring had become a private source of joy during the crazy Covid-19 times. The “worst” part about the ring—if that could possibly be a thing—is the owner’s hand, claims Kirby. “Hopefully people won’t look at it when they see the ring.”

Brey pointed out another positive about her magnificent new acquisition: it was a good selling tool for the Oscar Heyman brand, which the store carries.

Tom Heyman of Oscar Heyman agrees, and dishes on the stone’s provenance. He acquired it—set in a 50-year-old Oscar Heyman piece of jewelry—from an estate sale. It was pretty but needed a little love. His team trimmed it a bit—upwards of 10 points—to clean up wear and tear (think abrasions on the girdle), and then handed it to one of their in-house designers. Out of several design options the team chose this one because it was the most simple and stunning. Every single emerald was cut to fit around the diamond—edge to edge with no space for air or even a sliver of metal.

“Our designer said it was like a Rembrandt that needed a frame,” says Heyman.

Heyman says the ring was completed on Jan. 27, 2020. Kirby saw it two days later. Within two weeks of completion, the ring was resized and on her hand. “I don’t think anyone else even looked at it,” he says.

Ring in platinum with an 8.01 ct. L-color, SI clarity, long emerald-cut center diamond and custom-cut, emerald-cut emeralds, by Oscar Heyman

Ring in platinum with an 8.01 ct. L-color, SI clarity, long emerald-cut center diamond and custom-cut, emerald-cut emeralds, by Oscar Heyman

Ring in platinum with an 8.01 ct. L-color, SI clarity, long emerald-cut center diamond and custom-cut, emerald-cut emeralds, by Oscar Heyman

Sketch and finished product from Oscar Heyman

Ring in platinum with an 8.01 ct. L-color, SI clarity, long emerald-cut center diamond and custom-cut, emerald-cut emeralds, by Oscar Heyman

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