BIJC Seeks Love Stories in Second Annual “Together by Design” Contest
Couples are invited to share their story for a chance to win a custom yellow diamond engagement ring.
Couples, or one partner, can upload their story on the BIJC website. Applicants must be residing in the United States and not already married or engaged.
Submissions will be judged by a panel of experienced jewelry professionals. A winner will be notified by June 30.
The prize platinum ring will feature a cushion-cut 1.44-carat VVS1 fancy yellow diamond, valued at a minimum of $15,000 USD.
Kealeboga Pule, owner of Nungu Diamonds in South Africa, donated the yellow diamond. The materials to create the engagement ring are donated by Platinum Guild International USA, Anza Gems and B&B Fine Gems.
The love story contest judges are Michelle Graff, editor-in-chief of National Jeweler; Severine Ferrari, founder of Engagement 101; Eric Ford, buyer of precious jewelry at Neiman Marcus; Tanya Dukes, jewelry writer; and Lisa Garris, vice president of human resources at GIA.
After the winning love story is selected, “Together by Design” will open the second phase of the contest, where jewelry designers will submit ring ideas inspired by the winning couple’s story. A separate panel will judge this portion of the contest, and the winning design will be brought to life and gifted to the couple.
The “Together by Design” contest demonstrates the incredible connection that a love story can have on an engagement ring,” says BIJC President Annie Doresca. “Through both phases of the love story contest and jewelry design competition, our intent is to increase representation in the bridal sector and promote emerging designers, all while celebrating love.”
The winning couple will also receive a free proposal photoshoot.
The design portion of the contest prize package sponsors are the Gemological Institute of America, GRS, Jewelers of America, and the Jewelers Vigilance Committee.
The nonprofit, dedicated to the advancement of Black professionals in the gem, jewelry and watch industry, originally launched the program in October 2021.
It concluded with love story winner Brooklyn-native Rom proposing to his girlfriend, Samantha in view of the Brooklyn Bridge, the site of their first kiss.
The ring was a 14-karat three-stone diamond ring that featured a 1.31 center stone and a tiny, intricate replica of the bridge to represent the past, present and future of the couple’s love.
It was designed by winning designer Patricia Carruth of Your Personal Jeweler in Royal Oak, Michigan.
The center stone was donated by Leo Schachter, and the gold and accent diamonds were both donated by Rio Grande.
"Brooklyn is where my heart is! When I look at my ring, I am reminded of our love story and my home. It's the most perfect ring! The diamonds are brilliant with excellent clarity just like my love for Rom and the future I see for us,” said Samantha. “We have grown a lot as individuals and as a couple the past five years. Every time I look at my ring, I feel like my heart grows more and more in love and in gratitude.”
For more information and full rules about entering the 2023 contest, visit BIJC's website.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect applicants cannot be engaged or married. The original version of this story stated contest applicants could be engaged.
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