If you’ve been dreaming of a Leonardo DiCaprio proposal since his Titanic days, we now have some insight into what sort of ring the star might pick out for his future bride.
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Los Angeles-based jeweler Vrai & Oro, known for its delicate designs, recently launched its first wedding collection, Vow. And while its timeless styles are enough to make us swoon, the fact that DiCaprio is an active investor in Vrai & Oro’s parent company, Diamond Foundry, really makes our hearts sing because it means that all of the collection’s diamonds are also conflict-free, sustainable, and grown in California.
With five core styles—each available in yellow, white or rose gold, with or without a pave diamond band—and a unique at-home try-on model (à la Warby Parker), Vow is perfectly suited for millennial brides who crave clean, classic designs and value social and environmental awareness. Vrai & Oro founder and creative director Vanessa Stofenmacher saw a hole in the engagement ring market for such brides, who are looking for something other than the generic ring settings offered by mass-retailer sites, or the overpriced options at big name jewelers.
“I didn’t really see an attainable option that had great design and was focused around sustainability,” Stofenmacher says. “I think we’re also just living in a culture that’s changing traditions. We’re seeing a lot of women being involved in the proposal process now. We don’t necessarily have to wait for guys to pop the question out of the blue.”
Though “disrupting the industry” may be an overused term, Vow seeks to do just that. With its at-home try-on model, couples can choose to have mock versions of up to three ring designs shipped to them for free so they can get a sense of how the rings look, feel, and fit into their everyday lives. For women, it can offer the ability to discreetly try on rings before letting their guy know what they love, and for men it can be a way to include family and friends in the decision making process. “Ordering online is a huge question mark for a lot of people, especially with this purpose, so the try-on model is something to ease those pressures,” Stofenmacher says.
With wearability in mind, and Vrai & Oro’s signature minimalist approach to design, the rings have an It-girl ease: thin, rounded bands, perfectly angled prongs that aren’t too pointy or too blunt, and a low gem setting. Sourcing the diamonds to complement Vow’s designs was a tough task, though, since Vrai & Oro is committed to transparency and wanted to find truly sustainable rocks they could stand behind. So when Stofenmacher stumbled across Diamond Foundry on Instagram it was a serendipitous moment.
A Silicon Valley startup, Diamond Foundry actually grows its diamonds in its S.F. headquarters. By recreating the environment in which diamonds naturally develop, using a plasma reactor, Diamond Foundry is able to grow diamonds, atom by atom, that are chemically the same as mined diamonds, minus the human and environmental impact. “Some people have this notion that it’s a synthetic diamond or a fake crystal but it’s really the same. It’s a diamond. It’s kind of like hydroponic plants: it’s just grown in a different way,” says Stofenmacher.
Plus, because both Diamond Foundry and Vrai & Oro are direct-to-consumer retailers, their prices average 10 to 15 percent lower than traditional jewelers. Now that’s a sustainable option we feel good about.