Digby & Iona’s Aaron Ruff decided to launch a line of engagement rings for the most New York of reasons: he ran out of space. “I’ve been collecting diamonds for about five years, and it finally reached a point where I had to quit hoarding and actually make them into rings before I continued amassing,” admits the Maine-born, Brooklyn-based jewelry designer. It was Hoarders’ loss but a real gain for those in serious relationships, since the rings offer a stylish alternative to cookie-cutter rocks. The collection, dubbed Inigo & Atreyu (trivia time, â€˜80s film buffs), features intricately engraved gold bands holding truly unique stones. And we mean truly—when’s the last time you’ve seen a brown or grey diamond perched on a finger?
It was these very stones that Ruff wanted to have as the centerpiece of each one-of-a-kind ring. “The designs were really informed by the diamonds I used. I generally picked a diamond from my collection, then built a ring and setting around it to complement the stone,” he says, adding, “As with my other collections I sourced my inspiration and patterns from historical references, but with this collection I let the diamonds do most of the talking.” In the case of the current crop of designs, it’s the War of 1812 that’s set the aesthetic tone. Romantic? Not exactly, but then, not every bride-to-be wants a princess ring (although for those who do, there is one called Buttercup).
And it’s these very women who Ruff is targeting. As he puts it, “[The collection] is definitely in the realm of non-traditional bands. I like to think they’re in the middle ground—my goal was to present the non-traditional gems with classic detailing, and of course a dose of my normal aesthetic.” Like all good relationships, this is one that seems poised to grow; according to Ruff, he’s already working on new ones to add to the Inigo & Atreyu collection. Of course, making mostly one-off rings means that if you’re ready to pop the question and see one you like, you best make it quick; unlike true love, each design won’t last forever.