Giant diamonds and endless sparkle have dominated the engagement ring market since the beginning of the 21st century. Halo settings, which began trending in the 2000s, have remained a staple for nineteen years. Pavé bands followed in the 2010s and further upped the sparkle factor of most engagement rings. With almost twenty years of endless sparkle and white gold, many people are beginning to pull away and want something different for their own engagement rings. If you go to Etsy (which we know you’ve done!) and type in “unique engagement ring” you get over 85,000 results.
Engagement rings are more than just an opportunity to dazzle others with diamonds, they are an art form, and one that is being explored by more and more brides and brides-to-be. If you are going to be wearing your engagement ring every day for the rest of your life, you want it to be a beautiful reflection of you. With all that in mind, we sat down with Anat Kaplan of Anouk Jewelry, a wonderfully talented artist who crafts stunning pieces of jewelry. We talked about her inspirations and the growing movement away from every-day and towards unique and natural pieces.
Wedding Guide Mag: Anouk Jewelry engagement rings are quite unique, what do you think attracts brides away from more traditional jewelry?
Anat Kaplan: My clients are often people who appreciate nature and artisanal ways. They don’t subscribe to the mass-produced generic jewelry sold in the malls. They’re looking for something more unique and personal, hand-crafted and custom made for them.
WGM: Do you think there is a trend away from the traditional?
AK: Absolutely, I think many people are looking for pieces that will resonate with them and will represent who they are as people, reflecting their core values.
WGM: Among your inspirations are Greek, Roman, and Byzantine art and jewelry. What inspires you about these things?
AK: I adore antique craftsmanship, the hand-made aspect of the creations, the rich colours of the yellow gold contrasting with the coloured gemstones such as rubies, emeralds and sapphires, as well as Byzantine breathtakingly beautiful, richly coloured mosaics, glowing with gold, red, blue and green.
WGM: You also pull from expressionism and abstract art for your pieces. What aspects of these movements do you enjoy the most?
AK: I enjoy the bold colour combinations and the way the colours often carry more meaning than the subject matter itself. Especially when the colours are combined with rich textures to make the art more tactile. In abstract art, the composition is key – it is the essence of the idea or a sentiment, it distills the artist’s point of view, their intention.
I love how the composition and the colours convey the message, without getting into the details of the subject matter.
WGM: Your work moves away from mass production to the point where you use raw diamonds. Why do you work with natural, raw diamonds?
AK: I love the way diamonds come from the earth untouched. They grow in beautiful crystal forms and although they’re not as sparkly as the cut diamonds are, they have a magical inner glow to them. Diamonds also come in beautiful earthy tones, such as green and brown, orange and grey, in addition to the more familiar white. A true treasure that comes from nature!
WGM: What parts of nature do you pay homage to in your jewelry?
AK: Most of my pieces are about water, its colours, its flow, the shimmer, and the textures that compliment water – the sand, rocks and the mountain formations. Water and earth symbolize timelessness, which is the sentiment I want my jewelry to connect with.
My other collections explore trees, leaves and branches, that for me symbolize hope, regeneration, renewal and rebirth.
WGM: What are your favourite materials to work with and why?
AK: I love working with all colours of gold. I adore the sunny warmth of yellow gold, the lunar glow of the white gold, the romantic feel of the rose gold, and the raw look of palladium gold.
For gemstones, I tend to work with durable gemstones, for treasures that can be passed through the generations. My go-to stones are diamonds, in all of their varieties; as well as sapphires that come in all colours of the rainbow. I’m especially partial to blue/green and teal sapphires that remind me of the ocean. I also adore peach sapphires that have a romantic tinge to them, especially when coupled with rose gold.
Anat Kaplan lives in Toronto’s Wychwood neighbourhood with her lovely young daughter and husband. She holds an MA and teaching diploma in Art History and has studied, curated, taught, and created various forms of art before finding her home in jewelry design.