The first time Justin and I found ourselves alone, he looked me square in the face and said, "I am going to marry the shit out of that girl."
I like a man who keeps his promises. Especially when it comes to marrying one of my best friends.
At this point in their relationship, Tracey and Justin had only gone on a few dates, but they had been friends for several years. She told me frequently that I should meet her friend Justin and then would toss off some comment about how he was going through a crazy dating phase and it should wait. If he was going to be somewhere, she would inevitably say, "I decided not to invite him". I teased and teased that she was in love with this guy or that he wasn't real. She shrugged me off. But, after years of pining and persistence, Justin landed a few dates and knew who he had in front of him was extraordinary. With Tracey, it would be hard to miss.
For me, Tracey was an island of amazing in a sea of crazy individuals who made up my Diamond course at the Gemological Institute of America. The class was composed of an incredible and hilarious mix of humans: We had the cheeky German from Idar-Oberstein, a city prized for its fantasy cut gemstones for centuries. We had the suave Italian-Brazilian who had a partnership with an Israeli business man to open a diamond mine in Sierra Leone. We had the three Indian cousins who lived on three different continents (and we were not sure they were really cousins). We had the Vietnamese girl named Thai who tattooed herself with a needle and a pen on the weekends. We had the Staten Island son of a pawnshop owner who sat in the back of the room, screaming "I LOVE THIS CLASS" when he passed an exam. And "THIS CLASS IS THE WORST" when he got a single answer wrong.
The diamond course was my first taste of the diversity, intensity, and insanity of the jewelry industry. And sitting right in the middle of the chaos was Tracey, who laughed along with every antic and became my fast friend. (Note: In picture above, she liked me too! She's looking at me instead of the camera)
Tracey is a person who is in tune with the things and people around her, grounded in her approach and reasoning. She balances a tremendous amount of personal and professional strain with grace and poise. The things that leave me rattled, in tears, and crumbled, she has a way of rising above, treating delicately and with kindness, and handling with true emotional mastery. She's funny and real. She is truly one of the best people I have ever met. I am continually surprised by her immense generosity and every day thankful to have her in my life.
After finishing the diamond course, Tracey moved to Israel where she landed an impressive job writing for the Fancy Colored Research Foundation, an organization tracking the value and sales of fancy colored diamonds. She was in the thick of transitioning to a new culture and I was happy to have an excuse to visit Tel Aviv to see her thriving in her new life across the world. (See left!)
After a few years, she moved back in New York where Tracey started her Master's at Columbia, which is where she met her husband-to-be, Justin.
Well, that's not really where Tracey and Justin met. As you may or may not know, Tracey is the girl with the white pants. Right before Tracey left for Israel, she was across the street from her parent's house in Long Island, telling her neighbor about her upcoming adventure and relocation to Israel. That's when the husband of the neighbor's eldest daughter came in and saw Tracey in her white pants--A memory that burned itself into his head (Tracey has a way of doing that to people). That guy, who landed (single) in Tracey's Master's Class at Columbia several years later, was Justin.
I am so happy Tracey has found her person. I am also sad that I have to share her with Justin (who is actually real). But, more than anything, I am thrilled that the rings on her finger are from him, celebrate their love, and also include a bit of me and the love I have for this amazing human in the design.
Onto the rings!
This solitaire engagement ring was made using an heirloom diamond, gifted to the bride by her brother to add "something old" to her wedding celebrations. Using the inspiration of Art Deco design, this platinum engagement ring features a halo of diamonds offset by an elegant negative space. With Princess Cut Diamonds set on the bias at north and south and baguette Emeralds blending the basket into the band, the interest of this ring lies in the details. The platinum setting features handmade millegrain detail on every edge (even under the diamond!) to add sparkle because a ring is not a ring unless it sparkles from every angle.
Note: I insisted on having Emeralds in Tracey's Ring. Her last name, Greenstein, translates to "Green Stone". Her nom de social media, @EmeraldTraveler, is a handle she fought tooth and nail to buy because she is the essence of this stone. Emerald is know as the “Stone of Successful Love”. It is believed to open and nurture the heart, soothe, and provide healing that brings freshness and vitality to the spirit. It is a stone of inspiration and infinite patience (just like Tracey).
Because making jewelry with one of your best friends is fun, Tracey and I hopped right into making her wedding band even before the engagement ring was firmly on her hand. Here's her wedding band:
Tracey's wedding band is made in platinum with an asymmetrical arrangement of three sizes of baguette diamonds set in narrow walls. The zigzag of the diamonds causes light to dance across the surface of the ring with movement unexpected for baguette cut diamonds. It's a modern Deco ring, set low to the finger for maximum comfort and with an edge and style that is unique to T.
I have thousands of photos of Tracey (she has phenomenal ears, hands, and collarbone, which means she has served as my model since I started Original Eve Designs), but no photo makes me happier than the one I have of her with Justin on his knee on a balcony in Italy overlooking the sea.
I love you, T. I love that Justin really is going to marry the shit out of you. And I cannot wait to see what the future brings.