Sculptural, Stackable Engagement Rings For the Modern Bride
When one engagement ring is not enough.
Published Jun 7, 2019 5:15 AM
Anna Sheffield is arguably the coolest girl on the block when it comes to unique, non-traditional engagement rings. The New Mexico native found her way to jewelry making partly by chance, after studying art and sculpture and learning some metal and jewelry techniques on the side.
As she puts it, “I was making art when I was feeling stuck. I would dabble in jewelry. I would make things for myself and friends as gifts. After that, I started to dabble in engagement rings.” The artisan maker opened and founded Bing Bang in 2001 in San Francisco and continued to explore her passion for jewelry before launching her namesake line in 2007.
Over 16 years into the jewelry-making business now with countless collaborations and celebrity clients (think: Marc Jacobs, Phillip Lim, Tony Hawk), we’d definitely dub Sheffield as the go-to for some of the chicest, most sculpturally elegant bespoke rings.
With no formal fashion school or merchandising training, Sheffield made a name for herself by paving the way through connections and craftsmanship, admitting, “I really didn’t have a business plan, I just really wanted people to know that I was making my stuff by hand.”
Transforming now into one of the wedding world’s resident “it”-girls, Sheffield shares with Domino how she turned her artistic eye from costume jewelry to engagement rings, now creating some of the coolest wedding and engagement pieces on the market.
On designing engagement rings
“I got hooked on diamonds. It had been working on gold and silver under Bing Bang previously which was young, spicy, and irreverent. I had done it for 16 years. My friends and family would occasionally ask me to make an engagement ring, and once I did, it felt right and intuitive. I could bring something unique to that world which they wanted. Something unique to them to represent their individuality and their love.”
On her signature style
“It was about getting away from the white diamond and the white gold, one diamond on a ring. People wanted to see something new, and they didn’t know what that was. I started with something that I personally felt strong about, in terms of aesthetics. Not everyone wants a diamond, so I started working with moonstones, white diamonds, black diamonds, grey diamonds, champagne diamonds, various gemstones, and precious materials. They can be used in the same classic settings, but people wanted to mix yellow gold, rose gold, white diamonds, black diamonds, semi-precious, and precious.”
On her famous nesting rings
“I realized I wanted to make rings that could fit around an engagement ring, even if that ring wasn’t there. I started with the crescent, tiaras, or big diamonds shapes. There wasn’t anything like that before. It was a semi-monumental moment in figuring out who we were. Inventing those stacking and nesting rings that we call ceremonial sweeps. You can make a whole set of your own rings interesting and add to it over time with different anniversaries, emeralds, opals, and sapphires. They are meant to be mixed and matched with infinite possibilities. To me, that was what I set out to do in the broader sense to make it possible to symbolize something personal.”
On choosing the perfect engagement ring
“Choosing an engagement ring is such a personal thing. Consider what values you have, what’s important to you, what meanings are important to you. Does the stone have a certain provenance or color? Do you want something that looked like your mother or grandmother’s? That’s important to consider. Whatever fits with your values—anything is possible. And when it comes to budget, it’s good to do the research. With diamonds you get what you pay for. The way the industry works, things are priced based on what they are worth. Go to a brand with integrity that will teach you about the process, and materials. Also find a brand that aligns with the values, then find a style that feels like you or her.”
On caring for your engagement ring
“Clean it periodically, have the prongs and setting checked every year to make sure the integrity of these teeny tiny things holds the stone are okay. Daily wear, these rings take a beating over time. Don’t wear it at gym or working in the garden, you don’t want it rubbing against rocks and pressed against the handle of your SoulCycle bike. Nothing is impervious to a beating. Be mindful of when to take it off and clean it.”
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