Some of you may already be familiar with our lovely client, Laura Rose Schwartz. She co-owns and teaches at Old Town’s Vikryia Lab and she is the type of person whom once you meet her, you feel as if you have always been friends. This past year has been a big one for Laura Rose: she and her lovely partner Patrick tied the knot in St. Kitts in an intimate ceremony after they both designed rings with us at Alx&Co. I recently sat down with Laura Rose and Patrick to talk about her design process and her amazingly unique lavender sapphire ring. Read on for the sweetest love story and a thoughtful surprise design detail we added to Laura Rose’s ring…
How did you meet?
Laura Rose: We met the old fashioned way…on Bumble. After I swiped right on Patrick, I forgot to log back in after the initial 24-hour period that you have to initiate contact. Luckily, Patrick did an “extension” on the match or we might never have been. We met for our first date at Virtue Feed and Grain on April 22, 2018, and have never looked back.
What drew you to each other initially?
Laura Rose: I saw a quote that made me think of us: “I met you and unavoidably you were special. So now I love you.” I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight but I knew we were going to have something serious by the second date. I can tell that Patrick cares about me just by how he looks at me — even from the beginning. He’s really genuine, smart, he’s a drummer, a soccer player, and handsome. So basically the total package. I joke that he must be conning me somehow because he’s too perfect.
Patrick: I have never met someone with Laura’s combination of intelligence, beauty, courage, and kindness. Our connection was immediate and easy. Our second date felt like our twentieth, in the best possible way. She has a way of lighting up wherever she is with her eyes and her smile, and the more I got to know her the more the attraction grew.
What made you decide you wanted to get married?
Laura Rose: We kind of did this whole part out of order. We decided to get a puppy, and then to move in together. Once we decided to live together, it was an easy decision to get married. I’ve never had any question that I want to spend the rest of my life with Patrick. Everything with us is always so easy. I feel like I am entirely free to be my quirky self with him at all times, which is so incredibly special for me. I know that if I want to belt out Celine Dion or Broadway show tunes for him, he’ll smile and go along with it. We decided to take advantage of the warm Caribbean weather and booked a trip to St. Kitts and Nevis to get married on March 1…leaving little time for the ring design process.
Patrick: There came a point where I realized that I couldn’t imagine life without her, nor would I ever want to. When someone makes everything that special and wonderful, committing your life to them is a very easy decision. It didn’t matter if we were going out for pizza or going to an event in D.C., I knew it was going to be amazing and I wanted to feel that always.
Before getting engaged, did you know what you wanted for a ring?
Laura Rose: A couple months in, we walked through the Natural History Museum where the Hope Diamond is and Patrick said, “I don’t like traditional diamond rings” and I thought…okay, I guess we’re on the same page (in that I want a non-traditional stone and that I really love this guy and think we’ll get married at some point). I’ve always liked large either solitary stones or with minimal embellishments, and love all the different options that are available now in precious stones. I knew I wanted Alx&Co. to design it, and went through the entire Instagram page with Patrick to show him what I liked and didn’t like in terms of colors and shapes.
Tell us about the design process for Laura Rose’s ring. What inspired you to pick a purple sapphire? What were you hoping to achieve in the design?
Patrick: I didn’t have a particular stone type in mind at the start of the process. Laura had given me an idea of her likes and dislikes and told me about Alx&Co. Even though we had already planned our wedding trip, I wanted to keep some element of surprise involved so I didn’t tell her when I first visited the store. At the start I knew I wanted something unique, blending classic and modern, and probably with color rather than a clear stone. Somehow Alx&Co. translated my vague ideas first into a stone selection, giving me about ten beautiful gems to choose from, and then worked with me to design the ring. I can’t say exactly why I picked the purple sapphire over the others, I don’t think I had ever seen a stone like it and I could just picture putting it on Laura’s finger and it felt right.
Honestly, when I saw the purple sapphire from our vendor I immediately thought of Laura Rose. We got in a few different sapphire colors to choose from but that purple one was just perfect for her. I was really happy when you picked it on your own!
Patrick: They sent the design to me digitally after the stone was selected, and I showed it to one of her good friends to make sure I was on the right track. The finished product exceeded anything I could have hoped for.
Laura Rose, you designed a ring for Patrick as well. Tell us about your decision to create Patrick’s ring (unwittingly) while he was designing your engagement ring. What were your design goals?
Laura Rose: Once we booked our wedding trip (I like to call it a weddymoon), I knew we didn’t have a lot of time for jewelry, so I went to Alx&Co. the same week. Luckily I walked in and was able to meet with Meaghan without making an appointment. I told her that I’d wanted Patrick to go there to design my ring and she said, “Oh really, what’s his name?” and when I said Patrick, she VERY CONVINCINGLY said no, he hasn’t been here. He and I had gone through some pictures and I’d had the idea that the ring could have two grooves running through it — to represent two lives, independent but connected. Meaghan described the pros and cons of different metals, and helped me decide on sterling silver which is much more affordable but also could be oxidized so that the grooves would stand out. The whole process took less than 30 minutes and was incredibly easy. I then asked Patrick to stop by and get his finger sized and he asked, “Where is that? Is it in Old Town?” I thought, I guess he didn’t go there for my ring like I hoped! Little did I know he’d been working with y’all for weeks already.
Ha, we are so sneaky. We even pulled the groove idea from Patrick’s ring and added it to yours for a subtle way to connect the rings! How was the proposal planned? Was it a surprise?
Patrick: We had the wedding trip planned already, so it wasn’t a surprise. But she hadn’t seen the ring and didn’t know exactly when I was going to “propose.” Once I had it, I kept the ring with me waiting for a moment that seemed right (checking my pocket every five minutes to make sure it was still there), and one night after I came home from work the moment was there and I told her I wanted to be her husband and showed her the ring. She absolutely loved it and we celebrated with sushi.
Any tips for those who are thinking about getting engaged?
Patrick: Life is stressful enough — this should be one of the fun things! I like to go to experts for anything important and lifelong, and working with Alx&Co. literally made it a stress-free process because we both knew (separately) that they are so artistic and while they are very receptive to ideas their expertise in the field helped make the process seamless. And let the wedding be fun, too! Ours was a little different because we eloped but we still rolled with hurt feelings from people who couldn’t come. We ended up “Instagram living” the ceremony, and it was really special to have so many people from all over the world tune in and send us their love.
Can you describe your design process in one word?
Laura Rose & Patrick: Collaborative
Thank you, Laura Rose and Patrick! We loved working with you on your rings.
Alexandria & Company is an Old Town-based workshop and design studio specializing in creating and restoring fine jewelry and silver hollowware. They are the in-the-know jewelers of Alexandria and have been serving clients out of their small workshop for decades. Tucked in their historic building on South Royal Street, the team at Alx&Co. brings a personalized, modern approach to their craft – this is not your average stodgy jeweler or antique shop. Visit them during their walk-in hours or online to view their collection of handmade fine jewelry or to drop off a repair project; or, if you’re feeling creative, make an appointment to talk about that custom design project you’ve been imagining.
121-B South Royal Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Design Studio Walk-In Hours (all jewelry services): Wednesday – Saturday 12-6pm
Silver Workshop Walk-In Hours (all silver repair and restoration services): Wednesday or Friday 12-6pm, or by appointment
Appointments encouraged for custom design.