Events & Awards

BIJC’s First Design Competition Ends With a Brooklyn Bridge Proposal

Events & AwardsJul 11, 2022

BIJC’s First Design Competition Ends With a Brooklyn Bridge Proposal

The winning couple exchanged a 14-karat gold three-stone ring created by Michigan-based designer Patricia Carruth.

Rom popped the question to Samantha at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
View Slideshow
New York—The Black in Jewelry Coalition’s inaugural Together by Design competition ended in late spring with a proposal near a famous New York landmark.

Together by Design is a two-part competition BIJC created to celebrate Black love, elevate an up-and-coming Black jewelry designer, and increase representation within the jewelry and bridal industries. 

It launched in October 2021 with a call for couples to share their love stories for the chance to win a custom-designed natural diamond engagement ring.

After a committee of five judges picked the couple with the most compelling love story—a Brooklyn, New York man named Rom who wanted to propose to his girlfriend, Samantha—the call went out for designers to submit ring sketches based on elements of the couple’s love story, like where they had their first kiss.

A separate panel of four judges presided over the design portion of the competition, announcing Patricia Carruth of Your Personal Jeweler in Royal Oak, Michigan as the winner in March.

Over the next couple months, Carruth worked with Rom to create the perfect ring for the proposal, a 14-karat three-stone diamond ring representing the couple’s past, present and future.

Worked into the bridge of the ring is a tiny, intricate replica of the Brooklyn Bridge, a landmark that holds special meaning for the couple.

“Samantha and I grew up in the same neighborhood in Brooklyn—Flatbush,” Rom explained. “We had our first kiss under the Brooklyn Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge being incorporated within the ring serves as a constant reminder of our roots and the beginning of our love.”

It’s also where Rom popped the question, surprising Samantha at what she thought was a celebration for her graduation.

Watch: How ‘Together by Design’ Came Together 
The ring’s center stone is a 1.31-carat round brilliant diamond, and it is flanked by a pair of radiant cuts. 

Leo Schachter donated the center diamond for Together by Design, while Rio Grande donated the gold and the side stones. 

All Together by Design judges are BIJC members. 

The Love Story contest judges were Michelle Graff, editor-in-chief of National Jeweler; Elyssa Jenkins- Perez, director of membership and digital content at JVC and BIJC vice president; Amina Sorel, Amina Sorel Fine Jewelry; Guerdy Abraira, owner of Guerdy Design; and Severine Ferrari, founder of Engagement 101. 
 
Jennifer Gandia, co-owner of Greenwich St. Jewelers; Ronke Nedd, founder and creative head at Rebecca Noff Designs Inc.; Sheryl Jones, Sheryl Jones Inc.; and Marla Aaron, Marla Aaron Jewelry judged the design portion of the competition.
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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