It would be easy to survey current wedding and engagement ring trends and come to the conclusion that in nuptial jewels, anything goes in 2021.
We are, of course, living in the Age of Personalization: consumers continue to be positively rabid for “me and my family” pieces: initial charms, signet rings, zodiac motifs, heirloom re-dos, and designed-from-scratch custom jewels.
But closer inspection of the landscape shows that serious momentum is building behind a handful of engagement and band styles, including pear-shaped center stones, east-west settings, oversized three-stone rings, baguette-set bands, yellow diamonds, and moi et toi (with a twist!) designs.
Los Angeles-based jewelry designer Jennie Yoon, founder of Kinn Studio, folded several of-the-moment elements into her first-ever engagement collection, Vow by Kinn. Here at the start of engagement season, we caught up with the designer to chat about what her brides and grooms are asking for, and how she thinks the wedding ring consumer is evolving:
The Zing Report: You’ve been designing fine fashion jewelry for years—what made you want to do a “proper” bridal range?
Jennie Yoon: Thank you! We’re so stoked. I’m at an age where a lot of my friends have been married for some time and I have frequently gotten the feedback of ‘I don’t wear my engagement ring anymore since kids,’ or ‘my style has evolved, and so has my jewelry.’ So I started to re-set my friends’ engagement rings to simply change the metal (i.e. platinum to yellow gold), or change the setting entirely to be more reflective of their lifestyle and what they would typically wear.
In addition, our customers have been growing with Kinn—they were introduced to their first fine jewelry through our original Dome Ring to our Hoops, and are now getting married. Launching Vow felt like a natural extension for the brand.
What sorts of things do brides-to-be (and grooms) tell you they’re looking for in rings?
It depends on the individual, but the top inquiries we receive are from those seeking sustainability, size of the diamond, and overall quality. Most importantly, our customers are [looking for] a timeless piece. They lean towards styles that will speak for themselves, but can be versatile enough to stack with different bands to create a unique look.
How do you feel the modern bride and groom have changed in terms of what she/he/they want in rings in recent years?
Customers today know how to move through the noise of hyper-consumerism, ignoring loud and trendy messaging and finding brands that wholly support their values. While they also value tradition, they have their own pulse. We’re seeing more couples come in to design their pieces together, and being more open to non-traditional [gemstone] cuts. Consumers are also coming in with a lot more knowledge of the process and the gemstones.
What about stone size—how important is it to the brides you’ve worked with?
With this, it’s a fine balance between the 4Cs and budget. Many modern brides care more about quality and sourcing of the stone as opposed to size. For the most part, customers also want a stone that feels in the right proportion to their finger size.
What classic elements of bridal design did you embrace for Vow?
Steve Jobs said, ‘Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple,’ and I couldn’t agree more. Kinn is minimal, with intentional elements [decorating the core piece]. I wanted to make sure we kept true to this intention in each piece that we made. This led to not mass-producing the pieces, and pieces being bespoke and to-order.
What styles would you consider core to the Vow collection?
We have our traditional ‘engagement’ rings like The Elizabeth and The Victoria. And then for those looking to renew their vows or looking to add more stones to represent different elements of their life, we created The Vasquez. All the bands compliment all of our signature rings, and also work for those looking for a ‘promise’ ring.
How do you see Vow as a collection evolving?
We hope it will be ever-evolving while staying true to what we originally built. Design-wise, I definitely see colored stones being offered one day. My ultimate hope is to create a [destination for customers] that extends beyond their engagement ring. We want to be there for our customers’ many milestones and celebrations, whether its 20 or 50 years from now.
Top: 14k yellow gold and diamond Kinn Studio ring, price on request (all photos courtesy of Kinn Studio)