Lit by a wall of windows overlooking a bustling intersection where Greenwich Village meets Soho and decorated with feathered dreamcatchers and a gauzy tent, Stone Fox Bride's loft studio is not necessarily a traditional bridal salon. But it is here that we met Molly Guy—the founder of Stone Fox Bride—for some guidance on the new rules of popping the question and the search for the perfect engagement ring.
Surrounded by racks of white dresses and cabinets full of jewelry, Guy sits in the midst of what Stone Fox Bride has become in the past few years: a jeweler, a wedding-planning agency and a contemporary wedding line. A destination for the "anti-bride," there is still something undeniably feminine and dreamlike about Stone Fox's studio. "When I first started Stone Fox Bride, we stocked all these very non-traditional gowns and colorful dresses that really didn't resemble anything on the market in the hopes of creating an alternative for those who don't feel at home in bigger salons," explains Guy. "We soon realized that no matter how non-traditional the brides, they still weren't interested in looking at the colorful dresses and wanted something more classic than what we offered. There is something to the universal bride experience and the expectations that creates." With this, and understanding of needing to evolve along with her customers' needs in mind, Guy recently revamped the Stone Fox Bride line. After all, she says, "it's not my job to tell women what they want, but to help them manifest the style they already have in the best way possible."
At Stone Fox Bride, rings are becoming a specialty for Guy and her team, which includes jewelry director Sunny Skurow. Approaching engagement rings in the same way they do wedding dresses, Stone Fox Bride provides all-encompassing services from investigative research (ie: best friend consultations) to tracking down the perfect vintage stone or setting.
When speaking about the basics of modern engagement rings, Guy started by addressing the traditional credo that an engagement ring should be approximately two months' salary. "My reaction to that line of thinking is; good luck finding a man that has, or is willing to save, two months. If you are ready to spend your life with someone, we encourage to propose anyway you can—whether it's with a Cracker Jack ring, a mega-diamond or just a simple band," explains Guy. "It's not the 1950s. Today I see more and more couples who want to choose together—and that is not only the perfect option, but a chance to find something that is beautiful but also a special object for both people."
An additional thing to consider when approaching the engagement ring process is thinking about repurposing stones from jewelry that has been passed down through family members. "When looking for a stone, you want to find something with its own intrinsic value—a ruby, an emerald, a sapphire or a diamond, other stones like amethysts are beautiful but if you lose them there is almost nothing lost," says Guy. "It wasn't until I had a daughter that I realized the importance of having something valuable, and now I am grateful that I will have pieces like my emerald ring which I can pass down to her. These are the things one should keep in mind when making such an investment."
Moving on to the aesthetics of engagement rings, Guy understands the need for each customer to decide on their desired aesthetic—be it a new, contemporary or vintage design. Concerning construction, she often sees a connection between certain materials and the type of person that's drawn to each, "I associate platinum with the woman who wants something more traditional and classic, while I see gold as a favorite for blondes and women who are attracted to something earthy and less conventional."
When asked why Stone Fox Bride focused on updating or finding vintage pieces rather than creating a line, Guy drew on her own experiences as both a buyer and a seller. "Over my years working in fashion, my appreciation for vintage pieces has grown exponentially. I find vintage jewelry to be more ornate and refined and usually better handcrafted than most things you see today. Plus, when you buy vintage, you are also getting something with a story—which is something precious. When curating rings for our collection, we stay away from trendy pieces and focus instead on creating a collection of timeless styles that range from Edwardian delicate bands to more ornate Deco rings."
But for the couples who are set on finding something contemporary, Guy advises looking for something new, but still somewhat classic. "Outside of our own collection, some of my favorite jewelers out there are the ones that are loyal to handcraft and true to their own aesthetic," explains Guy. She also has some pragmatic advice for brides-to-be: "of course, it's important to remember you are marrying a person, not a ring. It's unrealistic that you'll be able to find something that will suit your style throughout a lifetime. So when shopping for an engagement ring, keep in mind that it doesn't need to be traditional or a ring you'll want to wear forever, but instead something that is meaningful and valuable to you."
For her first selection, Guy picked former New Yorker, now LA-based Kathryn Bentley, who is best known for her rings and bangles which combine an East Coast minimalism with a California sensibility. "There is an inexplicable softness and elegance to Kathryn's jewelry," says Guy. "Her pieces look like you just dug them out of the center of the earth; they are raw and precious. Kathryn's collection is for the bride that is looking for something effortless and organic."
Eva Fehren is a New York-based line from designer Eva Zuckerman and her business partner Anna Gorga. "Eva started out as a painter and went to Cooper Union, I believe, and that artistic sensibility is an inherent part of her line. Her jewelry is very architectural, a synthesis of the delicate and bold," explains Guy. "For me, her work really speaks to the ethos of New York: it's dark and beautiful, gritty and exotic. Eva's rings are for the woman that who likes something timeless, but not traditional."
Launched by sisters Nicole and Kim Carosella, Sorellina is a newcomer, but the bold settings and vintage-inspired bands caught Guy's eye. "Big, colorful settings like Sorellina's are not necessarily for everyone or every day, but these are rings for those who want to stand out. These cocktail style rings are for those brides who want their engagement rings to be a statement piece rather than a simple band. There is a red carpet glamour to their collection that attracts women who like to be a little more risk-taking in their jewelry."
For her final choice, Guy pointed us in the direction of her friend Suzannah Wainhouse, a fellow New York-based designer with whom Guy has worked in the past and who has recently launched a new lookbook for SS 13. "'Punk-rock gypsy' is how I would describe Suzannah's style. She's into playing with skulls, snakes, hearts and all things organic," explains Guy. "Most of her pieces have weight to them, are tangibly soulful and incredibly romantic. All her pieces are handmade here in New York and just from holding her work you can tell the love and care that goes into creating it."
Images by Chris Doss