After reading the story of Galina, I methodically researched antique Russian jewelry, Russian ballets, Russian Orthodox symbols, and fashion designer Lesia Paramanova for design inspiration. My objective was to design something that was meaningful, worthy of the alexandrite, and aesthetically perfect for Galina—the real-life Russian doll.
I decided to create a rose gold engagement ring that would fit between two pavé-set diamond wedding bands. The engagement ring can stand alone, and the two bands fit together so they can also be worn without the engagement ring. The idea for this aspect of the rings came from an antique Russian bracelet (circa 1908-1917). The front is mounted with a detachable panel, which allows for it to be worn in different ways. The three options—the engagement ring alone or with the bands, or the bands together—represent Galina’s association with Russia, her life now in America, and the life she will have with Michael.
The alexandrite is held by a cage of pave diamonds and demantoid garnets, which are set in an infinity pattern symbolic of the love Galina and Michael share. Moonstones encircled by this continuing pattern of diamonds continue along the perimeter of the ring. Demantoid garnet crosses with rose-cut diamond centers intersect where the moonstones meet, representing Galina’s strong Russian Orthodox faith.
Found only in Russia, demantoid garnets tie in perfectly with Galina’s playful, fairy tale-like aesthetic, exemplified by her love of Lesia Paramanova’s fashion collection. The moonstones are a reference to the Russian ballet Swan Lake, which was my ultimate inspiration for the ring and bands. In the ballet, Odette, the main character, is turned into a swan by an evil magician and is only returned to her true form at night, which is how the prince comes to find her. The ballet’s ending has varied since its original production, but the moonstones symbolize the way Odette changes from day to night.
Alexandrite and Galina’s love of dance and Russian ballet make the ballet’s love story integral to her own story. Therefore, it was only appropriate to have the engagement ring crowned by the two wedding bands. In Galina’s version of the fairytale, she lives happily ever after with her prince.