When my fiancé Aaron and I started talking about rings, my immediate reaction was panic. I had no idea where to begin. My tastes change constantly and the last thing I wanted was a trendy ring that will go out of style in 10 years. My second concern was that I wanted it to be ethically made and sourced but the options I was finding online seemed way over our small budget. I stumbled upon Foe and Dear on instagram. I started looking through their bespoke designs and they seemed perfect for us! I shared the brand with Aaron and he was thrilled to hear that Katherine (the owner and designer) would work within our modest budget.
Aaron suggested we have a coffee date and create a simple mood board (he creates video content for a living and is super creative). We went through Pinterest together and found some inspiration we both liked. We both loved the idea of a super thin, dainty band. Also I like the emerald cut because the diamond is more understated than the other shapes out there. Also, I don’t love the way prongs look and wanted something super clean. The choice to go recycled white gold was a joint effort-we both love a matte finish and I (of course) wanted it to be as sustainable as possible!
After the mood board was ready, I passed it off to Aaron to take care of the rest! Aaron worked with Katherine who created sketches of the ring, showed him different diamond options along with their different pricing etc. A few months later, the ring arrived (insured in the mail) and Aaron asked me to marry him on May 20th!
After our amazing experience, I wanted to share our process in case anyone else is looking for a custom ring that is ethically sourced, hand-made, and women-owned. I took the opportunity to ask Katherine a few questions about her process, why she started Foe and Dear and where she gets her inspiration from. Check out my interview below!
What inspired you to start Foe And Dear? How did you become a jewelry designer? Foe & Dear actually originates in New York. After graduating with a Fashion Design degree from Ryerson University in Toronto, I moved to New York and started working with an inspiring jewelry designer/shop owner in Brooklyn. It was then that the path became clear, my hobby needed to become my career, and designing jewelry was what I wanted to do forever. The brand has grown so much in the past few years; I'm incredibly lucky and proud to work with such inspirational and hardworking women.
A lot of people are asking questions about ethically sourced diamonds. Where do you source your materials from?
“Our focus is to create beautiful and meaningful, master crafted pieces from recycled or fair-trade metals and conflict-free/ethically sourced gemstones. We’ve spent a lot of time figuring out the right suppliers to work with.” - Katherine
All our diamond suppliers are Kimberley Process Certified. The Kimberley Process (KP) is the key international initiative aimed at stemming the global flow of conflict diamonds.
For fine jewelry, the whole production of your ring stays in Vancouver, we have a team of local master goldsmiths, stone setters, and engravers that work on your piece. We source gemstones from local suppliers when we can, and if we need to ship your stone in, we make sure that they are mined ethically and conflict-free.
For someone who is looking for a bespoke ring but isn’t necessarily a designer or super creative, how would you recommend they proceed? Just reach out! Creating a custom ring can be very overwhelming! For us, it isn’t necessarily how big the sparkle is (although we love big bright diamonds!), it’s the meaning behind it. It’s a symbol to represent the two of you. It’s a piece that you’ve designed with your partner in mind.
“Creating a custom piece is truly a collaborative and personal experience between you and us. We take everything that you mention about your partner in mind. Everything is important (even though it may seem like it isn’t) - personal style, job, what they value, what they like to do on the weekend.. etc.”- Katherine
First step - Give our page about Custom Design a read and fill out our online consultation and a member from our team will reach out! - https://www.foeanddear.com/pages/custom
For those of us who are on a budget, what are some cost-saving tips for designing a ring? Are there any materials or cuts that are more affordable than others?
“We work with all budgets, and a lot of interesting materials. If you’re looking to save some dollars, maybe consider using an alternative stone to a classic white brilliant diamond.”- Katherine
There are so many beautiful coloured gemstones out there that can add more character to the ring - sapphires, rubies, emeralds, salt and pepper diamonds, moissanites. etc are all super beautiful and will last a lifetime. We have an incredible resource and supply of gemstones at our fingertips and are here to help you find the perfect match for your ring.
Are you a one-woman show? What are some of your biggest challenges with Foe and Dear? I was a one woman show for a long time - grew the company from hobby to full-time career (it’s kind of a dream). Now, we are a small team of women who work our little buns off to create wonderful jewelry for wonderful people.
Some of the biggest challenges… Figuring out what direction to grow, how to grow, always trying to fit in time to learn new things (CAD design is on the to-do), and leaving work at work.
At first Aaron and I were a little nervous to work with someone remotely-it requires a lot of communication and trust! Do you run into this with other clients? How do you usually address these concerns? Of course, communication is very important! We’ve made many pieces for wonderful people, such as yourselves, that live outside of Vancouver. The process we’ve created is to keep our clients as involved in the process as possible, and we are always available to address any concerns. Everything is done online, so even if you’re a busy bee and we are in the same city, you don’t necessarily need to come to the studio. We create online moodboards for inspiration, showcasing stone options and videos, and designs. But if there are concerns, we always want to know so we can better our process and keep evolving.
Foe and Dear has such a beautiful aesthetic. What inspires you? Art, architecture, design and mostly nature. Nature provides us with great resources - gold is from the earth, as well as the most beautiful gemstones. However, raw materials only become practical and appealing after a craftsman makes something beautiful out of it. We utilize raw materials and creates dream-like and meaningful pieces for our clients. Our pieces are both aesthetic and functional, and always tie back to the raw beauty of nature.