Love is in the air this summer, and we had the pleasure of chatting with this recently engaged couple about their relationship and engagement ring. James and Annie are foodies, animal lovers, and laugh, “We’re definitely strange!” As you’ll see from their interview, they are also as thoughtful as they are humorous, and we absolutely love their thoughts on love.

1. Annie and James, please tell us how you met and fell in love! Anything from first impressions, first time it clicked, whether you realized over time or because of a specific reason that this was the person for you.

A: #ThanksTinder! First impressions don’t always make or break a relationship; James had the most awful opening line but luckily we had plenty of mutual friends that convinced me to give him a chance. He was also extremely persistent! I’m pretty sure I ignored his first 3 attempts to get drinks, and when I eventually gave in, he ran 20 minutes late to our first date. By the time I read his text I had already gotten ready and didn’t want to waste it. I’m glad, because our first date was so great it went for almost 5 hours. We talked until the bar turned on the lights and kicked us out. Chemistry is something that can’t really be explained. From when we met, we just kind of clicked and got each other (in person at least, he’s terrible at texting!). James understood my humour and it was just comfortable being around him.We were very lucky and everything kind of fell into place.

J: Persistence was the key! That, and calling Annie out on dodging my attempts to meet up at a bar. Our first date went amazingly well and we really did hit it off. Then our second date continued the trend and we spent something like 13 hours together, visiting Science World and various bars for happy hour and drinks. Someone being able to put up with me for that long must mean that there’s something special. But our relationship really developed over those first few months of us dating. She wouldn’t accept anything less than my best effort and I was willing to do whatever it took to try and show her that she meant that much to me.


2. What an awesome story that shows you just never know how your big love will come about. Now, for the ring design, can you share how you went about balancing communication and surprise? Annie, did you just let James know you wanted a certain gem shape or style, and let him take it from there? James, what info from Annie were you glad to know, and what was important on your end to look for in the ring you gave her? 

A: I’m a very decisive person. I always know what I want (and what I want to eat, lucky for him) and I 100% believe that to get what you want, you need to tell your partner (they’re not mind readers). Although I was certain I knew what I wanted, I took a day and went ring shopping with the girls, something I highly recommend. Seeing all the rings in person and trying them on solidified my views on exactly what the right ring for me was. Also, James’s IG inbox was flooded with rings I liked.

J: Having Annie’s input was hugely beneficial, though even with the guideline that Annie set out for me the selection was near overwhelming. Eventually, I was able to really focus in on getting the best ring for her and I added a bit of detail in the setting that she hadn’t said she wanted, but that I knew was a nice touch she would love.


3. Leading up to the engagement, you both learned a lot about diamonds in order to make an informed purchase. What would you say was one of the most important or helpful things you learned about diamonds? What were you looking for in a ring, and did any of your checklist shift as you researched and worked with us at MJ?

J: Annie keeps telling people that whenever guys start looking into engagement rings they become certified experts in the field with all the research they do. I thought I knew everything about diamonds and rings from all the research I had done online…and then I went and saw Terry (MJ Jewellers owner). It wasn’t so much that I was completely wrong in what I had been researching, but he was able to guide me through the process and reevaluate what really mattered regarding the diamond and the setting.

My first meeting with Terry changed what I was looking for most. He pointed out to me that colour couldn’t be hidden if it was set in a white gold or platinum ring, but inclusions could be hidden by the setting if done correctly. Terry’s advice and expertise through the process of finding the perfect ring was invaluable to me, and made the difference between a pretty good ring and an amazing one. I’m sure if I hadn’t seen him, the ring wouldn’t have turned out as well as it did.


4. Any tips for couples who are in the ring shopping process? Anything you wish you had known, or that you found helpful in guiding you?

A: Communicate. Just because you give or receive input on a hugely important purchase doesn’t take anything away from the proposal. I gave him an exact recipe of what I wanted in a ring but when he proposed to me with it, I was still surprised.

J: Again, it was definitely helpful that Annie communicated what she wanted in a ring, I couldn’t ask for more than that. I’d say the more important aspect is the actual proposal, and making sure it reflects who you are as a couple, so that it’s meaningful and memorable.


5. That is so well said, you two. What did you think love was all about before meeting each other, and what have you learned about love from your partner or from being together?

A: My dad told me to never view love the way it’s presented in movies or on TV. That’s not true love, it’s infatuation. Love isn’t about going on dates or expensive presents; love is about finding joy in the most mundane aspects of life. If you’re doing something you love, you’ll have a good time regardless of who you are with and people sometimes mistaken that for love. But in reality, the majority of your relationship is going to be spent doing things you don’t necessarily enjoy. So, find someone that you can have a good time with doing something you hate, because it’s about the person, not the activity.

J: To add to that, Annie’s father told me that one of his favourite moments was after he visited us one night, and had come back to the door because he had forgotten his glasses. He saw us sitting in front of the TV wearing our “comfortable clothes” (i.e. underwear and baggy shirts) and making meatballs and laughing together. I think that perfectly captures the essence of us being comfortable with each other and enjoying the mundane tasks because of the person you’re with.

Thank you James and Annie for sharing your thoughts and story with us! We are delighted to have helped create a ring that represents a love as joyful and clear-eyed as yours.

Annie’s ring: diamond solitaire in hand-forged 19K white gold band with petal four-claw setting.

Previous couple features: Fred and Shiori, and Eddie and Eunice.