Who’s Ready To See the RING?

Heather Jabornik

The time has arrived, kittens.

We’re going to keep this baby short, sweet, and picture heavy because mama’s got to focus her time and attention on going big or going home. Wedding planning, job landing, self-caring, relationship nurturing, and move preparing are all on deck.

But who cares?? LET’S SEE THE ROCK!

Keil Elkins and Heather Jabornik first appointment at Mark Schneider's

Keil and I began working on my ring back in December of 2016. It took over three months from start to finish and was WELL worth it. I found Mark Schneider on Pinterest during a search of sculptural jewelers and WOW, the experience was everything I hoped for. We found out after we arrived that he’s the only living jeweler to have a piece on permanent display at the Smithsonian!

Here we are standing in front of Mark’s building in December, ready to go in and create!

Mark Schneider Heather Jabornik Keil Elkins 2

We came prepared with a vague idea of what we wanted. I knew I was interested in a purple stone and a sapphire seemed like the way to go. It’s a 9 on the Mohs mineral hardness scale (diamonds are a 10 and that’s as high as it goes!) so we knew it’d be a great stone to rock for every day lifelong wear.

I also knew I wanted a dropped outward facing halo, some kind of cool movement to the piece, for it to look like a solitaire from above, and to be draped in white gold.

Mark Schneider

The master at work!

Mark and his assistant Jovana were both a DELIGHT to work with. They took time to listen intently to us and show us examples of his work that had similar characteristics to our ideas. Finally, he busted out his sketchbook!

Mark Schneider Heather Jabornik Keil Elkins


Heather Jabornik custom engagement ring drawing

The original sketch!

I initially had my heart set on a deep purple sapphire (spoiler: they’re SUPER hard to find, especially at the size and cut we wanted, and we later decided that a lighter stone would have more diamond-esque sparkly qualities to it), which is why our sketch is colored in this beautiful deep violet blue.

You’ll notice Mark’s design includes his signature “secret heart.” We asked to have it in white gold rather than his classic yellow gold. The fun behind the secret heart is that a phrase of your choice is lasered onto the teeny tiny diamond that only you and your honey know and can only be seen under a microscope!

Keil chose a line from our song that made me swoon so hard when he finally told me.

Heather Jabornik wax model custom engagement ring

The next step after the sketch (and sourcing our gem – which took weeks, we did long distance, and ended up saying yes to after Jovana sent us approximately 8.5 billion photos and videos!) was to make a hand-carved wax model of the ring.

We went through a couple iterations of the wax before getting it just right and the approval of it was also done long distance. So much of our work on the piece was done over email, text, photos, and video because Keil lives 3 hours away from Mark’s studio in Long Beach and I spend most of my time with him. It was definitely a challenge, but worked out WONDERFULLY.

This was our final wax model with the correct height of the outward facing halo, correct swoops of the band to allow the entire visual of the gem from top to culet (the point at the bottom), and correct twist from the side view.

Heather Jabornik custom engagement ring Mark Schneider

Here she is!

After Keil proposed, we noticed that my stone looked bright sky blue in sunlight, yummy grey-purple indoors, and deep blue or purple in other lighting variations.

We later learned from Jovana that the jeweler who sold her my gem didn’t realize that it’s a color changing sapphire! It was a total surprise to all of us and though I said no to a color changing stone when we first started our gem hunt months earlier, the surprise and beauty of it left me absolutely DELIGHTED!

Heather Jabornik custom engagement ring 5

Solitaire from the top with a beautifully delicate and fluid band.

Heather Jabornik custom engagement ring 4

Color change and slight view of the outward facing halo from an angle.

Heather Jabornik custom engagement ring

Straight on with each twist crafted to perfection, culet in full view, and our secret heart looking like the finest detail imaginable!

Heather Jabornik custom engagement ring 3


Heather Jabornik custom engagement ring 2

This side twist is my absolute favorite angle on the whole ring. We wanted to be sure that the twist of the band did not obstruct the culet from any angle. Isn’t it just DREAMY?

Heather Jabornik custom engagement ring 1

Stunning. I’m still stunned that this is mine. I’m stunned that Keil is mine. I’m stunned we dreamed this up and crafted the details of it together and that we had the privilege of working with such incredible artists and jewelers.

Heather Jabornik 2

Here’s to unimaginable dreams we don’t even know we have coming true.

Images from: Kelly Jo Kern & Keil Elkins

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