Bridal ring specialist SYLVIE LEVINE shares the on-going trends in the bridal ring segment in the United States, the world’s biggest consumer market for jewellery.
In business for the last eight years, Sylvie has made it her mission to help every bride find a perfect, timeless ring mounted in platinum or white, yellow or rose gold – at any price point – without compromising on quality.
A recipient of two Platinum Innovation Awards, Sylvie is a warm-hearted soul, and is rightly cut-out for the job as scores of brides pin their hopes on her to make that one special jewellery piece that carries an enormous emotional value.
An amazing wife, designer, mother and employer, Sylvie nurtures her staff and clients alike, and believes that one can find real joy only by building relationships and helping others. Her life’s perspective is reflected in her creations as well. One of her colleagues describes Sylvie as a rare gem in the US industry, possessing a D-Flawless personality!
BY SHANOO BIJLANI
You’re reputed for high-end bridal and engagement rings. Why do you enjoy designing bridal rings?
I design bridal rings because it is such a sentimental product, signifying a unique and monumental event in one’s life. Knowing that I have made a difference in a beloved couple’s life is the primary reason behind my passion for designing. The majority of my orders are customised, allowing a bride-to-be the opportunity to personalise her ring exactly the way she wants it. It touches my heart so deeply when my customers tag “Sylvie Collection” on their social media platforms, as it allows me to openly see the impact and joy my clients are experiencing because of my designs.
Currently, which metal is favoured for rings; what are the preferred sizes, cuts, and clarity in diamonds? Are single-stone rings or invisibly-set diamonds resembling solitaires popular?
Vintage styles are definitely a hot trend—it’s amazing how many online searches are being conducted utilising the word ‘vintage’. The biggest trends in engagements I’ve seen are the vintage-inspired styles with a modern twist, like rose gold, thin baguettes or a touch of colour with blue sapphires and pink diamonds. My vintage-inspired rings continue to be the top-selling styles.
The favoured metal of choice continues to be white gold and platinum, but I’m seeing a rise in demand for twotone metals, both rose and white gold, as well as yellow and white gold. Women are comfortable mixing metals and adding pops of colour with accented gemstones.
I know the traditional halo-shaped engagement ring may not seem trendy anymore, but it is quite surprising how predominant the halo style is to this day. We sell halo-shaped engagement rings all year round. The solitaire engagement ring is another very popular classic choice, and the style of the setting can vary with diamonds embezzled around the shank, or with a simple, yet elegant shank that features hidden details in the profile of the ring.
The round brilliant-cut diamond remains the most popular centre. The preferred weight is anywhere near 1 carat; however, with such a wide range of clientele, my rings are able to accommodate any size and shape. The quality and colour of the centre diamond tends to vary greatly.
Which is that one ring from your collection that every bride must possess?
My absolute favourite bridal ring that I believe every bride must possess is a simple and classic design, yet it sparkles in its elegance. I love profile rings, and this piece has the perfect profile for any bride who enjoys a special, simplistic look.
Which colour gemstones are being preferred in bridal or engagement rings?
When it comes to adding colour to bridal and engagement rings, I have seen it all! Some brides-to-be have sentimental reasons as to why they wish to incorporate a specific colour—whether it is a prominent green emerald stone in the profile, or perhaps a row of amethyst in the halo. But the most popular gemstone would definitely have to be blue sapphire.
And what’s your favourite metal and gemstone?
My favourite metal is platinum—it’s as pure as it gets! My much-loved gemstone is every girl’s best friend, the diamond!
Tell us about the first ring that you designed.
The first ring I designed was very long ago, say 22 years back. It was my very own engagement ring that my husband and I crafted together. Strangely, my ring incorporated baguettes, which I still work with to this day. It was beautifully crafted in yellow gold and I still adore it. But like most women, I love a little change, so I have redone my engagement ring since!
How difficult is it for a designer to design rings and not make
them look repetitive?
It is definitely quite a challenge to design one-of-a-kind rings. Every time I launch a brand new collection, I always think to myself…I really must have crafted all the possible designs I’ll ever be able to think of. But of course, that’s never the case! It is a continuous circle that never ends—I manage to create new and innovative designs all over again. Every year, my customers’ first question for me is “What’s new?” No different than shopping, we always want the latest and greatest styles. The best way for me to keep up with trends is the constant communication with my retailers, as they are dealing with a wide range of customers on a daily basis. Together, we are able to refine the popular pieces from the previous years and add a new twist.
So, how do you go about infusing new elements in your various
The most important piece of advice I can give any up-and-coming designer would be to stay true to yourself and your unique touch. Sometimes, I am asked to do a piece that I feel is not in line with what Sylvie Collection represents, and I refuse to design such pieces. But in terms of my ideas, they come at the most unexpected moments, often at trunk shows when I am showcasing my pieces and I hear feedback from a retail customer. After careful consideration, I think to myself, “Oh yes, I have something just like that…but, this particular addition would enhance the ring even more!”
Tell us about your background. You started work in a diamond manufacturing firm in Antwerp. What was your job profile then?
I was born into a diamond family in Antwerp, Belgium, the centre of the world’s diamond trade. Beginning in 1994, I started working in the fine jewellery and diamond industry alongside my husband. However, after 12 consecutive years of hard work and dedication, I decided to venture out and launched Sylvie Collection in 2007. My husband and I partnered to create the Sylvie Collection, thus continuing the family tradition started by his company, Spectrum Diamonds.
Was jewellery designing a natural transition? Are you a trained jewellery designer? Or do you have an inborn flair for designing?
For many years, I continuously worked in many different departments of the business, but I am not a trained jewellery designer, as I have never been to a design school. Designing is a natural extension of all I have done throughout my years in the fine jewellery and diamond industry. Thus far, I have designed over 1,400 engagement rings. I have over 200 stores in the US and a couple in Canada as well.