Q: When did you first meet and how?
A: Brian and I were introduced while working at a small public school in New Jersey. He was hired there by a former principal, and I was already a tenured teacher. In small schools, the employees are required to serve many roles as a means to save the district money. At the time, I was a middle school social studies teacher and Brian was assigned as my collaborative educator-- to assist students with disabilities that were mainstreamed into the class. We worked side by side for months, gaining an understanding for ourselves and our roles in the classroom. Each of us had something different to bring as an educator, and we fostered an excellent team. Soon enough, we begun to take on the role of "school mom" and "school dad" for our students. When the timing was right, our after work "happy hours" became more personal and intimate. After we crossed that line, we knew there was no going back-- we had found in each other our perfect compliment.
Q: What about the design made you choose this ring to be the one?
A: This design truly evolved from two completely different perspectives-- and merged into a perfect singular vision. I am someone who is both simple and specific, while attempting to remain down to earth. I knew that a diamond was not a reasonable choice for me-- the inflated cost, the negative environmental impact from mining and the potential anxiety from wearing something so costly. However, the timeless look of a colorless stone and the longevity/durability of a diamond were components that I was not willing to give up. As an educator and researcher, I began to enjoy my quest to find a diamond alternative that provided me the colorless timeless aesthetic, similar durability, and a more reasonable price tag (as many people know-- teachers do not enter the profession for the money). It became clear that Moissanite was the perfect stone for me! I loved that it was scientifically based and lab created, limiting the environmental impact. The durability/hardness would ensure that it would be a stone I would never need to "upgrade" or "trade in." After purchasing our first home together in July 2016, the reasonable cost for a substantial stone was ideal. I just needed to convince Brian! I found Fire & Brilliance's educational videos on YouTube and began sharing them with him. Knowledge is power-- and we agreed this was the right choice for us!
As for design of the engagement ring, my number one priority was SIMPLE. Second to that, I admittedly have slightly chubby fingers-- and felt like a more substantial stone size would be most appropriate to take me through decades of continued wear. However, along with the simplicity I wanted to ensure that the size was not theatrical or gaudy-- a very fine line! Brian (whose other role at our school was an art teacher) wanted some uniqueness, and visual complexities. He explored the fancy Moissanite shapes and decided on the Pear. He believed it to be classic, elegant and timeless-- while remaining original. Brian ran with my simplicity requirement, by working with Fire and Brilliance's customizing option to minimize the amount of prongs visible when looking at the stone. He believed that the five or six prong variations looked busy. The team worked with Brian to find a secure (simple) basket to support a three pronged design. Ironically, the simple basket adds to the uniqueness of the design and ended up to be one of my favorite design components! Additionally, Fire & Brillance was able to customize "thin & petite plus" band width for this ring. The simplicity of the band ensures that the stone is the true feature. Fire & Brilliance, you did it-- combined my specific simplicity with Brian's unique artisanal flare! Truly a feat!
Q: In each your own words, can you describe what the days leading up to the proposal were like? Can you tell us about the proposal? (Feel free to be as detailed as possible!)
A: A bit of back story-- Ever since Brian and I moved in together in August of 2015 we began collecting corks from wines that we have enjoyed. In addition to collecting the corks, we would put the date and what we were doing on the day of consumption. Some of these were events, funny happenings or cute love notes. Needless to say our "cork holder" was getting pretty full by December 2017. Leading up to proposal day, December 9th, 2017 Brian (my perfect compliment) was ever so slightly more similar to me. He indicated a specific time (not his style) to have wine and cheese-- and have a cork reading ceremony. I was super excited to read these years of memories together, but also felt intuitively that something special might be happening (hint hint). As the researcher/planner that I am, I figured the special happening would occur at the end of the cork ceremony. We sat down with a bottle of Pinot Grigio, three new cheeses from our "Cheese of the Month Club" and some almonds. Reading the corks our emotions ranged from nostalgic to in-stitches-laughing. Only halfway through the cork reading, we finished the bottle of wine and I was thinking "how incredibly lucky I was to have someone who helped me create these memories and is enjoying reliving them as much as I was." Brian handed me a couple of corks from the "unread" pile, and as we alternated reading each memory I landed on one that had that days date. The cork read, "12-09-2017 Brian Proposes! Sara says..."
As someone who was on to him already, I could not believe that I was surprised! I mean, how were we going to focus on reading the rest of the corks?! I cried with joy and true surprise as Brian knelt next to me at our dining room table. I told him not to speak yet, as I could not bring myself to focus on his words. Poor Brian knelt for a full two minutes while I wiped away at my tears and kissed him. When he was able to get a word in, he mentioned that he loves all the little memories that have built us our little life together. Our little life in our little home, with our little family (Australian Shepherd fur baby- Remi) and he couldn't imagine life any differently. He proceeded to ask if I would marry him. Naturally, I said "OF COURSE!" and he slipped on my beautiful engagement ring that blended both of our visions.
Q: How was your overall experience with Fire & Brilliance? How did you first hear about us?
A: I had completed many hours of internet research on Moissanite and the places where one could buy this type of jewelry. It was after a significant period of time, I came across a YouTube video explaining the properties of Moissanite in a more educator-like method. This video took me to yet another video--- all created by Fire & Brilliance. I loved the way that the videos were created to inform potential customers and the curious YouTuber about the options available for diamond alternatives. Additionally, these videos branched out the other aspects of building an engagement ring. After going on to Fire & Brilliance's website and seeing the options available to "pre-made" rings to make them more customizable-- I knew that this was the company who was going to help us find the perfect engagement ring.
Meanwhile, fiancee was having his own experiences with Fire & Brilliance's videos (self-found) and their team of agents working to customize Moissanite engagement rings. He worked with them to share his vision, and my plea for simplicity in a world obsessed with opulence. The team at F&B worked tirelessly to create a ring that met each of our ideals, was well crafted and beautiful. The process to customize is always a more lengthy one, but many men might not realize that until they are in the throws of it. Brian was on pins and needles awaiting the arrival of this creation. However, F&B worked with Brian to expedite shipping to ensure that the ring was here on the day that he intended to propose.
Since then, I have contacted F&B to write up an appraisal of the engagement ring for our insurance company. They handled this request in a timely and professional fashion and free of charge. We are elated with the experience we had with Fire & Brilliance, and have since purchased my wedding band from them! Their professionalism, attention to detail and willingness to educate their customers makes them an exceptional company to rely on for these important purchases. I would recommend them time and time again!
Q: Lastly, we wanted to ask something of each our clients to be featured a question that is unique to their story.
What does your partner have a passion for in life and why do you think that is?
A: Brian's passion in life to to have others know that they are appreciated and accepted. Brian has spend much of his professional career working with individuals with disabilities to assist in their quality of life and self-esteem. Even in his friend group, Brian never minds being the butt of a joke if it means making others feel accepted and comfortable. He often extends himself beyond his abilities (physical and financial) to have people understand that they are special and important. He puts family as a priority in his life, seeing a grouping of people who can feed positively off of each other's support and success. Brian treats others as he wants to be treated-- the golden rule. He understands how vital it is to feel important and special. With this quality, he is an amazing partner, hard worker, compassionate leader and will be an amazing husband and father. I am truly grateful that I will have Brian by my side as we navigate through life! I love and appreciate him more than words can explain.