When a fellow diner at a Beverly Hills cafe stopped at her table to compliment her ring, Beth Bonino expressed surprise that he could see the jewel from where he was sitting. The diner replied, “Honey, you could see that thing all the way from Mars!” The stunning yellow cushion cut diamond ring – now affectionately referred to as “The Mars Ring” – is a crown jewel of her collection and the result of an extensive collaborative process between Bonino and jewelry designer, Peter Norman. We sat down with Beth to get some insights into her process.
How did you find Peter Norman? What made you go with him?
I saw Peter Norman’s ad in Town and Country magazine and went on his website. He had an ad with a picture of a cushion cut ring with two half moons and I liked that style and the proportions of what he did. So I circled the picture and ripped it out and was like “if we ever get engaged this is the ring I want right here!”
Did you have a clear idea of what you wanted for your yellow diamond ring?
Yes. That was my 10th-anniversary wedding ring so I knew what I wanted. It was a big purchase and for the big things that I choose, I like classic clean pieces. I don’t need all the frills, scrollwork, or platinum. I want a clean ring. I want the stone doing the show.
I looked for a few months before I went to Peter. I did a lot of internet searching. We went to Madison and Fifth Ave in NY and hit all the big stores: Tiffanys, Graff, De Beers, Bulgari, etc… We looked at everything they had. I wanted a cushion-cut, so we looked at specific stones and got to see what was available and the prices for everything. So, we knew what quality, size, and shape we wanted.
Did Peter Norman source the diamond?
Peter sourced all my stones. He does a wholesale price on the stones. You normally have to pay the person who brings the stone in, so it’s interesting. My big thing was that I wanted fifth avenue quality without the overhead of fifth avenue – and when you get into stones like sapphires or yellow diamonds, it gets tricky. You need to know if you’re doing a vivid, a canary, a light yellow or a fancy yellow; There are all these different things, so I do my homework before I go to him so I know what I’m looking for. I didn’t have an unlimited budget, so I was looking at the vivid yellow – which is worth more long-term and is a better investment. But I said to him that I wanted a ring that was more of a cocktail ring on my right hand that I don’t need to put a halo on. I told him if I get a stone and I have to put a halo around it, I’m going to be upset. So I went with a larger stone.
And how did things progress from there?
I got the ring in July and I probably started calling Peter in March and kind of trickling in the things I was thinking of. Pretty clean and easy. He gave me different options for the center stone vs. side stone and the other thing that’s important: Peter has a GIA-certified jeweler in there. She’s looking at the stones and it’s tricky because anybody can sell you a 10K stone and I know what I like when I see it, but I’m not that good at looking at the cut on things or proportions. I kind of know what they’re supposed to be based on statistics or what they say online, but unless you see it in person it’s really hard. So, I trust Peter and his team to look at stones and tell me which one is brighter, which one has a lot of fire, and which one I’m going to like.
How was it working with Peter?
He’s extremely patient. I have a banter with Peter; we get along great. He’s easy to get along with and he knows I am particular. I am a scientist and I drive Peter crazy because I measure in microliters! I am one of his more trying clients. I know what I want and I keep at him.
I had him make me a bracelet with the colors of the Italian flag and I designed it. There was a lot of “I like this” or “I don’t like that….”. We went through a million adjustments and I even told him the depth of what it had to be and the shape… It was a long time doing that, and he was very patient. Also when I got my sapphire ring it was a larger stone and it wasn’t cheap, but he sent us sapphires to look at to see which one we liked better.
So what advice would give to someone looking to have a custom piece made?
The important thing for long-distance is to know what you want before you go in there because you’re going to get the best work from him if you kind of shop around or know the style and get the best deal from Peter. That’s one thing I really like about him. You can buy long-distance and you know that he’s pulling something that’s quality and that’s cut properly and going to look great without buying from someone online and having no idea. I really trust his judgment and his team’s judgment on stones.
10 Carat Diamond Faqs
Big and sparkly! Carat is a unit of weight that’s used to measure diamonds and other precious gems, and a 10-carat diamond is a large stone.A 10-carat diamond’s exact appearance will depend on how the diamond has been cut and the number of facets (faces) it has.
It depends, but around 14 mm in diameter for a round-cut brilliant diamond, a classic shape. If you want a diamond to appear larger, cut is a major factor. Oval, pear, and marquise cuts can help achieve this, as can a hidden halo, this ring by Peter Norman custom jewelers features both.
Expect to pay more than $167,000 for a 10-carat diamond engagement ring. This price is based on the lower end of the scale according to a diamond’s quality and grade. Stones with a higher grade command a higher price per carat.
You can save money on a 10-carat ring by choosing a lab-grown diamond. Although chemically and visually identical to mined diamonds, the price of these stones does not increase exponentially with weight.
Prices begin around $167,000, but that’s for a lower quality stone that may be graded I for ‘included.’ For better clarity and quality, you can expect to pay much more.
Exceptional quality 10-carat diamonds and engagement rings with gems of this caliber can cost millions of dollars.