News & Runway

Customized Engagement Rings: Closed Set with Julie Bensman

Jean Dousset

New York City settled into a deep chill last week and despite the frigid temps, I found myself sitting in on a runlist meeting to discuss Hamptons summer covers. Would we shoot them on the beach or poolside? A yacht or sailboat? The dog days may be many months away, but I can think of no better time to look forward to an epic summer than right now.

Yes, I said epic: something in the capitalized realm of the Summer of Love, Summer of George, and for my 2012 stint, the Summer of Weddings. I've got FIVE — count 'em — FIVE bashes coming up and the Kayak fare alerts are already up in full force.

PRO: How lucky am I to have friends and family including me in their celebrations? CON: What to wear??? I might have to take a page from my friend Carla's book and start a Rent the Runway account to avoid a "She Wore It Twice!" Facebook wedding album a la Us Weekly. But I digress…

Just like the friends hosting, these weddings vary drastically in theme and locale: two Chicago shindigs, an upstate NY shabby-chic affair, a classic country club in Columbus, and a pièce de résistance at a Parisian castle (not that I'm playing favorites). If we can customize everything from our cakes to our castles, why not our engagement rings? Such is the philosophy behind Dousset Diamonds, an LA-based company specializing in customization, whose celebrity clients include the likes of Amy Adams and Eva Longoria.

"An engagement ring is the first and most important piece of jewelry a woman receives in her life," says Jean Dousset (right), President and Founder (and descendant of Louis Cartier…no big deal). “Customization makes the ring and the moment more personal…and women typically want something unique, different than any of their girlfriends.” Showing off engagement rings has become something of a spectator sport and the woman who reigns supreme is either the one with the biggest diamond…or the one her competitors can’t get anywhere else. One of Dousset’s most high-profile clients, Longoria, scored a one-of-a-kind 5+ carat emerald cut diamond stunner (the length of her marriage wasn’t quite so impressive).

Customized Engagement Rings: Closed Set with Julie BensmanCustomized Engagement Rings: Closed Set with Julie Bensman

Dousset’s intimate shopping experience has previously only been offered online, but as of today, January 9, their first brick-and-mortar showroom will open in West Hollywood (8471 Melrose Ave, to be exact). “As important as a website is today to reach everyone, I found it a bit too impersonal and I missed the contact with the customers,” Dousset confessed. “The new showroom has my personality and sensibility…and I have to admit that putting your name on a façade is a pretty exhilarating milestone in a designer's career.”

Here’s a toast: to Jean and all his brides-to-be…