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interview: danielle mainas from little bird engagement ring consulting

As custom jewelers, we get a lot of questions about materials, the custom process and guidance on the many decisions required when making a completely unique engagement ring. Danielle has compartmentalized this service into an awesome engagement ring consulting business. For a small fee, you get unbiased, expert advice which in turn can save you a lot of money and headache. So innovative and brilliant! She also seems to go the extra mile for her clients, for example making awesome ring moodboards which we’ll be showing a taste of throughout this post. We’re so excited to have had a chance to talk with Danielle Mainas about what¬†engagement ring consulting is and learn some pro tips and trends from her experience.



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Engagement ring consulting. What’s that?

Basically, you’d hire an Engagement Ring Consultant for the same reason you hire a real estate agent to help you buy a house or hire a wedding planner to help plan your wedding. The world of fine jewelry is complicated and nuanced, and their insider knowledge can actually save you money. We believe that people are entitled to clear, accurate information, unbiased guidance and truly personalized advice when they are purchasing an engagement ring.


What are the most common questions you hear from a client?

Are halo’s really trendy or something?¬† Yes, there are certain halo designs we see time and time again, BUT there are many ways to frame a center stone with accent gems. Oh so many ways... we specialize in helping folks find designers who will work with them to create something new and fresh, even if it is technically a halo. Another question: What’s her ring size? Can you tell from a picture? The answer is yes. Yes, we can! So weird, but this is a super ninja skill of ours. Send us a picture of your soon-to-be raising a toast, making a peace sign or just generally showing off a hand and we can tell you what size you should select for their ring.

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Can you share a memorable proposal story from one of your clients?

I have to say, they are all pretty touching. From the guy who asked his girl to marry him while she was drying her hair in the bathroom, to the woman who proposed on a surfboard I really can’t say that one story is more memorable than another. Gosh, I sound sentimental. Truly, the most memorable stories I’ve heard are the ones where the proposal surprised even the proposer. No matter how much you plan, life’s moments have their own way of bowling you over when you least expect it.

What’s the first thing you notice about an engagement ring?

The shape and energy of the center stone. Size, not so much. Seriously! Some gemstones just speak to you. I always look into a gemstone to see what it has to say. I love rocks, all kinds of rocks. I find them in my pockets after hikes, trips and beach time. Rock nerd for life!

Your preference: Yellow gold or white?

YELLOW. For me, yellow. Always. High polish, brushed, hammered, whatever. Yellow.

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What’s your take on lab created diamonds?

I’m cool with them. I think it’s a great way to either amp up the size of a diamond and stay within budget, or make a total ring price a little more manageable. I have to say, however, I’m more interested in using this type of technology to create unique and custom diamonds. I love a warmer color diamond, and a funky cut. Lab diamonds usually come in warmer tones, so I just wish they got more creative with the cuts. Trying to emulate the perfect, colorless 1 carat round brilliant is a understandable goal, but it’s just a little less interesting to me personally.

Any trends in the engagement rings that excite you?

Antique diamonds. Post-consumer recycled gemstones are really really exciting. Whether it’s an heirloom gemstone or a new-to-you antique gemstone, I think it’s amazingly cool to create precious jewelry around vintage and antique stones. Cool kid trend for sure!

What’s your dream engagement ring?

An elongated gem, emerald cut or radiant, horizontally bezel set in yellow gold with a brushed finish. Pretty specific, yeah? I’ve been thinking about this as long as I’ve been in the industry, so a decade?



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Thanks for the chat, Danielle, and bringing something innovative and fresh to the industry!

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