“Every time I look for stones, I find something that excites me,” says Brooklyn-based jewelry designer Caitlin Mociun, best known for her asymmetrical colored cluster rings. “I always discover a color or growth pattern from nature that amazes me. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with spinel—it’s a clear, often un-included, stone that comes in many colors, I love it in shades of lavender and grey and mauve.”
Born in California, raised in Malaysia and the Czech Republic, Mociun’s high-concept, low-key creations are works of art in their own right. When it comes to making custom engagement rings for brides-to-be, the former clothing designer and RISD grad (she spent her undergraduate years studying textiles) says that the setting is just as important as the stone itself.
“You want to make sure that the piece, holistically, is conducive to the lifestyle of the person who will be wearing it,” she says. Here she shares her how-to guide for choosing a centerstone that best represents your authentic self. Unconventional brides, take note.
If your vibe is mellow, nude, and subdued: “Stones in pale palettes are for the understated bride-to-be who really just wants her jewelry to blend in. Peach or yellow sapphires and warm brown diamonds are a good fit. You still get the sparkle, but minus the flashy bling.”
If you’re a surfer chick who spends her day by the sea and sand: “Blue sapphires, for sure. They’re cooling, tranquil, and peaceful. They can fall anywhere on the price spectrum, depending on a few factors: if the stone is heat treated or not, if it’s from a specific region, or if it's a specific shade of blue. I personally love pairing them with peach sapphires or emeralds and white diamonds.”
If you’re an earthy New Mexico mama: “Turquoise and diamond set in yellow gold—super understated elegance. People have a very casual attitude toward turquoise, but it’s actually very fragile. You have to be careful when you’re wearing it. It scratches and can break super easily.”
If you’re into all things edgy and decadent: “Black diamonds are the way to go. People love them because they get to wear a diamond without buying into the whole traditional thing. I personally prefer to just use them as accent stones.”
If you’re passionate, fiery, and saucy: “Rubies! They have a presence. I actually don’t get asked to work with them a lot. People are intimidated by red. It’s loud and wild and gothic and reminds them of snakes and sex.”
If you’re a super femmy girly-girl: “Pink diamonds, baby. But we’re talking hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars here. They are one of the most expensive diamonds out there. Unless they’re created in a lab or irradiated, of course. It’s a real catch-22. I’m all for not mining for stones and destroying the earth—but at the same, there is a magic about the stuff the comes of the earth.”
No matter what type of gem you go for, Mociun stresses the importance of proper care. “It’s important to remove your jewelry at the end of the day,” she says. “From an energetic standpoint, it’s healthier to give your body a break from your jewelry while you sleep.” Additionally, this means that your jewelry will need less repairs and cleaning.
She notes that gemstones affect your energy, aura, and chakras, too—many healers use stones for energy work—so care needs to extend to the metaphysical sense as well. “I recommend placing your ring on a slab of selenite, which is very cleansing,” says Mociun. “Depending on how witchy you want to get and the type of stone, you may need to use water, sage, or palo santo to cleanse your stone. I also have friends who recharge their moonstones every month with the full moon.”