It’s been said that a man should spend three months’ salary on an engagement ring. That’s a prehistoric idea--and not just because of its glaring heteronormativity. It also assumes affluence and a taste for diamonds. And as we know, millenials put a premium on experiences over luxury goods, so it stands to reason that that chunk of cash would go toward a honeymoon at a Bali bungalow found on Airbnb, not on a rock from Tiffany.
Andrew Deming and Rachel Gant are designers (Deming did a stint at Fuseproject), and a couple. Gant says that they’ve discussed marriage, but when they look at rings--the item most meant to symbolize commitment to your partner--they don’t find jewelry that speak to their lifestyles or tastes as designers. Their friends felt the same way: “After our friend Ardy Sobhani [an Oru Kayak cofounder] mentioned a very similar struggle in his search for a minimalist but meaningful ring to give his fiancée, we started to think that this was a void many in our generation encounter.”
So, Deming and Gant designed a set of rings for Sobhani and his fiancée themselves. They were a hit and the idea spun into a new business: Endswell.
To quote Sobhani, the Endswell rings are “minimalist and meaningful.” The designs nix stones or diamonds in favor of geometry--like a thin diamond shape, or stacked bars of gold. The first two rings in the collection are the Infinity No. 1 and No. 2, which Deming and Gant created for their friends. To create each collection, the Endswell duo sketches shapes and finalizes the design with 3-D modeling. A 3-D printer produces each ring in wax, after which they are cast in solid rose, yellow, or white gold. The most important design detail might be the price: Endswell rings start at a very reasonable $300 each.
The new company also solves a dilemma faced by some same-sex couples when they go to pick out rings: “Some [couples] purchase the same ring, but with everything labeled as ‘male’ and ‘female,’ the choices are unclear,” Gant says. “We responded by designing mini-collections that have vocabularies relating to each other, [and] most are unisex.”
Designers often talk about wanting their products to become modern heirlooms. One of the larger challenges for Endswell is that they have no choice in the matter: the whole “til death do us part” clause puts some pressure on their designs. For that reason, the pared down aesthetic is strategic, as much as it is stylish. “We’ve chosen to explore this intersection between new and old,” Gant says. “We want the brand to communicate that we aren’t rejecting the past, but rather redefining and moving traditions forward to represent the modern day. Even the packaging is a play on the classic, Victorian-style Tiffany box--but done in a minimalist way that is true to us.”
Peruse the Endswell collection, here.