Brittany Cartwright might have been the woman to convince notorious reality TV bad boy Jax Taylor to settle down. But Kyle Chan is the man who Taylor (and Cartwright) turned to, to symbolize their commitment. He is, in fact, the man who captures love in diamonds (and other assorted baubles) for a lot of the couples on Vanderpump Rules, designing not just Cartwright’s engagement ring but that of VPR cast members Tom Schwartz and Katie Maloney as well (not to mention plenty of their non-engagement/wedding bling, too).
Overall, Chan has been in the jewelry business for 20 years, and so, as we’re about to enter peak wedding season, we figured we’d throw every question our staff had about procuring a stone in the name of lifelong marital bliss at him — from how much to spend, to what kind of wedding bands are out there for the man who loathes jewelry, to what-the-fuck a cushion cut diamond is anyway.
What advice do you have for somebody who wants to figure out what their significant other desires in their ring but doesn’t want to ruin the surprise of popping the question?
You should always find out from their best friend. It’s very important to know if they have a certain shape or color of diamond in mind, as is the expectation of the size. Those three are very crucial. And if they’re specific about what they want, you really shouldn’t do the surprise thing. Because you don’t want to be that guy whose partner looks at the ring and goes, “Ugh.” It’s really a sticky situation when your boyfriend gives you a ring that you don’t like.
On that note, what advice do you have for someone who receives an engagement ring they hate?
At first, you should be happy to get the ring. If you want to marry that person, you’re already in love. Don’t hurt the other person’s feelings. No matter what they give you, you should be sweet. I’d say to politely wait at least five years before upgrading or getting a different ring — unless that first ring is really, really, really ugly. If that’s the case, you can only regret that you didn’t drop enough hints. You’re both responsible for being clear about your expectations and for listening to those expectations.
I don’t know anything about cuts of diamonds. What are some popular shapes people should know about before setting out to purchase a rock?
Different cuts of diamonds trend every 15 to 20 years. In the old days, it was mostly just round diamonds and princess-cut diamonds, which are perfectly square. Now people are more adventurous, but a lot of other classic shapes are still coming back. Pear shapes are having a moment, which obviously look like the shape of the fruit and are quite wide. When pear shapes are the longer side, some people call them teardrops depending on how elongated the stone is.
Ariana Grande, Paris Hilton and Katie Maloney, whose wedding ring I did, all opted for pear shaped recently. People who want a timeless look go for emerald cut or cushion shaped. Brittany and Jax went for a cushion-cut ring, which is sometimes called a radiant cut. This means the edges of the ring are rounded instead of pointy.
Do you think it’s a good idea to custom design a ring?
If you do, design something very timeless. There’s no good reason to over design an engagement ring. You want the ring to be able to wear with every outfit, and you want the ring to be able to work with different trends. If the ring is too complicated, it might only look good with certain outfits, or make it harder for you to mix and match with other jewelry. Timeless and elegant is best. Sometimes people want a combination of everything, and it’s too much. If you over design the engagement ring, there’s also a chance it won’t lay nicely with your partner’s actual wedding ring, which wouldn’t be good. I’ve seen engagement rings with a band so full of lines and curves that the wedding ring won’t fit.
Jax Taylor and Tom Schwartz both came to you to make rings for their fiancées. Did these guys have a pretty good idea of what they wanted? Or what their partners wanted?
I was pretty lucky. Katie and Brittany had a clear vision of what shape they wanted and the color combination. Katie’s ring is very special. It’s a pear-shaped, champagne colored diamond. She wanted it in rose gold and was specific on a few criteria that she mentioned to me. I added a personal twist to it.
As for Brittany, she knew she wanted a square or a cushion type of shape, but when I presented a few stones to Jax and made a few suggestions, we went with a radiant cut cushion, which has a lot of brilliance to it. We kept it simple with a halo around, but I created one extra halo to represent Jax — the other, of course, being Brittany.
Do you have explicit agreements about what they’ll post, or how often they’ll post about certain pieces?
I work with numerous celebrities, but I’ve never been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Likewise, I never request any of them to be obligated to do any posts whatsoever. I believe that if you’re a genuine person and if you’re nice to people, they’ll be nice to you. If they really like your product, that helps, too. ‘Cause if people send me stuff and I don’t like it, it’s hard for me to post.
What do you think about proposing with stones that aren’t diamonds? Such as the best-known “fake diamond,” cubic zirconia?
Everybody has their own budget, right? You just got to be realistic with yourself, and as long as you think your other half won’t mind, you buy whatever you can afford at that time. I think that’s still a very, very sweet move. Maybe instead of a fake stone, though, consider other “real” alternatives, such as morganite. Morganite is really, really popular, and still pretty affordable. You could also use sapphires, which are more affordable than diamonds. You can buy a fake, or you can buy something at a lower price point. Either way, it should be coming from your heart.
What do you think about the idea that the person proposing should spend three months’ salary on a ring?
It’s very important that the piece of jewelry is coming from you and really coming from your heart, so don’t be stingy. That’s the standard, but if you don’t feel like you make as much as other people, don’t buy a $30,000 ring. You should really try, though, to please your future spouse and show your sincerity in the commitment.
What about men who are getting married but hate wearing jewelry. Any advice for what kind of wedding band they should get?
I do encounter a lot of guys who say they aren’t used to wearing jewelry. There’s two options: You should always keep it as simple as possible, like a plain band, but you could always make the band comfort-fit, too. Inside the band of a comfort-fit, they can make a curved line so when it goes on, the area touching the skin is minimal. It’s really comfortable because it’s round from the inside. It’s a regular gold band, but inside of it, it’s rounded instead of flat.
When it comes to social media marketing, we usually think of Instagram, but I heard you first used Facebook to connect with public figures. Is that true?
Yes, my boyfriend was sick in the hospital, and I began making bracelets. I’ve always believed in the power of social media, but like a lot of people, I didn’t know how to start. Facebook was the only outlet back then, so I used it to try to contact any of the celebrities or models I could find. I just sent them messages in hopes of them wearing my jewelry or posting a picture or something. Within the first nine months, I made about 355 bracelets, shipped them out and only got three returned to me.
It’s wedding season. Are you particularly excited about attending any upcoming weddings?
Jax and Brittany’s wedding is coming up! I’m going to Kentucky for it, and I’m super excited. I’ve never been, so I’m probably going to fly in a couple of days earlier. I want to see the area. And yes, I’m making some pieces for Brittany to wear for her wedding, which is really exciting too.