Q&A with Susie Saltzman

Susie Saltzman, an acclaimed custom jewelry designer, has partnered with Clean Origin to create unique one-of-a-kind engagement rings made with 100% lab-grown diamonds. We recently sat down with Susie for a Q&A about our partnership and her jewelry.

Q: Why do you want to start working with lab-grown diamonds?

A: Lab-grown diamonds are a feel-good purchase.  You have a choice now – between purchasing a natural or lab-grown diamond and it allows us to consider the differences in how they are made and their impacts to our environment and society.  That choice is empowering for customers. It allows them to educate themselves on more than just the four C’s but also the impacts of the manufacturing process and weigh the pros and cons between natural vs. lab-grown diamonds.

Q: What is the custom process for working with your customers from beginning to end?

A: We start by defining our ring concept or design. We flush out that idea a bit and then hone in on desired diamond shape. We then review lab-grown diamond options and make a selection.  Once we know which diamond we wish to move forward with, we will begin the formal design process. We build 3D renderings of the designs, make any desired changes, and then begin the custom fabrication process. We then print a wax and cast in metal, so that the jewelers and setters can start to work their magic!

Q: What type of materials do you use besides diamonds?

A: All of the materials we use are sourced through environmentally responsible procedures, including our metal which is always 18kt and recycled. We chose to source 18kt gold due to its precious nature and high percentage of actual gold. Our designs are also available in platinum.

Q: Where do you find inspiration for your jewelry?

A: I find inspiration everywhere – in conversations, in people, while walking down the street, driving in the car.  I think people’s stories are interesting, and that is what inspires me. I like to find ways of incorporating personal meaning into the fine jewelry that I design.

Q: What are your favorite styles/shapes?

A: I love an engagement ring that is timeless but still youthful and fresh.  A round brilliant diamond is eternally beautiful and one of my favorite shapes, but I also love elongated diamonds – like an emerald or oval cut diamond.

Q: What do you love most about designing engagement rings?

A: I love hearing about the proposal and how people’s lives evolve after getting engaged.  I love that I have played a small role in commemorating a very special time in people’s lives.  I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to be able to help bring people’s visions to life and give them something that will become an heirloom and lifelong marker of their love and commitment.

Q: Do you have a favorite piece (or two) that you have designed? If so, why was it your favorite?

A: It’s so hard to pick a favorite.  My most memorable design is probably my sister’s ring because it was the first ring I designed and custom made.  It is sentimental to me, not only because it is my sister’s, who I am very close to, but because it’s the ring that started all the other rings.  It is the first and the only of its kind, and it was the catalyst for me to start my own company.