Nick Engel & Co.

Fine Jewelry & Custom Design

Fine Jewelry Design, Restoration & Repair. Based in San Francisco, offering handmade custom jewelry for weddings and special occasions. 

Our custom designs combine your personality with our artistry to create something beautiful and unique to treasure for a lifetime. 

If you can dream it, Nick can craft it.

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The Story of Aunt Honey's Right Hand Ring

I would like to thank Laila for writing this guest blog post. Together we created two custom diamond solitaire rings, using the original gems from the heirloom ring she inherited from her Aunt Honey. 

Honey's story of independence, passion, drive, and love of the arts inspired the design of my Antique Diamond Custom Engagement Rings. These classic style engagement rings are handcrafted using only antique stones that come from period jewelry.

I hope that you too are inspired by Honey's story. Enjoy! ~ Nick

The author and her Aunt Honey in 1982, when Honey was 86 years old. 

My Aunt Honey

Lillian Beatrice Fink was my very favorite aunt. Born into an impoverished, immigrant family in Chicago in 1896, she had to quit high school and get a job to help support the family, which included her parents and four siblings. She regretted not completing her education or taking singing lessons to fulfill her desire for an operatic voice.

Aunt Honey – as I called her - lived a solitary life. She never married but said that she “kept company” with some great men: Caruso, Bach and Beethoven, whom she listened to in the evenings on her phonograph. She worked at a huge recording company as the executive secretary, the highest position she could reach as a woman, even though she was intelligent and savvy enough to run the company. She saved and invested her income wisely so she could support the arts - and buy herself a custom-made, diamond ring rather than wait for a man to propose to her with one. She wore it proudly to productions of the Chicago Opera Guild and the Goodman Theater, and exhibits at the Art Institute, all of which she supported yearly.

When I was a teenager, Honey invited me to see José Greco, the Spanish Flamenco dancer, at a small venue, where his vibrant presence and flashing feet lit up the room. On another afternoon, we sat in center, orchestra seats when Rudolph Nureyev, a fiery, young dancer, performed with Margot Fonteyn, the prima ballerina of England’s Royal Ballet, in Romeo and Juliet in the early 1960s. I held Honey’s hand from time to time during these performances, admiring the sparkling diamond on her right ring finger, knowing how hard she worked to save for it.

When Honey was in her eighties, I convinced her to move out to San Francisco to be close to my son and me. Although in declining health, she joined us at his soccer games and applauded all of my dance endeavors.

I owe my love of dancing in great part to my beloved Aunt Honey.

I clearly remember one of our last conversations when she was eighty-seven, shortly before she died.

“You’re a college teacher, right?”

“Yes,” I told her.

“Can’t you get any higher than that?” she asked, her eyes lighting up with a smile.

That was Honey – always wanting me to reach for the moon. 

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

In writing this brief story about my Aunt Honey, I realize that the sparkle from Honey’s diamond represented the radiant light that she shone on me for four decades. May it shine for you the rest of your lives.


L. Laila Kramer

September 27, 2015

Kate & Spencer

Kate and Spencer met while attending undergrad at UC Santa Cruz together. They lived next door to each other and became great friends. They began dating towards the end of their time at UCSC. Spencer grew up in San Francisco, so after graduating from Santa Cruz, Kate and Spencer packed up and moved to a little apartment in the Haight. Kate quickly fell in love with San Francisco and they spent the next seven years going to Giants games, camping, and making a life together in San Francisco.

When thinking about an engagement ring they realized they both wanted something unique and vintage. Kate had an old ring of her grandmothers. It was large and gaudy, but had a beautiful dark purple amethyst. They set out to find a jeweler to help them create a custom ring that would be perfect for Kate, but that also utilized the significance of her family heirloom.

Spencer and Kate were referred to Nick Engel & Co by a friend. Nick was able to help them create a beautiful, repurposed ring, using not only the gemstone, but also gold from the original ring.  "Nick did a great job working to create the perfect engagement ring. He was able to take the amethyst, recut it, and reuse the gold to turn it into a classic looking ring with the main stone surrounded by diamonds. I was a very unsure customer, as I have no experience in women's jewelry, and Nick was super helpful during every step, providing advice to help me find the right design," shared Spencer.

Nick worked with Spencer through various revisions of the ring design in order to get it just right, "Nick was very patient and willing to help throughout the whole process. When he finished the ring it was exactly what we had envisioned: with vintage touches, and beautiful yet simple." 

Spencer and Kate had season tickets to the Giants from 2010 to 2012 and their passion for San Francisco sports has been a big part of their relationship, so Spencer decided that a Giants game would be the perfect place to propose. He waited until the annual fireworks game and proposed as the fireworks went off along McCovey Cove... and Kate said yes!

"Nick did a great job. I couldn't be happier with the ring, and Kate completely agrees!"

Spencer and Kate were torn between getting married in their beloved San Francisco or Mexico, where they had spent a few summers visiting around Puerto Vallarta, and had really enjoyed the small town of San Pancho. So they decided to do both! They had a civil ceremony at City Hall and then took off to Mexico where they had a beautiful wedding on the beach surrounded by their family and friends.