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.

Ashley & Pascal

Wedding hands photo credit: Allie Hughey. Wedding rings photo by Cathy Stancil Photography


How they met

Pascal and Ashley first met because of UC Berkeley, even though neither of them studied there.

Both have lots of friends who went to Cal and a group of Cal alums put together a "Bar Games League" back in 2010. According to Pascal, "We'd meet up at The Nob Hill Tavern (which has since shut down and is now the Wreck Room) every Wednesday to play bar games: pool, darts, flip cup, beer pong, and quarters. The Nob Hill Tavern was quite the dive. We brought all the cups and ping pong balls, etc. We even brought our own beer pitchers which we would pay to have filled up there." 

Ashley was on one bar game team and Pascal was on another. They first met over a heated game of quarters, but Pascal didn't muster up the courage to ask her out initially. "About half way through the about 8 week season we were both outside to make calls and it was chilly so I lent her my sweater. Apparently she appreciated it!" On the very last night, Pascal finally asked  Ashley out, and the rest is history!

Falling in Love

Pascal knew he loved Ashley because of the culmination of a lot of little moments together with her.  "Coming home to her every day. Cooking dinner with her. Laughing (a lot). At one point I realized that she made me want to be a better person and a better partner. I guess at that point I knew she was the one." 

The Proposal

When Pascal decided it was time to propose, he planned their 1-year house-iversary party, but it was actually a ruse to get everyone over to celebrate their engagement. "The morning of the party I woke Ashley up really early and told her that I was just excited for the party and wanted to get an early start. We took our dogs up for their usual walk to the very top of Bernal Heights Park, it's a beautiful spot and very meaningful because we purchased our first small condo in Bernal. I had a photographer covertly taking "landscape pictures" up there, then I got down on one knee and proposed!" The party afterwards was great and much merriment ensued. 

For Ashley's ring, Pascal knew she liked the idea of reusing an old vintage ring and searched for months on Etsy until he found the perfect 1920s art deco cluster, which Ashley loves.

Picking out the Wedding Ring

When it came time for Pascal to get his wedding band, he was thinking of also using Etsy, but then his good friend Adam got married. "After seeing Adam's ring I was really impressed. It was so beautiful and unique. I really liked the fact that it's not a perfect circle, but rather something more "finger shaped". I also really liked that it was thin and low profile, I didn't want some big bulky thing on my finger. I wanted it to be a part of me, something that I'd never take off and would never be obtrusive."

Along with the fact that Adam had nothing but great things to say about Nick, Pascal decided to pay Nick a visit. "Nick was super straightforward and casual. Not pressuring me at all. I basically told him I just wanted something very simple and classic. He took all the measurements and then in a few weeks I came back in for a fitting. It took a few re-sizes but in the end it fit just right and Nick was really nice about the whole process. He mentioned that Ashley could come in and put the final brushed finish on it, which I really liked. That way she actually had a hand in the making of the ring! You can't say that about most other places."

The Wedding and Happily Ever After

Photos by Cathy Stancil Photography

Ashley and Pascal celebrated their wedding in September 2015 in Pascal's hometown of Sonoma. "We did a really small ceremony at Ravenswood Winery, then had a cocktail hour there where we decorated bikes. From there we all rode bikes (Ashley and I on a tandem!) down to my mom's house in Sonoma (only about 2 miles) where we had a larger reception in her back yard. It was just perfect! Super casual, everyone brought a bottle of wine to share, there was a self-serve taco bar, and we all sat on hay bales along one long table that my brother-in-law built. Could not have gone better and I love the ring that Nick made for me. It's classic, simple, and handsome with a unique twist." 

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