Back when I was getting engaged and we were starting to think about what to do for rings, a friend of mine mentioned that “her brother had a guy” in the New York City Diamond District. The thought of working (in person!) with a real live professional jeweler sounded great—I mean, we all know life is much easier when you have “a guy” for things, right?—but it also sounded intimidating AF. I had ideas, and questions, and very specific nontraditional tastes, and most of all a budget, and I just didn’t want to deal with the kind of high-pressure, big-budget sales process that “a guy in the jewelry district” seemed like it would be.
What I really wanted was someone like Ken and Dana Design, New York City–based (and working with customers worldwide) jewelers who are all of the pros of “I’ve got a jewelry guy”—beautiful designs, meticulous craftsmanship, ethical sourcing and materials, socially responsible business practices, and helpful, friendly customer service—and non of the cons. And the rings… damn.
Ken and Dana Designs was founded by Ken Leung, a second generation jeweler, after his firsthand experience in 9/11 caused him to reconsider his prior Wall Street career path. In the years since, Ken and Dana Designs has grown to a thriving business. I mean, not to put too fine a point on it, but BEYONCÉ owns some of their pieces. So if that’s not all the endorsement you need, I don’t know what is. (Though, don’t worry, their rings are not… Beyoncé prices.) Still, despite their success, Ken and Dana Designs has remained rooted in a desire to be a planet—and people—first business.
I’m not normally one for more elaborate wedding jewelry, but Ken and Dana’s organic-inspired one-of-a-kind engagement rings and wedding bands are like tiny works of art (and just as pretty when worn separately. I mean, who even needs an engagement ring when you’ve got this? Or this?). They have ready-to-ship engagement ring settings that can be semi-customized with the stone of your choice, inscriptions, and the like, but they also work with clients to make stunning designs from scratch. (Check out 🔥🔥🔥 past designs here.)
On top of making gorgeous jewelry, Ken and Dana also donate a portion of every sale from their engagement rings to Global Witness, an organization that works toward ensuring that natural resources drive peaceful and sustainable development, rather than providing funds for conflict and corruption. Plus all of Ken and Dana Design’s pieces use recycled metals and conflict-free diamonds and gemstones, or lab-created (or grown) ones. And if you have no idea what any of that means, 1) that’s totally normal, and 2) Ken and Dana Design’s website has lots more information about material choices and their commitment to ethical jewelry, and then of course, they are also super helpful in person at their Manhattan store.
Ken and Dana Design is based in a workshop/showroom in Chelsea and they work with clients in person as well as remotely. We’ve heard through the grapevine (otherwise known as glowing client reviews)—that a visit to their studio to check out rings or discuss a custom design is a fun, laid-back process (complete with a sweet whiskey selection! 🥃):
Ken and Dana Design wasn’t the first or last jeweler I visited in my search for engagement and wedding rings in NYC (I looked in Manhattan and Brooklyn), but it was definitely the best. I was looking to surprise my fiancé with a ring, and Ken was just great with helping me find one that fits her style exactly. While jewelers in the diamond district were pretty forward and selling hard, Ken was chill and did not pressure me at all—it was just a great process (the Scotch they had might also have played a part in that!). Having looked at many rings at Ken and Dana Design, I can say the craftsmanship, balance, and artistry is incredible. All their rings are beautiful, and the ones I chose came out better than I had imagined! I’d recommend Ken and Dana to everyone, whether you’re looking for a classic, traditional ring or something different. And I love the fact that they’re environmentally and socially responsible. —Daniel S
Preset Ken and Dana engagement rings start at $2,250. And settings without stones start at $1,000, with final ring pricing depending on your gemstone. But the best way to get a feel for Ken and Dana Designs (and a super fun way to spend your lunch break) is to browse through the designs like these on our website. So how about I just leave you with this little number, and let you take it from here?