When Anthony was ready to buy an engagement ring for his longtime girlfriend Justine, there was only one jewelry store he considered- William S. Rich & Son, where he had purchased several pieces of jewelry, including a Tiffany watch.
“Things I’ve gotten at the pawn shop have been at such a great price, there isn’t another store on my radar. I know Wm. S. Rich & Son will give me the best deal.”
Anthony met with Mark DeSanctis, the manager of Wm. S. Rich’s store at 1000 Stuyvesant Avenue in Union.
“I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted, I like timeless things,” said Anthony, who lives in Rahway, Union County. “And I’m traditional, I didn’t bring my girlfriend to the store, I felt that it should be a surprise. But she gave me parameters, she liked either a square or a round stone.
“Mark took me through the process, he asked me questions along the way. He showed me the store inventory, something I could have bought and walked out with that day. But I had a different idea, I wanted to design the perfect ring. Mark brought out a couple of diamonds that he had. We discussed color and clarity and pricing. For me, clarity was more important than size and I chose VVS2 clarity, which is nearly flawless. Mark was instrumental in explaining everything to me.
“Once we agreed on a stone, I explained how I saw the band. Mark knows what he likes, but most of all, he’s a good listener, he’s not going to force anything. He let me guide the way.
“What I chose was a 1.25 carat square center stone with a band that splits in a V-line of diamonds. There are twenty 26 diamonds surrounding the main stone.
When I came in to pick it up, the ring was breathtaking. It was perfect,” Anthony said.
Then came the proposal.
On June 18, 2016, Anthony went into the couple’s backyard garden, removed an enormous zucchini leaf from one of the plants and slipped it down the plant’s stalk. Inside, guests were arriving for Anthony’s 30th birthday party. Anthony snuck Justine out back, where she immediately noticed the missing leaf. Feigning surprise, Anthony knelt down to take a look and came up on one knee, the ring in hand.
“She was crying, I was crying, it was the best day of my life” Anthony said. Spoiler alert: she said yes and the couple plans to marry on Dec. 1, 2017.
“This ring is something she’s going to have and cherish forever, she’s absolutely in love with it. Anytime we go out or show it to anyone, it’s something we’re so proud of.”