Jewelry designer Robert Procop has been a familiar name in celebrity and royal circles for some time, but he most recently swept headlines for being the artist behind Angelina Jolie's engagement ring.
He invited HuffPost Weddings to his Beverly Hills design studio to learn about where he gets his inspiration, to talk about his instrumental role in Jolie and Brad Pitt's engagement, and, of course, to see some of his gorgeous baubles up close.
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
Almost every collection is an expression of a woman's style, whether it’s influenced by their regional artistic experience or inspired by one’s personality.
With the American Glamour collection, I was inspired by the ideals and love stories of this era. It’s an elegant time when we think of Elizabeth Taylor adorned with opulent gems of bold dimension and rich colors. Reminiscent even of the feelings and images of Frank Sinatra playing the Fontainbleau. It’s an era of magic, of elegance, a time of luxury. Jewels were part of the evening experience, which is captured in the glamorous red carpet and award ceremonies of today.
What is it like for you, as a jewelry designer, to be part of couples' engagement stories as such an instrumental part of the proposal process?
Designing engagement rings is always a privilege. It’s always an honor to be a part of one of the most romantic experiences of a couple’s life. It’s truly a blessing.
What was is like to design a ring for Angelina Jolie with Brad Pitt?
I have had a longstanding professional relationship with both Brad and Angelina. Throughout the years, I’ve had the privilege of working with them on special gifts along with creating unique jewels for them both on and off camera.
Brad had a vision and I was honored to be a part of it. Brad's vision was all about making the perfect ring that compliments her style and grace. The diamonds were all faceted to fit the design, and I will not be making another one.
You and Brad worked on the ring for a year. What’s the process like when you're working with a client on a piece of jewelry for his wife or a special woman in his life?
There are those romantic men in the world who like to plan things. They will put their hearts and minds into creating something special for a woman they adore. Sometimes it is for an upcoming occasion but often it’s for no reason at all, solely a gift of love for a woman. It begins with an inspirational thought that becomes a search for the perfect stone.
After a unique gem is thoughtfully selected, the person will then begin the exploration into what they believe the woman in their life will appreciate and enjoy. They will consider the style, the taste and even the size that will fit her hand. Many times this process begins very much in advanced anticipation of bringing surprise, romance and joy to someone. From this process we create a storyboard for inspiration to help formulate the designs. After images are chosen and reviewed, a final design will be selected.
You collaborated with Brad on his engagement ring for Angelina, but you also collaborated with Angelina on your Style of Jolie collection. What is it like working with her?
She is a truly gifted artist and a pleasure to work with; she brings joy to everyone around her. It is an honor to work with someone who uses her talents to help the lives of so many. She is an inspiration.
What do you see in terms of trends for engagement rings over the next ten or so years?
Traditionally in the past, engagement rings might follow a trend or direction. I’m now seeing an aspiration towards uniqueness, a thoughtful design process, more so than adhering to a trend or style. There seems to be a consciousness toward creating a one-of-a-kind jewel, both in the development approach as well as finding the correct quality and value for a piece. Also, wedding bands are now being designed as a separate jewel. Although generally matching in style, they tend to now be worn separately.
Click the photos below to see some of Procop's and Jolie's designs for his Style of Jolie collection.