Credit: Laura Kitsos


1710 N. Damen

An engagement ring doesn’t have to be a giant rock of ice—even Princess Diana went for something different, a blue sapphire surrounded by small diamonds. For those who want an engagement ring that they can wear and not the opposite, I always suggest Gem, a small jewelry boutique in Bucktown that offers creations by independent designers as well as vintage pieces—and has a reputation as a destination for couples seeking diamonds that were ethically sourced. It’s presided over with charm by owner Laura Kitsos, a jewelry designer herself; items for sale on last glance included a curlicued rose gold band with opaque uncut diamonds by Arik Kastan and slim, subtle bands of various colors set with small diamonds. Other pieces incorporate semiprecious stones like topaz, labradorite, opal, and moonstone. And even for diamonds, prices tend to be in the hundreds of dollars, rather than the thousands. Don’t you need that money to pay for the wedding?