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More choosing unusual engagement rings

Forget diamonds, couples are getting more creative with engagement rings. SUE-ANN TAN (suetan@sph.com.sg) finds out more

He catches Potter bug for her

She does not believe in wearing diamonds because of her concern about the ethics in the diamond trade.

He promised her pearls instead.

On May 10, Mr Kane Cunico, 34, a magazine managing editor, proposed to Miss Tam Su Ferne, 25, a marketing executive. They've been together for three years.

The ring he proposed with was inspired by the snitch from Harry Potter - golden wings folded around a golden South Sea pearl.

According to Mr Cunico, his fiancée is a big Harry Potter fan, who has read all the books, watched the movies and been to the Warner Bros Studio Tour London - The Making Of Harry Potter thrice.

"I was looking for some Medieval design for our ring to represent our shared love for history, but I could not find an emblem that worked as a ring," says Mr Cunico. He stumbled upon the illustration of the golden snitch on a Harry Potter DVD box set that he bought for Miss Tam.

He then went to private jeweller Juliana Foo, 35, at Ilya Diamonds, and it took around three months to make the ring.

Says Ms Foo: "We had to design the ring to follow the actual snitch closely. He wanted to do something meaningful for her and the ring symbolises how well he knows her."

Mr Cunico adds that instead of having the wings protruding from either sides of the snitch, they had the wings starting on the left of the finger and meeting again on the right.

"It is much like who we are, two different people working towards the same goal," he explains. He admits that people did not know how to react to it, since it was so different from a standard engagement ring.

But to Mr Cunico, putting more meaning into the design and story of the ring is worth more than the price of the diamond.

He says: "If the price of the ring and diamond size are the emblem for love, that's just sad."

The snitch ring is also a cheeky reference to his position as the Seeker who chases and catches the snitch (his fiancée) in the game of Quidditch.

"It has more than material value. The ring embraces the history of two people and shows that we can share what we love with each other. She made me a Harry Potter fan. It shows how I am influenced by her," he says.

He gives her the One Ring, with more to come

PHOTOS: ARIFFIN JAMAR, COURTESY OF KANE CUNICO

For about three years, she wore the One Ring on a necklace, not knowing that it would become her engagement ring.

Her husband, Mr Johann Annuar, 40, had bought the Lord Of The Rings One Ring replica for around $100 in New Zealand while on a cycling trip.

He had watched the movies, but at that time, he did not know the significance the ring would have in his life.

"I bought it on the spur of the moment. At that time, we were not together yet. I didn't really know what would happen. I wanted to just wait and see," Mr Annuar says.

They have been friends since they were 15-year-olds.

In 2007, when Mr Annuar proposed to Ms Patsian Low, who is now the director of philanthropy at National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), he took the ring off her neck as they sat atop a playground in Portugal.

"I have no clue how everything worked out so well. We were just lucky that the ring fitted her perfectly," he says, adding that everyone is different about what they want out of their love symbols.

"Ours is very personal and unique."

The couple also have a unique tradition - they buy new wedding bands every year.

They go to the same Couple Lab shop at Plaza Singapura to buy two wedding bands and engrave the year and name of their child born that year on the bands. They have two children, aged two and three.

"Our wedding bands are the kind of love bands that secondary school couples buy," Mr Annuar quips.

"We spend $60 yearly instead of $3,000 at one go. Maybe we will live long enough until the total amount spent on the wedding bands comes up to more than $3,000."

He tells of a year when they argued all the way to the mall to buy their annual wedding bands, and back.

"That's when you know marriage is for life. It is really 'bo pian one'(Singlish for having no choice)," he says.

A crown-ring fit for his queen

SPECIAL: The jeweller took a year to craft the ring Mr Jeff Lee used to propose to Ms Marie Tan. - PHOTOS: ARIFFIN JAMAR, COURTESY OF KANE CUNICO

PHOTOS: ARIFFIN JAMAR, COURTESY OF KANE CUNICO

Mr Jeff Lee, 33, admits that when some people saw his engagement ring, the comment was: "So weird."

The white gold 0.87 carat diamond ring looks like a Baratheon crown from the Game of Thrones series.

"Most people like rings with soft curves, but ours follows the antlers of the Baratheon crown with all its sharp angles," says Mr Lee, who works in a bank.

Rather than surprise his wife, Ms Marie Tan, a 29-year old account manager, he decided to go the "democratic" route and involve her in the ring-crafting process.

"Both of us are hardcore fans of the books and shows. The story of treachery and loyalty resonates with me," he says.

In particular, the Baratheon house motto "Ours is the fury" reminds the couple to live passionately.

The ring was designed by JannPaul Diamonds and took over a year to craft to the couple's liking.

"I wanted it to be something she will like forever and remember for life," Mr Lee says. "After all, we propose only once in our life."

The couple even had a test ring created and Ms Tan tried it out.

Mr Lee explains: "If she carries heavy things, the ring may cut into her finger with its sharp angles. We had to design the curves carefully so it would be comfortable."

JannPaul Diamonds has also customised rings which take inspiration from Transformers, Star Trek and Avengers movies.

The customisation process involves creating a computerised 3D rendering of the ring and a wax mold before the actual crafting begins.

The Game of Thrones-inspired ring cost around $13,000 in all. Mr Lee used the ring to propose in 2012, after they had been together for eight years.

"I wanted it to be really special," says Mr Lee. "The crown stands out the most on her finger and it is indeed fit for a queen."