Verragio (Est. 1996) In a February 2017 interview with LLNYC, one question for founder and owner, Barry Verragio, was, “Who/what are your design inspirations?”
Verragio’s answer: “Each Verragio collection is distinctly its own. I try not to look within the jewelry industry for inspiration, but rather I am most influenced by architecture, history and the textile industry for their beautiful, varying patterns and designs.”
When fourteen year old Barry Verragio made his way from Russia to New York City to work as a bench jeweler and designer for a series of jewelry companies, he based his decision on a desire to work and create with his hands. His first apprenticeship was to a master jeweler.
After his arrival in the United States from Moscow, Barry enrolled in a city-subsidized program that taught the basics of jewelry making. Afterwards he was hired as a bench jeweler where, for ten years, he worked at crafting fine jewelry. After learning the basics of jewelry making, he pursued his design career by attending the respected Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
While at FIT, Verragio studied under Maurice Galley, a former designer for Tiffany & Company. Galley taught him that when creating his designs he should think of the women who would ultimately wear them. Paying close attention to fluid lines, curves, romantic detailing and other “soft” design elements contribute to each of his ring’s overall feminine feel and provide a stunning backdrop for the hard, sharp angles of a brilliant diamond.
Additionally, his mentor encouraged Verragio to focus on bridal pieces. Not only would this honor his obvious talent, but it would benefit from Galley’s emphasis on detail. Bridal jewelry does not usually change much over time – the elements of a diamond ring evolve, but the basic structure is always there – but Verragio reimagined it over and over again by adding creative detail and nuance to his well-structured rings.
Galley further encouraged him to think outside the solitaire and three stone settings prominent in bridal jewelry design. The result was collections and eventually a brand that reimagined engagement rings and continues to lead the world of bridal jewelry in new directions.
Barry created and designed his first piece as an engagement ring for the woman who would later become his wife. When Barry presented his one-of-a-kind ring to Tanya, the joy and reaction Barry saw in her face showed that it was more than just the engagement ring: it was a commitment. Hearing his intended say yes to the first ring he made inspired Verragio to turn his passion into a lucrative business.
To this day, his wife cherishes the ring and Barry has never duplicated it. However, he has crafted others based on the design concept of his wife’s treasured ring. That first ring was the catalyst for many more designs that secured Barry’s place in the bridal jewelry industry. His creations were well received and, as time passed, his brand gained recognition in the luxury, bridal jewelry world.
Verragio has spent twenty years in the business designing fine jewelry for some of the most well-known jewelry houses in the world. This period enabled him to master the art of ring design and eventually create his own revolutionary setting technique. It was this setting technique upon which he founded his company.
The innovation was a mounting that suspends the diamond above the setting allowing radiant light to emanate from the diamond. Barry named the new mounting the Lumino Setting.
Verragio says, “A beautiful mounting should only enhance the beauty of a diamond in the same way a beautiful dress makes a woman even more beautiful.” It is this philosophy that is reflected in all Verragio rings.
The Lumino Setting is used in 95% of Verragio jewelry. While the setting is beautifully designed, Verragio believes the center stones should always be enhanced as the focal point with no overwhelming elements to distract from the center. The crown design of the Lumino is unlike any other. It allows a greater amount of light into the diamond by exposing more facets, further enhancing sparkle.
There are several Verragio ring collections all of which are recognizable by the trademark crown, the scrollwork, and crown-shaped bezels. These rings are handcrafted based on ancient techniques and romantic European influences combined with today’s technology. Verragio jewelry is created from the finest metals and gemstones. Many designs can be customized to meet the buyer’s needs and budget.
Every Verragio collection has its own hallmark design details. The vast majority are on the setting’s profile. Verragio uses unique details on the ring’s ‘face up’ perspective to maintain the striking look of each ring.
Launched in the late 90’s, Insignia was the original collection and was inspired by the ring Barry designed for his wife. With delicate features, this line has the Verragio logo nestled in the ring’s crown, with two diamond pavé scrolls leading to the diamond-accented “V”.
Subsequent collections include the Parisian collection that is a romantic design with mixed metals and an emphasis on rose gold. Each design is inspired by the ‘City of Light’ and every setting is banded with four rose gold garters along the ring’s foundation. The rings in this collection are available in platinum and white gold.
The Venetian collection is the most intricate of the brand’s lines with lace scrolling around the outside of the rings’ shanks and shoulders and French beading along the inside. These rings are especially stunning when created in high contrast mixed metals. The bottom portion of the rings in this collection is customizable five different ways. The rings feature 0.45ct of pavé’ set round brilliant-cut diamonds to enhance a center stone.
The Venetian Collections’ Lace style features scalloped metal on the ring’s outer layer. The Euro features a gently sculpted outer layer and a single diamond at the ring’s base. The Lido’s outer layer is a double of the inner layer also with the single diamond tip. The Centro is the same style but without the diamond at the point. Finally, the Classic features a rounded base without a point or center diamond.
The Couture collection is the high end addition to Verragio’s designer collections. The brand’s trademark setting is designed in white and rose gold with a crown bezel. Featuring 0.35Ct, round, brilliant diamonds to enhance an oval shaped diamond center and a rose gold profile, this line specializes in settings created with and for larger diamonds. French beading lines the inner face of the rings leading to two gently opening scrolls that hug the signature diamond. The rings in this collection are available in platinum and gold.
Paradiso is an innovative collection designed for the active woman with each ring engineered for perfect comfort. Rings in this collection are designed to hug the finger by using a scalloped design under the shank. The fit is comfortable and does not slide around. Gorgeous designs feature the Lumino setting with 0.40 Ct., of round cut diamonds and is available in platinum and white gold. The rings feature diamond-accented scrolls that prevent spinning on the finger and add windows of light from every angle.
The Eterna Collection is a line of diamond eternity bands with 0.55Ct of pavé-set, round brilliant-cut diamonds that are available in gold and platinum.
Classic is the latest addition to the brand’s lines. Classic settings display all the beauty for which Verragio is known but with delicate designs at a fraction of the cost of some of the brand’s more diamond intense configurations. The Verragio “V” is a clean, single accent diamond, similar to Insignia’s, and the rings’ inner faces are lined with micro-French beading.
Each collection contains wedding rings that are paired with specific engagement rings and are designed to be worn with any of the rings in the same line. Pared down design elements beautifully coordinate with each other and make gorgeous, contemporary yet classic bridal sets.
Verragio also offers designs for men. The male wedding band collection comes in a standard width of 7 mm with a satin finish. These are created in 14K with a rose gold inlay. One of the men’s wedding bands comes in a width of 8mm with a satin finish and 0.25ct of princess cut diamonds. The Verragio for Men wedding band collection comes in a standard width of 6 mm.
Buyers can choose a setting from any of the collections or customize it. Verragio jewelry is not available directly from the designer but is found at Verragio approved jewelers to insure they are authentic Verragio wedding bands.
Unlike other, simpler styles, a Verragio design features elements that are very difficult to replicate. In the hands of an unskilled jeweler, the scrolls, loops, scallops and – most importantly, the diamonds – are not as structurally sound.
Verragio uses F-G color and VS clarity diamonds in all settings with the exception of the Parisian collection, which features G-H color and SI clarity diamonds. Every authentic Verragio ring is stamped with the brand’s name on the inside of the ring.
Authenticating this is the first step to verifying that the ring is a true Verragio engagement ring, but it isn’t the only one. Due to the emergence of “Super fakes” and unscrupulous manufacturers overseas, the prevalence of Verragio knockoffs is on the rise.
The best way to insure a ring is authentic is to shop from an authorized retailer. A list of these is available on the Verragio website.
Current Verragio price points run (without the center stone) between $7,000 to $8,000 retail. For those not shy to spend, the firm offers price points from $2,000 to as much as $8,000 retail for mounting and then incorporating a stone of equal or greater value.
With the growth of Verragio over the last two decades, Barry’s vision has become anything but average. Verragio continues to create engagement rings and wedding bands that are cutting edge, yet displaying a classic foundation for today’s discerning bride-to-be. Being able to create and offer an engagement ring that is truly unlike any other continues to be the driving force of Verragio’s motivation.