At Jean Dousset, every engagement ring begins with an amazing love story—and sometimes, those love stories just so happen to belong to today’s most influential stars. Since the brand’s beginnings, founder and designer, Jean Dousset, has been gifted with the opportunity to design remarkable engagement rings for a variety of well-known personalities, from famed actors and singers to groundbreaking journalists and dancers.
Indeed, with over a half-dozen celebrity engagement rings brought to life at Jean Dousset, it is no surprise that today’s brightest stars entrust Jean to handcraft their unique love story into a luxurious diamond keepsake. So, when Jean was approached by Paris Hilton’s now-fiancé and longtime partner, Carter Reum, to conceptualize and custom-create a special engagement ring for Hilton—one as breathtaking and unparalleled as the multi-hyphenate personality herself—Jean was thrilled and honored to hunker down once again to design another dream ring inspired by a one-of-a-kind love story.
The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with Reum to design Paris Hilton’s engagement ring was a particularly special—and, according to Jean, somewhat serendipitous—experience. Because when Jean was designing Hilton’s engagement ring with Reum, he was inspired by far more than the beautiful love between her and her soulmate. He was also heavily influenced by an architectural landmark located in his own stomping grounds of Paris, France. And for an iconic woman named after the iconic city of love and light, there simply wasn’t a more fitting location for Jean to seek artistic inspiration from—nor was there a more appropriate Frenchman for Hilton to enlist in the creation of Hilton’s engagement ring.
Named after her, but artistically influenced by the architecture of one of Paris’ greatest historical landmarks, Hilton’s engagement ring—an embodiment of Classical and Art Nouveau-era influences—is a brilliant interpretation of the Grand Palais. Located in the heart of Paris, the palace-like monument was built over a century ago and is dedicated to showcasing the glory of French art. For Jean, the most outstanding aspect of the Grand Palais is its structure, which the Paris ring was meticulously modeled after.
Many say the most iconic aspect of the landmark is its mesmerizing, vaulted glass ceiling melded together with steel and stone, which draws in as much sunlight as possible. Much like a diamond ring, the architecture of the Grand Palais’ roof is most striking when flooded with light — and it’s this ceiling that served as the primary inspiration behind the geometric shapes of the Paris silhouette. In total, the ring features an emerald cut center stone and has 17 custom cut tapers, trapezoid, and baguette cut diamonds. As with all Jean Dousset creations, her engagement ring was also crafted with a secret, for her eyes only gemstone that subtly radiates from beneath its setting. But, instead of featuring a round Signature Stone® gemstone, Hilton’s keepsake was customized with a special P-shaped pink sapphire stone—a unique detail that speaks to her individualism.
“If you see the monument, the roof is made of thousands of pieces of glass connected by metal, which creates a veranda,” Jean said. “But what I’ve always considered as the most interesting quality of the Grand Palais was that it was built to bring in natural light. Diamonds also feed off natural light—in fact, they come alive with light, and without a source of light, a diamond cannot reflect itself. So, architecturally speaking, the Grand Palais is the perfect monument to compare to a diamond ring. Both a diamond and the glass ceiling share a similar purpose.”
As with intricate architecture, the conceptualization and creation of a diamond ring, or an engagement ring, should not be approached from merely a top view, Jean notes. After all, engagement rings are worn on the hand, and thus, viewed and appreciated at all angles. So, as with all Jean Dousset creations, the expert designer set out to create the Paris ring with 360-degree grandeur in mind.
“Similar to how the stone and glass holds together the ceiling of the Grand Palais, a ring is built to hold diamonds together—the intricacies are quite similar to actual architecture,” Jean said. “When placing the step cut diamonds, we wanted to recreate the harmony and structure of the roof [of the building], and, just as importantly, the feeling one gets when admiring the ceiling. With the Paris ring, from every angle you look at it, you see a succession of diamonds.”
Perhaps the most serendipitous part of Hilton and Reum’s decision to create Hilton’s engagement ring with Jean was the fact that they wanted her design to feature a center stone that was emerald cut—also described as a “step cut” diamond in the jewelry industry. This preference played a crucial role in Jean’s choice to design an engagement ring inspired by his home city’s beautiful landmark. “The gorgeous thing about an emerald cut diamond is that because it’s a step cut, it has a certain look to it,” said Jean. “Imagine mirrors lined against each other—and together, they reflect light in the diamond through long, large facets. The appearance of step cuts has always reminded me of glass, and it’s very architectural in that sense.”
Although the Paris silhouette was finally brought to life just this year, designing an engagement ring inspired by the Grand Palais was an opportunity that Jean, an artist at heart, had dreamed about for many years. Yet, he hadn’t yet found the right client to do so with—until now, of course. In fact, throughout decades of elevating his craft, Jean continues to be sharply influenced by the work of his great-great-grandfather, Louis Cartier, who passed to Jean a natural penchant for creating technically correct and complex designs in the high jewelry tradition.
“I had thought about designing a keepsake like ‘Paris’ for quite some time because I knew that doing so would be a wonderful opportunity to challenge myself creatively,” he confessed. “I have a passion for making really technical, boundary-pushing jewelry inspired by complexity, such as the Grand Palais’ architecture. So it’s always so freeing and exciting when a client like Carter and Paris give a designer like me the latitude to create a design that I’ve had in mind for so many years. For all that time, I was just missing the person—and I’m so grateful to have created this matchless design for someone who’s so perfect for it.”