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Neil Lane on Bachelor Bling

Iowa just got a whole lot glitzier.

You can thank Neil Lane for that. The celeb jeweler trekked to the Heartland with six ring options for Bachelor Chris Soules to choose from. Spoiler: he proposes to Whitney [and makes the rest of us go gaga over that beautiful bauble on her hand].

Let’s talk about the bling. Neil has long been a friend of mine (+ he designed my ring!) so I attempt to get the inside scoop each season. #BachelorNation, anyone? C’mon, you love it too. 

Neil’s spilling details on the ring with me today… and saying whether Chris really seemed in love.

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Neil and I // Photo by Annie Shak

What’s the inspiration behind rings you bring to The Bachelor? I always bring six ring choices with me now, which represent the six aesthetics I’m best known for. There’s always the incorporation of something vintage, which is very romantic. I create designs that are reminiscent of a Cinderella period— rings that look like crowns. Plus, I’m very quick at changing designs. I’m always thinking about the girls, even though I don’t meet them.

This ring! Can you tell me about the design? It’s an emerald-cut diamond surrounded by 20 round brilliant-cut diamonds. It’s accented by two tapered baguettes and further set with 92 smaller round diamonds. The total weight is about 4 carats!

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Chris Soules’ Ring Pick // Courtesy Neil Lane

Why do you think Chris leaned toward an emerald-cut? [laughs]… I think it reminded him of his large fields that were frozen over with snow! He really thought is was a great shape. He loved the strength of the emerald cut, and the femininity of the small diamonds surrounding it. The ring is representative of the woman he loves— Whitney is both strong and feminine.

Did Chris appear confident after choosing the ring? While picking the ring, I could really see that Chris was already planning the proposal in his mind. He was totally excited about proposing. He seemed very much in love and committed. I would say Chris was a happy camper after the process. I think once any guy finally makes a selection, he’s confident. Chris was confident after he made his choice.

 Have other Bachelors been this confident? Most guys are a bit nervous, but they have a certainty after we spend some time. They feel relieved after they see the rings because they can begin to imagine getting on one knee and proposing. They can really envision the girl wearing that ring, and they go with their gut.

Which Bachelor has been the most indecisive [on ring choice]? Jake Pavelka was the toughest; he couldn’t decide until the last minute—it was like he wanted me to decide [laughs].

What was it like working with Chris? Truthfully, Chris was great to work with. One of the best. I got along with him really, really well. He was totally happy— over the moon!

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Bachelor Chris Soules + Neil Lane in Iowa // Courtesy Neil lane

Any plans to make wedding bands yet? Yes, I want to make a beautiful platinum eternity band for Whitney. There will be diamonds on three sides, to replicate the same type of band on her engagement ring. For Chris, I want his ring to be strong, masculine, and able to survive a lot of wear and tear. I’ll mix metals for him— gold and platinum— to create a bold ring.

Is it different working with a celebrity versus someone on the show? People have to understand, whether I’m working with the most famous guy in the world, or I’m on location with Chris or any other Bachelor, every guy is the same. It doesn’t matter if they’re in Cleveland, Ohio, Dubuque, Iowa, or Beverly Hills. Every guy wants to get his girl the most beautiful ring in the world. It’s his princess. It doesn’t make a difference if it’s a gazillion dollar ring or not— the meaning behind it is the same.

What if someone loves the ring you designed for Chris and Whitney, but can’t afford a big bauble? I don’t exactly replicate rings I do on the show. But I have a line of jewelry at Kay and Jared, that I developed based on the aesthetic I bring to the Bachelor. My rings there are accessible to every budget. Wherever you need to be, there’s [a ring] there for you.

… Another fun fact: Neil created a pearl-shaped ring in honor of his mother several years ago, that Bachelorette Jillian Harris received in 2009. The pear shape is sentimental to Neil, because his mom wore that cut growing up. [Aw]!

Photos by Annie Shak