We are delighted to introduce you to a very special edition of our NMJ Lovers series, featuring our very own Marketing Manager, Ella, and her partner, Leon. Whether you believe in fate or not, there is something truelybeautiful in the chances of an English Backpacker meeting an Australian Backpacker at a Hostel in Sri Lanka. 9 years later, Leon dropped to his knee in the Dolomites, Italy. With a little bit of help from the NMJ Team, Leon designed a unique yet effortlessly timeless piece to symbolise the next chapter of their love story...
Let's go back to the beginning, how did you meet?
Ella: We met while travelling solo, in Sri Lanka at a hostel. Actually, we ended up making good friends with several other people at this hostel so it remains close to our hearts and we would love to go back! We have many serendipitous tales from that particular trip.
Leon: I was on a year-long backpacking and surfing trip through Asia, and I had just arrived in Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka. I met Ella at a beachside hostel that we were both staying at. We initially started chatting about music and surfing and ended up continuing to travel around the country together.
What do you love most about each other?
Ella: I love how easy-going Leon is, he balances me out and can always put a fresh perspective on a situation and make me feel better, about anything! He is wise beyond his years and has a selfless attitude - he complains very little (but is happy to listen to my complaints!). He makes me cry-laugh on a daily basis, he indulges my childish sense of humour, our shared love for food, all of the food, and finally his strong morals and love for the ocean.
Leon: I love Ells personality and sense of humour - there is never a dull moment! She has me in tears of laughter on a weekly basis. We both share the same passions and hobbies which is amazing. I’ve also never met somebody who is as caring as Ella is.
Leon, how did you approach designing Ella’s engagement ring?
It’s so tough! I had no idea where to start. Ell didn’t really help me either! I initially looked at the NMJ Instagram and found a few details I liked the look of. I also was pretty lucky the girls that Ell works with at NMJ had taken note of a few hints that she had dropped over the years. I knew it had to be gold and a timeless design. Ell is very active and outdoorsy type of person, so it needed to be durable and fit in with that lifestyle.
Ella, how did Leon propose to you? What do you remember most about this special moment?
Leon proposed to me in the Dolomites, Italy in August 2019. We were campervanning around Italy and had a trek planned that day, we had only been walking for a short while when Leon kept insisting that we went off the walking track and veer off up the side of a mountain. There was no path, it led nowhere and was piled with loose rocks, it made absolutely no sense but knowing Leon loved to adventure off the beaten track, I gave in and led the way up the side of the mountain. Five minutes in, and several near misses, I turned around to ask if we could go back down and return to the walking track, Leon was down on one knee with a Natalie Marie box in his hand and the rest is history. It’s a blur of utter happiness and many selfies.
Ella, what was your reaction when you saw your engagement piece for the first time?
"Oh thank goodness! I love it!" I am around beautiful jewellery all day long, and I’ve seen so many gorgeous rings pass through the Natalie Marie studio over the years. I can be super indecisive when it comes to committing to something so big, like an engagement ring, and I was always wary about dropping hints about designs that I like, worried that I may change my mind down the track.
However, this was one hint that I’m happy I dropped to the right people in my life, as I love my ring. It’s timeless and a classic with a twist. I love the tulip setting and I’m so glad Leon decided to add that into the design.
What does marriage mean to you both?
Ella: It means an extra layer of commitment. We have been together 9 years, so in a sense – we already feel married! It means that we are committed to ride out the rest of this crazy life together. It means patience, love and everything in-between.
Leon: It means a life-long commitment to my partner in crime.