About Us

Since 1890, the Kirk Kara artists and artisans have handcrafted rings and fine jewelry. Each exquisite piece is designed to be forever captivating.

  • Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • Darren, Leanne & Ben Garelick Jewelers – A Tale of Three Cities

Darren, Leanne & Ben Garelick Jewelers – A Tale of Three Cities

Sometimes the perfect engagement ring is thousands of miles (and an entire ocean!) away. And while it may seem like a Herculean effort to get it to the right place at the right time, the right retail partner will move mountains to make it happen. Such is the story of Darren and Leanne, a couple from Cumbria, England whose recent engagement included a hot air balloon ride in Florida and an exquisite ring from our Lori collection, purchased from Ben Garelick Jewelers in Buffalo, New York. Talk about putting their love on the map!

As a fourth-generation bridal company, we embrace likeminded partners with family and tradition at the heart of what they do. Ben Garelick Jewelers is a shining example of this, facilitating customer experiences that truly go above and beyond. What started as a family-owned jewelry wholesaler in 1952 evolved into a thriving retail business purchased by a longtime employee, Peter Manka, Sr., who still runs it with his family by his side. The Ben Garelick legacy is one of genuine authenticity and trust, which is why so many couples turn to them for their fine jewelry and designer engagement ring needs in the Tri-State area.

Darren and Leanne originally met in high school in 1995, but they have social media to thank for sparking their romance years later, in 2009. Darren envisioned their ten-year anniversary as the perfect occasion to propose, and as luck would have it, the UK-based couple was already planning a trip to Florida to mark their relationship milestone. The next step, naturally, was figuring out the ring.

Darren knew Leanne preferred emerald-cut diamonds, but had no idea how overwhelming the quest for the right engagement ring would be. One day, while perusing Leanne’s Pinterest feed, he came across our Lori K195L design, which instantly felt like the one. “The Kirk Kara Lori stood out with its stunning design and detail,” he says. What struck him is that “each piece is one of a kind – just like Leanne.”

He got in touch with Ben Garelick Jewelers in Buffalo to set the wheels in motion and get Leanne her dream engagement ring. Originally, the platinum creation was to be sent to the UK, but with the help of Ben Garelick’s own Peter Manka, Jr., Darren pulled off both receiving the ring and proposing with it during their whirlwind 10-year anniversary vacation in Florida.

Peter Jr. was Darren’s point of contact throughout the entire process, communicating with him every step of the way. “He was superb,” says the groom-to-be. “He explained everything in detail and made the decision as easy as could be.”

Peter Jr. agrees with this sentiment of effortlessness. “It’s easier to sell a ring sight unseen, from thousands of miles away, when you’re completely confident in the quality of the product,” he says. “We knew Darren and Leanne would absolutely love it.”

Once their stunning Lori was complete, Peter Jr. arranged for the ring to be delivered to a local FedEx office about 20 minutes from where they were staying. “We had a very small window of just one day for him to pick it up without his girlfriend knowing, and the FedEx location would only hold it for four days,” he says. “It was a combination of strategic shipping, crossed fingers, and luck!”

The meticulous orchestration and planning did not stop there. Under the guise of taking driving lessons (UK roads are flipped to the left), Darren was able to pick up the ring, unbeknownst to Leanne. After that, he had to be extra careful hiding it in the hotel safe, then sneaking it into his pocket before they headed out for a hot air balloon ride the next morning at 4am. The rest unfolded in the clouds, much like an enchanted fairy tale. And as Peter Jr. had predicted, both Leanne and Darren fell in love with the ring.
“I was proposed to with a stunning Kirk Kara Lori K195L in platinum, with an 0.85 carat emerald cut diamond. The ring is out of this world and the detail is outstanding,” says Leanne. “It was very romantic and special, and the moment could not have been more perfect.”

Darren agrees. “It’s a stunning piece of art and workmanship,” he says. “So much sparkle and sophistication at every angle. I’m over the moon and do not believe I would have been able to find a better engagement ring.”

With an enduring family heritage and core values that mirror our own, Ben Garelick Jewelers is both a trusted retail partner and essential destination for stunning jewelry and engagement rings in the Buffalo area and beyond, as evidenced by Leanne and Darren, who experienced their genuine spirit from literally thousands of miles away.  We are thrilled to be part of this couple’s sweet story and wish them a lifetime of fairytale magic and love!