Laura Diamonds Blog
May 27th, 2013
Ben Kokes, a San Francisco engineer, toiled five months to design and handcraft a titanium engagement ring whose stones light up on his fiancée’s finger when he’s close-by.


Named “Project Longhaul,” the ring's journey from design to fabrication was a super-challenging labor of love for the brainy 36-year-old romantic.

The engineer chronicled the story of the ring on his website, and started the narrative this way…

"Once upon a time, a boy met a girl. Then a short amount of time later, the boy decided to design and build a ring for the girl, because doing things in the most complicated way possible is just what he does to show the love. This is that story."


The website offers a blow-by-blow description of how Kokes worked through every technical challenge of the design and manufacturing process. The site features more than 40 photographs, illustrations, diagrams and videos.

He explains on his site how the stones are backlit by tiny LEDs, which are powered by a coil of copper built into the body of the ring. The coil generates energy when it is exposed to an alternating magnetic field. A wrist-mounted device that Kokes could wear on his wrist or conceal in a pocket supplies that field.


When Kokes proposed to Julie Nicolai in mid-May with the high-tech titanium ring, the stones lit up right on cue when came within four inches of his bride-to-be. Nicolai was so impressed with the ring that she didn’t let him finish his proposal speech.

“I had a little speech prepared,” Kokes told MailOnline, “and she wouldn't let me get through it. She just started telling me how amazing it was.”

And, of course, she said, “Yes.”