Kate Hogan
June 04, 2012 08:00 PM

Courtesy Shayan Afshar; Inset: Matt Baron/BEImages

When New York Knicks Captain Amar’e Stoudemire proposed to his longtime girlfriend Alexis Welch in Paris on Saturday, it seemed like things couldn’t get more romantic — until he pulled out the $1 million ring.

While overlooking the Eiffel Tower, Stoudemire surprised the mother of his three children with an 8.5-carat radiant-cut custom diamond ring designed with Los Angeles-based celebrity jeweler Shayan Afshar.

With a setting of 3.5 carats of flawless diamonds set in 18-karat white gold, “It was important for Amar’e that the ring was classic but modern at the same time,” Afshar tells PEOPLE. “He wanted to ensure that the setting complemented the stone rather than take away from it.”

Stoudemire poured his heart into the design and details, explains Afshar, who flew to New York to meet with the NBA star to discuss ideas before they began the design. “Alexis was the inspiration,” Afshar says. “He was looking for a minimalistic setting and he wanted her to love it. We played with a few options.”

The reaction to the final design said it all. “We rushed to finish up the ring so that he could take it with him to Paris,” Afshar says. “And Amar’e texted me to say it was perfect.”

–Jennifer Garcia


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