engagement rings

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jennymcJenny McCarthy is definitely not one to shy away from media! She shocked over 3 million viewers last Wednesday on live television via her morning talk show, The View by showing off a huge yellow sapphire and diamond ring and announcing her recent engagement to singer Donnie Wahlberg.

The former model, actress, one-time author and current co-host of The View was immeasurably ecstatic, jumping up and hugging co-hosts Barbara Walters and Sherri Shepherd. A slideshow of pictures of the happy couple played across the screen as Wahlberg made a surprise appearance from backstage, coming up to hug his sweetheart.

McCarthy’s bubbly and vivacious personality seems to match her engagement ring perfectly: a square brilliant cut yellow sapphire, surrounded by a halo of white diamonds set in a split shank pave white gold band. Known to be a spiritual person, she may have chosen a bright yellow stone to elicit inspiration, creativity, and optimism.jennymc

The actress and TV personality describes how Wahlberg had enlisted the help of her 11-year-old son, Evan, with the proposal. While sitting on the couch at their shared home, Evan brought out a card that said “Will” and handed it to her. He walked back into the other room, coming back with “You”. He returned a third time with a card meant to say “Marry” but spelled “Mary”. McCarthy was in laughter and tears before Donnie came out the last time, wearing a shirt imprinted, “Me?” and got down on one knee.

“Of course, I said ‘Yes,'” she related. “In that moment Evan yelled, ‘I have another dad!’ and it made all of us cry.”

McCarthy began dating the New Kids on The Block singer in May of last year. The pair plan to tie the knot sometime in August 2015.

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sunset proposalMarch 20th marks Proposal Day, the day on which an estimated 50,000 couples will get engaged!

Is March 20th the day to pop the big question? Possibly, but this lesser known holiday was initially started for the purpose of giving a nudge to couples who have not yet taken the ultimate step of commitment. Interestingly enough, it was a man by the name of John Michael O’Laughlin who founded Proposal Day. After seeing his cousin being strung along for years by a boyfriend who wouldn’t commit, O’Laughlin decided enough was enough and decided to dedicate one day out of the year just for the act of proposing.

Proposal Day falls on the Vernal Equinox, one out of two days of the year on which the Earth’s North and South poles are both perpendicular to the Sun’s rays. This means that the Sun appears approximately an equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every location on Earth, so that day and night are equal lengths. O’Laughlin specifically chose the day of an equinox because he believed the equal day and night symbolized “the equal efforts of the two required to comprise a successful marriage.” The Autumnal Equinox falls about six months after March 20th, and is considered by some to be a second Proposal Day for that reason.vernal equinox

The holiday is an opportunity to start a conversation about the possibility of a future proposal, according to ProposalDay.com. Besides, nowadays couples wait longer before tying the knot; a recent poll found that roughly 27 per cent of women whose partners had popped the question dated their partner for three to five years. As an added benefit, talking to your partner about the proposal beforehand means that you can go engagement ring shopping together, which takes some pressure off of finding the perfect engagement ring!

Although it’s certainly not as widely recognized as Valentine’s Day, there are signs that Proposal Day is gaining traction. It has been creating a buzz in numerous social media outlets like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter and has even been featured in the national news media.

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Paul WalkerAlmost ten years ago, in the holiday season of 2004, Paul Walker happened to be in a Santa Barbara jewelry store at the same time as another couple that was browsing. That couple was Kyle and Kristen Upham, who were looking for an engagement ring. They were already secretly married in a private ceremony before his deployment to Iraq, but now he was back and wanted to get her a proper ring.

While they were browsing, the “Fast and Furious” star struck up a conversation with them. Kristen recalls when Walker found out that Kyle had just come back from his first tour in Iraq: “I remember seeing the look in his face. He kind of transformed.”

Kristen was back at the store to look at a ring she really, really liked. It featured a round brilliant center diamond, accented with baguette diamonds in the band set in white gold. At $9,000 though, it was out of her husband’s budget. They left the store empty-handed, but received a call later on from Irene King, the sales associate who had helped them, asking them to return to the store. Waiting for them was her dream ring, wrapped up and paid for in full by a mysterious benefactor. The staff at the store refused to give out any details, as per his wishes. According to King, Walker had pulled aside the store manager in private and asked to put the ring on his tab, walking out shortly after.Paul Walker

The staff kept his secret for nearly a decade, until his recent untimely death sparked the wish to share his random act of kindness in tribute to his outstanding character. A great number of Walker’s colleagues and friends in Hollywood have since spoken out about his fantastic work ethic, talent, polite demeanor and passion for charitable projects. He will always be remembered in the people whose lives he touched, and for Kyle and Kristen Upham, they will always have a reminder and a story to tell when they pass down her ring for future generations.

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royal babyAs part of the royal tradition, Kate Middleton is rumored to receive a new mommy gift (or “push present”) for the birth of her first child, Prince George Alexander Louis. It can’t be easy to figure out what to give the mother of the future King of England, but Prince William seems like he has it all figured out.

It is believed that William has commissioned one of the royal jewelers to find a pink diamond that will become the centerpiece of a custom brooch for Kate. He is very involved in the design process, adding sentimental touches to make it that much more special. Due to the scarcity of colored diamonds, in particular high quality ones of a larger size, it may be a while before we see the completed piece. Originally he was contemplating giving her one of his late mother the Princess Diana’s jewels, but decided that he wanted something made just for her. Prince Charles had also presented the late Princess Diana with a gift when William was born – a necklace of diamonds and pearls with a heart-shaped center, and a gold ‘W’ charm for her bracelet.

Fancy colored diamonds have a tradition for the English royal family, especially pink diamonds. Queen Elizabeth II owns one of the most famous pink diamonds in the world: the Williamson Pink, a flawless diamond of over 54 carats rough given to her as a wedding gift in 1947 by Canadian geologist John Williamson. The rough diamond was cut into a 23.6 round brilliant, which the Queen then had set into a diamond flower brooch.

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platinum wedding ringShould you choose white gold or platinum jewellery? What’s the differences between white gold and platinum? The first difference between white gold and platinum is the most basic and is the foundation of all the other differences. White gold and platinum are different metals. White gold jewellery are mostly plated. The plating of white gold, which is done using rhodium, is a practice that has been used in the jewelry industry for decades, it makes white gold bright and white. However, it is decorative so it’s not permanent; it’s used to event out the color and soften white gold’s yellow tint. Depend on the wear and tear of the individual, the plating could last several years, but eventually it wears off and needs re-plating.

Platinum is heavier and naturally white metal although a little grayish in color and has been used for hundreds of years. Platinum is harder to work with then white gold. The higher melting temperature makes it more difficult to cast. The platinum solders are also at higher temperature. These and other reasons make platinum more expensive to work with then white gold. It is the preferred metal when it comes to softer gemstones such as emeralds or to consumers who have sensitive skin or are allergic to nickel which is commonly used in white gold jewellery in North America.

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RingThe world has set a new record never before has a ring being entirely made of a single diamond. How did they do it? Who had this crazy idea? How many carats is it and the big question is how much does it cost and who will buy it? They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend; well this one ought to provide a lifelong companionship.

The 150 carat all diamond ring was made with laser technology. Multiple tests were done to get the precision of the circle right. Special laser equipment was bought to cut the diamond directly and not alter the colour of it.  It was made by a labor of love and took a couple years in the process for making it.  Mohamed Shawesh, president and CEO of Geneva-based Shawish Jewelry was the genius and passion behind this stunning piece. “A ring made entirely of a faceted diamond has always seemed like a fantasy, It seemed impossible, so we decided to embark on the adventure of creating it. To create the perfect diamond ring is the epitome of art.” Says Mohamed Shawesh. It had been a dream of his from way back. In 2009 he sought to get the copyright to design the ring and in 2010 it was finalized but it still had a lot more time to go.

They had to go through a lengthy process of designs to get the ring to its perfect precision. Shawish speaks of this, “We had to do multiple tests with the design, to get the precision of the circle right. Diamonds are made of carbon and molecules that can change, even the colour can be altered when attempting to cut it. We had to buy special laser equipment, to cut directly into the diamond. The most important aspect is preserving the integrity of the diamond and of course the most difficult phase is precision cutting an entire stone into a ring.”

A couple years later in 2012 all the dreaming, fantasizing, and hard work has paid off. The 150 carat ring now goes for about $70 million.

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Diamond BoxWe finished off with Part 1: Can Diamonds be Chipped?

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In taking care of your diamond jewelry, this is especially important. For something that can last you forever, it does require some amount of maintenance to keep it in its best shape.

Routine checkups at your jeweler (recommended is about every 6 months) is key. They have the tools and expertise to evaluate your jewelry for any compromise in the structure or integrity. Checking settings for loose stones, worn prongs or metal can prevent diamonds being exposed or even falling out.

After that, it’s all up to you. Be slightly more cautious when wearing rings, diamonds can chip when coming in contact with any hard surface such as doorknobs, kitchen countertops, or car windows. Ideally you would want to take your rings off when doing any manual work with your hands: lifting heavy objects, doing chores, cooking, gardening, and more. The more your diamond jewelry comes into contact with other objects, the more likely it is to damage. That’s why rings are the most susceptible and show signs of wear more easily; bracelets are a close second followed by necklaces and earrings, which are relatively safe.

As diamonds are most easily damaged by other diamonds, take care in storing your diamond jewelry separately when not wearing them. Every piece should have its own compartment and not be touching another diamond piece. For necklaces, lay them out carefully and store them in a spacious box, not a pouch where it can move against itself.

Another factor that contributes to the risk of damaging diamonds is present in the diamond’s structure: inclusions. Inclusions are the naturally occurring “imperfections” in the molecular crystal of the diamond, and come in many forms. Not all inclusions increase the risk of damage; it all depends on the size, location, and type of inclusion present. Inclusions to pay particular attention to are feathers, twinning wisps, or cavities that reach the surface close to the girdle, where impact is the likeliest to happen. It’s best to consult with your jeweler or someone with formal diamond training such as a GIA Gemologist to discuss the role inclusions play in your diamond’s integrity.

Read on to Part 3: What to Do With a Chipped Diamond

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EngagementWhat are engagement or wedding rings all about anyway? Who started this and why is it such a tradition? Since when did the ring become a symbol of love, romance, and marriage? Why is it the fourth finger on the left hand that is considered the lucky one to wear the ring? Here is some history of the engagement and wedding ring.

Starting all the way back in Egyptian times they were the first to use the circle shape as a symbol of eternity. The Egyptians also believed that the fourth finger on the left hand was connected to the vein of love and ran directly back to the heart. Although wearing a ring as a public pledge to honour marriage didn’t come about until the Roman times.  Some of the first rings were made from iron, but by medieval days gold rings set with gems were fashionable.  Popular gems were symbolic such as a blue sapphire to reflect the heavens or a red ruby as the colour of the heart, but the most powerful of all gems was the diamond.

Up until the 15th century only kings wore diamonds as a symbol of courage, strength, and invincibility. Over centuries the diamond has become a unique status of the ultimate gift for love. The word “diamond” comes from the Greek word “adamas” which means “the unconquerable” suggesting the eternity of love. Ancient Greeks believed diamonds to be delicate splinters of fallen stars and adorned them for the powers of protection they believed it offered the wearer. India is where diamonds were first discovered and they were thought to be a shield from forces of evil like theft, snakes, and poison.  They have been associated to promote lasting love, ward off nightmares, symbol of innocence, power and protection. You can see why it has become such a precious gift of choice for couples.

RingsHow did an engagement ring come about? This first trend started way back in 1477 by Archduke Maxamilian of Austria who present his beloved Mary of Burgundy with a ring of engagement. The dual ring ceremonies were introduced by the Greek Orthodox Church in the 1300’s.  It wasn’t until the 1940’s in US when both men and woman would wear a band. Due to World War 2 the custom caught on because soldiers had to leave their beloveds behind and in the separation and loneliness they wanted to wear a band to remind them of their loved one far away. In the height of the war 85% of marriages had a dual ring ceremony, and it continues today.

The tradition is still long lasting and both men and woman are more attached to their bling today than ever before!

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DiamondsThe short answer is yes, they can – and it’s not that uncommon.

Diamonds are the hardest material on Earth, however that doesn’t make them indestructible. To understand how and why they chip, we must first separate the concepts of hardness and toughness. These two terms are often confused for one another, but they are not related in any way. Hardness essentially is a measure of how resistant a substance is to being scratched. Hardness depends on the strength of bonds between atoms in the crystal, and also can vary depending on the direction (along the crystal planes) in which this property is measured. This is why, although much less likely, diamonds can be scratched; and they most definitely can be scratched when coming in contact with other diamonds.

Toughness is the measurement of the ability of a material to resist fracturing, breaking, chipping, or cracking in general. The toughness scale ranges from: Exceptional, Excellent, Good, Fair, to Poor, in which diamond only ranks at a Good. A diamond has a cubic crystal matrix, in which there are four perfect cleavage directions. A cleavage direction can be described as a series of side-by-side straight grains running in one direction, such as the graining on a piece of wood. It is a plane of weakness in the molecular crystal of the diamond. Due to these points of weakness in the diamond structure, it is very possible for a diamond to chip and fracture in everyday wear and tear – it wouldn’t necessarily need a big impact for a diamond to chip, only enough of an impact at the right angle.

The shape of a diamond also factors into how likely it is to chip. Acute angles are much more chip-prone than obtuse angles. For example, in round diamonds the areas most likely to chip would be along the girdle edge or the culet (if pointed). However when round diamonds are set in a piece of jewelry the culet is almost always protected, so it is more common to see chips occur on the girdle. For fancy-shapes with pointed girdle edges, the risk of chipping increases. Princess, Marquise, Pear, Heart and to a slightly lesser extent Emerald and Radiant have a higher percentage of damage on the pointed girdle edge. This is why they are always set with prongs protecting the sharp edges.

If you are panicking because you have chipped your diamond or fear of doing so – read on to Part 2: Tips to Prevent Damaging a Diamond

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Red DiamondsThe Australian Argyle Diamond Mine will feature three ultra-rare red diamonds in the upcoming Pink Diamond Tender. This is the most it has featured in 30 years.  They began mining in 1983 and only six diamonds have come out of the mine as certified Fancy Red by the Gemological Institute of America. This is a very notable time for red diamonds.

Also for the first time in eight years it will feature a diamond bigger than 3 cts: a 3.02 ct. fancy pink radiant going by the name of “Argyle Imperial.” There is another weighing at 1.56-carat which is round fancy red called the “Argyle Phoenix.”

Josephine Johnson Argyle Pink Diamonds Manager had this to say about it. “Since mining began in 1983 only six diamonds certified as fancy red by the Gemological Institute of America have been presented for sale at the annual tender. To have three of these rare red diamonds in one tender is a very special moment in time.” They will be presented for sale at the annual tender. The diamonds will have their world debut first in Sydney. Then tender viewing will take place in Hong Kong, Perth, and previews in Tokyo and New York with bidding closing in October. All vividly naturally coloured diamonds are expensive but red diamonds are so rare that many think their price might double in the next couple of years.

The Argyle mine produces the world’s entire supply of pink diamonds with the red seen as the top pinnacle of the colour scale. Japan is the largest consumer of pink diamonds since the cherry blossom tree inhabits the land there the shade of pink is highly favorable to them.Argyle Pink

Fancy red diamonds are the rarest naturally coloured diamonds. Very few diamonds receive a grade of fancy red. This grade of fancy red means that the diamond is pure red and has no modifying colour.  No one really knows how the diamond gets to be this colour. It is thought that it gets its colour from a molecular structure distortion as the jewel journeys up from the crusts earth to the surface.  Another thought is that the diamond could get its colour from nitrogen atoms. Diamonds are made up of carbon atoms bonded together, sometimes there are gaps within these atoms and scientists think that the gaps and nitrogen cause the red colour. They are shaped by millions of years of crystallization. Either way the natural colour of a fancy red is unmistakable and breath taking. Diamonds come in different colours including, champagne, yellow, pink, red and purple.  Natural and treated colour diamonds are two completely different markets.

Check out a local jewellery boutique store for more information and to view some different coloured diamonds in a variety of shape and cut. If you are looking for that perfect custom diamond to add to an engagement ring its best to shop at a local jewellery store where they have trusted customer service and can help you find the exact unique coloured stone that’s right for you.

 

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