Archive for February, 2011

The perfect proposal: Creating an unforgettable memory

The key to a perfect proposal? Knowing in your heart that you and your partner are ready to commit!Women dream of it and most men dread ruining it – the engagement is a pivotal point in a relationship, where one's commitment to the other is expressed through unconditional love. Because of this, the proposal needs to be next to flawless. A perfect engagement that will last in both you and your partner's memories needs to start with this question: "Are we ready?"

There are several ways to know whether you are prepared to pop the question and make that next step. According to TheKnot.com, signs of readiness include openness to your finances as well as a clear definition of your future together. These days, loving one another is unfortunately not enough. It may sound unfavorable, but money matters and having insufficient funds can be detrimental to a marriage. How can you even propose if you are not going to be able to afford a ring?

At the same time, discussions about your future are telltale signs that you might be ready. "If you and your [significant other] speak naturally and sincerely about your future together, that sort of confidence bodes well for your relationship," the news source reports. If you've already been together for awhile and conversations on marriage and having children are taken positively, why not take the next step and actually do it?

Other reasons that indicate you should ask your beloved to marry you may be the fact that she has already been dropping hints. If you know that she might be iffy about saying yes then why bother asking? However, if you feel in your heart that she is the one and she's been chatting about how she adores specific diamond cuts, then the time is most certainly right to buy her that sparkler she's been eying.

Knowing that both of you are ready should then take you to the next step in creating the perfect proposal, and that is choosing the right diamond engagement ring. For the traditionalist, the surprise factor is a part of the event and asking her about her dream ring may spoil this. In this instance, you need to have some sort of idea about your partner's style. Pay attention to any hints that she may give you about her favorite designs. Try not to ask for help – the cat may eventually be let out of the bag, effectively ruining the moment.

From traditional diamond engagement rings to modern designs, the style of the ring should reflect your would-be bride's personality. If your lifestyle involves sustainable ideals and environmentally-friendly choices, consider buying an eco-conscious diamond ring made from recycled metal and conflict-free diamonds. Another option would be to purchase a beautiful vintage engagement ring. The timeless design of such a bauble is something most women can appreciate.

If your bride is a non-traditionalist, then you could look into colored gems as diamond substitutes. Not only are they less expensive, but stones like sapphires and rubies are becoming more popular options as engagement rings.

Once you have chosen the ring to solidify your commitment, it is only a matter of waiting for the right time to pop the question. Whether you sweep her away to a pretend-impromptu getaway or ask her on the couch during her favorite TV show, the venue doesn't have to be grand to create a beautiful memory. As long as you know in your heart that both of you are ready to be engaged (with, of course, the ring of her dreams!), then asking her for her hand in marriage should be as natural as asking her to pass the popcorn.

The return of the Gucci horsebit

Frida Giannini, designer for Gucci, is bringing back the horsebitThe horsebit has long been an icon of the House of Gucci. Found on many of its bags, shoes, and belts, the horsebit showed up once again in the brand's Fall 2011 collection in the form of a golden pendant, a look that was reminiscent of vintage jewelry worn throughout the past decades.

The collection, described by Fibre2Fashion.com as "film noir in color," was marked with a bold color palette as well as accessories such as fur shawls and fedoras. Also featured were glam pieces from the 70s – seductive flowing dresses and flared pants with gold accessories and patent leather.

The horsebit appeared on long golden chains, where the pendant hung low and was complemented by highly provocative outfits. The vintage jewelry feel of the collection allowed the outfits to stand out without seeming cliché and dated.

Those who unfortunately may not be able to get their hands on such a piece should look into purchasing a simple gold pendant and a long chain – pay tribute to the styles of yesteryear and you're bound to look sensational.

Oscar night: vintage jewelry showdown

Amy Adams sports over 60 carats worth of emeralds thanks to CartierOnce again, the Oscars proved to be the night when stars shined as bright as the heavenly bodies, with stylists stopping at nothing to provide the celebrities with the most elegant and dazzling jewelry pieces imaginable.

Amy Adams blinded onlookers not only with her sparkly outfit but also with the bling she was sporting. According to People Magazine, the actress was wearing Cartier vintage jewelry, with the necklace and bracelet combo reportedly worth a cool $1.35 million. The pieces contained over 60 carats of emerald and diamond gemstones, complementing her glamorous purple cap-sleeved gown and simple wavy locks.

Glowing mom-to-be Natalie Portman wowed onlookers not only with her growing baby bump but also with her empire-waisted purple Rodarte number. Her look was topped off with a Tiffany & Co vintage jewelry tassel earrings, according to the source.

For a very personalized look, Gwyneth Paltrow opted for a metallic Calvin Klein dress that featured a geometric cut. She mixed the modern look with Louis Vuitton vintage-inspired accessories: gold earrings with colorful gemstones paired with a brooch of the same design.

Normal folks may not be able to afford millions of dollars worth of vintage jewelry but there are many inexpensive alternatives available that can be just as red-carpet worthy as these show-stoppers. 

Pearls remain classic and timeless

A beautiful pearl is timeless and elegantAs an organic gemstone, the pearl is considered to be one of the most timeless pieces of jewelry a woman can own. Found in various vintage jewelry designs from earrings to necklaces, it is a classic accessory that does wonders for any look.

Although natural pearls were already being worn by European noblewomen, the freshwater variety was popularized by Mikimoto Kokichi in the 1890s, who perfected the culturing process and mass produced the gem for everyone, according to All The Gifts.

From Japan, the availability of cultured pearls spread throughout the world and soon became a mainstay for American glamour, having been worn by style goddesses Jackie Onassis and Audrey Hepburn. The movie Breakfast at Tiffany's, with Hepburn peering through the glass window in her little black dress and pearl necklace, proved to be an iconic scene, with women everywhere mimicking the elegant look afterwards.

Anyone yearning for a sense of sophistication and understated elegance should look into vintage jewelry that incorporates the gem. Whether it be a classic pearl necklace or a one-of-a-kind brooch with the bauble as a centerpiece, the pearl should be an essential part of every woman's wardrobe. 

Antique jewelry seen as alternative investment

Valuable gemstones and vintage jewelry can be great investmentsCollecting gemstones as a form of investment is something the masses have been doing for ages. Besides their undeniable beauty, beautiful pieces of jewelry are in demand because of the value that they hold.

According to Minyanville.com, the emerging markets in China and India in addition to the dwindling number of natural deposits around the globe are creating a huge demand for gems. Those looking for some extra cash may want to consider investing in antique jewelry, a move that's great for both your beauty and your bank account.

Considering that the value of a gem increases with inflation, buying that elegant vintage cocktail ring with a diamond centerpiece may be a better decision than purchasing a very expensive bag that will not hold its value overtime.

The thrill of purchasing antique jewelry that can potentially be worth more over time can be appealing, but be wary of who you are buying it from. Look for jewelers with a trusted name in the industry in order to ensure that your items are as valuable as they are beautiful.

Fun ways to propose to your loved one

There are many creative ways that you can propose to your loved oneWould-be grooms seem to be reaching for great heights to propose these days. From unique locations to romantic hotspots around the globe, there are many creative ways to pop the question that will be memorable for both you and your future bride.

Those with some extra cash to spare might want to use the tried and tested destination proposal, according to TheKnot.com. Whether in a different city or a foreign country, whisking your ladylove away to an unknown getaway is guaranteed to be a memorable and fun experience.

For a less inexpensive option, a surprise engagement party could be the way to go. Proposals are of course, very personal for you and your fiancée, but sharing the good news to your closest friends and loved ones after she says "I do" can be cherished forever, according to the source.

Whatever you decide on, don't forget the bling! Choose a diamond engagement ring that reflects who she is and encapsulates her personality. Being engaged to someone means understanding your partner's sense of style. Whether you ask the big question during an impromptu trip to Paris or at a restaurant with your family waiting by the corner, the right diamond engagement ring will be the cherry to the top of a proposal that you both will remember forever. 

Vintage baubles in demand

Vintage jewelry is making a comebackWith shows like Mad Men making waves on television, more women are opting to rummage through their grandmothers' jewelry boxes or treasure hunt at antique shows for vintage jewelry, according to The Lake Michigan Shore.

Mary Hodson, coordinator of the Porter County Antique & Collectibles Show, spoke with the news source and explained that the average attendee used to be middle-aged. Today, 20 and 30-something ladies are prowling around for super-stylish pieces. Girls are looking for classic items
reminiscent of a different era, and more women are searching for that treasure that they can wear with confidence.

Brides-to-be, according to the news source, are especially interested in finding "something old" that they can incorporate into their wedding ensemble. Even teenagers are embracing the trend. "My granddaughter is wearing vintage jewelry to the prom," Hodson told the news provider.

Vintage jewelry designs vary greatly from different eras. Those wanting to rock the style should opt for pieces that best represent their personalities. Pair the jewels with modern attires such as a constructed a jacket and jeans to create a striking contrast that exudes confidence and individuality.

Art Deco makes comeback

Art deco is characterized by bold geometric shapes and sharp anglesLondon fashion designer Holly Fulton recently showcased her collection inspired by Art Deco and according to the LA Times, the geometric prints and vintage jewelry created an effect that was both splendid and whimsical.

The Art Deco movement started in 1925 and was founded by a group called La Société des Artistes Décorateurs during an exposition in Paris, according to All About Gemstones. Defined by its ultra modern clean lines, bold shapes and sharp angles, the style soon transitioned from architectural structures into art and jewelry. An example of the style is the Chrysler Building in New York, which was built from 1928 to 1930, according to Great Buildings. Another great example is the Art Deco district of South Beach, Miami.

Vintage jewelry from the era is also very distinguishable from other styles. It is characterized by the use of aggressive colors along with sharp lines and geometric shapes and patterns. According to the news source, "diamonds and light colored gemstones were mixed with dark materials of black onyx or bakelite," for a striking and contrasting appearance. The emerald cut, a rectangular gem shape most commonly seen on emeralds, was also popular during the era.

Diamonds still the go-to gem for engagement rings

Vintage diamond rings are making a comebackAlthough colored stones continue to be the must-have item in the gem industry, most people would still prefer a diamond engagement ring, according to the Commercial Appeal.

Tradition, in the end, is still dictating the choices of those who are ready for the commitment, with vintage engagement rings specifically becoming all the rage. In fact, fifth-generation Memphis jeweler Jay Mednikow told the news source that Art Deco, Edwardian and Victorian styles that sold 50 or 60 years ago are surprisingly making a comeback.

One particular style that is becoming incredibly popular at the moment is the "halo," a ring composed of smaller diamonds surrounding the larger centerpiece. The fad, according to the news report, was once popular during the 1910s and the 1920s. Other women are also choosing rings with detailed antique mounting in order to evoke the feel of a different era.

Compared to modern diamonds cut with laser technology, older diamonds, according to Mednikow, may look a bit different than ones recently created. However, it seems as though the soft, elegant feel of vintage engagement rings are exactly what would-be brides are falling for today.

Gold demand on a ten-year high

Gold is making a comeback.Gold is back in style, according to the World Gold Council, which reported a 9 percent increase in demand for 2010. It turns out that 51 percent of the total demand came from Asian consumers, especially those living in China and India, who continue to drive the growth even further.

More designers are also having fun with the precious metal, making it a must-have accessory for the season. Los Angeles jewelry designer London Manori explains that the must-have piece of bling of the moment is an engagement ring created from rose gold and fashioned into vintage and retro designs, from the Victorian era to Art Deco, as well as jewelry inspired by the 70s.

Those who want to purchase vintage jewelry made of gold should consider purchasing bold pieces inspired by flora and fauna. Recent collection from artist Aurélie Bidermann includes a necklace made of gold seashells and a golden cuff bracelet that resembles a leaf. Bidermann's line also features a pair of earrings with a matching pendant, all of which are shaped like pieces of wheat.