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Greek Tradition Calls for Blue Sapphire and White Diamond Engagement Rings

Capture the Essence! of Greek Romance with this Designer Ritani Blue Sapphire & Diamond Halo Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Greek Romance with this Designer Ritani Blue Sapphire & Diamond Halo Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

In 2010, Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark married his bride, Tatiana Blatnik. In photos of the event, Tatiana wears a simple gold band on her right ring finger and a stunning cabochon sapphire surrounded by a halo of white diamonds on her left ring finger. In this one photo we see a vast treasury of Greek tradition.

According to Orthodox Greek custom, a man is first expected to visit his intended’s father and ask permission to propose. Once permission is granted, a date for their engagement is set. Relatives and close friends are invited to attend a lavish party at which a priest is present to bless the engagement rings. After the blessing, the priest places the rings on the bride and groom’s left ring fingers.

Tradition would dictate a simple gold band for the man and the woman, although many modern Greek brides choose iconic engagement rings, such as diamond halos or diamond solitaires. However, when it comes to royalty, the Greeks have their own tradition: Sapphires and Diamonds. In part, this is because the jewels of royals are passed down from one matriarch to the next, as was the case with Tatiana.

Nikolaos gave his intended a ring passed down to him from his mother, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece. She, in turn, had received it from her mother, Queen Ingrid of Denmark. Queen Anne-Marie wears her own sapphire engagement ring, a beautiful double-sapphire ring. The blue cabochons are surrounded by diamonds and mounted on a wide band, likely of platinum.

According to Victoria Finlay, author of Jewels: A Secret History, the Greek custom of wearing sapphires may date back to the legend of Prometheus. You may recall reading about Prometheus’ affront to Zeus when he stole fire from the God-King and gave it to humans. As punishment, he was bound by chains to a rock and nightly traumatized by a bird of prey until Heracles killed the bird. After this rescue, Prometheus was freed, but he was forced to wear a symbol of his punishment at all times–a ring of chain with a piece of the stone to which he’d been bound.

According to Finlay and others, this stone was quite possibly a blue sapphire (or perhaps lapis lazuli). The color blue was symbolic of the hottest flames of fire, and as symbolized in the colors of the Greek flag, the blue of sapphire represents vigilance, truth, loyalty, and perseverance, all requisite virtues for a happy, healthy marriage. And to pair a blue sapphire with the white of diamonds (white symbolizing peace and honesty) is the pinnacle of Greek symbolism.

Vintage Celebrity Marriages: Lisa Fonssagrives + Irving Penn

This photo is of Lisa Fonssagrives with an unidentified man. The image was taken by Edgar de Evia at the Rhinelander Mansion in 1950, the year Lisa married Irving Penn. It is uncertain whether the man pictured is the model's husband, but it's possible. Photo © Edgar de Evia, available for use under the Creative Commons license.

This photo of Lisa Fonssagrives with an unidentified man was taken by Edgar de Evia at the Rhinelander Mansion in 1950, the year Lisa married Irving Penn. It is uncertain whether the man pictured is the model’s husband, but it is possible. Photo © Edgar de Evia, available for use under the Creative Commons license.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Love between artists can be fiery and tumultuous, but for retro-era model Lisa Fonssagrives and iconic photographer Irving Penn love seems to bear all the marks of compatibility, collaboration, and enduring commitment.

While many may argue that being a fashion model is hardly an artistic endeavor, anyone who has read anything about Ms. Fonssagrives will think twice about believing such hogwash. Described by those at Vogue as “one of the most elegant women ever to wear a dress” {8}, the Swedish dancer-turned-model employed her keen knowledge of the intricacies of photography (gained from a previous marriage to dancer/photographer Fernand Fonssagrives) and her rigorous training as a dancer to infuse every one of her poses with electric energy and vivid dynamism.

“I was a sculpture all my life,” she said once, and Vogue agrees: “Fonssagrives turned her body into an exquisite sculpture” {8}. It is no wonder, then, that Irving Penn, a consummate photographer, who by 1948 was changing the face of modern photography, fell for the “exquisite blonde,” whom he placed as his central figure, a white goddess among lesser goddesses in blacks and grays and whites, in the first photo he ever took of her–his ’12 Beauties’ portrait for Vogue, shot in 1947.

Two years later, a reporter from Time Magazine sat in on another photo shoot, commanded by the great Irving Penn in a “dazzling bright room high above the late summer landscape of Manhattan’s Central Park” {1}. The article begins with quotes from Irving Penn; however, the true focal point of the article was none other than the sculpted beauty, Ms. Fonssagrives.

That year, her image graced the cover of the esteemed magazine, and in the write-up the reporter was among the first to elude to the burgeoning romance between two artistic equals–a photographer and his model/muse. ”The ecstatic monologuist [Penn]…” grew “breathless with excitement” as he coached the Swedish artform into a pose which appeared “uncomfortable but graceful…as though some preposterous comedy plot compelled her to be completely at ease while leaning against an exceedingly hot stove” {1}.

One year later, Lisa and Irving would tie the knot in a ceremony eluding the public eye. An envy of today’s uber-public celebrities, Lisa Fonssagrives and her lover enjoyed a lifetime of rare privacy longed for by today’s trendsetters. For this reason, the only hint we have of what kind of passion they shared lies in their own fervent approach to artistry and their enduring affair while fully mixing business with pleasure for 42 years.

Anyone who has worked alongside their spouse, let alone been at the direction of their spouse in their work, knows this must have required a tremendous amount of mutual respect, shared passion, and deep commitment to each other and to their art.

They remained together until death parted them in 1992, when Lisa Fonssagrives died from pneumonia at age 80. Though she retired from modeling only two years after she and Irving were married, she went on to make a name for herself in clothing design and sculpting.

Her clothes were featured in advertising campaigns (shot by her husband) for DeBeers and Plymouth, and her lingerie and loungewear were carried by Lord & Taylor {8}. Her sculptures went on exhibit in 1983 and 1986, in one-woman shows at New York’s Marlborough Gallery {8}.

In 1958, Irving Penn was named one of the World’s Greatest Photographers by Popular Photography, and in 1985 he won the Hasselblad Award {7}, given to photographers “recognized for major achievements” {2}. He continued to sear Vogues pages with his breathtaking, minimalist craft until his death in 2009.

Life Magazine, in 1960, wrote that Penn, in his attempt to “create a new kind of fashion picture,” also managed to create “a new, austere style that influenced all modern photography” {5}. His work in platinum garnered him a show at MoMA in New York in 1975, and in 1980 a collection of his nude portraits were shown at the Marlborough Gallery in New York {7}.

Before his retirement from Vogue, Irving Penn captured the portraits of Kate Moss and Nicole Kidman. In fact, his very last cover photo was of Nicole Kidman posing to promote her movie The Stepford Wives (2004). The year prior, Nicole Kidman had the privilege of sitting with “the industry’s greatest photographers–Penn, Annie Leibovitz, Craig McDean, and Helmut Newton–for Vogue’s September issue” {7}. After her session with Mr. Penn, the actress “collapsed into the corner of the elevator” and exclaimed, “You encounter a different realm” with Penn {7}.

In July 2007, Anna Wintour dedicated that month’s entire issue to Irving Penn, who turned 90 that month. Two years later, Ms. Wintour dedicated another issue to the legendary photographer. In the December 2009 issue, Ms. Wintour wrote, “He changed the way we saw the world, and, in particular, our perception of what is beautiful” {7}. His last assignment for Vogue appeared in the August issue, “a still life of dark-spotted bananas for a story on the signs of aging” {7}. That October, the passionate artist passed away at the ripe old age of 92.

I wonder if his camera sat on a bedside table next to his only other true love, Lisa Fonssagrives.

Notes

  1. “Advertising: Billion-Dollar Baby,” Time Magazine, September 19, 1949.
  2. Hasselblad Foundation. “The Hasselblad Award.” Accessed April 12, 2014. http://www.hasselbladfoundation.org/the-hasselblad-award/en/.
  3. “Times Topics: Irving Penn,” The New York Times, last updated October 7, 2009. http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/p/irving_penn/index.html.
  4. Marter, Joan M., ed. “The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art,” Volume 1, p. 58.
  5. “Penn’s People,” Life Magazine, November 14, 1960.
  6. Saroyan, Aram. Door to the River: Essays and Reviews from the 1960s Into the Digital Age, Boston: 2010.
  7. Voguepedia. “Irving Penn.” Accessed April 12, 2014. http://www.vogue.com/voguepedia/Irving_Penn.
  8. Voguepedia. “Lisa Fonssagrives.” Accessed April 12, 2014. http://www.vogue.com/voguepedia/Lisa_Fonssagrives-Penn.

Greek Orthodox Wedding Rings

 

Capture the Essence! of Greek Orthodox Tradition with this elegant 18k Gold Antique Wedding Band. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Greek Orthodox Tradition with this elegant 18k Gold Antique Wedding Band. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

During a Greek Orthodox wedding, the exchange of wedding rings is a significant part of the ceremony. The bride and groom wear their rings as they approach the altar. The bride wears her engagement ring on her left ring finger, and both wear their wedding rings on their right ring fingers.

In accord with one of the prayers in the Greek Orthodox Betrothal Service, the rings are placed on the right hand in observance of the rings of power, authority, and pledge worn by the Biblical figures Joseph, Daniel, and the prodigal son, who was given a ring to wear on his right hand as a symbol of compassion and celebration for his hoped-for return. The right hand symbolizes the establishment of truth and the source of strength, as well as the power and authority required to fulfill a pledge of commitment.

After the priest explains the sacrament of marriage, the profound mystery of two becoming one while yet remaining unique individuals, he begins the very important blessing of the rings. Using the rings to make the sign of the Cross on the groom’s forehead and then the bride’s forehead, he repeats the following declaration three times: “The servant of God…(groom) is betrothed to the servant of God … (bride) in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” He then reverses the order, beginning now with the bride’s forehead and the bride’s name, blessing the union three more times. He then places the rings once again on the bride’s and groom’s right ring fingers.

Next, the couple’s koumbaro (sponsor), a role filled in modern times by the best man or maid of honor, then steps forward to perform the exchange of rings. Crossing his/her hands, the koumbaro takes hold of the groom’s ring in his/her right hand and the bride’s ring in the left. Then, s/he slips the rings off their fingers and transfers them to the hand of the other person, back and forth three times. This exchange is made to symbolize that both lives are now interwoven, that one person’s strengths will compensate for the weaknesses of the other, and that together their lives will be richer than if they were lived apart.

It has long been the custom of Greek couples to choose simple gold bands to serve as their wedding rings. Though some Greeks living abroad have been known to move the rings from their right hands to their left hands after the ceremony, others maintain the custom of wearing the wedding bands on the right hand. Princess Tatiana of Greece has been seen wearing on her left hand her sapphire and diamond halo engagement ring with an elegant diamond eternity band and a simple gold band, though on her wedding day she was wearing only her engagement ring on her left hand and a plain gold band on her right.

 

Allison Williams + Ricky Van Veen Stick with Tradition

Look Right Here! at this gorgeous Vintage Old Euro Cut Diamond Engagement Ring with Baguette Accents. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Look Right Here! at this gorgeous Vintage Old Euro Cut Diamond Engagement Ring with Baguette Accents. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

She’s close with her parents, who proudly support her success as an actress. Her acting strengths are raw authenticity with a splash of the comedic, and she is compelled by honesty, loyalty, and understanding. She would like to spend a day off with Kate Middleton, because she is “outstandingly composed…intelligent and well-spoken” {cited}. Her dream date would involve “pizza, a night in, and some comfy clothing” {PopSugar}.

When you listen to an interview with Allison Williams, you know you’re getting the real deal. Her demeanor is open and bright, and her words are laced with humor and keen intellect. Her fashion choices are edgy, but only because they are off the charts for sensual modest. She comes off as a classy, hometown girl, despite her recent rise to fame as “one of the most unlikable, aloof, and deeply toxic characters on television” {cited}.

Now that she’s engaged, it makes sense that the details (what few we have) of Ricky Van Veen’s proposal, and his choice of engagement rings, would err on the side of tradition.

He proposed in February, but only after asking her father for permission. A man in the know, Mr. Bill Williams of NBC Nightly fame gave his consent, and according to his daughter, Mr. Williams likes Ricky “a lot” {People}.

In an interview with Seth Meyers, Ms. Williams shared that Ricky surprised her, which means that the exquisite (and classic) engagement ring was probably a surprise, as well. He picked a good one: A classic round brilliant central diamond with baguette accent stones in pristine white metal. Gorgeous, elegant, and, yes, traditional.

Does she like the ring?

As she told Seth Meyers, “I’m obsessed with it. I stare at it a lot.”

Patrick J. Adams Proposed to Troian Bellisario with a Cathedral Style Diamond Engagement Ring

Look Right Here! at this Art Deco Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Look Right Here! at this Art Deco Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Without saying a word, on February 26, 2014, Pretty Little Liars actress Troian Bellisario confirmed reports that she and boyfriend Patrick J. Adams were taking their love to the next level. At the H&M show during Paris Fashion Week, the actress put her diamond engagement ring on display for all to see.

With a cathedral style mounting, wrought in platinum or white gold, a solitary diamond reigns supreme. It is clean, classic, and elegant, much like the woman who wears it.

Patrick and Troian met in 2009 while performing in a theatrical production together. Their romance began shortly after, with a slight hiccup a year later when Troian broke things off. In a desperate move to reconnect with her, Patrick auditioned the next day for a bit part on Pretty Little Liars {cited}. Awarded the part, the crafty star invited his true mark to dinner before filming.

“He said that we should go out for dinner so that the first time we see each other since our break-up wouldn’t be on set,” Troian told reporters {cited}.

Whether it was his fine dining romance or simply his persistence in not letting her get away, his tactics worked. Nearly four years later, this past January, she said Yes to his proposal, and the beginning of the rest of their lives is right around the corner.

Three-Stone Engagement Rings

Look Right Here! at this Antique 1930s Three-Stone Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Look Right Here! at this Antique 1930s Three-Stone Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

This exquisite three-stone antique engagement ring was fashioned in the 1930s out of solid platinum. Intricate geometric engravings adorn the sides and shoulders, while the gallery features an exquisite scrolled openwork design. Three large Old Euro cut diamonds rest snugly beside each other in an ornate mounting, surrounded by artfully placed transitional-cut diamonds.

This antique ring is a remarkable example of the three-stone style. Also known as a trilogy ring, this arrangement of three diamonds is commonly thought to represent a couple’s past, present, and future. A deeper significance may be attributable to the style. As one source claims, a trilogy engagement ring declares: You are my past, my present, and my future {cited}.

The traditional arrangement sets three diamonds side by side, sometimes with the central diamond being slightly larger than its neighboring stones. However, many antique rings of this variety feature a combination of gemstones, most often a ruby, sapphire, and diamond, all of equal size. All of these scintillating beauties included an ornate settings with filigree flourishes, openwork designs, and intricate engravings along the band.

In recent years, three-stone engagement rings have enjoyed modest popularity, with a select number of celebrities choosing the vintage style. These unique rings seem to appeal most to women who appreciate a healthy relationship with history, women who aren’t afraid to bring their own interpretation to classic vintage style.

Madonna and Nicole Kidman, two such women, have both owned three-stone engagement rings. Madonna was among the first celebrities to wear the style, a Neil Neil Lane original she received at the onset of the millennium from ex-husband Guy Ritchie. With five carats of diamonds, her Edwardian style ring featured three large stones claw-set in relief against an intricate milgrain and diamond band encrusted with tiny white diamonds.

Six years later, Keith Urban chose a Cartier three-stone engagement ring for his lady love, Nicole Kidman. Her diamonds are larger and slightly chunkier, set fairly close together. She wears her engagement ring with a diamond and platinum eternity band, also rumored to have been crafted by Cartier. A stunning combination, indeed!

If you’re a woman in love with vintage elegance who exudes her own unique style, this authentic antique trilogy ring may be the perfect ring for you. Make an appointment to try it on, and bring your sweetheart along!

Asscher Cut Diamonds: The Royal Cut for Engagement Rings

Look Right Here! at this celebrity-worthy 7-Carat GIA-Certified Asscher Cut Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo  ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Look Right Here! at this celebrity-worthy 7-Carat GIA-Certified Asscher Cut Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

This magnificent diamond engagement ring, fashioned from solid platinum, is paved along shoulders and shank with 35 channel-set baguette diamonds. In profile, the gallery, shoulders, and shank are also channel set with 150 round brilliant diamonds. Mounted atop this sparkling jewel is a celebrity-worthy 7.66-carat, GIA-certified, Asscher Cut Diamond.

Worn by some of Hollywood’s most revered stars, including Jessica Alba (5-carat), Kate Hudson (5-carat), and Zooey Deschanel (3-carat), the Asscher Cut, and its modernized counterpart the Royal Asscher Cut, is one of the most prestigious diamond cuts available in the engagement ring industry today {1}.  Originally designed in 1902 by Joseph Asscher, one of the founding fathers of Royal Asscher Diamonds, the Asscher Cut was a modification to the Emerald Cut, a design which maintains its royal status even today.

Perhaps the most famous Asscher Cut diamond was worn by Hollywood’s glamour queen, Elizabeth Taylor. Known as the Burton-Taylor Diamond, this 33.19-carat Asscher-cut, D-color diamond was one of the actor’s most cherished, and therefore most iconic jewels in her collection. This diamond made headlines when it sold for more than $8.8 million at auction at Christie’s New York in 2011 {2}.

The original Asscher Cut featured a nearly octagonal shape with 58 facets which were larger and wider-set than for Emerald Cut diamonds {3}. The patent protected “a square diamond with a three-step crown, a seven-step pavilion, and dramatic corners” {5}. These modifications to the traditional Emerald Cut allowed for increased retention of the rough, while at the same time exhibiting greater scintillation without being too showy {3}.

Within the next 15 years, modifications were made to the Asscher Cut. In this second rendition, the upper girdle step facets were limited to between two and three, and the lower girdle step facets were limited to between three and four {5}. With greater brilliance and angularity, this modified Asscher Cut became wildly popular during the Art Deco period {5}. The prestigious company maintained a leading presence in the diamond industry well into the 1940s.

World War II nearly destroyed the Asscher legacy when Nazi soldiers routed the Netherlands, seizing all the merchandise held by the I.J. Asscher Diamond Company and sentencing the entire Asscher family and their 700 polishers to the dread concentration camps. In 1946, ten family members and 15 polishers returned to their ravaged homeland. Among them were Joseph and Louis. These two brave men returned to the wreckage and rebuilt, from scratch, their entire company, vowing to restore it to its former glory {6}.

By 1980, it was as if the war had never happened. Queen Juliana of Holland recognized their excellence and ingenuity when she awarded them a royal title for leading the diamond industry for nearly 100 years. Under the forward-thinking guidance of Louis’s sons, Edward and Joop Asscher, the Royal Asscher Diamond Company continues to be recognized for its prestigious contributions to the diamond industry.

Perhaps their most celebrated contribution came in 2001. According to GIA, after attending the association’s International Gemological Symposium in 1999, Edward was inspired by the continued popularity of the Asscher Cut in the United States bridal industry. Using the latest technology, he endeavored to modernize his grandfather’s nearly 100-year-old design, bringing it firmly into the 20th century.

His new cut, the Royal Asscher Cut, was perfected and patented in 2001. Edward’s modified design features 74 facets, adding two additional rows of eight facets to the bottom of the stones. This narrowing of the rows increases the flash of light without compromising the classic elegance of his grandfather’s original design {3}.

Truly, Asscher Cut and Royal Asscher Cut diamonds are among the most spectacular diamonds available today. Please contact us to discover for yourself the allure, the nobility, the magnificence of this gorgeous Asscher Cut engagement ring.

Notes

  1. Celebrity Bride Guide. “Asscher Cut Engagement Rings.” Accessed March 13, 2014. http://www.celebritybrideguide.com/asscher-cut-engagement-rings/?pid=2384.
  2. DeMarco, Anthony. “The World’s Largest Diamond and Other Record-Breaking Jewelry Moments,” Forbes, August 12, 2012. http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonydemarco/2012/08/12/record-breaking-jewelry-moments-worthy-of-olympic-gold/.
  3. GIA. “The Asscher Cut: A Cut of Royalty and Reinvention,” GIA 4Cs Blog, August 21, 2012. http://4csblog.gia.edu/2012/the-asscher-cut-a-cut-of-royalty-and-reinvention.
  4. Ritani. “Famous Asscher Cut Engagement Rings,” Ritani Blog, June 3, 2013. http://blog.ritani.com/celebrity-engagement-rings/famous-asscher-cut-engagement-rings/.
  5. Roskin, Gary. “The Rise of the House of Asscher,” JCK Magazine, September 2001. http://www.jckonline.com/article/286437-The_Rise_of_the_House_of_Asscher.php.
  6. Royal Asscher. “History: 1946 World War II.” Accessed March 13, 2014. http://www.royalasscher.com/en/page/38/history.html.

Is This Stunning Vintage Cartier Ring One and the Same As Mary-Kate Olsen’s Engagement Ring?

Vintage Cartier Ring. Copyright 2014 Sotheby's.

Vintage Cartier Ring. Copyright 2014 Sotheby’s.

Sotheby’s Important Jewels sales occur several times a year, drawing from among the world’s most elite collectors. The most recent of these high-end sales took place on February 6, 2014, in New York City. Leading the sale was an exquisite pair of platinum and diamond pendant ear-clips by David Webb, which sold for $118,750.

Curators of the sale set out to present a sampling of the evolution of 20th century jewelry, which included offerings from the 1920s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, with an emphasis on signed pieces from renowned European and American jewelers. Among these precious offerings, Sotheby’s sold the pictured vintage diamond and sapphire ring, estimating a sales price of $40,000-60,000.

Crafted as a stylized flower made entirely of 18k gold, this gorgeous jewel was made in 1953 by Cartier. At the center rests a 4-carat Old Euro Cut diamond surrounded by 16 calibre-cut sapphires. The petals are etched in gold and set with approximately 1.50 carats of single-cut diamonds. This is just the kind of piece one would expect to see on the finger of the Duchess of Windsor in the 1950s.

Today, a similar ring graces Mary-Kate Olsen’s left ring finger. Several reporters speculate that this is the very ring that Ms. Olsen wears to symbolize her commitment to marry her lover, Olivier Sarkozy. The timing certainly works out. Sotheby’s sold this Cartier beauty on February 6, 2014, for $81,500, and Ms. Olsen was seen wearing her bold engagement ring for the first time on March 3, 2014, during Fashion Week in New York.

However, Sotheby’s is not about to confirm or deny such a fantastic story. Therefore, it is extreme speculation to pair these two important jewelry events together.

How cool would that be, though? To have Mary-Kate Olsen sporting a bonafide vintage engagement ring from 1950s Cartier purchased as an estate piece?

Jada Pinkett-Smith + Will Smith Defy All Odds

©2001, Jerry Avenaim for Vogue. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.

Jada Pinkett-Smith for Vogue ©2001, Jerry Avenaim. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Deemed too short for the role, Jada Pinkett-Smith was turned down by NBC in 1990 for the part of Will Smith’s girlfriend on the hit TV show, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. While on set, neither actor could have imagined that she would land that leading role only five years later, this time for real.

In 1992, Will married Sheree Zampino. They were young and expecting a son, and they vowed ’til death do us part’. That death came, not in a physical way, but in an emotional way. Not one to make light of his commitments, Will Smith speaks of their divorce as “the only thing in my life I consider a failure” {cited: WikiAnswers}. Theirs was a love borne out of youthful zeal and idealism, unsustainable through the hard seasons every marriage must endure. They parted amicably in 1995.

That same year, according to Essence Magazine, Duane Martin and Tisha Campbell-Martin invited two of their dear friends to share a meal with them. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett had mingled many times since her audition for NBC. However, it wasn’t until that night in Mexico that Jada realized Will “had grown from this lanky kid to this really responsible man” {6}.

Their friendship deepened and soon bloomed into romance as the couple spent more time together. Theirs was a slow burn, truly the best kind. Both had learned lessons from the past they wished not to repeat.

It would be two years before Will mustered the courage to take their romance to the next level. According to author Chris Nickson, the proposal took place in bed. Will declared that he did not want to live without her, and she swiftly agreed to his spontaneous marriage proposal.

Their engagement hit the news stands in November, and Jada Pinkett was seen sporting a stunning $250,000 pear-cut diamond engagement ring (worn with tip facing away from the hand) {3}. The happy couple exchanged vows in front of 125 close friends and family members the following month, on New Years Eve, at Cloisters Castle in Lutherville, Maryland.

Jada worked closely with a wedding planner to pull off the wedding of her dreams. The beautiful medieval-inspired mansion lent the perfect backdrop for the rich and romantic wedding decor she chose.

The space was draped entirely in velvet, flooded with golden light from above. Gilded magnolia leaves and burgundy calla lilies lent an air of sophisticated romance to the exotic flower arrangements which “filled all the nooks and crannies” {3}. The brickwork was trimmed with small lights and maroon ribbons, and the interior was lit with 300 candles {3}.

Before their family and friends, secreted away by a fleet of limousines to the private ceremony, the two friends read letters of declaration as a part of their vows. This year marks their 17th year of wedded bliss. Though like every long-married couple they have experienced their share of troubles, neither would choose different partners for their journey.

“I honestly believe there is no woman for me but Jada. No-one can handle me that way she does…Once you feel someone locked in on you, it’s not contest. This is it. I can’t imagine what anyone else would offer,” Will reportedly told The Docklands & East London Advertiser {5}.

Despite numerous rumors that Will is gay, that they swing toward an open marriage, and that they are about to split, this Hollywood couple plans to defy all odds. Their secret?

It begins with trust, with a hefty dose of appreciation, affection, and vulnerability, and ends with a resolve to make it work no matter the cost.

“In order to have a good relationship, you’ve got to give yourself. There’s so much beauty in having that vulnerability,” Will said {6}.

“Will and I BOTH can do WHATEVER we want, because we TRUST each other to do so. This does NOT mean we have an open relationship…this means we have a GROWN one,” Jada recently wrote on Facebook {6}.

It is this deep affection and transparency which inspires them to cherish the ordinary moments. “We tend to find magic in the mundane,” Jada told Redbook {4}. The couple relish the little things, like picking up their children from school, enjoying ice cream together as a family, and just being there for each other {6}.

And it is their commitment to excellence as individuals that galvanizes them against the typical here-today-gone-tomorrow approach to marriage. “I will throw away my career before I let it break up our marriage,” Jada told USA Weekend {5}.

“The secret is removing divorce as an option. Anyone who gives themselves that option will get a divorce,” Will reportedly said {1}.

Built upon this foundation of implicit trust and deep affection, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith have forged a marriage and family unit that I believe will continue to withstand the pressures Hollywood and the paparazzi typically place on celebrity couples. “We’ve created love, we’ve created a family, and we create power and unity,” Jada told Redbook Magazine {6}.

Notes

  1. All Women Stalk. “Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith–Greatest Celebrity Love Story.” Accessed February 28, 2014. http://allwomenstalk.com/will-smith-and-jada-pinkett-smith-greatest-celebrity-love-story.
  2. Essence. “Exclusive Photos of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.” Accessed February 28, 2014. http://photos.essence.com/galleries/exclusive-photos-will-smith-and-jada-pinkett-smith/#126935_2037.
  3. Nickson, Chris. Will Smith. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999.
  4. Rivera, Zayda. “Jada Pinkett Smith says she would only ‘abandon’ Will Smith ‘if he did something bad to the kids’,” New York Daily News, June 4, 2013.
  5. Stritof, Sheri & Bob. “The Marriage of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith,” About.com Marriage. Accessed February 28, 2014.
  6. Washington, Angela. “Throwback Thursday: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith + High Neck Wedding Dresses,” Munaluchi Bride, June 6, 2013.
  7. WikiAnswers. “Why did Will Smith and Sheree Zampino get divorced?” Accessed February 28, 2014. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_did_Will_Smith_and_Sheree_Zampino_get_divorced.

Vintage Celebrity Weddings: Paul Newman + Joanne Woodward

Photo © 2014 EraGem Jewelry

Photo © 2014 EraGem Jewelry

Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat. ~Joanne Woodward

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

January 2008 marked 50 years of marriage for Hollywood’s golden couple. Paul Newman first laid eyes on Joanne Woodward on the Broadway set of William Inge’s Picnic. In the beginning, theirs was only a working relationship. The show placed them together frequently, and they developed a strong friendship. “We could talk to each other, we could tell each other anything without fear of ridicule or rejection. There was trust,” Joanne said once {3}.

This deepening friendship eventually led to strong attraction, and later, love. They kept themselves at a distance for a long while, given that Ms. Woodward had no desire to be a home wrecker.

However, over the next several years, the two friends found themselves pulled together, not only by the laws of attraction, but by the laws of Hollywood. Both top-notch actors, the two were often cast together in films. Naturally, their attraction and friendship deepened.

As time went on, Mr. Newman felt a greater and greater distance between he and his wife, Jackie. Having kept things under wraps for so long, Mr. Newman realized that he was not going to just get over Joanne. He asked Jackie for a divorce, but she refused.

Another film came along, The Long, Hot Summer, and once again the screen stars were cast together, this time opposite each other in the leading roles. His confession to his wife seemed to galvanize his resolve. While on location in Louisiana, he was openly demonstrative of his affection for Joanne.

Shortly after his return from New Orleans, Jackie finally relented. Less than a week after the divorce was finalized, Paul and Joanne were married at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas in a civil service performed by District Judge Frank McNamee.

The couple honeymooned in London, where, according to Mr. Newman, “There were no tourists to speak of and we would drive off into the country till we were lost and then check into country inns at nightfall” {4}.

Returning to the States, the newlyweds shied away from the glitz and glam other Hollywood couples were choosing. Instead, they settled in an old colonial built in 1760 in Westport, Connecticut.

This is where they made their life, raised their children, and grew old together. The Silver Screen beckoned often, so they kept homes in New York and Malibu, but Connecticut was home.

This may have been the true secret to their success, although Mr. Newman credits affection, patience, and unconditional support as the bulwarks of one of Hollywood’s longest romances. I think the best clues to their success are hidden within the poem that was read on their wedding day.

A few lines stand out, capturing the essence of what I imagine their love to have been like:

It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience,
understanding and a sense of humour. …
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner. 

(excerpted from The Art of Marriage, by Wilferd A. Peterson)

Notes

  1. Bradford, Wade. “Picnic by William Inge,” About.com/plays. Accessed February 26, 2014. http://plays.about.com/od/plays/a/Picnic-By-William-Inge.htm.
  2. Griffin, Nancy. “Paul Newman’s Luck,” AARP The Magazine, May & June, 2005.
  3. Levy, Shawn. Paul Newman: A Life. Random House LLC, 2009.
  4. Levy, Shawn. “Paul Newman’s Marriage Secrets Revealed,” Daily Mail UK, May 3, 2009.
  5. Stritof, Sheri & Bob. “Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward Marriage Profile,” About.com Marriage. Accessed February 26, 2014. http://marriage.about.com/od/entertainmen1/p/paulnewman.htm.
  6. True Love Stories. “Paul Newman’s Own Love, Joanne.” Accessed February 26, 2014. http://trulovestories.com/news/celebrity-romance/paul-newmans-own-love-joanne/.