Thursday, October 28, 2010

Two More ‘True Blood’ Stars Invest in Engagement Rings

Love is in the air on the set of the hit HBO television series, True Blood. Following the high profile wedding of the cast’s main stars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, two more stars have announced their respective engagements.

Viewers of the racy vampire series love to hate ‘Lorena,’ the crazy love sick vampire, but the actress who portrays her has only good news to share lately. Mariana Klaveno, who has been dating Louis Patino for about three years, recently announced her engagement via Twitter. Although Patino, who is a producer on True Blood, was not named specifically by Klaveno, she took to her Twitter account to post “Sorry I’ve been out of touch for a few days. I’ve been busy getting engaged!”

Unfortunately, ‘Lorena’ was killed off for good this past season, but Klaveno recently wrapped up filming of the upcoming crime drama film, “No God, No Master,” so it safe to assume we will be hearing more about the upcoming nuptials, like details on the engagement ring.

This news comes on the heels of Joe Manganiello’s own engagement announcement to his girlfriend, model Audra Marie. Manganiello, who was also featured on the series One Tree Hill, joined the cast this past season as the kind hearted werewolf ‘Alcide’, and instantly became the latest Hollywood heart throb. But it took more than that to get Marie’s attention, according to Manganiello. He recently told People magazine that it wasn’t exactly love at first sight for her when they met at a 2009 Super Bowl party; she refused to go out with him.

It reportedly took six months of convincing, but he got that date, and eventually got the girl. The two have yet to announce any plans for the ceremony, but with such a close cast, we can expect to see plenty of True Blood costars when these two exchange wedding rings.

There must be something in the water over at the set of the adult vampire dramedy, because with these two announcements, there has been an engagement for each season the show has been on; three love connections for three seasons on air.

Suffering from Celebrity Engagement Ring Envy? Verragio Has Your Fix

We have all at one point or another suffered from a case of celebrity envy, guilty of coveting that which we cannot have; especially when it comes to diamonds. Unfortunately, unlike celebrities, we often have to remain a little more grounded in reality.

However, when it comes to an engagement ring, nobody should have to compromise their dreams, so here are three ways you can rock your diamonds like the stars.

Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt
Ten years ago there was no more admired celebrity couple than Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, and in 1999 Aniston debuted her unique engagement ring while onstage at a Sting Concert in New York City. The engagement ring, which was designed by Pitt himself, whom has always had an interest in architecture and design, features 20 diamonds set in white gold and reportedly cost around $500,000. The elaborate swirling and layering in this engagement ring isn’t for everyone, but the design is definitely unique and interestingly creative.

For a similar, but less ornate look, check out the Couture 0390 engagement ring from Verragio. Also featuring a Round cut center diamond, this ring has pave’ set diamonds on the band that, rather than the tactile layers that build to a point that are featured on Aniston’s, this engagement ring creates a softer look with a halo of Round cut diamonds meant to embody the same circular symbol of eternal love.

Eva Longoria Parker and Tony Parker
Eva Longoria Parker is best known as one of America’s favorite Desperate Housewives, but in November of 2006, she also became a high profile WAG to The San Antonio Spur’s Point Guard, Tony Parker. Parker, perhaps inspired by his fiancé’s well-known fashion sense, presented Longoria with an elegant 5 carat, Emerald cut diamond engagement ring. Although the white gold band is unadorned, the center diamond is flanked by two smaller side diamonds.

The Emerald cut is a sophisticated diamond cut that Verragio incorporates into the design of the Paradiso 3007E, which features an Emerald cut center diamond with two smaller Emerald cut side diamonds, much like Longoria Parker’s engagement ring. However, because this ring is from Verragio’s Paradiso collection, it has the added benefit of the scrolling design inside the band, complete with seven diamond bezels, which help to keep it in place on your finger.

Khloé Kardashian and Lamar Odom
After dating only two months, reality star Khloé Kardashian and NBA star Lamar Odom decided to tie the knot in September of 2009. Due to the rush down the altar, Kardashian almost received a wedding ring before her engagement ring, but the outcome was certainly worth the wait. The LA Laker’s Forward presented Kardashian with a stunning 9 carat, Radiant cut diamond on a pave’ set platinum band, reportedly worth $85,000.

The Insignia 7005, much like Kardashian’s engagement ring, features a pave’ set band and can accommodate a square cut center diamond. Since all of Verragio’s rings are custom ordered, the 7005 can be made to fit a Princess cut center diamond, or if you really want to stick with the Kardashian look, a Radiant cut diamond as well. It also features a halo of Round cut diamonds, which creates the illusion of a larger center stone, since we can’t all have a 9 carat diamond.

So no matter who your favorite celebrity is, or what style suits you best, always shoot for the stars and remember there where there is a will there is a way.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another LA Laker Bride Shows off an Engagement Ring

LA Lakers Shooting Guard, Sasha Vujacic and three time Grand Slam tennis champ Maria Sharapova have officially announced their engagement.

Although both from other countries, he was born in Slovenia and she in Russia, both sports stars have found incredible success in the U.S.; Sharapova won her first major title at Wimbledon in 2004 at the age of 17, and Vujacic has been playing for the current NBA champions, the Lakers, since being drafted in 2004.

The couple officially announced their engagement this October 19th and since Sharapova has been seen sporting a huge diamond engagement ring. While there haven’t been any official details leaked about the ring yet, jewelry experts reportedly believe it to be a 7 to 8 carat Cushion cut diamond, set onto a platinum, split shank band.

The two have been dating since 2009 when they were introduced at a friend’s barbeque, and Vujacic reportedly proposed at his Manhattan Beach Home in California on their one year anniversary.

Although they have not announced a wedding date as of yet, the two have plenty to work on. Vujacic will soon embark on his quest for a third consecutive title with the Lakers this year, while Sharapova, who has missed the last two seasons due to a shoulder injury, has already boosted ticket sales for the ABA Tennis Classic, which she recently announced she will be competing in this January.

Although Sharapova is ranked 18 in the world, don’t expect her to play for too much longer. When asked during an interview in 2008, following her Australian Open win, she wasn’t too receptive about playing another ten years, and told reporters she instead hoped to have “a nice husband and a few kids” by that time. And it looks like with this engagement ring, she is one step closer to her dream.

The Classico Collection: Classic Elegance with a Twist

The Classico collection from Verragio can best be described by ‘classy,’ as in when you see a woman wearing a Classico engagement ring, you think to yourself  “that is one classy lady.” In all seriousness though, the Classico collection was designed to embody a timeless and clean style, but they are not exactly the type of engagement rings you have seen before. Almost every ring in the collection features Verragio’s exclusive Lumino setting.
The Lumino setting is a special way in which the diamond is set, so that it reflects 75% more light than the average setting. A diamond’s ability to capture and reflect light is what makes an engagement ring sparkle; it is also what makes them so coveted. The Lumino setting leaves as much of the diamond exposed to the light as possible while still securing it in place; this way not only can you see more of the diamond, there is more surface area left out to sparkle.

The Classico 0372 engagement ring is a vintage inspired solitaire design that has a subtle modern flair due to the use of the Lumino setting. It features pave’ set Round cut diamonds that almost encircle the entire band, and accommodates a Round cut center diamond. It sounds pretty classic and clean, but the center diamond, secured by six thin prongs, can be seen from all angles (including the bottom)thanks to the Lumino setting, which also serves to save this ring from being, no matter how elegant, the same thing that has been done before.

But 95% of the Classico collection engagement rings have a Lumino setting for their center diamonds, so that no matter what your personal preference is, there is a design to suit anyone.

The symbolism of the past, present, and future that is associated with a three stone engagement ring makes the use of side diamonds incredibly popular. The Classico 0245 incorporates that vintage idea, but uses the Lumino setting to design a more updated look. This engagement ring features a Round cut diamond center, flanked by a smaller Round diamond on either side, all three of which utilizes the Lumino setting to its fullest. The diamonds are raised above the band by pave’ set pongs, so that even the bottom point of the diamond can be seen.

When shopping for an engagement ring, it is important to remember that this ring will be worn for the rest of your life. So just like with all of Verragio’s rings, the Classico collection with the Lumino setting features a timeless, classic style that really is like no other.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Celebration Planned for The Hope Diamond’s Anniversary

The Hope diamond is one of the world’s most valuable diamonds, and with a very interesting past. The diamond, which has been housed in the Smithsonian Institute for the last 50 years, will be getting a celebration and its own documentary to mark the anniversary.

Although it has belonged to the Smithsonian for the past five decades, the Hope Diamond’s history goes back a lot farther. The 45.52 carat, Fancy deep blue diamond was once a part of a 115 carat crude triangular stone, originally mined in India and sold to the French court in 1669.

Louis XIV ordered the stone, known as the Tavernier Blue, to be recut in 1678. The result was a 67.125 carat Blue diamond called ‘The French Blue’ that was added to the royal jewels. However, during the French Revolution, it was stolen by thieves and never recovered.

The diamond, which is now on display in Washington DC first appeared in the possession of gem collector Henry Phillip Hope, in 1839, and is believed to have been cut from the stolen French Blue. The Hope diamond changed hands a few more times until it was bought by Harry Winston in 1949, who later donated it to the Smithsonian Institute where it is one of the biggest draws of the National Museum of Natural History.

Although the Hope diamond is known for its value and clarity, people are equally drawn to the diamond’s supposed curse as well.

In the late 1880’s, a story began to circulate that the original Tavernier diamond had once been the eye of a great Hindu Idol, stolen and then doomed to curse any who possess it. Most historians have since discredited the story, but in 1908 The Washington Post ran an article entitled "Hope Diamond Has Brought Trouble To All Who Have Owned It,” increasing the public’s interest in the diamond.

Winston, who possessed the diamond for almost a decade, never believed in the curse and mailed the diamond to the Smithsonian through the US postal service in a plain brown paper bag. He died of a heart attack at the old age of 82.

With the exception of a few overseas exhibitions, such as the Louvre in Paris and the Rand Easter Show in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Hope diamond has remained in Washington DC for 50 years. To celebrate the occasion, The Smithsonian is producing a documentary detailing the diamond’s full history, and will be narrated by Academy Award winner, Kim Basinger.

Interestingly, Basinger is well known for selling her own diamonds to raise money for charity. In 2004, Basinger put up her 3.7 carat diamond engagement ring from her ex-husband Alec Baldwin for auction through Christie’s, and raised over $59,000 for The Performing Animal Welfare Society.

Basinger’s new documentary, entitled “The Mystery of The Hope Diamond,” will air on November 21, 2010 on the Smithsonian channel, and will coincide with the diamond’s placement into a new setting. The Hope diamond is currently being displayed for the first time unset.

Pear Shaped Diamonds: We Choose to Love Them, Rather than Leave Them

A Pear shaped diamond is a love it or hate it kind of style, there seems to be no in between with women. Although it continues to be a notoriously popular diamond cut for engagement rings, it was uproariously mocked during an episode of the popular television series, “Sex and the City.” But despite being poked fun at, the Pear cut diamond is still a frequent choice for engagement rings.
Also called a Teardrop cut, the pear shaped diamond style is best described as a hybrid of a Round and Marquise cut, where one end is rounded and the other tapers to a point. Traditionally, a pear shaped diamond has 58 facets, so the cut displays almost as much sparkle as a Round cut.

Jessica Simpson was given a Pear shaped diamond when her then boyfriend, Nick Lachey, proposed in the early 2000’s. Now one of the most famous Pear Shaped diamond engagement rings in Hollywood, it was a 4 carat center diamond flanked by two side diamonds on a platinum band. (Coincidentally, the pop star couple, who got married in Austin Texas in 2002 in front of 350 guests, would have celebrated their 8th wedding anniversary today. Unfortunately, the duo that was once famous for being ‘newlyweds’ divorced in 2006 after just four years of marriage.)

Because of this diamond shape’s ability to create a slimming illusion, most women choose to wear a Pear shaped engagement ring with the tip pointed towards the nail, thereby enhancing the length of the finger. Verragio’s 5007CU from the Venetian collection  has been custom made to feature a pear shaped center stone before. Since all of Verragio’s engagement and wedding rings are made-to-order, this is the perfect example of how to make your engagement ring you own. The 5007CU features a split shank, lace detail inside the band, and the ever popular halo style.

But the beauty of the Pear shaped diamond is because of its unique shape, no matter which way it is set, it always looks different. For a person that has a more classic and clean, old fashioned style, Verragio’s 0409 from the Couture collection can be modified to hold a pear shaped center diamond as well, by adding a fifth prong to stabilize the tip. Although there is a little ornamentation under the band, this engagement ring is relatively unembellished, allowing the Pear shaped center diamond, if you so choose to have one, to shine on its own.

So while there are always black and white blanket statements made regarding Pear shaped diamonds, we choose to love them rather than leave them.

Halo Style Engagement Rings: Anyway You Want It

A halo style diamond engagement ring is one of the most creative and flattering designs that can satisfy any type of personal style. Called a halo because the center diamond is bordered on all side with smaller surrounding diamonds, the design creates the illusion of an angel’s halo. The style has been around for years, and is popular because of its versatility. Known to create the illusion of a larger center diamond, the halo style has been seen on the hands of celebrities from all ends of the spectrum.

The halo style wasn’t just lucky for actor Matt Damon when he proposed to his wife, but best buddy Ben Affleck also tried his luck, a second time around, with a halo ring. When he was ready to marry his then girlfriend, actress Jennifer Garner, he proposed with a 4.5 carat, diamond halo ring worth $500,000. The subtle beauty of the engagement ring suited Garner’s relaxed, everyday style.

Much like Garner’s ring, Verragio’s Classico 0356 is the perfect example of a simple, solitaire halo style ring that still dazzles; it features a Round cut diamond center surrounded by a halo of Brilliant Round diamonds on an unadorned band. It is a clean, graceful design that lends quiet dignity to a modern design. (And if you’re all about the solo center diamond, there’s still a chance to win this ring on Facebook and make it your own.)

However, if you have a little more of an inner diva, the halo style is versatile enough to work with any style of ring, whether you like square or round diamonds, solitaire or three stone design.

Nick Cannon may be a decade younger than singer Mariah Carey, but his taste was anything but immature when he proposed with the stunning engagement ring that now sits on her finger. The ultimate, self-proclaimed diva has been sporting a 17 carat, pink Emerald cut diamond, surrounded by a halo of 58 pink diamonds, and is flanked by two half-moon diamonds, worth $2.5 million. Carey’s ring is a perfect combination of the ever popular pink diamond and a decadent halo style.

Since we can’t all indulge in 17 carats worth of diamonds, the Venetian 5016-3 is a breath-taking modern twist on halo style rings. An Ascher cut diamond center stone sits atop a split shank adorned with pave’ set, Brilliant Round diamonds that continue up the band to create a halo. And the delicate design on the inside of the band adds a decadent twist.

So whether you like a vintage inspired look that creates a subtle sparkle, or you want a little more flash for your cash, a halo diamond engagement ring is one of those styles that can work at almost any shape and size.

Wedding of the Year is Really Just a Circus

The most anticipated and coveted wedding ceremony of the season has finally been performed; Katy Perry and Russell Brand are finally husband and wife.

Due to the media hype surrounding the nuptials, it is, at times, difficult to remember that the couple has only been together for a little over a year. However, in typical Brand and Perry style, the event lived up to the hype and became a literal, not metaphorical, circus.

The affair, the details of which were spilled by R&B singer Rihanna a couple weeks back, was a seven day event in India, where Brand had presented Perry with an engagement ring this past New Year’s Eve. Friends and family enjoyed local entertainment, including horseback rides and a safari in the days leading up to the ceremony, at the Aman-i-Khás resort and tiger sanctuary.

And on October 23rd, the bride and groom greeted guests while dressed in traditional Indian garb, including a blue sari for Perry and a nude colored kurta for Brand. The bride later changed into a gray Elie Saab gown, while the groom donned a long embroidered coat to exchange wedding rings in a traditional Christian ceremony.

However, the two have never been able to resist a bit of embellishment. Brand, who rode down the aisle on horseback, was led by a procession of elephants, camels, and horses. Other entertainment for the 85 guests in attendance, which did not include Perry’s best Hollywood buddy, Rihanna, included a fortune-telling parrot and speeches from both the bride and groom.

In traditional wedding fashion, the bride and groom exchanged wedding gifts from one another, however not so traditionally they were a tiger for her and a baby elephant for him. No word on where the elephant will reside, but the tiger already calls Ranthamblore national park, in India, home. Machli, a female Bengal tiger, will remain at the park, and proceeds will go to towards its conservation efforts.

Reportedly, the couple exchanged more tangible and portable gifts as well; a ruby containing healing powers for her, and a vintage, red ford Capri sports car for him.

The wedding was as big and bold as possible, and now the couple is trying to keep it as private as possible too. Unlike many celebrity couples, the pair will not be selling their wedding photos to the press, and opted instead to simply both tweet, “WE DID.”

Katy’s rep released a statement confirming the nuptials stating that, “Russell Brand and Katy Perry are overjoyed to confirm that they were pronounced Mr. and Mrs. Brand on Saturday, October 23.”

The couple proceeded on to the Maldives for a honeymoon, but with a wedding like that, who needs another

Friday, October 22, 2010

Even Diamonds Have an Appropriate Time and Place

In history, there have always been people that have more money than they know what to do with,  and Music Producer and R&B star Kanye West may now join their ranks.

The always bombastic star began making headlines, yet again, when he dropped by the Ellen DeGeneres show to share his new music, and his new look this past week. It seems that West had his bottom teeth replaced with diamonds set in white gold.

Not a grill, he assured DeGeneres, rather his bottom row of teeth has apparently been permanently replaced with diamonds. “I just thought it was cooler,” West shared on the talk show. “It’s just something rock stars are supposed to do.”

Some have speculated that the diamonds are not permanent, but instead some part of a promotional stunt for his new album. However, West, who had been laying low in Italy and Japan since last year’s MTV Awards controversy, debuted his new look on Twitter in July before he returned to the country.

“Diamond teeth…Another reason to smile,” West posted under a picture of his new million dollar smile.

One consolable thought that is being passed around on the internet, was that West’s teeth were already damaged during a car accident in 2002 that left the musician with a broken jaw that had to be wired shut.

However, West recently told “Vanity Fair” that he just like diamonds. “I didn’t feel like having to take them out all the time,” he told the magazine.

In other unbelievable diamond news, a restaurant owner had plans in the works to present Kim Kardashian with a diamond encrusted cake worth $1 million for her 30th birthday.

Restaurateur Nino Selimaj, the mastermind behind the birthday cake, has been known to turn food into publicity stunt before and once offered a $1,000 pizza, topped with caviar and lobster tails, at his restaurant in Manhattan.

Kardashian, who is currently promoting a diamond engagement ring give away  around the country, politely turned down the offer when she caught wind of Selimaj plans. The reality TV star took to the blog to assure fans that she would not accept a cake that expensive. “Making a million dollar birthday cake is just ridiculous,” she wrote on Thursday. “I'd rather they give me a cupcake and donate the rest of the money to the homeless!”

Marquise Cut Engagement Rings: Fit for Royalty

Marquise cut diamonds is a style of cut that is often in high demand, but has low public exposure. This is mostly due to the fact that Marquise cuts engagement rings are mostly custom made or commissioned.

Such was the case in 1998 when international soccer star David Beckham prepared to propose to his current wife, Victoria “Posh Spice.” Beckham proposed with a three carat, Marquise cut diamond engagement ring, flanked by Round cut baguettes on a yellow gold band. Custom designed perfectly, since the size and the shape of a Marquise is best paired with round or oval side stones, Beckham even had a version designed for himself as well.
The shape of a Marquise is best described as an oval that has been pinched at the two ends to create points, necessitating six prongs to stabilize the diamond instead of the normal four. It is also often referred to as the “Navette” cut, which means ‘little boat’ in French, because the shape resembles the hull of a sailboat. However, rather than a boat, this cut was originally designed in the 1700's to resemble a woman’s mouth.
King Louis, the 15th king of France, was a notorious ladies man, and during his affair with Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, he commissioned his personal cutter to create a diamond shape that resembled the beauty of her mouth. Hence the more well-known name, Marquise.

The result is a striking style that is not only unique, but because of its shape, creates the illusion of long and slender fingers when placed on woman’s hand. Due to this, a Marquise diamond engagement ring is usually set length wise along finger, but is versatile and can also be placed parallel to the knuckle, creating what is known as the ‘bowtie’ style.

Even though Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglass may have reached the ten year mark in their marriage, the engagement ring he proposed with continues to be one of the most famous celebrity engagement rings to date. Douglass purchased a stunning 10 carat, antique Marquise cut diamond engagement ring from the 1920’s worth over $1 million. Interestingly, this particular ring is one of the few Marquise styles that was set horizontally, creating that bowtie look.

The beauty of Verragio rings are that they are always custom made, and certain styles can be ordered with a Marquise center stone if you’re looking for something a little rarer than a Round cut. Side stones are traditionally set but not necessary for a Marquise. Verragio’s Venetian 5007CU is the perfect example of how to combine a marquise diamond with another popular style. This engagement ring features a pave’s set split shank, and Brilliant Round cut diamond halo that usually surrounds a Round diamond center, but can be customized to fit a Marquise to combine the best of both worlds. A ring with all that bling could compete with even Catherine Zeta Jones’s ring.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blue Diamonds Breaking Records

A fancy vivid blue diamond ring broke the world record for price for carat when it went up for auction at Christie’s Wednesday.

The famed Bulgari Blue 10.95 carat, triangular shaped diamond, which is paired opposite a 9.87 carat white diamond of the same shape is the largest Fancy Vivid blue diamond to ever go to auction. In fact, Fancy Vivid blues of this size and pure color are a 1 in a 10 million find.

Bidding opened at $8 million, and soon narrowed to a bidding war between one gentleman in the room and two different bidders on the phone, before the ring was sold to a private Asian collector for $15.7 million. The price came out to $1.5 million per carat and just exceeded Christie’s Head of Jewelry’s, Rahul Kadakia, original pre-sale estimate.

The ring’s original owner purchased the rare piece for $1 million in 1962 from Bulgari’s flagship store, and taking inflation into account, sold it for three times the original price. The original owner purchased the ring as a gift for his wife for the birth of their son, and it remained in the family for over four decades until Wednesday.

Christie’s made blue diamond history once before when it auctioned off The Whittelsbach diamond, a 35.56 carat cushion shaped blue diamond for $24.3 million. The price tag, which was nearly double the estimated pre-sale bid, is the highest any single diamond had ever received at auction, beating a $16.5 million final bid from a Swiss auction in 1995.

The Whittelsbach diamond, whose color and clarity have been compared to the Hope diamond,( which it has been displayed alongside at the Smithsonian in Washington DC since auction), once belonged to the Austrian royal family before it passed to the Bavarian royal court through marriage in 1722.

It received its name when the diamond was placed in the coronation crown of the first king of Bavaria, Maximilian IV Joseph von Wittelsbach. Handed down for generations, it made its final public appearance in 1918 in the aftermath of WWII until it went up for auction in 1931. However, when it failed to sell due to the Great Depression, the diamond disappeared from the public.

The whereabouts of the large blue diamond during its lost years remain a mystery, and it didn’t resurface until a Jeweler recognized it in 1962 when he refused a request to recut it.

The diamond made history yet again when it was sold to billionaire diamond dealer, Laurence Graff, and was renamed the Whittelsbach-Graff diamond.

Black Diamond Engagement Ring to Spark New Trend?

Over the years the television-series-turned-movie-franchise, Sex and the City, has morphed into an international hit, able to easily induce commercial success. Michael Patrick King, producer of the series, once said that companies only wanted their products on the show if they were to be praised by the main characters, due to their somewhat unbelievably strong ability to influence mainstream fashion. And it seems they might have just done it again.

Black diamonds have become increasingly popular on the red carpet since Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, received a black diamond engagement ring from her husband in the second movie installment of Sex and the City.

Perhaps it is not fair to attribute the HBO series completely with the rise of the recent black diamond popularity, as they have been around for many, many years. Often called Carbonado, as they were coined by the Portuguese, black diamonds had been discovered as early as the 18th century, and are found only in Brazil and the Central African Republic. And although they absorb light rather than reflect it, producing less sparkle then a white diamond, they are incredibly strong gemstones.

They are also the perfect offset for lighter colored metals like white gold or platinum, due to their dark luster which is caused by inclusions of graphite within the crystal. The trend has recently made the move from fictional to real life with celebrities like Kelly Osborne and Tina Fey donning the dark diamonds this season as they hit the red carpet.

Colorless diamonds have traditionally been used for engagement rings, appropriate because the way the light creates a sparkle is the perfect symbol for a bright and shiny future, but black diamonds could create an interesting look for a wedding band.

Verragio’s Eterna 0394W could be the perfect setting to experiment with black diamonds, either by replacing all of the colorless diamonds with black, causing the white metal to stand out, or by alternating colorless and black diamonds, much like Kelly Osborne did at the 2010 Emmy’s.

Unlike other colored diamonds, which can have a bit more of a feminine appeal, black diamonds are the perfect custom detail for a groom. Verragio’s RUD-7906 men’s band is already detailed with black enamel to contrast with the lighter metal, and because Verragio’s rings are all made-to-order, the white diamonds can easily be replaced with blacks ones, adding a dramatic but masculine effect.

So although black diamonds may have been around for hundreds of years, it seems they are finally getting their public due, and I think it is safe to say we can expect to see a lot more of them in the coming season.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Twist and Turns of a Modern Engagement Ring Design

Twisted, or braided shanks, are rapidly gaining in popularity with younger couples for its modern twist on traditional styles. A twisted shank occurs when the band of the ring is split into two separate parts and delicately twisted over each other to create the look of a loose braid. But the real beauty of a twisted shank is its ability to transform a traditional engagement ring into something just a little bit more whimsical and imaginative.

The practicality behind a split shank has always been to offer more support to a slightly larger center stone, aside from providing an interesting look. A twisted shank is a variation of the split shank that still allows you stability but also shows a designer’s creativity.

Verragio’s Venetian collection is meant to encapsulate the delicate elements of old-world lace Italian lace, and no other style could compliment a twisted shank better. The Venetian 5005R-2 features a Brilliant Round halo that surrounds a Round cut diamond center stone, but the true elegance is hidden underneath the band. Like all of the Venetian collection, this ring has the delicate detailing and antique beading, for which this collection was inspired, under the band and against the finger. By adding the twisted shank above, it continues the play of intricate folds of metal, blending seamlessly into the design.

But a twisted shank in any style is unique enough to stand on its own as the main design feature of a ring. Verragio’s Eterna 4017 wedding band is the perfect example of how to feature a twisted shank solo; the back and forth of the precious metal creates a look all its own and is an interesting departure from the traditional plain wedding band if you’re looking for something a little more ornate. This particular ring features pave’ set Round cut diamonds on the entire surface of the ring, inviting light to dance along the curves and catch the eye.

If twisted shanks are your new favorite look for an engagement ring, make sure to keep an eye out and see if there are any available for Verragio’s 10-10-10 contest on Facebook.  Hurry, there’s one week down and nine more to go.

Branching Out: Diamonds no longer just for engagement rings anymore

America may have hit a financial slump this past year or two, but there are still some people out there with a lot of time and even more money on their hands. And they are out to prove that diamonds and gold are not just for engagement rings anymore; they think outside the box.

World Most Expensive Phone: Please leave home without it
Stuart Hughes, a London based Jeweler, has just designed and executed the world’s most expensive smart phone. Hughes recently unveiled a diamond encrusted iPhone 4, and told the U.K. newspaper, “The Daily Mail,” that is was “Fantastic Challenge” for which he is pleased with the results.

The original design, which is plated in Rose gold, and adorned with more than 500 diamonds, 53 of which cover the Apple logo alone, is priced at $8 million. A fair price if you consider that the phone comes with two interchangeable diamonds for the ‘home’ button, the first being a 7.4 carat pink diamond, and the second an 8 carat flawless diamond, which together have a combined price tag of 6 million diamonds.

Hughes designed his first gold-plated iPhone in 2003, and has since had luxury smart phone orders from clients in London, Marbella, and Monaco. So far, Hughes has been commissioned to make two similar iPhones for an un-named Australian gold mining billionaire, price tags for which should run around $5 million each.

As for a practical use for the design, even Hughes isn’t sure there is any, and told reporters “It would be a disaster if it was ever lost.”

Diamond Encrusted Bra
When your under-ware is much more expensive than your outer-ware
Over the years, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show has become popular televised event, complete with A list entertainment like Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry. But it is the diamond bra that steals the show every year.

This year, the world’s most expensive undergarment has around 3,000 diamonds hand placed in a starburst design, interspersed with topaz and light blue sapphire stones throughout. It reportedly took 6 craftsmen 1,500 hours to complete “The Bombshell” as it is being called this year. Priced at $2 million, it will be worn by model Adriana Lima down the runway.

If you think that’s the most outrageously priced unmentionable you have ever heard of, think again. In 2005, then Victoria’s Secret star Gisele Bundchen modeled a diamond bra worth $12.5 million, the most expensive VS bra to date.

Solid Gold Monopoly: A lot more than $200 to pass go
The Museum of American Finance, aptly located on Wall Street in New York City, is currently showcasing the world’s most expensive Monopoly board game set.

The set was originally designed in 1988 by San Francisco Jeweler Sidney Mobell after he was inspired by a Monopoly tournament in London. After requesting and receiving permission from Parker Brother, the creator of the game, Mobell spent an entire year crafting the game set.

The board is made out of 18 K solid gold, the houses and hotels from gemstones, and the $10,000 pair of dice has 42 polished diamonds for dots. When Hughes originally created the Monopoly set in 1988, gold was anywhere from $360 to $460 per ounce, in 2010 gold has gone as high as $1300 per ounce, valuing the board game at $2 million.

Mobell’s creation, which is meant to be a symbol of iconic American culture, is on loan from the Smithsonian and was unveiled in NYC on October 15th, 2010.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

First Couple to Exchange Wedding Rings in NYC’s Time Square

Hard to believe that it hasn’t happened before, but, an online source for wedding planning and preparation advice, has announced the winners of their ‘Get Married in Time Square’ contest, where the winners will get married during the most watched New Year’s Eve celebration in the world.

Bethany Philips and Geoffrey Dubie will be the first couple ever to exchange wedding rings in Time Square during NYC’s busiest night of the year. The pair competed against about 1,900 other couples for the honor of being the Time Square bride and groom, and was announced as the winners on the morning of October 19.

The contest was opened to the public on September 13th until the 1st of October, at which time three couples were chosen as finalist. The winning couple currently resides in Jacksonville, Florida, but originally met by chance while they were serving in Iraq for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Although the two conducted a long distance relationship from there on out, Dubie presented Philips with an engagement ring in the Bahamas, and the two moved to Florida to begin a new life together.

While Time Square on New Year’s Eve may seem a bit impersonal and crowded to some, the winning couple couldn’t be happier, all expenses are paid for by, helpful since both Philips and Dubie are both currently in school.

Although, like all things free, there are strings attached; the elements to the wedding day will be determined by votes from viewers at the sponsor’s website. People can cast their vote on things like the bridal gown, wedding bands, the wedding cake, and even the honeymoon destination. (The couple will get the chance to narrow down the options to their top three choices first.)

Despite giving up control over the details of the day, the couple couldn’t be happier with the outcome; Dubie has never been to New York City before, and the reception will be held at the Hard Rock Café which must appeal to Philips since she is a singer, songwriter, and guitar player.

The rest of the specific details will remain a mystery until right before the ceremony, which will not only be shown on large screen TV’s throughout Time Square, but it will also be broadcasted live on national television.

Princess Cut Engagement Rings: Very Versatile

In 1964, a Belgium diamond cutter by the name of M. Weistreich endeavored to create a square shaped diamond cut that retained the light reflection of the popular Brilliant Round cut. The result was what we now call the Princess cut; a relatively new cut that quickly gained popularity throughout the rest of the ‘60s and today is the second most popular choices for an engagement ring style.
The Princess cut is a more distinctive alternative to Emerald or Radiant, and is often referred to as a square modified brilliant, because of its superior ability to catch the light. It is also often a little less expensive than the more popular Round cut, because unlike a Round which only retains 50% of the rough diamond it is carved from, the Princess retains 80%.

Although the Emerald cut has a certain quiet elegance to it, the cut tends not to have multiple facets, which facilitates sparkle. The Princess on the other hand, is perfect for styles like Verragio’s Insignia-7010P, which features pave’ set diamonds on a split shank, and a pave’ set halo that surrounds the Princess cut center diamond. If you’re looking for a “show stopper” ring, the princess cut fits nicely into the Pave’ set surrounding, upping the sparkle ante and blending into the design seamlessly.

However, because the Princess is a combination of a square shape and a high light return, it is also strong enough for a solitaire design. Because the diamond center stands alone in a solitaire design, a high amount of sparkle is needed to catch the eye, which is why a Brilliant Round is traditionally used for a solitaire style. However, you can see in Verragio’s Couture-0409P that the Princess cut can certainly steal the show all on its own. This particular ring features an unadorned band, and a Princess cut diamond set in Verragio’s exclusive Lumino setting. This setting is a natural pairing for a Princess because it shows the diamond from all angles and allows it to capture 75% more light than a traditional setting. For a diamond that is cut to catch the light, this is the perfect style, and will ensure that, even if you prefer a more understated ring, it will not go un-noticed.

Weistreich certainly seems to have revolutionized the industry when he created the Princess style, and introduced the world to a truly versatile cut.

There are still nine weeks left in our 10-10-10 contest and plenty of opportunities to compete. So if you have your eye on a Princess cut, like our Venetian-7003, log on to Facebook to see how you can win one for yourself.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wedding Rumors too Unbelievable to be True, Even for Hollywood

Despite the public lip service, almost everyone likes a juicy celebrity wedding rumor. The glitz and glamour secretly appeals to the bride inside, as we devour engagement ring announcements, ceremony details, and reception pictures. But there are a couple recent rumors that are just too outrageous to believe, even for the most die-hard wedding fans.

Destination wedding for a nuptial veteran: Britney Spear and Jason Trawick
There aren’t many days that go by when Britney Spears doesn’t make the news somehow, and this past summer, rumors of a third wedding began to crop up. The formerly troubled pop star should be used to the wedding rumors by now, not all of which have been completely unfounded since she has walked the aisle twice before.

However, when Spears was spotted visiting a chapel in Hawaii with her former manager and current boyfriend Jason Trawick, speculation began that the pair was scoping out a ceremony site. The trip to the chapel was eventually chalked up to a bit of sightseeing; however wedding rumors escalated when OK Magazine reported that she was planning a double wedding with her sister Jamie Lynne Spears. Things apparently went far enough for Spear, who took to her official website to vehemently shoot down the rumors. The couple remains together but tight-lipped.

The hard partying Supermodel finally settles down: Kate Moss and Jamie Hince
Rumors have run rampant over this past weekend when news broke that British model Kate Moss and Old Kills guitarist Jamie Hince had secretly exchanged wedding rings this past August. Although it is true that the couple, who have been romantically involved since 2007, announced their engagement in January of 2009, no date had officially been set. This is the second time news of their engagement has surfaced, the first being in 2008 when British tabloids reported the two had become engaged in Amsterdam.

However, a very detailed rumor began to surface that a barefoot Moss exchanged vows with Hince in Sicily over the summer in an outdoor ceremony where a small group of family and friends danced under the trees. Gossip blogs went crazy over the weekend with speculation on the information, forcing a representative for Moss to shoot down the rumors. It is hard to believe that Moss, a celebrity so sought after that she recently, inadvertently caused a an over-the-top photo frenzy that bordered on scary for simply arriving at the airport, could actually get married three months ago and keep it a secret.

‘Dark’ wedding for a tortured teenage love: Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson
Despite the fact that the bride would not be old enough to drink at her own wedding, and that these two have yet to confirm the existence of a romantic relationship, these two Twilight costars are reportedly set to wed in December. An unnamed source has claimed that Pattison and Stewart are ready to cement their commitment to one another in a winter ceremony in New Orleans. The same source has claimed that due to Stewart’s dark nature, she would like to married by a Voodoo Priestess.

Rather than bother with rings, the couple is said to be planning on matching anchor tattoos to symbolize that they will be each other’s anchor in the storm of media attention. While this rumor is so ridiculous that you almost want to it to be true, the only believable part of this story is that the couple wants to keep the details a secret. Neither of their representation have deigned to deny this rumor, probably because too outrageous to waste time on.

The Paradiso Collection: Verragio’s Answer to Sneaky Spinning

Recently, Trey Turner, a local NYC musician, made news when he dropped an engagement ring off of the Brooklyn Bridge, in the midst of a proposal. Reportedly, his hands were shaking from nerves and the diamond engagement ring slipped through his finger, lost to a grate below.

All was not lost however, when a week later a Department of Transportation employee found the ring and delivered it to Turner’s fiancé. But according to the New York Post, Turner was not the first man to fumble a ring off of the Iconic New York City bridge; in 2009 Don Walling dropped his intended’s ring into oncoming traffic below. Not waiting for the D.O.T’s help, Walling climbed down into oncoming traffic to retrieve the ring.

There are, unfortunately plenty of stories like these; tragic but understandable when nerve’s gets the better of a groom. And while the lucky recipient of the ring may not have to worry about dropping the ring as much, there are other irritants that can keep a ring off of that third finger. Less tragic than slipping, there is spinning.

‘Spinning’ refers to when a ring is so top heavy it turns itself upside down during a normal day’s routine, typically a complaint of women who type on a computer for hours on end. The unique design of the Paradiso collection keeps the engagement ring upright and in its proper place without sacrificing blood flow in your finger.

The Paradiso Collection of engagement rings is Verragio’s solution to this potential problem, without compromising style for comfort. Just like any other Verragio collection, there are a multitude of styles within the Paradiso line to choose from, such as split shanks, three stone designs, and the exclusive Lumino setting. But within the Paradiso collection, each ring has a unique scrolling design inside the band that hugs your finger and prevents it from slipping.

“The Paradiso Collection is the first collection of engagement rings and wedding bands to truly consider and prioritize the wearer’s comfort level,” said Owner and Designer, Barry Verragio. “Not only does the contoured fit prevent the ring from moving on your finger, but it also provides a distinctively different look, making it unlike any other ring.”

So if you love the heavily stylized designs from Verragio but worry that it may be a little too much for your finger to handle, consider an engagement ring from the Paradiso collection. Besides, the only time your ring should be slipping around is on the New York City subway, and on purpose.

Star of David in a Diamond

The Star of David, the symbol of the Jewish faith, has been found inside of an 8.53 carat, polished diamond. The television station, Hidabroot, was given an exclusive on the phenomenon and has released a YouTube video detailing the discovery.

Although the owner wishes to remain anonymous, he has shared with “Israel National News” that after being examined by experts was told; “if this is natural, go buy a Mercedes.” The massive diamond which is rich in hydrogen, causing a yellowish green tint, is, in fact, believed to be natural.

Like many others, a relative of the owner, upon first viewing the diamond, believed it to be synthetic or man-made, but claims that the owner has had it inspected by leading gemology labs in the U.S. and Zurich. The YouTube video reports that both Gem Tech and the GIA have both graded the diamond and have determined it to be a natural.

Yehudah Yecker, the Senior Gemology expert at the G.C.A has told reporters that the inclusion, which is a technical term for a cloud in a diamond, is unusual as it “follows the structure of the formation growth of the crystals.”

The story of the diamond began two years ago during the global economic downturn, when a relative of the owner found work polishing raw stones from South America. As he began polishing the last two remaining stones yet to be sold, he began to see the iconic religious formation, and claims that the more he polished it, the more clearly the Star of David appeared.

The anonymous owner has made it clear in media reports that the diamond is not for sale, and will remain locked away in a safe for its protection, but released news of its release in the hopes of promoting Judaism.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Exchange Wedding Rings in a Haunted House

Couples continue to find new, unique, and somewhat weird places to get married. Now Universal Studios has announced the first-ever couple to win their Halloween Horror Nights Wedding contest; April Richardson and Adam Cochran.

This lucky couple will exchange wedding rings during a Halloween styled wedding in what the theme park is calling their “Wedding of Horrors” ceremony. The vows will be witnessed by the couples friends and family, and the ambiance of the day will be helped along by a few “scare actors.”

The actual ceremony will take place in Orlando, Florida at one of the Halloween Horror Night’s eight hunted houses, where the couple will be greeted with cold fog. Instead of the more traditional Pachelbel’s “Canon in D”, Richardson will walk down the aisle to the sound of an “eerie bridal march.”

The “scare actors” job is not restricted to just greeting guests, they will continue to lurk about during the ceremony, and once the vows are exchanged a burst of chainsaws will rent the air to announce the union, much like a cathedral’s organ music, or the town square tower bells.

The procession of chainsaw wielding actors will lead the lucky couple to an awaiting hearse, where they will be whisked away to a reception. But however unusual the journey, some traditions  are sacred, and the couple will still have their wedding cake to share. This particular cake, also supplied by the park, will be a three tiered cake decorated with spider webs and topped with a skull.

As with all weddings, individuality and originality are key, and Richardson and Cochran definitely have found that in this ceremony. Although different wedding packages are offered throughout all 25 Universal parks, this will be the first “Wedding of Horrors” that Halloween Horror Nights have hosted.

No word on what the Bride and Groom will be wearing, but pictures and video will be posted on the theme parks website after the ceremony.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Color Diamonds Continue to Dominate: New Orange Diamond Found

There are seven different colors of natural orange diamonds; vivid orange being one of the two most desirable and expensive hues available. And a new natural vivid orange diamond, measured at 7.53 carats, was found in the Northwest Province of South Africa earlier this month.

Namakwa, the London based company that found the new diamond, along with another 26.74 carat diamond, told reporters that both diamonds have “flawless potential.”

Unlike with red diamonds, we know that the orange color occurs as a result of the presence of nitrogen and carbon lattice in a diamond. Because orange diamonds are a mix of the two primary colors yellow and red, the range of orange goes from light to a deep red-orange, vivid being one of the deepest in color, making it also one of the rarest.

The world’s most famous natural vivid orange diamond, before the Namakwa diamond had been found, was the “Pumpkin Diamond” worn by movie star Halle Berry at the 2002 Academy Awards when she won for Best Actress. The Pumpkin Diamond, 5.54 carats, was mined in Central African Republic and was bought by Harry Winston the day before Halloween, hence the name.

Heno Kruger, Namakwa's Head of Sales & Trading has told reporters that the company has had a multitude of inquiries and interest in their tender, in which the new vivid orange diamond will be up for sale, and he expects the diamond to be the talk of the town for a while.

The Pumpkin Diamond, which is reportedly worth $3 million, was once displayed in the Smithsonian as part of the “Splendor of Diamonds” exhibit, so we can only imagine where this diamond will end up. But we do know that the Namakwa orange diamond is being sold at a diamond tender in Johannesburg, South Africa that opened yesterday, although a price tag has yet to be announced.

The Venetian Collection: Origins in Lace

It is said that lace was invented as a reaction to the desire to make clothes more attractive and replace embroidery in an effort t to transform the style of dress at the time. It is a patterned fabric detailed with open holes that dates as far back as 15th century Europe, when it was used predominately by the Catholic Church.

In its rich history, we can see why lace was the inspiration for Verragio’s latest line; The Venetian Collection. Always on the forefront of innovation, Verragio keeps striving to reinvent something as classic as the engagement ring.

“The inspiration was really the idea of beautiful, elegant lacework. Lines that flow and are not so rigid,” said Owner and Designer, Barry Verragio. “Why stop at the top of the ring when you can continue that design all the way to bottom of the shank?”

Although the more modern technique of lace weaving was believed to be invented in Flanders, (now between Belgium and France), it became much more widespread in Italian cities during the 16th century. Due to trade in the Mediterranean, Italy was quite wealthy at the time, and was able to afford the production and manufacturing of lace, which was originally made with silk, gold, or silver threads.

Today, lace is woven from cotton and synthetic materials, but it is the decadence of the ancient Italian lace that is recreated in Verragio’s Venetian engagement rings. The curvature and bends of the precious metals used in the engagement rings are meant to mimic the woven fluidity of silk. The beading used to compliment the style is meant to inspire an antique feel, and the combination of the two creates a thoroughly different and modern ring design.

“I wanted to truly design a ring that gives the consumer something unique,” Verragio said. “It’s something that she can customize and really call her own.”

The beauty of this latest collection is that, much like when lace was used to individualize fashion, you can show your own unique style by customizing your engagement ring. The Venetian collection allows you to choose from five different shanks, so you can mix and match to suit your desires, from the more sedate “Classic,” to the more ornate “Lace” style, (with Centro, Euro, and Lido in between.)

Lace has always been featured heavily at weddings, from the bridal veil, to the gowns, and even the tablecloths, and now you can get that same romantic feel and old-world elegance for your engagement ring when you choose from Verragio’s Venetian Collection.

“As always,” Verragio said. “Our goal was to give the consumer a ring unlike any other.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Number 4 Still Lucky for Matt Damon, Despite Being Out of the 4th Bourne Movie

Academy Award winner Matt Damon has made headlines yet again when it was announced this week that he would not be returning for the fourth installment of the Bourne movies. The franchise that made Damon into a modern day action figure will instead venture down a new path, not including his character, Jason Bourne, in the storyline.

This announcement was not necessarily surprising considering that Damon himself said he would not return for a fourth run if the original director, Paul Greengrass, was attached. The next movie, The Bourne Legacy, slated for 2012, will be directed by Tony Gilroy instead.

This news, however, pales in comparison to Damon’s own announcement that he and his wife, Luciana will be welcoming yet another baby into their family.

No due date has been announced officially however Damon confirmed that the couple is expecting their fourth child next month.

The couple met in 2003 when Luciana was tending bar at the Crobar in Miami and Damon was filming “Stuck On You” at the time. On September 5, 2005 Damon presented Luciana with a halo style platinum engagement ring,  and the two were wed just three months later on December 9th.

Private weddings have always been hard to pull off for celebrities, but Damon and Luciana were able to sneak off to City Hall in New York City to exchange wedding rings during a quickie ceremony. At the time, they were expecting their first daughter, and weren’t keeping the wedding a secret. The two began phone friends and family as soon as the vows were exchanged, and were happy to show reporters their matching sliver wedding bands.

Now almost six years down the road the couple has three daughters; Alexia, 11 from Luciana’s first marriage, Isabella, 4, and Gia, just 2 years old. However, Gia will not be the baby of the family for much longer, as the couple is now expecting a fourth daughter.

Damon, who has raved about fatherhood in the past, told “US Magazine” recently that he was thrilled about their latest addition and couldn’t wait to meet her.

The movie stars next movie “Hereafter,” will be released this weekend in theaters, so although he will not be staring in the next Bourne movie, it seems there is more than enough on his plate to keep him busy.

Emerald Cut Diamond Engagement Rings: Universally Popular

The key to choosing an Emerald cut engagement is quality. The rectangular shaped diamond style is an open cut, causing flaws and variations in color to be more noticeable than in other popular styles like Round or Princess diamond engagement rings.

The word ‘emerald’ is derived from the Greek word for green, and this style of cut was traditionally used for the emerald colored gems, hence the name for the cut, and was a favorite of Cleopatra.

The requisite quality of an Emerald cut engagement ring has made the style popular with royalty and celebrities today as well. Camilla Bowles, who eventually married Prince Charles, has perhaps one of the most well-known Emerald cut diamonds overseas, and in the U.S. Paris Hilton made news when she received a 15 carat Emerald cut diamond ring during her brief engagement to Greek shipping heir, Paris Latsis. The ring, reportedly worth $2.1 million, was auctioned off to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, appropriate since it was once believed that the green colored gems for which the Emerald cut was named for were once used as a temporary relief from stress.
Emerald cuts are popular here at Verragio as well; the Paradiso-3009E is a certain staff favorite. Templar Tunon, our account manager here at Verragio, has singled this ring out as her preferred Verragio ring.

From our Paradiso collection, this ring features micro pave’ on the wide band, seven diamond bezels set under the band, and a pave’s set halo of brilliant Round cut diamonds surrounding an Emerald cut diamond center. But despite so much going on with this ring, it still manages to retain its elegance, and is easy to see why it’s popular. “Because it makes my finger look awesome,” Tunon says, and the way she would make it her own? “Platinum set with a 1.5 Blue diamond center.”

Choose your favorite Verragio engagement ring and go on to Facebook to share how you would make it your own. And don’t forget to participate in our 10-10-10 contest  for the chance to make your dream ring a reality.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Exotic and Unusual Wedding Venues

First it was Home Depot, then it was White Castle, and now inevitably, McDonalds has gotten into this business of throwing weddings.

Starting January 1, 2011, three different Hong Kong branches of the McDonalds franchise will be an available venue for wedding s and engagement parties. This decision was made after a couple, who had met at McDonalds, held their wedding after-party at the fast food giant’s Admiralty location in Hong Kong.

These three McDonalds will be the first and only McDonalds in the world where you can exchange wedding rings, which seems appropriate due the franchise’s popularity in Hong Kong. The first McDonalds opened in Hong Kong in 1975 and steadily grew to the now 200 locations that exist to serve a city of only 6,977,700; making it the highest density of McDonalds’s outlets in the world.

The nuptial packages will include balloons, kiddie party favors for the young guests, and an apple pie wedding cake all served under the golden arches. Parties can be anywhere from 50 to 100 people, but they will have to settle on toasting with soft drinks, as no McDonalds is licensed to serve alcohol.
Another different, but equally far flung wedding local is the KL Tower in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian Authorities announced today that they have decided to encourage both local and foreign couple to have their wedding in the tower as a way to increase tourism.

The KL Tower, located in the Malaysian capital, is one of the tallest structures in the world, rising 1,099 feet in the air. The “Weddings Made in the Clouds” campaign offers couples the chance to be married on the building’s open observation deck, where guests can enjoy amazing views of the entire city, including the world famous Petronas Twin Towers. However, if some of your guests are afraid of heights, the tower also has a banquet hall with glass viewing windows, and offers a fully catered affair.

Although the option has been available since 2008, only 35 couples have taken advantage of the offer so far, leaving country officials to encourage couples from around the world to consider this unusual venue for their special day. Packages are reasonable if you can afford the airfare.

So all this globe-trotting has left me to wonder, if money was no object, where would you have your wedding? Log onto our Facebook page and share where your fantasy wedding would be held.

Want to see the entire Verragio engagement ring collection? Come to a Verragio Trunk Show

Two of the most common questions that the Verragio Concierge receives on any given day are a) “There was an engagement ring of yours that I fell in love with a long time ago, but now that I am ready to get engaged I no longer see it on your website. Can I still order it?” And b) There is a ring on your website that I am interested in, but I haven’t been able to find to see it in person. How can I view it?”

The easy answer to both of these problems is to come to a Verragio Trunk Show, and in the next two weeks we are hosting four of these special events across the country.

Interestingly enough, trunk shows have always been particularly popular in the bridal industry and were aptly named for the trunks that the gowns were brought in. We don’t bring our rings in trunks, but we certainly bring a selection.

The purpose of our trunks shows is to bring together the new and the old, rings from our latest line as well as older styles you may not have seen before. It brings a wider selection of Verragio rings to one of our authorized retailer that you may have been to before but didn’t see exactly what you wanted.

Another added bonus to visiting an authorized retailer during one of our trunk shows is that there is always a Verragio representative on hand to answer any questions or talk over any concerns you may have. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, owner and designer Barry Verragio may be there to personally tell you about his designs.

“Verragio trunk shows are an invaluable asset for me,” Verragio said. “There is no better venue to have direct contact with the end consumer and get firsthand feedback on exactly what they are looking for. In the end, you are playing an essential role in one of the most momentous occasions in their lives, their wedding. You will forever be a part of their memories.”

Our next trunk show will be on October 16th at Karats Jewelers in Overland Park, Kansas, and up next will be the 22nd, an especially big day for us. On that day we will be at three different locations; HL Gross & Bro. Jewelers in Garden City, New York, Genesis Diamonds in Nashville, Tennessee, and even as far as Canada at Grandis Jewelers in Petrolia, Ontario.

So if you and your loved one are gearing up to make that ultimate commitment, visit us on the 16th or the 22nd at one of those locations to view our collection of engagement rings and let us be part of your big day. After all, there is nothing we love more at Verragio than a great love story.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Perry and Brand: Wedding Band to Finally Join her Famous Engagement Ring

Barely a day goes by without at least one half of this hot couple making Hollywood headlines, and today is no exception. Having already been voted the number one wedding to watch, Brand and Perry have been pretty tight lipped as to the specific plans for their nuptials.

But despite their best efforts to keep the rumor mill guessing, the location of the wedding has been leaked by none other than fellow performer and bride’s best friend, Rihanna. In an interview with “Entertainment Tonight” the Barbadian R&B singer confirmed that the wedding will take place in India, for which the invitations are already out, and that she will be in attendance.

Brand proposed on New Year’s Eve, at the Taj Rambagh hotel in Jaipur, India in December of 2009. Since then the rumors have been running rampant regarding when, where, and how they will be exchanging wedding rings. Guesses have included a bridal gown made from latex (often Perry’s costume material of choice), a wedding day performance by musician Morrissey, and a fall wedding in Maui, Hawaii.

However, the real location confirmation comes on the heels of news that Brand will not be legally charged in an incident that occurred last month at LAX airport. Yet more rumors surfaced that the nuptials would be postponed due to a scuffle with a paparazzo who reportedly tried to take an “upskirt shot” of Perry while walking through the airport, which resulted in Brand’s arrest for assault.

In an interview with ITN, the British comedian denied the supposed postponement, despite the outcome of his arrest. Brand told the U.K. based new source that this latest rumor was “like most rumors you find on the internet, spurious, untrue, unnecessary and unhelpful."

Most of the gossip regarding the couple has been baseless so far, but one thing the stars have confirmed themselves is their desire to receive no gifts when they finally exchange vows. Earlier this month, Brand told reporters that he and his bride to be have been blessed in their respective fields and asking for gifts seems too indulgent. In lieu of a registry, the couple has asked guests to donate to charity instead.

Perry recently told reporters that once herself and Brand officially tie the knot, they will no longer speak publically about their relationship. No word on an official date set on this promise, so we shall just have to wait and see.

Verragio extends the 10-10-10 Luck with our Latest Contest

October 10, 2010 was the most popular day to get married since July 7, 2007 or 7-7-7, and the number of couples that exchanged wedding rings on 10-10-10 will even surpass the ever popular Valentine’s Day this year.

Due to the lucky connotation of a 10-10-10 wedding date, about 30,000 couples around the globe decided to tie the knot this past Saturday, some even went one step further and spoke their vows at exactly 10 a.m.

In order to accommodate the maxed out wedding chapels in Las Vegas, the wedding capital of the U.S., one license bureau extended its usual 6pm closing time to midnight. At 10:10 a.m. in China, 60 couples were wed during a mass wedding ceremony at Beijing’s Olympic Park. And in probably the world’s biggest 10-10-10 ceremony, around 7,200 couples either tied the knot for the first time, or renewed their vows in a mass ceremony presided over by 90-year-old, Rev. Sun Myung, founder of the controversial Unification Church, in South Korea.

And we would be remiss if we did not mention George Lippitt, a young boy from the U.K. who turned 10-years-old at 10:10 a.m. on 10-10-10, not a wedding but still an amazing coincidence.

So at Verragio, we are keeping the 10-10-10 love alive for a few weeks longer. In our latest contest, 10 different winners will win an engagement ring from a selection of 10 different styles, over the next 10 weeks. 10 rings, for 10 winners, in 10 weeks.

To vie for a chance to win one of our rings, first become a fan of Verragio on Facebook. Next go to and view the rings in our collections. If there is one that catches your eye, click under the picture to the right in order to “enlarge the image,” and it will tell you if it is part of the contest.

If this is your ring, save the image to your computer and post it onto our wall on Facebook with a brief explanation as to why you should be the one to win this ring. The post that receives the most ‘likes’ in a week will win that specific ring. So remember to encourage as many family and friends to log and vote for your engagement ring, because they choose the winners, not us.

It’s easy, 10 winners over 10 weeks and all you have to do is get the most ‘likes,’ to cash in on some of that 10-10-10 magic. Good luck!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Engagement Rings Across Cultures

It has been a long standing tradition that when one partner decides to ask the other to marry them; they present them with a diamond engagement ring as a symbol of their love. And since, at Verragio, we love nothing more than celebrating the business of love, I decided to trace this tradition , as we have been known to do.

The earliest known example of a diamond engagement ring being used as an announcement of the intent to wed was in 1477 when the Arch Duke Maximilian of Vienna presented Mary of Burgundy with a diamond ring to cement their betrothal. But it wasn’t until the 19th century that it became common for a man to present his intended with an engagement ring. Previously, it was tradition to present the bride-to-be with a sewing thimble.
But although that tradition has fallen along the wayside, engagement rings are still often used differently depending on the culture. In western countries, like the U.K. and North America it is only the woman who wears an engagement ring, generally presented by the groom to be, on the left hand until accompanied by a wedding ring.

However, in Poland and Ukraine, a ring is traditionally worn on the right hand, and in Germany a woman will wear her engagement ring on the left hand only until marriage, at which point she will switch it to the right hand.

In some South American countries both the bride and groom-to-be wear engagement rings to signify their commitment to one another, like Brazil and Argentina. Michael Bublé, who is engaged to Argentinian model Luisana Lupilato, currently sports a male engagement ring, and joked to the press that he has never heard of the tradition but he does what he is told. International superstar David Beckham had a matching engagement ring designed for himself when he proposed to his wife Victoria. He may not be from South American, but he just likes the bling.

Another engagement ring fun fact is the origin of the three stone diamond design, a popular setting where the center diamond is flanked by a slightly smaller diamond on either side. Some Christian groups believe that there is a religious significance to the design, yet it is mostly believed to represent the past, the present, and the future of the couple.

But no matter how an engagement ring is used, or where, Verragio is happy to continue to play a role in your love story.

Engagement Rings Make The Best Holiday Gifts

September of 2010 was the strongest September for Verragio in the history of the company, special orders were up 42%. This could be due to the supposed recession abatement, or it could just be the time of year. Or I guess I should say, that time of year.

When I began working at Verragio I was told that the workload will begin to ratchet up the closer we get to the holidays, as I am starting to see for myself. Admittedly my statistics are a bit dated (2005), but according to a poll conducted by the publishers of Modern Bride, more than one in four men will propose over the holidays.

The logic behind it is solid; it’s a joyous season, love is in the air, and conveniently the family is already gathered for the perfect announcement. The opportunity for surprise is higher on Christmas too, as opposed to an anniversary or Valentine’s Day.

No need to worry about finding her a gift she will like when there is a diamond engagement ring under the tree too. Although placement of the ring is one of the many queries that come with a holiday proposal; to put it under the tree or not, Christmas Eve or Christmas day, in front of the family, or should I just hold out until New Years Eve? The questions are endless and really come down to a matter of preference, although public proposals have already made our list of don’ts.

Whatever way in which you choose to propose, this special time of year will be made even more special, and year after year, Verragio could not be happier to help.

Pink Diamonds Captivate the World

The public’s desire for pink diamonds have escalated considerable since that fateful day that pop star Jennifer Lopez announced her plans to marry Oscar winner Ben Affleck by sporting a 6 carat pink diamond engagement ring. It has since become one of the most well-known engagement rings in history. Most well-known perhaps, but not the most famous, or the most expensive.

Just last week a 6.43 carat, fancy pink diamond ring, from Van Cleef & Arpels went on the auction block in Hong Kong, and exceeded estimated bids. The diamond ring was given an expected price tag of $7 million by the auction house Sotheby’s, however the ring sold for $7.7 million. Although it’s nothing to sneeze at, Lopez’s was only worth around $1 million.

Once called “one of the world’s greatest diamonds,” this 24.78 carat fancy pink diamond was last put on the market around 60 years ago. The diamond, that has an estimated price tag of $28 to $39 million, will be up for auction in Geneva on November 16, 2010. Sotheby’s will be auctioning off the magnificent diamond for the first time since it was sold from Harry Winston’s.

One of the most stylish and Iconic figures worldwide will also be modeling a pink diamond this month; Barbie will be going on the auction block wearing real diamonds. Designed by Stefano Canturi, the Barbie features with a 1 carat Emerald cut pink diamond necklace, surrounded by white diamonds, totaling 3 carats in all. Christie’s will auction the doll on the 20th, which is expected to fetch anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000, with all proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Research Fund in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Historically, the most expensive Barbie was previously sold by Christie’s in 2006 for $17,091.

So while we learned that Red diamonds are more rare, it seems that pink still hold the title for most stylish. Don’t worry, we’ll keep you updated and let you know how much money Barbie is able to raise for charity.