Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Visit us at a Trunk Show this Holiday Season

The holidays are officially upon us, as any time after Thanksgiving is fair game, and as we know,  the holiday season is overwhelmingly the most popular time for marriage proposals. Thanks to Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve, 13% of all proposals in 2009 took place during the month of December, according to Condé Nast Wedding Study, compared to only 8% in February, despite having Valentine’s Day.

And for those that are not quite ready to propose, the amount of Black Friday deals and general advertising, it can certainly put us in the mood. Verragio’s decided to make choosing that perfect engagement ring this season just a little easier with Trunk Shows across the country, starting the first weekend in December.

Trunk shows are a great way to not only view Verragio’s rings that may not always be on display at a certain authorized retailer, but customers can speak to Verragio’s representatives to get the answers to any questions they may have.

Customers in the Michigan area can meet with us at Preusser Jewelers in Grand Rapids on both December 3rd and the 4th, and moving further east, we will have two other shows that same weekend in the Washington DC area. Simultaneously, we will have shows on December 3rd at both J Brown Jewelers in Pikesville Maryland and at Mervis Diamond Importers in the busy Tyson’s Corner, Virginia shopping center. So busy, in fact, we will be back at Mervis in Tyson’s Corner on December 5th as well.

And for fans north of the border, like Baily Grose, Verragio will be hosting two trunk shows in Alberta, Canada. Starting December 2nd until the 3rd, Borealis Diamonds will be kind enough to host us and welcome interested consumer. But don’t fret if you can’t make it, we will be back at Riviera Jewelry in Fort McMurray in Albert on December 4th to help anyone we might have missed.

It’s a busy weekend for Verragio, and we will continue to have trunk shows throughout the year, so make sure to check back in at Verragio’s Facebook page under Events tab for more information on these or future events. And if you can’t make it, you can always visit any of our participating retailers at any time where they can help you with any of our custom made designer engagement rings.

Happy Holidays and happy hunting, from Verragio.

Middleton’s Engagement Ring not the Only Thing Generating Interest: Wedding Preparations Underway

As the U.K revs up to the Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, set to take place on April 29th, the details being speculated upon are getting decidedly juicier. Rumors on everything from her dress, to the music, and even the guest list are generating internet gossip and even more bets across the pond, where we have learned they will bet on anything and everything.

Entertainment, or more specifically music, is always an important wedding reception decision, normally though couples find themselves arguing over DJ versus band, not international pop star versus Broadway legend. Producer and multiple Tony award winner, Andrew Lloyd Weber has expressed his interest in composing music for the royal wedding. At an interview hosted by Cartier, Weber told reporters that if asked, he would be honored to create something about solid love for the young couple. Composer William Mathias had the honor of composing the song “Let the people praise Thee, O God,” for the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana in 1981, but has since passed away. Having been knighted by the British crown in 1992 for his musical contributions, Webber might just have a shot.

However, Webber might have a little competition in Elton John, who has likewise expressed interest on performing during the big day, and likewise has been knighted by the British crown. While on Radio 2, John, who has played at various royal events in the past, such as the late Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997, and charity concert held in her honor in 2007, told host Steve Wright that he would probably perform. Careful not to leak any information though, he followed up with a joke about playing piano outside the gates. Having been counted as friend of the late Princess Diana, Prince William’s mother, it has already been speculated that John will at least be in attendance.

And although the guest list has not been announced yet, another couple’s invite inevitability has begun to float around; David and Victoria Beckham have supposedly been added to the list. The Beckham’s are one of the country’s most prominent couple, and have reportedly gotten close to Prince William while working on London’s bid to host the 2018 Olympics. Sources even claim that David himself text William as soon as he heard news of the engagement, to which the Prince answered that invites were on the way. This is all speculation of course, since the official guest list will not be announced until sometime in February.

The betting books have been busy in England lately, as Middleton’s dress has become a hot topic, but it seems the mystery may have been solved. Paddy Powers, one of the more popular online gambling sites have been forced to suspend betting on possible gown designers when the name Bruce Oldfield flooded the bets. A spokesperson for Paddy Powers told reporters that all bets were indeed being placed for Oldfield.

“We suspended betting on November 26,” the spokesperson confirmed. “There is no point in taking bets when all the interest is in one person.”

Oldfield’s gown have been seen on fashion forward celebrities like Sienna Miller and Rihanna, and was a favorite of the late Princess Diana as well, which could be the reason for the rise in his favor. But Paddy Powers thinks there might be more.

“Sometimes this kind of betting comes from people taking an educated guess, but sometimes it is the result of a leak,” the spokesperson shared. “We were taking bets of 500 pounds or more, so it could be a leak.”

Time flies, especially when planning a wedding, and since the wedding is only five months away most people believe that there must be a designer chosen already. A palace spokesperson however, has released a statement saying that no final decisions have been made and all rumors are purely based on speculation.

According to USAToday, Middleton has garnered the most news headlines in the month of November at 547 and her fiancé Prince William trailed in second place with 378. So with all the international interest the couple has generated so far, it is likely these will not be the last details we hear about.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Get Boxed In: Channel Set Diamonds

Diamond settings are, more often than not, simply named for the look it is meant to invoke, like the always popular Pave’ setting named for the stone paved street-like look it is meant to achieve. And again the rule holds true for Channel setting, in which diamonds are placed into a metal channel set into the shank, where the diamonds can follow a line uninterrupted by metal prongs.

For women who prefer a more angular, or modern engagement ring, Channel setting is a good pair for square cut center diamonds like Princess or Asscher styles,  but can also create an interested look for mixing and matching more classical accents.

Verragio’s 0069P from the Classico collection features an almost geometric design that pairs a Princess cut center, put in place using the exclusive Lumino setting. The use of this setting allows the diamond to be suspended alone above a shank that is decorated with smaller Princess cut channel set side diamonds to complete the look.

However, there is softness to Round cut diamonds that can often create a more classic look. The Classico 0262P aims to combine the vintage appeal of the Round cut diamond and the slightly edgier and updated feel of channel setting, and create an interesting take on engagement rings. Much like the Classico 0069P ring, this design features a row of channel set, Princess cut diamonds that run in a vertical line down the shanks, but also has a row of round cut pave’ set diamonds on either side. And if Princess cut is your diamond style of choice, a square diamond could be added for the center; however the 0262P is designed to also accommodate a Round cut diamond center to ensure that every customer can obtain their optimal look.

When used in the design of a wedding band, Channel set diamonds can add extra flair in an unobtrusive yet elegant way. Katie Holmes currently sports a Platinum wedding band, adorned with Princess cut diamonds that run along the length, which she received from her husband, Tom Cruise, when they married in a fairytale-like Italian wedding. The couple told reporters that they chose the wedding band because it was a simple design that could be worn with the more elaborate style of engagement ring Holmes already wore.

Often couples choose a less ornate style of wedding band to be paired with their diamond engagement ring, which when featuring a more ornate look, is an elegant but simple match. The Eterna 0279PW offers the same look that Holmes sports, and features a simple row of Princess cut diamonds that flow in a continuous line, thanks to the inlay design the Channel setting creates.

Newly Engaged and Married Celebrity Couples Celebrate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for food, family, and being grateful for all we have. And it turns out that celebrities celebrate Thanksgiving just like the rest of us.

Ever popular couple Katy Perry and Russell Brand, despite claims that they were going to take a step back from the spotlight after their Wedding in India last month, still seems to grab the public’s attention. Brand has been making the promotion rounds for his latest movie, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, recently, and even debuted his newly acquired wedding ring while visiting ‘Conan.’

But despite both of the stars busy schedules, the couple settled down in California for a traditional American holiday, where Perry introduced the British-born actor to her family’s traditions past Thursday.

Perry, who jokingly shared that she sometimes slips up and calls Brand her boyfriend, was excited for their first Thanksgiving together, and even prepared a tofu turkey for her vegetarian husband.

Another couple that enjoyed a meat free holiday was Jessica Simpson and her brand new fiancé Eric Johnson. Simpson visited Jimmy Fallon on the late show last week where she opened up about her new engagement ring and plans for the upcoming holiday.

The three stone engagement Ruby and diamond engagement ring, she told Fallon, had been hidden in a shoe inside her house for weeks before Johnson popped the question.

“It was romantic that he actually asked me at my house,” Simpson shared. “Because that’s my little safe haven.”

Simpson also recently shared that she has begun to embrace the vegan lifestyle that Johnson leads, but admitted to Fallon that it might be a little difficult on the Thanksgiving holiday.

“We’re going to make a Tofurkey,” Simpson said. “It doesn’t sound right. It’s going to be jiggly and weird.”

The couple celebrated together in New York City, enjoying a little more traditional holiday activity, as Simpson was one of the big name performers at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Verragio’s Wedding Bands for Men: Masculine Flair for the Modern Man

Michael Buble proved he was not only a modern man, but an opened minded one when he began wearing a male version of an engagement ring after he proposed to his Model girlfriend, Luisana Lopilato.

Although more men today are embracing the idea of wearing a ring as a symbol of their commitment pre-wedding, most do so for their own reasons. For Buble though, it is a cultural thing. In some South American countries, like Lopilato’s home of Argentina, it is tradition for an engaged couple to exchange rings after a proposal, and Buble famously joked that he had not heard of the tradition before, but went along with.

Buble is once again giving a nod to his fiancé’s culture by planning not one but two ceremonies to ensure that both sides of the couple’s families can participate in the festivities.

“We are doing one in Argentina and that’s for her family,” Buble told ET Canada. “And then we are doing one in Vancouver.”

No word on how the style of his wedding ring will differ from the engagement ring he has been wearing for the past year, but modern men are not just varying in tradition these days, but in terms of style as well.

The Men’s Collection from Verragio offers a unique and creative approach to men’s bands, and is an alternative to traditional style bands.

All rings from the In-Gauge collection are injected with black enamel and sand- blasted to create a blending of textures. The RUD 7906 exemplifies both of the elements used to create a modern and sophisticated wedding ring. The ring features two black enamel lines that the run the length of the edges and strategically placed small Round cut diamonds along the band, and ring’s 7mm width preserves the masculine air of the design that includes a little extra ornamentation.

For the purists, Verragio still offers a traditional look with the VW 5006,  which features a classic, unadorned band; sand-blasted to create a rougher texture, and is available in yellow gold as well as other white metals like white gold or platinum. Its 5mm width creates an unobtrusive design for a guy who likes to keep things simple.

However, Verragio’s VW 6014 offers the best of both worlds with only a mixture of textures used to create a one-of-a-kind look. This ring features alternating smooth and sand-blasted lines that run along the length of the ring and creates the illusion of stacked bands. The black enamel and diamonds that are featured in many of rings in the men’s collection are absent, but still the textured design creates the perfect balance for a today’s modern man who fancies himself as old-fashioned but likes just a little extra flash.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Win a Verragio Ring and Wow Friends and Family for the Holidays

The holidays are a time for family and loved ones. It is also a time for gift giving and togetherness, making the holiday season an ever popular time to propose. It combines all the best elements of the season: being with the ones you love, giving gifts that express your love for one another, and having your family close around you to celebrate.

However, the past couple of years have been tough times for people, and Verragio wants to show their understanding and appreciation by offering our Facebook fans the chance to win their very own Verragio Engagement ring.  And in the spirit of the holidays, all you need is the support of your family and friends.

The contest, which has already begun and will choose a winner on Thursday November 25th at 3pm, is still open to all contestants. To enter, contestants can see a full listing of the official rules of entry on Facebook, and should be read by all those that wish to participate.

But the process is simple, first contestants should visit Verragio’s website to browse our collection of engagement rings, and if there is one that is of particular interest, click ‘enlarge image’ to see if it is eligible to be own. However, the image must say ‘Win this ring’ once it is enlarged to be considered for the contest.

Next, visit Verragio’s Facebook page and become a fan, and keep in mind that contestants and voters who are not fans of Verragio’s page will not be considered eligible. Next, under the contest tab on Facebook, there is an easy two part entry form where, after validation, contestants can upload the image of their chosen ring and share with voters why they should win that engagement ring.

The rest is up to the support of your friends and family who can vote for your entry by making sure to click ‘like’ and cast their vote. The entry that receives the most votes, wins the ring.

The contest is up and running so those who want to enter should make sure to read the rules carefully and enter accordingly. Only individuals over 18 years who reside in the United States are eligible to enter this time around, so if that includes you, come join the party and just imagine how a Verragio engagement ring will look under the tree this holiday season.

Prince William and Kate Middleton Set the Date: April 29th

Better check those betting slips, because the date and venue have both been set for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The current most popular couple in the world has chosen exchange wedding rings on April 29, 2011 at Westminster Abbey, according to Princes William and Harry’s Private Secretary, Jamie Lowther Pinkerton, who spoke to reporters at St. James Palace earlier this morning.

These announcements are not considered huge revelations after pictures surfaced of Middleton touring the Abbey after hours, and reports went public that the Prince had put in a request for time off from his military duties for that week. However, Pinkerton told reporters that the couple is very much involved in the planning of the day, and has strong opinions on the arrangements.

The couple reportedly chose Westminster for its beauty, 1,000 year history, and intimacy despite its size, according to Pinkerton.

Although both Prince William and Middleton do not want too ostentatious of a display due to the tough financial circumstances the country has been facing, the wedding is expected to cost up to $40 million dollars. All of the expenses except security will reportedly be divided between Prince Charles and Middleton’s family. However, security could cost around $20 million on its own, which will be paid for by the taxpayers.

The wedding gown is being estimated to cost as much as $200,000, but although a designer has yet to be announced, it is rumored that it will look nothing like the gown Diana wore when she married Prince Charles in 1981.

While millions of viewers are sure to watch on their television, over a thousands of guests are expected to be in attendance on April 29th, including various European royalty and celebrities like Phil Collins and Elton John.

The date was chosen by the couple, according to Pinkerton, because they wanted a classic British occasion with good spring weather, and other couples, who had chosen that day for their own wedding, probably for the same reasons, are not happy.

Reportedly British brides who had planned far in advance, those without the power of the royal family behind them to plan a wedding in just 6 months, to wed on April 29th, are afraid that Middleton will steal the focus that day. However, when William’s grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip celebrated their 50th anniversary in 1997 they included 50 couples in the celebration that had married on that same day. So 50 years down the road, that’s something for them to look forward to.

Although, Westminster Abbey is where his grandparents were married on 1947, it also hold special meaning for William as the location where his mother’s funeral was held 13 years ago.

So far, William has not shied away from including the memory of his mother in the festivities, making it clear he intends to keep her memory alive by proposing to Middleton with his mother’s engagement ring.
Although it was meant as a sentimental gesture, it has created quite the commercial uproar with thousands of women worldwide clamoring for a sapphire ring of their own. Although it was the first trend the couple had started, it won’t be the last in the coming months of wedding planning.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Royal Footsteps to Follow: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip Celebrate 63 Years Together

The fairytale romance of Prince William and Kate Middleton, that is fast becoming a global sensation, is big news. So much so that it has eclipsed another royal love story, that of his grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and her consort Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh.

The couple, who just celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary this past Saturday, has been together, happily married since 1947.

It was a different time and different world when Elizabeth first met Phillip, then a part of the Greek and Danish royal families, when she was just 13 years old. Claiming love at first sight, Elizabeth corresponded to Phillip through letters over the life-altering, world changing years of WWII.

In 1939, during the onset of the war, Elizabeth and her sister Margaret were moved to Balmoral Castle in Scotland, only 14 years old at the time, and then moved to Norfolk for their safety. However, by the time she was 16, Elizabeth joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, where she trained as a driver and mechanic, drove a military truck, and today is the last surviving head of state to serve in World War II.

All the while, her and Phillip kept in contact, and following the war, when Elizabeth was only 20 years old, Phillip asked her father, the King, for her hand in marriage. Although initially concerned about her young age, the King eventually relented, provided they wait until Elizabeth’s 21st birthday. In agreement, Phillip took the time to renounce his Greek and Danish royal titles, as well as his allegiance to the Greek crown, convert from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism, and become a naturalized British subject.

Elizabeth’s engagement ring was a three stone diamond ring, with a square cut center stone and matching, smaller side stones set in platinum; all three diamonds came from Phillip’s mother’s tiara.

The wedding, which took place on November 20, 1947, was a simple affair, by royal standards, due to the country’s recovery from the war. And like all other girls at that time, Elizabeth saved up ration cards, or clothing coupons, to obtain the material for her dress.

The couple was married in Westminster Abbey, the last royal couple to do so, although rumors are swirling that her grandson and second in line for the throne, Prince William and fiancé Kate Middleton will be holding their ceremony there, as opposed to St. Paul’s Cathedral, where his parents, Charles and Diana exchanged wedding rings.
Elizabeth and Phillip received 2,500 wedding gifts from around the world and 10,000 congratulatory emails, and the 2,000 guests in attendance followed up their ceremony with a reception in Buckingham palace. A nine foot, four tiered wedding cake was cut using The Duke’s Mountbatten sword, and the pieces distributed to schoolchildren and institutions.

The couple has had four children, including Prince Charles, the heir to the British royal crown during their 63 years together, in which time they are rarely apart.

In a book cataloging the Queen’s reign, which is often characterized and criticized for her moments of cold adherence to tradition, author William Shawcross documents their relationship. “He is someone who doesn't take easily to compliments. But he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years,” the Queen is quoted, speaking warmly of Phillip. “And I and his whole family, in this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know."

Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova: Secret Engagement Ring Leads to Secret Wedding?

With the rash of over-the-top celebrity weddings occurring lately, and the feeding frenzy of media attention they draw, it is hard to imagine a high profile couple being able to marry in secret; easy to see the appeal, but hard to imagine.

However, international pop star Enrique Iglesias and tennis superstar Anna Kournikova have been together for eight years, and has constantly been able to keep the media guessing as to the status of their relationship for almost a decade.

The couple first met when Kournikova stared in the Latin singer’s music video for the song Escape in late 2001, and have reportedly been together ever since. Although the pair has been constantly plagued with rumors of breakup, there have been equal speculations about marriage.

Despite the fact that the two are steadfastly silent regarding the status of their relationship, rumors have plagued them since the very start, sometimes created by their own actions. In 2007, Iglesias was quoted as saying that he had no intentions to marry Kournikova because the two had already split up, a statement he later denied, claiming he was misquoted.

Iglesias has addressed rumors that he is against marriage telling reporters, “A lot of people think that I’m against marriage, but you can be happy with someone without being married.”

But in June of 2008, Iglesias gave an interview to the Daily Sun paper, claiming that the he and Kournikova had already married and had separated the year before. Another claim that the musician later claimed was only a joke.

For her part, Kournikova has never commented on the exact status of her relationship, but recently told Graham Norton, when appearing on his show, that she sees no point in marrying if the couple was already happy together.

However, her actions seem to contradict her words, as the two-time, Grand Slam doubles champ has been seen wearing a large Radiant cut, canary yellow diamond ring since 2009, which has only helped to add fuel to the fire. Due to her refusal to answer questions about her relationship, there are few details known about the ring, but many believe it is actually an engagement ring from Iglesias.

And just this weekend, the couple was spotted leaving dinner in Hollywood with Kournikova leading the way wearing what looked like a diamond wedding band, igniting the latest round of wedding rumors.

Although Kournikova is almost never seen without her yellow diamond, this is only the second time the wedding band styled ring has been seen on her hand, leading some to believe that the two have somehow managed to exchange wedding rings in secret.
Considering the couple’s tight-lipped attitude and their ability to keep the media running in circles, it is highly likely that we will never know the truth. But as Kournikova has said herself in the past, what does it matter when 8 years is longer than most married couples stay together.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Asscher Cut Engagement Rings: Classically Modern

Across the pond, as they say, Prince William’s affianced Kate Middleton has sparked a sapphire craze with his mother’s keepsake, but there have been a couple of engagement rings sightings as well. Most notably, the inevitable dueling comparisons sparked by Jessica Simpson and her ex’s new fiancé Vanessa Minnillo.

Jessica Simpson’s romantic ruby engagement ring has almost eclipsed the news of Minnillo’s equally stunning Asscher cut diamond ring, a ring so beautiful it really shouldn’t be ignored.

The Asscher cut diamond dates back to 1902, when first invented by the Asscher brothers in Holland, Amsterdam. The brother’s also gained famed for cutting the Cullinan diamond, the largest rough diamond ever found at 3,106 carats, into three parts, one of which is now part of the British Crown Jewels.

Often called a modified cushion cut, the Asscher can be identified by its square shape, deeply trimmed corners, and ‘hall of mirrors’ effect. Redesigned and re-patented in 2001, an authentic Asscher still has the family insignia emblazoned on the diamond’s girdle.

Vanessa Minnillo, who recently received a 4 carat Asscher cut diamond engagement ring from longtime boyfriend Nick Lachey, worth around $125,000, has joined the ranks of the few Hollywood women who eschew the more popular Princess or Round cut in favor of something elegant and a little more unique.

Movie star Kate Hudson may be following in her famous mother’s footsteps as far as her career goes, but Hudson has always been a free spirit. In 2000, Hudson made both professional and personal breakthrough’s when she starred in Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous” and married The Black Crowe frontman, Chris Robinson. Before the two exchanged wedding rings though, Robinson presented Hudson with a 5 carat Asscher cut diamond engagement ring with Round cut diamonds set into the platinum band; classic yet different and perfect for Hudson’s style.

The Venetian 5001P-3 from Verragio’s latest line is much like Hudson’s ring, in that it features pave’ set diamonds that lead up to a solitaire Asscher cut center diamond. However, unlike Hudson’s ring, this design features the Venetian lace detail inside the band in order enhance a one-of-a-kind look that sneakily does not take any attention away from the diamond center.

Zooey Deschanel is best known for her deadpan acting as well as her modern take on retro style, making her the perfect personality for an Asscher cut diamond ring, which last enjoyed a rash of popularity in the ‘20s. When proposing, her then boyfriend, musician for the bands Postal Service and Death Cab for Cutie, Ben Gibbard chose a 3 carat solitaire Asscher cut diamond center set onto a thin shank adorned with smaller Round cut diamonds that run the entire length of the band. The ring, like Deschanel herself, is elegant and a bit quirky.

The beauty of the Asscher cut is that it boasts a square shape, which some consider to be more modern than the classic Round cut, but is can also be worn unadorned or within a halo. It is a thoroughly versatile diamond style that although it has been updated, adds classic elegance to any ring.

Now we’re the Ones Waiting: All Eyes on Kate Middleton

Not a day will likely pass by without news on the impending Royal wedding of Prince William popping up, at least until the actual wedding day, which bookies in England are showing could occur as early May. Yes, that’s correct, bookies, bookmakers, bet takers: they are all taking bets as to where and when the wedding will take place. Americans will bet on just about anything, but even in this country we have yet to bet on weddings.

Despite the fact that a date has yet to be announced, Prime Minister David Cameron has already declared Prince William’s wedding date to be a national holiday. Just as it was decided for his parents’ wedding in 1981, the Prime Minister has announced that all residents of the U.K. will be given the day off work to annually commemorate the occasion, with the provision given that should it fall on a Saturday, workers will be given Friday or Monday off as well.

As for when the wedding will occur, May is being given the best odds due to the weather. Rumors have begun to swirl that the Prince himself favors a March wedding, but officials fear that the likelihood of rain during the spring months will not portray a nice picture of London. And if the over 750 million worldwide viewers that watched his mother Princess Diana marry Prince Charles is anything to go by; all eyes will be on London that day.

All eyes already seem to be on Kate Middleton in the days that have followed the announcement that she will marry Prince William after eight years of dating and waiting. Pictures surfaced, just two days after the announcement, of Middleton exiting West Minster Abbey accompanied by the Prince’s aides, after a late night visit. This gave betters an edge on where the ceremony might be held, but it also indicated that, much like Princess Diana, the paparazzi are already following her every move.

Also much like Diana, Middleton is already being considered a fashion icon in the making. Brazilian born clothing designer, Issa London has always been a favorite of the future Princess, having been seen at various events over the years in her gowns and recently revealed that several dresses had been custom made for her by the designer.

And although the simple blue dress that Middleton wore during the couple’s first interview together was designed by Issa London, it was not custom. It was in fact, available through the designer’s website for purchase. ‘Was,’ because one day after the interview aired, consumers flooded the website and the dress was sold out. Her style, which has always been describe as girl next door with understated elegance, has begun to influence the nation.

But the biggest hit from this media parade has been the sapphire engagement ring that William bestowed upon Middleton. The 18 carat Sapphire that once belonged to Diana has already sparked a worldwide sapphire craze, the likes of which not been seen in 30 years. Retailer QVC, which sells costume jewelry rings that bears a resemblance to the royal ring, already reported an 800 percent increase in demand. And New York Natural Sapphire Company reported 51 orders placed for sapphire rings the morning after Middleton was shown wearing the family heirloom, and too many other emails than could be processed. Michael Arnstein, the company’s CEO, told reporters that this was the biggest news for the company since Diana chose the ring in 1981.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Crazy in Love: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes Anniversary

In 2005, there was a visible change in major movie star Tom Cruise. Following a string of controversial events, including the now infamous couch jumping incident on Oprah, Cruise appeared, at times excitable, restless, and increasingly aggressive. Some credited it to a change in his representation, others called it a breakdown. Cruise, however, simply called it love.

In April of that same year, Cruise began dating Katie Holmes, a mostly television actress at that time, best known for her role on the teen drama ‘Dawson’s Creek. Having apparently lost his mind over his love for her, the two were engaged two months later. Today is their 4th wedding anniversary.

For her part, Holmes has repeatedly said that she was in love with Cruise the moment he met her, and on June 17, 2005, Cruise proposed to Holmes on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and presented her with one of the most famous engagement rings to date. The antique styles ring features a 5 carat, oval center diamond, set in rose gold and platinum, with pave’ set diamonds on the split shank.

Holmes was raised under the Catholic Church; however Cruise’s previous two divorces rendered it impossible to marry in a Catholic ceremony. Cruise, who was also raised Catholic, is now perhaps one of the most prominent members of the Church of Scientology, a religion not recognized in Italy, where the couple was holding their formal ceremony. Consequently, the two married at their home in Los Angeles reportedly two weeks before they actually exchanged wedding rings.
But the main event, the fairytale dream wedding, and celebrity event of the year, took place on November 18, 2006 on the southern shore of Lake Bracciano in Italy. The ceremony brought forth so much media attention during the upcoming months that the venue, the Odecalchi Castle, waived its usual $50,000 free.

The new celebrity couple, already christened “TomKat” by the press, was joined by 150 of their nearest and dearest, including other power couples like Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, and fellow Scientologists John Travolta and Kelly Preston. Their 7 month old daughter Suri Cruise was also in attendance with Cruise’s children from his previous marriage to Nicole Kidman, Connor and Isabella.

The entire wedding party had clothes specially designed for them by Giorgio Armani, who is reportedly a good friend of the couple, including the suit worn by Cruise (the tag read Giorgio Armani for Tom Cruise) and Holmes’s dress: an off the shoulder gown with silk train adorned with Valenciennes lace and Swarovski beaded crystals.

The guests later dined on a multi course meal that included Italian hors d’oeuvres, sea bass, and steak, all from Cruise’s favorite restaurant, while entertained by singer Andrea Bocelli. The evening was topped off with a 5 tiered, white chocolate cake with marzipan roses and white chocolate chips.

After the whirlwind affair, the couple relaxed in Maldives for their honeymoon.

Cruise is currently in Dubai filming the fourth installment of the Mission Impossible series, while Holmes is in the U.S. filming her next project, so the chances of a celebratory dinner together seems slim. However it looks like the third time might be the charm for Cruise, as the couple still proclaims to be very much in love. Happy anniversary Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

A Verragio Engagement Story: Sweet Desserts

When Lauren Hiltner, 21, and her fiancé William Hoffman, 23, began discussing marriage earlier this year they may not have had an exact engagement ring in mind, but they knew what they wanted; old world style with a modern twist.

“We both favor a three-stone design over a solitaire and the Princess cut feels more modern than a Round Brilliant,” Hiltner said. “Then I found Verragio's web site and fell in love.”

The couple, who has been together since they were teenagers, visited Farah Jeweler’s in Columbus, Ohio to try on different Verragio designs and soon fell in love with the Paradiso collection. Paradiso rings, distinctive for the scrolling design inside the band, are the perfect mix of elegant form and practical function.

“Will loves that interesting detail; I enjoy that it keeps the ring upright on my finger,” Hiltner said. “I also like stones set into the band which make the design seem like is continues, to make a whole work of art for the entire ring and not just the ‘top’ that everyone sees all the time.”

The ring they decided on was the Paradiso 3064P, but it didn’t come home with them that day. Instead, Hoffmann took his time working on a surprise proposal.

A hardcore Buckeye fan and senior at Ohio State, it is tradition for Hiltner to attend the Ohio vs. Penn State game every year with Hoffmann. With nothing out of the ordinary to ruin the surprise, the two attended the game earlier on the day and went to Mitchell’s Steakhouse in downtown Columbus, a restaurant the two had been to once before on Valentine’s Day.

“Appetizer and dinner went by without incident and I wasn't suspecting anything,” Hiltner said. “Then, our server brought out a dish covered with a cloth napkin and said ‘Chef has prepared a special dessert for you tonight, hope you enjoy.’ I wondered aloud what it was.”

It was, of course, a Verragio ring box, unopened and sitting on her plate masquerading as dessert.

“He dropped down on one knee, opened the box, to reveal my gorgeous Paradiso, and asked ‘Lauren Elizabeth Hiltner, will you marry me,’” Hiltner said. “I of course said ‘Yes.’”

The newly engaged couple sealed the deal with a kiss and celebrated over their ‘real’ dessert, a crème brulee with fresh berries.

The two will be married this coming June, just a couple of months after Hiltner graduates, with about 150 friends and family, in Mansfield, Ohio at what Hiltner hopes will be a light hearted and elegant affair. The reception will feature a family style meal with plates to share as a way to honor the importance of family, something that is near and dear to Hiltner and Hoffmann’s hearts.

“Family and eating together is important to both of us,” Hiltner said. “So we wanted to begin the tradition from the very start.”

And looking back on the meal that ended with the most important dessert of her life, Hiltner couldn’t be happier.

“It was excellent,” Hiltner said of the food. “But my ring will last much longer than that crème brulee did.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Royal Hand-Me-Down: Prince William Proposed with Diana’s Ring

News of Prince William’s engagement spread across the world like wildfire after his father, Prince Charles made the announcement yesterday. Despite the global interest the news inspired, the exact details were sparse, and speculation began.

However, in their first official interview, which aired yesterday in the U.K., William himself confirmed that the engagement ring he chose to propose with was none other than the ring his mother, the late Princess Diana, wore in 1981.

“It’s my mother’s engagement ring so I thought it was quite nice because obviously she’s not going to be around to share any of the fun and excitement of it all,” he said during the interview. “This was my way of keeping her close to it all.”

The ring, which now currently resides on fiancé Kate Middleton’s left hand, features an 18k oval cut sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds and is set in platinum. Originally causing a stir within the royal family because the ring was not specifically designed for Diana, it quickly became an iconic symbol of the woman that would become known as ‘The People’s Princess.


During the interview, William spoke about proposing while on vacation in Kenya this past October, even sharing that he asked Middleton before he asked her father’s permission, joking that he felt he had better odds that way. William also shared that the two had talked about marriage before, so he didn’t expect it to be a huge surprise, but Middleton insists that it was, describing it as romantic, shocking and very exciting.
His mother’s ring, William said, never left his side.

“I had been carrying it around with me in my rucksack for about three weeks before that and I literally would not let it go,” He said. “Everywhere I went I was keeping hold of it because I knew this thing, if it disappeared I would be in a lot of trouble and because I’d planned it, it went fine.”

Originally valued at $65,000 at the time it was purchased by Prince Charles in 1981, it is now believed to be worth around $150,000. Although some, like Middleton herself, could argue that it is priceless.

“It’s beautiful. I just hope I look after it,” Middleton said during the interview. “It’s very, very special.”

Billionaire Diamond Dealer Acquires Another Historic Diamond

The highly anticipated auction of the rare, “potentially flawless,” over 24 carat pink diamond went off without a hitch on Tuesday, smashing world records and making history.

Often referred to as The Pink Panther diamond, the 24.78 carat, fancy intense pink diamond was sold at an auction administered by Sotheby’s in Geneva, for $46 million, beating expectations by the millions, and now holds the record for the most expensive diamond ever sold at auction.

Last sold by Harry Winston to the seller who wishes to remain anonymous 60 years ago, the diamond was originally estimated to sell for anywhere from $27 to $38 million, however the price was driven upwards in a four person bidding competition. The winner was Laurence Graff.

Graff, an English Jeweler originally from London, made international headlines in 2008 when he bought the famed Whittelsbach diamond, a 35.56 fancy blue diamond, setting the previous record for the most a diamond has ever sold for at auction.

It was later revealed that Graff had recut the diamond by more than four carats to remove flaws, upsetting purists who argued that he had altered history. The new 31.06 carat diamond, renamed The Whittelsbach-Graff, was on displayed alongside the Hope diamond in The Smithsonian Natural History Museum until recently.

No word from Graff on what he plans to do with the massive pink diamond, which he has already renamed ‘The Graff Pink,’ however he has expressed his pleasure at having acquired yet another historic piece.

“It’s the most beautiful diamond I’ve ever seen in the history of my career,” Graff said in a statement. “And I’m delighted to have bought it.”

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Diamonds are Forever, But Colored Stones are Fun

Just days ago it was announced that Jessica Simpson was engaged for a second time, with much attention being given to her new engagement ring; a 5 carat center Ruby flanked with two diamonds on either side. And despite the beauty and unique design of the ring, many people have focused more on price due to the fact that it is not a diamond.

For her part, Simpson seems to be perfectly happy with her latest ring; not only is Ruby her birthstone, but we should keep in mind that two of the world’s classiest ladies didn’t sport diamond engagement rings  either.

In 1952, Jacqueline Bouvier attended a private dinner party thrown by friends, and although they were in the same social circle, this was the first time she was formally introduced to the U.S. Representative, John Kennedy. Just a little over a year later, in June of 1953, the couple announced their engagement after Kennedy presented Bouvier with an emerald engagement ring.

The ring featured a 2.84 carat square cut emerald center, paired with a 2.88 diamond, and surrounded by tapered diamond baguettes on a gold band. Although Jackie O, as she was later labeled by the pressed due to her second marriage to Aristotle Onassis, passed away in 1994, she remains one of the major fashion icons of all time, and her unique engagement ring was one of the most impressive pieces of her collection.

Speaking on classic fashion icons, it would be hard pressed to find one as iconic or world renowned as Princess Diana, the former Princess of Wales. Princess Di, as she was later known, broke the royal mold in many ways over the fifteen years of her marriage to Prince Charles, starting with her engagement ring.

The Prince proposed without a ring, reportedly to give Diana time to fully consider and accept the high profile lifestyle he was offering her. It didn’t take long for her to accept and was almost immediately presented with a selection of engagement rings.

Her final selection was a stunning 18 carat Sapphire center, surrounded by 14 additional diamonds worth $65,000 in 1981. The ring initially shocked the royal family because it was not custom made for the soon to be princess, but was rather readily available in the jewelers catalog, complete with visible price tag. But as is the same with all brides, her choice was made and overruled royal concern.

Their son and heir apparent, Prince William, very recently announced his own impending wedding, and although their engagement ring has not yet been revealed, rumors have been circulating that William proposed with the same iconic sapphire ring his mother chose 30 years ago.

Because all of Verragio’s engagement rings are made-to-order, the use of birthstones or other colored gemstones incorporated in designs are always an option. In the past year alone, Verragio has custom designed the Venetian 5011P-4 to fit an emerald center stone instead of a Princess cut diamond. Or the time we custom designed the Couture 0379 to feature a very rare and unique Tanzanite center.

However, if center diamonds are more your style but you still would like a little splash of color, Verragio have been known to substitute accent diamonds for gemstones. The Couture 0410LR, featuring either a Round cut or Princess diamond center, was once specially made with a small sapphire in the signature crest under the band, retaining the white sparkle of a diamond, but still incorporated an eye catching special feature.

Using a birthstone, or a colored gemstone that is special to you, can be an easy and personal way to create a meaningful engagement ring design. Just ask some of history’s leading ladies.

The Wedding of the Century: Prince William is Engaged

Every 30 years or so, the most romanticized monarchy in the world, the United Kingdom, holds a royal wedding that is dubbed ‘the wedding of the century.’ The last such wedding was in July of 1981 when Prince Charles married Diana Frances Spencer, but yesterday Prince Charles announced that his eldest son Prince William is officially engaged to his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton. The two, according to Charles, will be wed in the spring or summer of 2011, making their wedding the latest and greatest wedding of the century.

This announcement is confirmation of a marriage that has long been speculated upon, with rumors being amped up in the last few months due to the Middleton family’s invitation to spend the holidays with the British royal family, which was said to be a sure sign that an engagement between William and Kate was imminent.

Comparisons between the two unions were inevitable, but rather than come up lacking, the young couple seems to have been given better odds of success, thanks to a couple departures from royal tradition.

Just like his father before him, William is the heir to the throne, and therefore required to marry. However, unlike his parents, who barely knew each other at the time of their engagement, and whose marriage has notoriously been portrayed over the ensuing years as a tortured union, William and Kate have been taking their time. So much so, that some British tabloids had begun to call Middleton ‘Waity Katy’ as a jab at her patience with the young Prince.

Kate and William met eight years ago while they were both students at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and have unofficially been living together for over a year while Prince William has been serving in the Royal Air Force. But the relationship has not been without its setbacks. The couple briefly separated in 2007 amid rumors that Middleton’s family was found lacking by the royal family.

Unlike Diana’s, whose father was an Earl, Middleton’s family has no ties to the aristocracy; her father is a former airline pilot and her mother a former flight attendant who together now run a mail order company. The rumors have always been denied and the couple reconciled, with Middleton present at many royal events since.

“Prince William has informed the queen and other close members of his family,” the statement by Prince Charles said. “Prince William has also sought the permission of Miss Middleton’s father.”

Middleton has been seen wearing an engagement ring in the last week, although no details have been divulged, which William reportedly gave Middleton while the two were on Safari in South Africa this past October.

Rumors of the engagement and upcoming wedding are sparse so far, but speculation is running rampant already, from the dress, to the ceremony, and even who Prince Harry, William’s younger brother, will bring as his date. And despite its outcome, their parents wedding, which was labeled as a fairytale wedding, was watched by 750 million people worldwide, and 60,000 people lined the streets of London to see the procession, created big shoes to fill.

But the whole world has watched and waited with barely concealed anticipation as Prince William and Kate Middleton formed a bond with each other and the country over almost a decade, and is waiting for their happy ending. So it’s safe to assume that this wedding will indeed be ‘The Wedding of the Century.’

Monday, November 15, 2010

Vindication? Jessica Simpson Shows off New Engagement Ring

More often than not, divorced women who are in the spotlight get a raw deal. Mostly going the way of Jennifer Aniston; forever portrayed as a bitter reject or labeled the saddest person in the world. (Despite a full life of friends and box office hits.)

Much was the case last week when Jessica Simpson’s ex-husband Nick Lachey presented his longtime girlfriend, Vanessa Minnillo with an Asscher cut diamond engagement ring.  Simpson and Lachey were famous for being married, having been a high profile couple at the height of the pop music sensation-era, and even starred in their own MTV reality show entitled, yes,’ Newlyweds.’

The news about Lachey and Minnillo’s engagement quickly morphed and became overshadowed by Simpson’s reaction to it, namely her supposed adverse reaction. Not a day went by before the internet was blazing with rumors of Simpson’s sadness about the announcement, despite her valiant efforts to be happy for him. So much so that she took to the radio airwaves to not only deny them, but express confusion over how they got so big so fast.

Although the timing is sure to be speculated over, Simpson herself has announced that she also is recently engaged, this time to former NFL player Eric Johnson. Perhaps proving that she is not, in fact, the sad divorcee that she had been made out to be over the past few days , Simpson’s representation confirmed that she and Johnson have been engaged since last week.

While at the opening of Dillard’s department store in Kansas City this past weekend, promoting her new clothing line, Simpson was spotted wearing a Ruby ring with two flanking diamonds, all three stones each over 5 carats. A far different style ring than her first engagement ring from Lachey, a Pear shaped diamond, with matching side stones.

Although it is a different style than the traditional diamond center engagement ring, the Ruby was chosen by Johnson because it is Simpson’s birthstone, as well as it symbolic meaning of love. However, being a departure from the traditional, many who were at the event reportedly would not have given the ring much thought had it not been on that special left hand and third finger.

And although the star herself has not commented on her new engagement, her father and manager, Joe Simpson, took to his Twitter account to pen supportive congratulations, stating “So very happy for Jess and Eric. May they have a lifetime of joy and happiness.”

The couple has been together since May of 2010, and during that time Simpson has been very open about her current love life, telling reporters how supportive Johnson is and how she couldn’t be happier.

The timing is sure to be considered suspicious, and while it is often hard to believe in pure coincidence, congrats to both Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson for getting back up on that horse, respectively of course.

Revolutionizing a Classic: The Solitaire Engagement Ring

In 1886 Tiffany’s introduced the six-prong solitaire ring design. In 1947 the diamond company DeBeers took it one step further, pairing engagement rings with their “a diamond is forever” campaign. Today, the combination of the two, the single diamond solitaire design, is one of the most popular styles for engagement rings today.

Although the traditional solitaire style consists of a single diamond, either Round or Square cut, on a clean unadorned shank, over the years the style has modernized in different ways.

For example, the Verragio 0388 from the Couture collection does feature a single diamond center on a clean shank, however the exclusive Lumino setting, scrolling design under the band, and pave’ setting on the outside of the four prong creates a unique take on the classic solitaire.

For those who desire a little more departure from the traditional style, there is the Venetian 5001P-3. As opposed to the more recognizable Round cut center, this ring is set with a Princess or Radiant cut diamond, also featuring the Lumino setting. It has pave’ set Round cut diamonds running the length of the shank, and the signature lace detail work inside the band. The overall design creates just the right amount of sparkle without the need for side stones.

And finally, if you like the cradle that the original six-prong design creates, the Classico 0372 engagement ring from Verragio holds a Round cut diamond center in six prongs, thin enough to still display the diamond in its entirety. The Round cut diamonds that decorate the band and the signature Verragio crest under the band updates the style and takes the solitaire out of the 1800’s and sets a new standard, creates a new classic.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Music Stars Keep it Classy at the 44th Country Music Awards

Country music stars somehow manage to simultaneously be some of the biggest celebrities in the country and separate from the mainstream. However, they are out in full force this week for the Country Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. And it’s hard to tell who dazzled more, the stars or their diamonds.

The host of the evening, Carrie Underwood, who blew up the country charts after she also appeared on American Idol, paired her over the top Talbot Runhof strapless gown with simple diamond earrings, and her over the top engagement ring of course. Underwood recently exchanged wedding rings with NHL Hockey player, Mike Fisher, after he presented her with a 5 carat, Round cut yellow diamond worth $150,000. The wedding took place in July of 2010, but the ring is still turning heads on the red carpet.

Sheryl Crow, who is almost a veteran of the red carpet, sparkled when she paired coral, gold, and diamond earrings with a diamond cocktail ring. Just because a girl isn’t engaged, doesn’t mean she can’t show off a little bling too. As Taylor Swift can testify to, the young starlet, who is somewhat responsible for bringing country music into the pop realm recently, arrived on the red carpet wearing drop diamond earrings in a leafy design with matching bracelets and diamond cocktail ring.

Recent rumor ravaged singer LeAnn Rimes also walked the red carpet, but decided to keep it simple with a pair of small earring and chunky ring, but with no engagement ring to be seen. However, it was just recently announced that Rimes has added her talents to the CMA Country Christmas Concert, which will be aired on TV closer to the holiday season.

And American Idol alum Kellie Pickler, who was there as a correspondent for the Ellen DeGeneres show, made headlines when she showed up sporting her new diamond engagement ring. Pickler, who became engaged to songwriter Kyle Jacobs this past summer, previously said that she couldn’t care less if her ring came from a crackerjacks box. Regardless, it’s a safe bet that this round cut, halo style engagement ring wasn’t a free prize from a box.

A Verragio Engagement Story: Lucky in Life, Lucky in Love

Sometimes, some wins are just chalked up to luck. Or at least that’s what Bailey Grose, who recently married Andrew Grose, believed when she won her engagement ring in a Verragio Facebook contest this past summer.

Grose, who entered the contest because she liked the designs from Verragio, won a Venetian 5007CU in a random drawing. And even though it might be a less conventional way to receive an engagement ring, Grose insists she couldn’t be happier.

“To have a Verragio ring is a dream come true,” said Grose, who only has one store that carries Verragio near her in British Colombia. “I love my ring, it fits so comfortably. My favorite thing about this ring is how antique and ‘vintage’ it looks.”

But even as pretty as the engagement ring was when she got it, it couldn’t upstage the wedding; about 100 friends and family attended the small ceremony in Vancouver, Canada on July 24, three and a half years from when they first got together, almost to the day.

“It was probably one of the hottest days of the year,” Grose said. “We really wanted to incorporate nature into the wedding so we used a lot of glass to show the greenery of the campus grounds. The girls wore green and the boys wore tuxes with brown vests.”

Pretty romantic when you consider that nature played a big part in their engagement as well.

“Andrew proposed in the hometown I grew up in as a child, and while I was showering he drove up to a waterfall I used to hang out at to hide the ring, champagne glasses and a bottle of champagne there,” Grose said. “We went for a walk, and he proposed on top of a huge rock at the bottom of the waterfall.”

And the Verragio ring couldn’t have arrived at a more opportune time, said Grose; it arrived just two weeks before the wedding.

Grose admitted that this may not have been her first win, she had previously won an Alaska cruise, but winning a Verragio ring is something that will last a lifetime.

“The side detail on my ring is absolutely gorgeous and I get so many compliments on it,” Grose said. “I think any girl that gets to wear this is so lucky.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

LA Lakers Player’s New Diamond Rings: Enough to Rival their Ladies?

The LA Lakers basketball team boasts some of the most famous players in the NBA, but they also boast some of the most famous WAGs (wives and girlfriends) who often steal the limelight on the sidelines. It’s no wonder that with all that media attention, they would be wearing diamond that could rival the movie stars.

Easily the reigning WAG is Vanessa Bryant, who married Kobe Bryant when she was only 19 years old. Vanessa may have only been 17 when the couple met, but Bryant wasted no time popping the question once she became of age, and proposed with a 7 carat; Asher cut diamond solitaire engagement ring, set in platinum, and reportedly worth $100,000.

After allegations of Bryant’s infidelity in 2003, Vanessa received another solitaire diamond ring, this time an 8 carat purple diamond worth $4 million. The couple, who have two kids together, eventually worked through their problems and Vanessa can almost always be seen wearing her original engagement ring, courtside.

Reality star Khloe Kardashian wasted no time when she fell in love with Lakers Forward, Lamar Odom; the couple began dating and were married in less than two months. It took a little time, but Odom was able to present Kardashian with a 9 carat, Radiant cut diamond engagement ring before they made it to the altar. And despite rumors that she has experienced a little drama with the other WAGs, Kardashian and her ring are present at almost every game.

Not to be outdone by his teammates, Shooting Guard Sasha Vujacsic presented his girlfriend, tennis champ Maria Sharapova, with a 7 to 8 carat, Cushion cut diamond engagement ring reportedly worth $250,000 in October. Sharapova once gave an interview stating her desire to retire and have kids before she was 30, so I think it’s a safe bet that she’ll be spotted on the sidelines plenty.

Yes, the wives and the girlfriends of the Lakers have beautiful diamonds, but their men will soon be sporting their own bling. As the winners of the most recent NBA championship, for the second year in a row, the LA Lakers recently received custom made, commemorative diamond rings.

Each ring was made specifically for each player from a custom made batch of 16K yellow gold, and features 16 Brilliant Round cut diamonds, one for each of the 16 championships the Lakers have won overall. Using the latest technology, the rings will also feature each players individual face in a 3D sculpture on his ring, and embedded with a piece of leather from the actual game ball used in game seven, when the Lakers beat the Boston Celtics 83-79.

So although the players won’t be wearing them during the game, who says a man can’t sport his own sparkle, for a feat like that, they deserve it.

‘It Was Fate’: A Verragio Engagement Story

When Kelly Johnson’s fiancé, Lorenzo Wells, proposed, it may have been a surprise, but the engagement ring definitely wasn’t. Johnson, who works at Christopher Williams Jewelers in Virginia, said she always knew a Verragio ring was in her cards.

“Ever since my first day of working at the store, I was amazed by Verragio's designs. Unfortunately, it is hard to find a three stone engagement ring that also has some side detail work, ” Johnson said. “And as soon as I saw the three stone Classico 0125R with the pave diamonds on the sides I knew it would be my future ring.”

And Wells, who has been dating Johnson for six and a half years, had everything planned from the perfect ring to a scenic sunset setting, according to Johnson.

“Lorenzo told me he wanted to go up to a local mountain resort and watch the sunset and take pictures of the fall leaves sometime during the week. I didn't really think much of it, then Wednesday came around and work told me to leave at 4pm to do a delivery for them ,” Johnson said.

As it turned out, her coworkers, who were in on the secret, were just trying to get rid of her so Wells could pick up the ring, and by the time the two were heading to the mountain top, the sun was about to set.

“We rushed in the car and literally raced the sun to the top of the mountain,” Johnson said. “When we got there we began snapping pictures as quickly as possible and then Lorenzo said he wanted a picture of us both together, so he put the camera on top of the car and set the self-timer.”

Oblivious to the big moment at hand, Johnson was more concerned with the fact that the camera didn’t seem to be working.

“This entire time he was telling me how much he loves me and how he wants to spend forever with me and I was paying almost no attention at all just saying ‘I love you too honey’, and ‘Yeah, me too’ because I was so focused on the camera that would not go off,” Johnson said.

When Wells got down on one knee though, Johnson finally got the hint.

“I was stunned but managed to get out ‘Of course!’ before the hysterical crying started,” Johnson said. “All in all it was a beautiful engagement and exactly what I would have wanted; private and romantic.”

Their engagement was a longtime coming, according to Johnson, who is currently busy planning their dream wedding in Outer Banks, NC for July of 2012. “We are going to rent a beach house for our family and friends and spend a week down there celebrating and get married on our last day down there on the beach,” Johnson said.

And as for the engagement ring, they couldn’t be happier to have it as a symbol of their relationship. “It was the perfect ring for me and when I originally showed it to my fiancé he said that it was exactly the ring he would have chosen for me,” Johnson said. “It was fate.”

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mix and Match to Suit Your Engagement Ring Style

Singer and actress, Mandy Moore was married before most people knew she was engaged to singer Ryan Adams in 2009; it was almost one month to the day that the couple exchanged wedding rings after announcing they were engaged. For that reason, Moore’s interestingly unique diamond ring doubles as both and engagement and wedding ring. The ring, features three separate pave’ set shanks and a Round cut diamond placed on the center shank. It could be seen as an interesting representation of the past, present, and future but it also resembles the look you get when a custom engagement ring is designed to have a matching wedding band sit flush against one another. Either way, it is unique combo that nobody else in Hollywood seems to have.

Interestingly, Moore’s engagement ring reminds me of Verragio’s Classico 0355. This diamond engagement ring features a shank that is solid at the bottom but split into three joint prong pave’ set parts at the top, the middle of which holds a Round cut diamond center.

Modern women have slowly been shedding certain wedding traditions in an attempt to personalize the entire marriage process to match their personalities, starting with the engagement ring. More and more, couples are looking for something unique; either by combining existing design elements or going in a different directional altogether.

Split shanks and twisted shanks are both good ways to add artistic detail to an engagement ring, but for those who can’t seem to decide which they like best, mixing the two is a good way to create an eye-catching design. The Couture 0374 displays an interesting design concept by first splitting the pave’ set shank and crossing over the two parts once before they flow upward to create the fours prongs that hold a Round cut diamond center. The only other adornment needed is the signature Verragio crown placed under the band.

Most engagement rings showcase the center diamond, which is generally the star of the show, but sometimes the metal it is set into can become part of the design too. The engagement rings in the Paradiso collection can all be considered unique due to the scrolling design inside all of the bands, but the 3060R has a little extra flair. This ring features smaller Round cut diamonds bracketed into the shank with metal lips raised up on either side, much like a combo between pave’ set and channel. The Round cut center diamond is set into four prongs that, rather than remain unobtrusive, rise above and flatten at the top to become part of the design.
The Classico 0282 is another example of how the metal, which in this case can bend and appear almost liquid as it becomes part of the unusual design. This ring is a new take on the traditional three stone engagement rings, and features two smaller Round cut stones flanking a larger Round center, each with their own set of prong. However, just below each side stone, the pave set shank splits around the diamond and continues closely around. The effect, which can best be described as the way water flows around an outcropping rock in a stream, is fluid.

So whether you are looking for something you haven’t seen before, or you just can’t seem to decide which design elements suit you best, maybe you don’t have to decide. Sometimes, you can mix and match to find a way to have it all.

Diamonds and Engagement Rings Giving Back to a Cause

Media mogul Russell Simmons hosted his first ever London charity event on November 8 for his charity, Diamond Empowerment Fund. The charity, which he started in 2007 to raise money for disadvantaged people in African nations where diamonds are a natural resource, exceeded its own expectations at Monday’s cocktail party and auction by more than $500,000.

Simmons has never failed to harness considerable star power when raising money for his various charities. In 2008 Simmons hosted another charity auction to raise for Rush Community Affairs, a group of nonprofit organizations, where stars from the hip-hop community put their own personal jewels on the auction block. Superstar artist and producer Missy Elliot, for example, donated a diamond ring in the shape of a turntable made of black diamonds and yellow gold.

Although well known for his charitable efforts, Simmons is not the first or only celebrity to use diamonds to raise money. The most notable instance was Elizabeth Taylor’s famous diamond donation in 1978 when she auctioned off an iconic jewel.

Married twice, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor are one of the most famous couples in Hollywood history, and in 1969 after the couple was married for a second time, Burton became fixated on purchasing a 69.42 carat Pear cut diamond that was up for auction. Although he was outbid, he later negotiated a private sale from a restaurant payphone and was heard saying “I don’t care how much it is; go and buy it.”

However, the couple couldn’t make it last again, and shortly after their second divorce in 1978, Taylor announced that the diamond, which at that point had become known as the “Taylor-Burton” would be going up for auction. The massive diamond sold for $5 million which Taylor donated to help build a Hospital in Botswana, Africa.

Paris Hilton has had a lot of boyfriends and fiancé, but the perhaps the closest she has ever come to the altar could be when she was engaged to Greek shipping heir Stavros Paris Latsis, who presented the heiress with a 24 carat Emerald cut diamond engagement ring worth $4.7 million.

The couple never quite exchanged wedding rings and was only engaged from May to November of 2005 before they called it quits, but in that time, the giant diamond garnered a lot of attention. And while Hilton’s name isn’t exactly synonymous with charity, despite the fact that she has actually given considerable sums to various charities over the years, it was announced that she had decided to sell the ring with the proceeds going to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. It was probably for the best, considering that even before the engagement was over, Hilton was complaining that the size of the engagement ring was hurting her finger.

But you don’t have to be a celebrity to give back to charity or help a worthy cause. Marie Curie Cancer Care, to this day, credits an engagement ring with their success. The charity, which was named to preserve the Physicist Marie Curie’s name in the medical society, raises money to alleviate the suffering of patients suffering from cancer. In 1950, a diamond engagement ring was received as the very first donation to the fledgling cause, raising over thousands of dollars, sparking an initiative, and establishing the cause as a legitimate charity that still helps cancer patients today.

This past Monday, Russell Simmons raised over $1 million dollars to help the effects of diamond mining, but it is nice to see that diamonds themselves can bring joy in more than one way.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Out but Not Down: Karina Smirnoff, from Dancing With the Stars Gets Engaged

It seems like the contestants of ’Dancing with the Stars’ keep waltzing right into the hearts of their significant others, either that or there is something in the water on set, because yet another cast member has announced her engagement.
Hot on the heels of former contestant, turned DWTS correspondent, Nicey Nash, who announced her engagement this past September, professional dancer, Karina Smirnoff is sporting a new diamond ring as well.

Smirnoff, a professional ballroom dance and instructor on the show, publically debuted her ring at a party at Tao in Las Vegas over the weekend. Although her fiancé, professional Baseball player Brad Penny, couldn’t be with her, he was definitely on her mind, thanks to the 4.5 carat Princess cut, platinum diamond ring he gave her.

What makes the ring unique, however, is the channel set diamonds on the band. The use of channel set, which could be considered less popular than the more prevalent pave’ set, can be seen in Verragio’s Classico 0069P, which features smaller Princess cut diamonds, set into the band and placed flush against one another, unlike Pave’, which separates by the use of prongs.

The beauty of the channel set is that the diamonds on the shank flow in a continuous line up the band, but for those who just can’t make up their mind, the Classico 0262P combines the best of both worlds. The Princess cut diamond center, set in Verragio’s exclusive Lumino setting, sits atop four prongs that are pave’ set on one sides and channel set down the middle of the shank. No matter how you set it, that ring has a lot of sparkle.

But Smirnoff’s engagement ring and fiancé seem to suit her perfectly. She recently told Us Weekly that despite being voted off this season on DWTS, things couldn’t be going better. “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been,” she told the magazine. “And Brad is the sole reason for that.”