Contact Larson Jewelers

Larson's Jewelers

The Facts And Figures Of A Modern Day Wedding

September 27th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

Photo via http://ow.ly/nPo4304CCtb

 

Once I got engaged, I knew that I needed to make a budget for my wedding because I was known to daydream about my wedding sparing no expense. After a quick pep talk with my mom and dad, we discussed my wedding budget. Honestly, I didn’t want the whole expense of my wedding to fall on my parents’ shoulders, especially since weddings in this day and age are getting more and more expensive. Fortunately, we and our two families all chipped in to give us the wedding of our dreams. Here is a basic breakdown of the major costs of planning a wedding here in the U.S.

Facts and Figures

  • Most couples are waiting a bit longer to get married. The average age for a bride now is between 25 and 29 years old. For the groom, it’s between 27 and 31.
  • The most popular month for someone to pop the question is December. But when it comes to the actual big day, most brides and grooms choose a warmer month. June and October are the most popular months for weddings, while August and September follow closely behind.
  • Ninety-nine percent of all newlywed couples take a honeymoon, and close to three-quarters of those couples stay within the U.S. Popular honeymoon destinations within the 50 states include Hawaii, Florida, California, and Nevada. For those who choose to go outside the country, popular destinations include the Bahamas, St. Lucia, the Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Mexico, Italy, and France. The average honeymoon lasts between seven and nine days.
  • The average number of bridesmaids and groomsmen for weddings nowadays is five of each. There are an average of 23 million bridesmaids and groomsmen in weddings every year.
  • The average length of time that a couple is engaged before their wedding day is 14 months.
  • One fifth to almost a quarter of all weddings are destination weddings.

Average Costs

  • The wedding gown is one of the larger expenses for the wedding day. While the purchase of a wedding gown will cost an average of $1,200 to $1,500, there are also alterations and preservation to think about. Alterations can average the bride around $250, while dress preservation can cost almost $275. About a fifth of all wedding gowns purchased in the U.S. are purchased at David’s Bridal.
  • On the flip side, the average cost of renting the groom’s tuxedo is between $150 and almost $250. Designer tuxes will cost several hundreds of dollars more. When a groom rents his tuxedo, it usually includes his pants, his coat, his shirt, his vest, his tie, and his cufflinks as well.
  • The average amount spent on the engagement ring is close to $6,000. The bride’s and the groom’s wedding bands are usually a purchase that is made together, separate from her engagement ring, although some wedding band styles have a matching engagement ring. The engaged couple spends an average of $1,000 to $1,500 on their wedding bands, an investment that will last a lifetime.
  • You’ll see flowers and other lovely décor at any wedding. The average spent on flowers for the wedding day, including the ceremony and reception, is between $2,200 and $2,300.
  • The average a couple spends on photography for their wedding day is around $2,600.
  • There are a few choices the couple needs to make when it comes to reception entertainment. The music for the wedding ceremony is usually a separate cost, but they will also have to pay for either a DJ or a band for their reception. The cheaper route would be to hire a DJ. This option will also give you the ability to choose familiar songs and artists to be played at your party. The average cost for a DJ is close to $1,200. A band will be a bit more costly, close to $4,000 for the entire reception. There are generally more people to pay when it comes to a band, after all.
  • The wedding venue can be very costly as well. This expense can average around $14,000 to $15,000.
  • The most costly places to get married in the U.S. are New York City and Chicago. Weddings in these areas of the country can cost a couple between $60,000 and $85,000. The most budget-friendly places to say “I do” are Alaska and South Dakota, where you’ll pay an average of $17,000 and $19,000 for your special day.
Share

How To Green Up Your Wedding With Plants

September 21st, 2016 in Wedding Rings

collage-2016-09-21

Green is the color that represents life. When you are planning for the union of a wonderful, exuberant couple who embody life and love and all that it represents, greenery and potted plants are perfect ways to decorate the wedding or reception or even to spruce up the bridal party accessories. One of my college suitemates got married and had a very simple ceremony and reception. She opted out of using flowers and decided to go with greenery and potted plants instead. She carried a bouquet of cascading ivy, and the aisle was lined with potted plants and more ivy. It was simple and lovely and was certainly perfect for my girlfriend’s wedding.

How to Use Plants

Use potted plants in the same way that you would use traditional wedding flowers. Carry a cascading bouquet of greenery, or have your bridesmaids carry something green without buds or any other color. Boutonnieres can be a simple sprig of greenery as well. Use plants on tables at the reception, as buffet table décor, or on the wedding party’s table. Use them as accent décor or as a centerpiece on a dessert table. Line the aisle at your ceremony with plants in lieu of flowers, or even surround the dance floor to block off that space and make it separate from the rest of the area. You could use potted plants to hide things that you don’t want to be major focal points for guests at your ceremony or reception as well: Hide the sound equipment or the area where the servers enter and exit the room with a wall of larger potted plants. Use smaller pots with smaller plants for holding place cards or table numbers, or even use them as gifts for your guests. A plant can even be used for a sweet unity ceremony during your wedding ceremony, pouring water onto the plant to symbolize pouring effort into the marriage.

Benefits of Wedding Plants

It’s no secret that a bride can spend a pretty penny on flowers for her wedding decor. If you are trying to save some money on wedding expenses, opting out of flowers and using potted plants instead can be a big help. Giving out tiny potted succulents to your guests could be less expensive than other wedding favors. And going with greenery instead of flowers for your bridesmaids and groomsmen will help you save as well. You can also save money by using greenery because plants tend to have more volume than flowers, so fewer potted plants will be needed in order to do the same job as cut stems.

Using greenery won’t just save you money, though: You might be saving yourself or your guests some sniffles and sneezes as well. If anyone attending your wedding is allergic to flower pollen, they’ll be happy to hear that you’re planning a pollen-less party by using green, leafy potted plants instead of flowers. No hankies will be needed, at least for sneezing!

Share

Best Locations For A Fall Honeymoon

September 8th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

Photo via http://ow.ly/u7IA3041Ti2

I’m the kind of girl who loves to get out her comfy sweaters, jeans, and boots at the first sign of fall. When that first yellow leaf appears on one tree, I’m already there. I love the colors, the smells, the temperatures, and the pumpkin coffees and baked goods. Fall is a beautiful time of year to get married, plus it’s a great time of year to take a honeymoon. With so many options, you can go anywhere to do almost anything and enjoy the first few days with your new spouse during the fall months.

Theme Parks

It’s no secret that summertime is the time of year when the theme parks are chock-full of families. With school being out for summer, you’ll see lots and lots of kids, teenagers, and babies. This may not be a problem for some, but if you are trying to have a fun yet romantic time on your honeymoon, then you may have a nicer time at the bigger theme parks without so many little ones running around. Now, you must remember that there will still be kids, but there will be considerably fewer during the fall months, as families are getting involved in the school year and other fall activities. The larger theme parks have a lot to offer those who are celebrating their nuptials, including romantic suites, dinners, and spas. If you like having fun adventures and both of you are thrill-seekers, this is a great option for your honeymoon.

The Northeast

One of my favorite things about fall is the beautiful colors that nature presents us. A great place to see this wonderful display of Mother Nature is in the Northeast. Leaf-peeping tours, trail hikes, and fresh apple cider and baked goods are just a few of the little things to look forward to when visiting the Northeast. There are many little towns that have great shopping and quaint B&Bs, and there are also some awesome larger cities that boast great resorts, galleries, and museums. Many local farms offer fresh produce or maple syrup, while parks and rolling hills offer some great outdoor hikes and sight-seeing tours.

Wineries and Vineyards

The harvest time for vineyards is the fall. There are many wine-tastings and even grape-stomping activities at this time of year. It’s a great opportunity to see how the grapes are harvested and the wine is made. In particular, the Napa Valley offers beautiful foliage and the fare of local gourmet chefs. There are great activities to experience, including hot-air balloon rides, vineyard tours, and spa outings. This is a wonderful option for that fall honeymoon.

Alaska

The last frontier, Alaska, is a great place to visit on your honeymoon. An odd but wonderful activity is to enjoy the Northern Lights. Visiting the major cities, like Anchorage and Fairbanks, can be enjoyable, but to see natural wonders, check out Denali National Park. The temperatures tend to be moderate and usually stay in the 40s and 50s for most of the day. During September, the days get shorter, so there is the increasing darkness to remember, but that just makes the nights longer (wink, wink)! Most hotels offer Northern Lights packages and still have awesome accommodations, too. Each city in the state offers some great activities as well, and the views of the mountains aren’t bad, either.

Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao

If you just want that summertime warm-weather feel, visit the “ABC” islands for your honeymoon. The climate is well-known for being perfect every part of the year, including the fall. If you want to escape the cooler temps, this is the honeymoon trip for you. This area isn’t included in the hurricane belt, so you won’t have to worry about that as your big day gets closer. These islands have beautiful waters, sandy beaches, and great diving at the coral reef. It will never get out of the 80s temperature-wise. There is wonderful marine life to discover, and there are many great locations for after-dark recreation as well.

Europe

Everyone loves Paris in the springtime, but what’s better than that? Paris in the fall is less crowded and more affordable for those who want to go overseas. The magnificent sights, the museums, the gardens, the culture, the food, the wine, and the romantic language are great, and the list goes on and on. But other great places in Europe to visit on your honeymoon in the fall would include London, Ireland, the Athens, Rome, Venice, and Barcelona. The shopping, the food, the sightseeing, and the countryside views would make Europe a perfect fall honeymoon destination.

Share

September’s Birthstone: The Sassy Sapphire

September 6th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

Photo via http://ow.ly/LLTb303Xdfj

 

I love the color blue, and I love that my sister’s birthday is in September. She gets a beautiful birthstone piece from me almost every year. The sapphire is such a rich blue color; it works so well against almost any skin tone or color, and it looks great set in a yellow or white metal as well. Those born during the ninth month are lucky to have such a gorgeous stone for their birthstone.

The History of the Sapphire

It was believed to protect the wearer from harm, so royalty throughout ancient Rome and Greece wore the sapphire both for its beauty and for protection. Because of the beautiful blue color of the stone, which reminded them of the sky, clergy during the Middle Ages wore the sapphire on their robes and in their headpieces to represent Heaven and blessings. This is where the term “royal blue” originated. They also believed that the stone represented faith, truth, honesty, and decency. During other times throughout history, it was worn for other reasons; it was believed to be able to influence spirits, guard the purity of the wearer, bring peace among people, and reveal prophesies.

The Colors of the Sapphire

When someone says the word “sapphire,” they are usually talking about the blue sapphire, which is the most common color for the gemstone. The word actually comes from the Greek word for lapis lazuli (another blue stone), “sappheiros.” Throughout history, when anyone has referred to the sapphire, they were most likely taking about the blue variety, but there are many other colors in which the gemstone can be found, including the white sapphire, which is colorless, the yellow or golden sapphire, the pink sapphire, the orange sapphire, and an orange-pinkish color that is referred to as padparadscha. There’s also the green sapphire, the purple sapphire, and the black sapphire. This stone comes in red, too, but red sapphires actually have another name: rubies.

Sapphire Mining

The majority of sapphires are mined in Australia, Madagascar, Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malawi, Tanzania, and the U.S., mostly in Montana. The famous Kashmir blue sapphire was found in that region between Pakistan and India, but the supply has been depleted.

The Powerful Properties of the Sapphire

Sapphire is the birthstone for September and for the astrological sign Taurus. It was once thought that if a Taurus wore the stone, they would be protected from mental disorders. Symbolizing loyalty and honesty, the deep blue gemstone is also thought to bring happiness and knowledge to its wearer. Long ago, many night-time travelers would wear the stone for protection, believing it to be a talisman that warded off evil spirits. Hildegard of Bingen wrote a book called Physica that included material about the sapphire and how to take advantage of its purported healing properties.

Interesting Sapphire Facts

The sapphire is a very durable stone, having a rating of 9 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. It is such a hard stone that only a diamond can scratch it. Because of this durability, Apple uses a type of glass screen that features created sapphire in its smart watches. Another interesting fact about sapphires is that before the diamond engagement ring was all the rage, gemstone engagement rings were more popular, including sapphire rings.

Famous Sapphires

When Napoleon Bonaparte married Josephine in the late 1700s, he gave her a sapphire and diamond ring, including a pear-shaped stone of each type. Another famous sapphire ring that is still being worn today is the ring that Prince Charles gave Diana when he asked her to marry him in England in 1981. The 18-carat oval blue sapphire, surrounded by diamonds on all sides, is being worn by her daughter-in-law today: Prince William, Diana’s oldest son, asked the former Kate Middleton to marry him with his mother’s breathtaking engagement ring.

Share

28 Weird Wedding Rituals From Around The World

August 26th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

Photo via http://ow.ly/SsPn303CcPh

The Dollar Dance originated at Polish and Greek weddings, photo via http://ow.ly/SsPn303CcPh

 

Sometimes, it’s exciting to make new traditions with your spouse as a couple, but it’s also cool to think about doing things that have been done for generations. I think it’s so much fun to look at fun wedding traditions around the world. Couples in China and Scotland sometimes do some particularly neat (and messy) things before they walk down the aisle. Let’s look at a few weird traditions that we don’t do here in the U.S.:

1.) In Congo, the bride and groom must go through with the entire wedding ceremony without laughing or even cracking a smile. Sounds like fun, right?

2.) In Germany, a get-together called a polterabend happens before the wedding day. Guests bring the couple dishes, glasses, and anything else that may break and make a lot of noise in the process. This practice is supposedly done to make enough noise to ward off evil spirits.

3.) In Korea, it isn’t unusual for the groomsmen to take the groom toward the end of the wedding day and tie up his legs at his ankles. At this point, they slap his bare feet with fish in order to prepare him for his wedding night. Somehow, I think I might be missing something here …

4.) If you are getting married in Puerto Rico, you will have a doll made that replicates you in your bridal gown. This doll is placed at the bridal table with gifts for the guests. The bride and groom do this in order to show guests appreciation for coming to their ceremony.

5.) The Masai people in Kenya have a tradition that involves the bride’s father spitting on her face and breasts at the wedding. This is supposed to be a blessing.

6.) An old German custom asks the couple to saw a log in half together, which symbolizes how they will work together to overcome obstacles.

7.) It is customary in France for the close friends and family to disrupt the wedding night of the bride and groom by going to their new home after the wedding and making a commotion. They bang on pots and pans, yell, and cause the couple to come outside. Once outside, the couple is to serve snacks and socialize with their guests.

8.) The Tujia people of southwest China require that the bride cry for one hour of every day for a month leading up to her big day. All of the women in her family are encouraged to join her in the crying after a week.

9.) “Blackening the bride” in Scotland requires the family and friends of the bride to tie her to a tree and dump disgustingly dirty things on her to embarrass her. This is supposed to get her ready to endure any hardships that married life may bring. If you can endure this tradition, you can endure anything.

10.) The Yugur people in western China require the groom to shoot his bride with three headless arrows at the wedding. After doing so, he will take each arrow and break them to show that their love will last forever.

11.) In Swahili culture, a village elder woman or sometimes the bride’s mother may escort the couple into their bedroom on their wedding night to help the bride if she’s not sure how it’s done. And some folks complain that their in-laws get too involved …

12.) In Borneo, some believe that it is good luck to not allow the newlywed couple to leave each other on their wedding day for any reason at all, not even to go to the bathroom.

13.) In Fiji, before the groom can get permission to marry the bride, he must bring a whale’s tooth to her father in order to be allowed to proceed with the ceremony.

14.) In Sweden, if the bride or groom needs to use the restroom, the other may be kissed all over by everyone at the reception while they are gone.

15.) In the Marquesas Islands, friends and family of the bride and groom lay face-down in the grass after the wedding, and the couple is required to walk across them.

16.) In Wales, the groom gives his bride a carved wooden spoon to symbolize the fact that he will always provide for her and never let her go hungry. How romantic is that?

17.) Tidong couples in Borneo are not allowed to leave their rooms or use the restroom for three days after their wedding ceremony. People bring them light foods to eat and small amounts of water. This is supposed to allow them to be happy in their married life and to bring them many healthy babies.

18.) It’s an old tradition in France for the wedding party to gather all of the leftovers from the reception, including food, alcohol, and cake, and mix them in a toilet bowl. They then go into the bridal suite where the new couple is spending their first evening together, and they don’t leave until the couple drinks the concoction straight out of the toilet.

19.) In certain counties in Ireland, when the bride and groom dance at their wedding, her feet can’t leave the floor. This is done as a precaution because they believe that evil fairies might come and take her away from her new love.

20.) Indian women born during unfavorable astrological conditions are required to marry a tree before they marry a man. This is done because they are supposedly cursed at birth. Once they break the curse by marrying the tree and cutting it down, they can marry their groom.

21.) In Southern Sudan, a woman must have two babies before the married is considered legitimate. If she does not provide her husband with two children, he can divorce her.

22.) Although we strive for the opposite here, in Mauritania, women who are getting married try to get as fat as possible before their wedding day for their groom.

23.) In India, the groom takes his shoes off before he walks down the aisle. When he does this, his friends and family are immediately supposed to protect them, while the bride’s friends and family quickly try to get the shoes. A battle begins, and if the bride’s side ends up with the shoes, the groom must pay a ransom to get them back.

24.) In Russia, a dowry is presented to the bride’s family from the groom’s family. If the bride’s family thinks the dowry is too little, they send the groom a fake bride. This may be a different woman, or it could be a cross-dresser. This goes on until the bride’s family receives what they believe to be an adequate dowry.

25.) In Romania, a weird game is played by the groom when he kidnaps his bride. If he is able to keep her hidden from her family for a couple of days, she will be his wife. If she escapes or is taken, she won’t.

26.) Spartan women would bulk up with muscle and dress up like men. Then, they would wait for their grooms to come and take them away.

27.) In South Africa, the parents on both sides each bring fire from their fireplaces to light the hearth of the newlyweds.

28.) Originating at Polish and Greek weddings, the dollar dance tradition isn’t too weird, and in fact, it’s become a tradition done quite often here, too. Brides have a special dance where the guests can pay to dance with her. They either put cash in her purse or pin it to her dress in order to have a moment with her alone on the dance floor.

Share

What NOT to Say in a Wedding Toast

August 23rd, 2016 in Wedding

Photo by Illuminance Studio (Flickr)

You’ve been to enough weddings to see the good, the bad, and the “somebody take away their microphone.” The maid of honor gets up there, and though her intentions are great, you need a secret decoder ring to understand the stories she’s telling. It’s like a bad Drew Barrymore movie. And the best man doesn’t fare much better. He’s watched all of the roasts on Comedy Central, so he pretty much knows what he’s supposed to do. The groom picked this particular guy out of every guy he’s ever known, and what happens? Word vomit. His jokes fall flatter then your aunt’s at Christmas. Guys, watching Wedding Crashers on TNT the week before doesn’t count as research, but kudos for being able to recite the whole movie.

There are a lot of things you should do during a wedding toast, like smiling and staying positive. On the flip side of the coin, there are also some key factors to stay away from … I’m talking restraining-order distance. In writing hundreds of toasts and seeing a couple go down the wrong path (we call these speeches the Manziels or the Lohans), here are three major problems to avoid:

1) Belly Button Microphone: This seems simple, but how many times do you see a nervous toaster get up there and the microphone is at their stomach? Unless you want the crowd to hear your stomach growling, bring that mic up to your mouth! I’m not saying you have to lick the microphone like David Lee Roth or make love to it like Steven Tyler, but get it close enough so your voice is heard and gently commands the room.

2) Jokes That Are So Inside They Have a Vitamin D Deficiency: I think we’re all guilty of this one, whether it’s giving a toast or just telling a story at happy hour. That time when you and the bride tried on mismatching outfits at Forever 21? … Well, you just had to be there. But guess what? Nobody at else at the wedding was. For the best man, those endless football practices in 10th grade were probably grueling and hot, but unless an NFL scout signed you as a 16-year-old, the story doesn’t carry much weight with most people. Be sure to include stories that reference something everyone knows about (the bride’s bubbly laugh or the groom’s booming voice are a good start).

3) Professional Accomplishments: People lean on their achievements like the cousin who you had to make a groomsman lean against the wall at 2 a.m. the night of the bachelor party. Telling the crowd how you and the groom were the youngest guys to make partner in the company doesn’t help anyone. It’s straight ego. It’s pretty much telling the crowd, “Hey here’s the bride or groom’s LinkedIn profile: Impressive, huh?” The crowd wants stories that show their human side. Stick to things like the time the groom stayed with his grandma in her hospital room for three days or when the bride drove eight hours to console a friend in need. That’s the good stuff.

Josh Womack is the head writer of Laugh Staff, a speech-writing and content-creating company of comedians. Laugh Staff helps make wedding toasts fun with good stories and great jokes. Check them out if you need a hand or a laugh!

Share

9 Gemstones Rarer Than A Diamond

August 16th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

blog- rare header

I’ve always claimed to be the most daring gem wearer of all my friends; I love to wear things that are different and hard to find. Something that I’ve always loved is to find rare gemstones to wear or just admire. Here is a great list of the top 10 rarest gemstones in the world.

1.) Painite

The Guinness Book of World Records claimed that in 2005, painite was the rarest gemstone in the world, even rarer than diamonds. The color can vary anywhere from pink to reddish, and even brown in color, but can even appear green under certain lighting. Originally named after the gemologist that discovered it during the 1950’s Arthur Charles Davy Pain, painite can be found in Myanmar and Magok. There are less than 25 gemstones now, while there are a couple of thousand fragmented pieces of the stone.

blog- rare pantitie

2.) Taaffeite

Found to be a million times more rare than the diamond, the taaffeite stone, which can be anywhere from clear-mauve to purple-red, was named after the gemologist that originally discovered it in 1945, Richard Taaffe. They were in a box of gemstones from Sri Lanka that were primarily single refraction stones, while the taaffeite stone had double refraction. The only taaffeite stones on earth would only fill about a ½ measuring cup. Because they are so rare, they can sell for up to $4,000 per carat. There are only about 10 taaffeite stones on earth that have the red coloring.

blog- rare Taaffeite

3.) Red Beryl

The red beryl, or bixbite, is thought of as a “red emerald” because it is very similar to the chemical makeup of the beautiful green stone. Although it looks similar to a ruby, there are about 8,000 times more rubies on earth than red beryl stones. First discovered in the early 1900’s, the red beryl is mostly mined in New Mexico and Utah in the United States. It has been known to sell for up to $10,000 per carat.

blog- rare Red Beryl

4.) Alexandrite

Belonging to the same family as the emerald, the alexandrite is a chrysoberyl. It can change color according to the source of light and by the angle at which you view it. The combination of chromium, titanium and iron within the stone are what makes it have such rare color-changing abilities. When viewed in softer incandescent light sources, the stone is red-purple. When viewed in the sun, it appears to be green-blue. This wondrous gem can be found in Sri Lanka, Burma, Madagascar, Brazil, India, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and largely found in Russia.

blog- rare Alexandrite

5.) Jadeite

In the late 1990’s, a jadeite necklace was sold in Christie’s auction house for almost $10 million. Jadeite is a stone that is found in small quantities when it is mined. The most valuable jadeite stones are the ones that appear to be a translucent green in color, but each stone can vary in its translucency. It is a stone that was used as far back as the Stone Age as tools. Jadeite can be found in parts of New Zealand, Japan, Russia, Canada, Turkestan, Italy, Kazakhstan, Guatemala, Myanmar and in the United States, more specifically California.

blog- rare Jadeite

6.) Grandidierite

Primarily mined in Madagascar, one of the first grandidierite gemstones mined was found in Sri Lanka. It is a pleochroic gemstone and can appear blue, green or white, depending on the light in which it is viewed. The stone was named after Alfred Grandidier, a French natural historian.

blog- rare Grandidierite

7.) Benitoite

Originally found in the early 1900’s, the blueish-purplish benitoite is primarily found in San Benito County, California near the San Benito River. When viewed under a UV light, the benitoite portrays magnificently brilliant color that almost glows. It is not clear what chemical properties give it such an unusual color. The benitoite can sell for up to $2,000 per carat.

cristaux de bŽnitoite sous U.V. (USA)

8.) Poudretteite

Not found until the 1960’s, the poudretteite gemstone was mined in the Poudrette quarry Quebec, but wasn’t officially named a mineral until the 1980’s. A 3 carat poudretteite was found in Magok, Myanmar in 2000. The gemstone itself is much too soft to be worn in a ring, but would work best as earrings or a pendant. It is not surprising that most people will never have even heard of the unusual gemstone, much less ever see one in person.

blog- rare Poudretteite

9.) Tanzanite

It is likely that there will be no more tanzanite to be mined in the next couple of decades. Found in the hills of Mount Kilimanjaro in the north part of Tanzania, this purple stone can have a shift in color depending on the lighting and on the crystal makeup of the stone itself. This is because of the vanadium ions within the stone. The stone will appear different colors in unpolarized light, vertically polarized light and horizontally polarized light.

cristaux de tanzanite (Tanzanie)

Share

August’s Birthstone: The Peppy Peridot

August 9th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

Photo via http://ow.ly/mEl6303556G

The birthstone for the month of August is the peridot. It is a magnificently beautiful green stone, which brings life to any jewelry setting. As a little girl, I always marveled at my mother’s natural green peridot ring that she wore often, as it is her birthstone. Born at the end of summer, she always told me that green is the color of life and that it was naturally a beautiful stone. I am always in awe of a beautiful mossy-green peridot when I see one, as it was one of the first jewelry pieces that I remember admiring as a little girl.

History of the Peridot

The Arabic word for “gem” is “faridat,” which was where the peridot got its name. The peridot is thought of as one of the oldest gemstones, as it was recorded as early as 1500 BC being used in jewelry for wealthy Egyptians. Ancient Romans wore the gemstone frequently as well, as they were very fond of the color and referred to it as the “emerald of the evening.” Ancient Hebrews believed that the peridot was used by Aaron, and it is also predicted to be present during the apocalypse mentioned in the book of Revelation. It was also popular in medieval European churches as décor for treasured objects such as shrines. During the Middle Ages, the peridot was used to adorn robes at churches in Europe.

Colors of the Peridot

Belonging to the olivine forsterite fayalite mineral family, the green peridot gets its color from the mineral itself, while other gemstones get their color from impurities within the stone. Because of this, the peridot only has one color, and that is a beautiful green hue, making it one of very few gemstones that are idiochromatic. The ideal color of the peridot is a vivid green color with a small bit of gold undertone, but the stone can be found in colors ranging from a lighter yellow to a brownish-green tone as well.

Mining the Peridot

Zabargad, also known as St. John, is a volcanic island in the Red Sea. This island, slightly east of Egypt, has the largest deposit of peridot and was used for mining the stone for more than 3,000 years. Egypt also is known for providing the world with beautiful peridot. Currently, the higher quality peridot stones are mainly mined in Egypt, Myanmar (Burma), and Pakistan. Although the deposits are much smaller, peridot can also be found in Kenya, Brazil, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Australia, Vietnam, China, and the United States. Mines within the U.S. can be found in Hawaii, Arkansas, Nevada, and Arizona. Peridot in its original olivine form has also been found on Mars, and it’s been found in crystal form in pallasite meteors that have come into Earth’s atmosphere.

Peridot’s Mystical Properties

There are several legends that surround the peridot. Some believe that if the gemstone is set in gold, it can be a talisman to rid one of bad dreams. Romans believed that in order to have any power at all, the stone must be worn only on the right hand. Legends claim that the stone can protect the wearer from evil, and it is also thought to bring friendship, happiness, love, and good eyesight.

Facts About the Peridot

Cleopatra wore peridot but actually believed she was wearing emeralds, as Egyptians mistook the vivid green stone for being peridot. The stone is mentioned in the Bible but is referred to as “pitdah,” which is its Hebrew name. Peridot has been very popular among Hawaiians, as it is a stone that is found only through volcanic activity, which brings the stone up from the earth’s core. The largest peridot ever found weighs more than 46 carats and was found in Pakistan. It is housed at the Smithsonian Museum, along with a necklace containing a stone weighing more than 34 carats that was mined from the San Carlos reservation in Arizona.

Share

Updated Wedding Traditions for the Modern Couple

August 3rd, 2016 in Wedding Rings

untraditional wedding

As time goes on, traditions can change, making things better, easier, or less troublesome for many brides and grooms. There were great reasons that some traditions started, but sometimes, they are just outdated and can become cumbersome for couples today. I remember that my sister was worried about her best friend growing up and how uncomfortable he’d be standing up for her in her wedding. Fortunately, her hubby-to-be had lots of sisters that wanted to stand up for him, so there was a mixed lineup of bridesmaids, bridesmen, groomsmen, and groomswomen. It made for a fun wedding party lineup and a super-fun rehearsal and wedding day. Here are some ideas to shake up those old traditions.

Blended Wedding Parties

With people today being in all kinds of relationships, there’s no rule that only females can stand up for the bride and only males can stand up for the groom. There are many cases of bridesmen and groomswomen, and a mixture makes your pictures more symmetrical as well. Also, there’s no rule that your flower girl has to be under the age of 8 anymore. Flower girls and ring bearers can be pets, babies, teens, or anyone else that you desire.

First Dance

The first dance is a tradition that allows all of the wedding guests to watch the bride and groom dance for the first time together as a married couple. Some people aren’t the dancing type, while others simply don’t want to have a first dance. If this is the case, just have the DJ announce your first dance and invite all of your guests to join you on the dance floor.

Wedding Cake Alternatives

There’s no need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a wedding cake anymore. Wedding cake alternatives will allow your guests to eat without plates and forks, allow you to save on your budget, and can be simpler when it comes to planning the reception. Cupcakes can be a cheaper alternative to a cake, as can sundae bars, candy bars, or any other sweet treats for your guests.

The White Dress

Some girls are fair-skinned and don’t want to wear white, while others simply want another option for their dress on the big day. Your wedding gown doesn’t have to be white. Ivory, blush, champagne, and powder blue dresses are great alternatives to white. If you are going extra-casual, you can skip the wedding gown all together and wear your favorite dress, regardless of the color.

Go Ahead and Peek

There is an age-old tradition that the groom seeing the bride before the wedding ceremony is bad luck. Sometimes that isn’t a convenient tradition, though. Waiting until after the ceremony to take pictures can sometimes lead to running makeup or splotchy skin from crying tears of joy, messed-up lipstick from the first kiss, and possible messed-up hair from younger bridal party members’ meltdowns (think a 3-year-old flower girl and a 2-year-old ring bearer). Go ahead and do a first-look shoot before the ceremony for the sake of the pictures. There will be tons of pictures after the ceremony, but you want to get the essence of your perfectly done makeup and hair and also his reaction of seeing his gorgeous bride for the first time. Plus, it’s always nice to tell your soon-to-be spouse that you love them right before you say “I do.”

Garter and Bouquet Toss

This is a silly little tradition that most brides and grooms do simply because it is a tradition. You might choose to only toss a bouquet, but if you aren’t comfortable with either of these traditions, just skip them. No one will notice, especially if they are dancing and having a good time. Plus, most of your single friends would probably rather go without these rituals, too.

Anyone Can Pay

In this day and age, people are working hard to pay for college, weddings, savings, vacations, and retirement. It may not be tradition to get help from whoever is willing to give it, but it isn’t necessary for the bride’s family to pay for everything anymore. Talk with family members to see if they are willing to pay for certain things. Grandparents can possibly help pay for flowers. Try to get help with the bigger items from both sides. Maybe his family can pay for the venue and DJ, while her family pays for the flowers and the cake. Some fees that can be split are the photographer, videographer, and catering. Or it may be that you and your fiancé want to pay for everything yourselves, and that’s fine, too.

Asking for Cash, Tactfully

Although it would be tacky to ask for cash gifts on your wedding invitation, you can quietly provide options for guests who want to give cash, especially if they are unable to come to the ceremony and reception. Word of mouth works well for this, and there also may be an option on your wedding registry to register for gift cards. Some couples also set up a “honeymoon fund” website where people can help send the newlyweds on a dream vacation.

Rings Are Optional

All brides want everyone to know that they’re married, but sometimes a ring for the groom (or even the bride) isn’t a favorable option. Some people work heavily with their hands and don’t see a ring as a good choice. Tattoos are becoming more popular in the place of wedding rings. Some people choose to tattoo a ring or even simply tattoo their spouse’s first initial on their ring finger. Some just forgo the ring idea entirely and tattoo each other’s names on their body.

Walking Down the Aisle

Many little girls dream of their daddy walking them down the aisle on their wedding day. Unfortunately, sometimes, that just doesn’t work out. Nowadays, anyone special person can walk the bride down the aisle. Mothers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, or children can escort the bride: The person who “gives away” the bride simply needs to be someone who is close to the bride and was there for her as someone to look to in times of need. Alternately, the bride can just walk down the aisle on her own if she’d prefer.

Share

18 Of The Most Famous Gemstones

July 27th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

blog- fmaous gems header

Every little girl believes that she’s a princess. When I was growing up, I was fascinated with Princess Diana, and to this day, I am enamored with the former Kate Middleton. So you know that I had to have a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring, just like Kate’s (only much smaller) when Prince William popped the question with his late mother’s engagement ring. Oh, how I love a great real-life fairy tale! There are so many great and beautiful famous gemstones in the world besides that one, though. Here, I’ll take a look at a few notable gems.

The Taylor-Burton Diamond

Famous movie stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were having a lover’s spat when he said that she had masculine hands. Taylor, being the smart modern woman that she was, used the argument in her favor to get him to purchase her something that would draw attention away from her “ugly” hands. At the time, the largest and most valuable diamond in the world was a diamond nearly 70 carats in size diamond, and he purchased this to be set into a necklace for her in order to take attention away from her “hideous” hands.

blog- famous Taylor diamond

Kate Middleton’s Sapphire Ring

The ring that was first placed on Princess Diana’s finger in 1981 was an 18-carat sapphire with diamonds surrounding it. The $60,000 ring was then saved for Prince William, who placed it on his fiancée’s finger 29 years later. To this day, it is an iconic gemstone that almost anyone would love to own.

blog- famous kate middleton

The Hope Diamond

Mined during the 1600s in Golconda, India, the Hope Diamond, weighing more than 45 carats, was originally more than 112 carats before it was cut. Purchased originally by Jean Baptiste Tavernier, a French merchant, it was passed along to King Louis XIV in 1668. The diamond was stolen more than 100 years later from the French royal treasury. Later owned by King George IV, it was sold to pay back some of his debt after his death. Henry Philip Hope (the stone’s namesake), Joseph Frankels and Sons of New York, and Evalyn Walsh McLean were each owners of the stone, and in turn, they used it to pay off debt. Harry Winston was the last owner of the stone, donating it, now worth a quarter of a billion dollars, to the Smithsonian in 1958.

blog- famous hope diamond

The Fabergé Egg

Created by Peter Carl Fabergé, these jeweled eggs were produced between the years 1885 and 1917. Out of the 50 that were made by the House of Fabergé, only 43 are still around. The most famous of these eggs were created for Alexander III and Nicholas II, who were Russian czars, and were presented to the women in their families as Easter gifts.

DSC_0069

Princess Soraya’s Engagement Ring

The shah of Iran proposed to his fiancée, Princess Soraya, in 1950 with a beautiful 22-carat diamond engagement ring. She passed away in 2002, and the ring was auctioned off to a new owner in Paris.

Koh-i-Nor Diamond

Previously owned by other rulers and sultans, this 105-carat diamond is now part of the British crown jewels collection. It sits in the queen mother’s 1937 coronation crown in the Tower of London. Because only female royals have worn the gemstone in the crown, it is thought to bring bad luck to any man who wears the stone.

blog- famous Koh-i-Nor Diamond

The Cullinan Diamond

At the time when it was mined in South Africa, the Cullinan Diamond was the largest diamond ever discovered. Once it was cut into more than 100 smaller stones, the British royal family took ownership of the largest of these stones.

The Star of India

Although it is safely secured and on display in the American Museum of Natural History, this stone was the center of a huge scandal in 1964. On the night before Halloween, the stone was stolen from the museum and was discovered later inside a locker at a bus terminal in Miami, Florida. It is the largest sapphire in the world, and it is thought to be around 2 billion years old. It weighs 563 carats.

blog- famous star of india

The Star of Asia

This six-ray sapphire weighs in at a hefty 329 carats and supposedly belonged to the maharaja of Jodhpur. It is on display today at the Smithsonian Museum.

blog- famous star of asia

The Tiffany Diamond

The Tiffany diamond was originally found in South Africa in 1877, and Audrey Hepburn wore this yellow diamond, which weighs 128 carats, in publicity photos for her iconic movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Today, you can see the necklace at the Fifth Avenue Tiffany and Co. store in New York City.

blog- famous Tiffany diamond

The Graff Pink Diamond

English jeweler Laurence Graff purchased a 24-carat pink diamond in 2010 for more than $46 million. Since he liked the stone so much, he thought he’d name it after himself.

blog- famous graff pink diamond

The Regent Diamond

Legend states that the Regent Diamond, all 141 carats of it, was found by an Indian servant who secretly buried the diamond in a deep cut in his leg in order to hide it. In the years afterward, it was used in the crowns worn by French monarchy and later was used in Napoleon’s sword. The Regent Diamond currently resides in the Louvre.

Le Beau Sancy Diamond

Legend has it that someone swallowed the Le Beau Sancy Diamond while being attacked during the 16th century. Later, the stone, weighing 35 carats, was retrieved from his stomach, and it spent the next centuries in royal jewelry collections in England, France, Prussia, and the Netherlands.

The Pearl of Allah

Discovered in the Palawan Sea, the Pearl of Allah weighs 14 pounds. The clam it came from, a huge Tridacna, supposedly locked down on the arm of the diver who was trying to retrieve the pearl, killing him immediately.

blog- famous pearl of allah

Queen Marie of Romania’s Sapphire

King Ferdinand of Romania purchased a 478-carat sapphire ring for his wife, Queen Marie, in the 1920s. In 2003, it turned up in an auction at Christie’s, selling for almost one and a half billion dollars. It is the largest sapphire in auction history.

Heart of the Ocean

We know the love story portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, but there is a real Heart of the Ocean necklace. Two lovers, Kate Phillips and Henry Morley, were heading to America to start a new life together. Morley gave Phillips the necklace as they were attempting to escape the sinking ship. Morley couldn’t swim, while Phillips was able to get on a lifeboat. Realizing she was pregnant with his baby once she arrived in New York, she quickly returned to England to live with her grandparents, who in turn raised her baby.

The Archduke Joseph Diamond

Setting world records at auctions, the colorless cushion-cut Archduke Joseph Diamond was made into a necklace and worn by Celine Dion.

The Tsarevna Swan Ring

Holding the record for having the most diamonds wearable in one ring, this Guinness record-holder contains 2,525 diamonds held in place by a lovely 18-carat white gold swan ring.

blog- famous swan ring

Share