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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.

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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!

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9 Gemstones Rarer Than A Diamond

August 16th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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18 Of The Most Famous Gemstones

July 27th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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How to Tastefully Accessorize On Your Wedding Day

July 20th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

Photo via http://ow.ly/MZXZ302qY48

 

I had planned and planned my wedding day down to the tiniest of details. What I didn’t do was try on my earrings beforehand. Although I kept them on until the bitter end of my reception, I should have tried them on before my big day. They were a little heavy, so they caused me a bit of soreness after I had hugged all of my guests, eaten dinner, and danced the night away. I wouldn’t have changed anything, but I do always try to pass on to my bridal clients to make sure that all of her accessories are completely and 100% comfortable and perfect for the day of her nuptials.

Start with the dress.

Once you’ve established your ceremony and reception venues, always start with your dress. You can’t choose the right accessories until you’ve chosen your perfect dress. Search out and find your dress, then go down the line with your accessories. Once you know the style and cut of your dress, you can then choose and match your accessories accordingly.

Be yourself.

If you are always a super-casual kind of girl and you’re not having a straitlaced, traditional church wedding, stick to your style when it comes to your wedding dress and accessories. If you aren’t feeling pearls, don’t wear them. If white heels seem like a prison sentence, wear white flip-flops. Always remember your personal style when choosing your accessories.

Don’t put it off.

Never do tomorrow what you can do today. Isn’t that what they say? It’s never a good idea to wait until the last minute for most things, and your wedding accessories are no different. Once you’ve chosen your dress, start with the shoes and work your way up. You’ll get the best choices for style, comfort, and price if you plan ahead and shop early.

Less is definitely more.

This is a phrase you hear in so many different avenues in fashion, but when it comes to your big day, you want to keep it at the forefront of your mind. If you are wearing a dress with a lot of detailing, then you most likely won’t need big, luxurious jewelry pieces. If you are wearing a simple gown, you may choose a more detailed choker or statement necklace. It is important to remember that when one of your jewelry pieces is larger or makes more of a statement, you may not need earrings, a necklace, and a bracelet, too. One large, detailed piece looks better than three large, detailed pieces.

Choose comfort.

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, so you’ll really regret it if you wear something that causes you discomfort. It’s a busy day, full of social interactions with close friends and family and also with guests you may not have seen for a while. Make sure that everything you wear is completely comfortable for the duration of your special day.

Always try them on.

Always be sure to try every accessory on before your actual wedding day. You may think that a necklace doesn’t need to be tried on, but you may find it uncomfortable or irritating after you wear it a while. Try everything on, down to your sash and even undergarments, so that you know that you’ll be completely comfortable all day long.

Match your metals.

Each piece of jewelry that you wear should have matching metals. If you wear different metal pieces, you won’t look well put together. It is also important to remember that if your dress is white, you might want to try to stick with white metals such as white gold, silver, or platinum. If your dress is off-white or ivory, yellow gold will play up its hue.

Use color to your benefit.

Your bridesmaids’ dresses and flowers don’t have to be the only things that have color. Use color to accent your appearance. Traditionally, you picture the bride wearing all white. Now, as more and more people break away from traditions, adding a splash of color to the bride’s apparel isn’t unheard of anymore. Add a colored sash, colored gemstone jewelry, or even colored shoes to give yourself a splash of excitement.

Look behind you.

Don’t forget what you look like from behind. Remember that during your ceremony (starting right after you walk down the aisle), your guests will be looking at the back of you most of the time. Make sure that you, your dress, and your accessories look like perfection from the back as well as the front.

Start at the neckline.

When you start out choosing your accessories, your necklace will be a big consideration. Once you’ve chosen the dress, start with whether or not you’ll need a necklace. If you have a strapless gown or something with a low neckline, you have the opportunity to choose a very detailed or larger necklace. If your gown has a detailed or higher neckline, you may want to skip the necklace and stick with nicer earrings. Either way, always remember the “less is more” rule.

Top it off in YOUR style.

You don’t have to have a veil if it isn’t really your style. You may have a beautiful comb or barrette that has been passed down in your family or even a simple vintage piece that you purchased at an estate sale. It also isn’t a crime of fashion if you want to go without anything on your head at all: Simply make it about your dress and showcase a great hairstyle.

Break in your shoes.

Everyone knows that you should always break in a new pair of shoes, so you should always do that with your bridal shoes, too. Make sure to scuff up the bottoms a little while you’re at it: The soles of new shoes can be slippery, and you don’t want to slip and fall on your big day!

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July’s Birthstone: The Radiant Ruby

July 13th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

Photo via http://ow.ly/KEO8302d1vH

I am a July baby, so I hold a special place in my heart for the magnificent red ruby. Regardless of the size or cut of a ruby, the red color symbolizes love, passion, and life. The special pieces of jewelry that I wear that contain one or several rubies are so special to me because it symbolizes my birth month and so much more. The beautiful red ruby is so vibrant in color, and it’s said to represent feelings of love, passion, life, wealth, and vitality. The ruby is a meaningful, lovely, and historic stone that has so much significance in the jewelry industry today and was treasured in past decades and centuries as well.

This History of the Ruby

The ruby has been a popular stone throughout history. As far back as biblical times, the stone was considered extremely precious and fit for a king. The ruby is called “ratnaraj,” meaning “king of the precious stones,” in the Sanskrit language, which is an ancient Indian language. It was believed by the ancient Hindus that an offering could be made to Krishna and you would come back as a king in your next life. Rubies were worn by Burmese warriors, as they believed that the beautiful red stone would make them unconquerable. They wore them inserted into their skin for protection. During medieval times, Europeans felt that rubies brought love, intelligence, wealth, and good health.

Colors of the Ruby

Although the word “ruby” is a derivative of the Latin word “ruber,” which means “red,” the most sought-after color for a ruby is a deep red with a touch of blue. This color is referred to as “pigeon’s blood” and is definitely the most desirable color for a ruby. Of all of the colored gemstones, the ruby is highest in value, as it has been for centuries. The ruby consists of corundum, which is a type of stone found in nature. Corundum also occurs in blue, and then, it is called a sapphire. The ruby gets its red color because of the presence of chromium.

Ruby Mines

There are ruby mines worldwide, but the majority of larger mines are located in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), Thailand, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka. Other ruby mines are located in Vietnam, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Mozambique, Madagascar, Cambodia, Brazil, Afghanistan, Australia, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, Zimbabwe, and the United States.

Photo via http://ow.ly/dfJx302d1I3

Fun Facts About Rubies

  • One of the largest and most famous rubies in the U.S. is the Carmen Lucia Ruby, which is more than 23 carats in weight. It is currently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. It was brought to the museum in 2004.
  • The majority of natural rubies have had a treatment in order for their color and strength to be improved greatly. The American Gem Trade Association accepts this practice, so it has become standard in the gemstone industry.
  • Most natural rubies have flaws within the body of the stone. Any rubies found without flaws or imperfections are very uncommon and are priced extremely high.
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How To Handle Rain On Your Wedding Day

June 27th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

Photo via http://ow.ly/Ccxv301GSy5

 

Almost every little girl pictures her wedding day with a fluffy white dress, beautiful flowers, and a handsome groom. But very few little girls dream of a wet and dreary wedding day. Unfortunately for those of us who live in the real world, some have to deal with exactly this. There are many happy endings that start with a rainy wedding day. Also, remember, it means good luck if you have raindrops on your big day. I remember one of my college roommates getting married and it was supposed to POUR on her special day. We brainstormed and planned for the weather, and it may have been one of the most beautiful wedding days I can remember. It’s not the end of the world, brides-to-be! Sit back, relax, and pull out the galoshes because even on a rainy day, it’s the end result that really counts.

Last-Minute Rainy Wedding Day Preparation

It goes without saying that every bride needs to be prepared for all situations. Not only should she have the foresight to bring a needle and thread, bandages, and waterproof mascara, but she also needs to be prepared for rain on the big day, too. Think ahead and purchase cute matching rain boots and umbrellas for your bridal party. There are so many options and styles out there in this day and age. Bring lots of supplies to touch up after you’ve been outside in the rain. Whether it’s for pictures or the actual ceremony, you’ll want some extra hairspray and powder to touch up before you see friends and family. And remember that you may have less frizz if your hair is in an updo rather than leaving it down.

Planning Ahead for Venue Options

When choosing any outdoor venue, always be sure that there is an indoor option. If you have your ceremony outside, ask about a gazebo for your wedding party. If the reception is outside, be sure to ask about renting reception tents. Those are heavy-duty and will be perfect to give you a dry outdoor party in the rain. If you want to have pictures outside but are dealing with a potential downpour, ask about an indoor space that may have a beautiful fireplace, room with a striking window, staircase, or luxurious formal furniture.

Trust Your Vendors

When you choose a venue, caterer, and photographer, you probably choose those with a great deal of experience and a good reputation. It’s a good idea to remember that the majority of your vendors have dealt with rain before. Photographers know just how to get great pictures, even when there’s precipitation involved. They also know a lot about lighting and how to get a great background using a floor-to-ceiling window with the rain in the background. Besides, a bride and groom walking in the rain under an umbrella is very romantic.

It’s important to remember that your wedding is about you and not about the things that may go slightly wrong. You’ll remember more about that wonderful day when you said “I do” and how special it was than what was happening outside.

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Gemstones And Metals That Flatter Your Skin Tone

June 21st, 2016 in Wedding Rings

Photo via http://ow.ly/Ai3Q301uBmy

Everyone always wants to look their best. We always want to wear what looks best on us, according to our body shape, our height, our coloring, and our hair. Jewelry is no exception: When it comes to a special piece of jewelry that you are going to wear often, you want it to look good on you. I remember when my redheaded cousin came to me a few months back and wanted to purchase a more expensive ring. She wanted to be sure that the metal that was used would flatter her fair skin and red hair and that the gemstone would look great on her. We should all think about this, especially for a bridal piece or a special piece that you’ll wear for many years to come. It is very important to remember that your skin tone is related to your genetics, not your environment: It is possible to have darker skin with a cool tone or vice-versa.

Cool Skin Tones

If you have pink or red undertones in your skin and the veins on the underside of your arm or wrist look blue in natural light, you have a cool skin tone. Bright-colored gemstones look best on people with cool skin tones. Red, green, blue, purple, and pink stones look the best on this type of skin tone. Your best choices for gemstones include rubies, garnets, emeralds, sapphires, tanzanite, topaz, or amethyst.

When it comes to the metals used in your jewelry, if you have cool skin tones, you need to stay on the white or silver side. Some of the better metals that are white or silver-toned include white gold, silver, platinum, stainless steel, and titanium. When it comes to cool skin tones, you need to be looking for jewelry that doesn’t have any yellow in it. This will make your skin appear pale, unhealthy, and unattractive.

Warm Skin Tones

If you have yellow or gold undertones in your skin and the veins on the underside of your arm or wrist look more green in natural light, you have a warm skin tone. Gemstones that have more of an earthy or natural color will look better on warm skin tones. Some of these colors are orange, yellow, turquoise, tan, and brown. Gemstones that you should wear when you have this coloring include golden pearl, fire opal, orange sapphire, citrine, peridot, aquamarine, or turquoise.

The metals that someone with warm-toned skin should wear differ from those for someone with cool-toned skin, as those will make their skin appear ruddy. The metals with brown or yellow hues work better than those with white or silver hues for those with a warm skin tone. Metals that work best include yellow gold, brass, copper, or pewter.

Matching Hair Colors

When you’re choosing earrings, a necklace, or another piece that will be close to your hair, you might want to consider the color of that, too. If your hair is gray or white, your best gemstone colors include black, burgundy, and navy blue for both warm and cool skin tones. Some examples would be darker garnets, onyx, and darker sapphires. Those with black hair also look best in bold and dark colors for both skin tones. Bold blue, green, and purple stones include sapphire, emerald, and amethyst. Brunettes with cool skin tones should stick with black, white, pink, and red stones, and silver is the best choice for metal. Brunettes with warm skin tones need to stick with earth tones such as orange-red, green, or brown. Redheads of all shades can wear just about any color; sometimes, both bold and neutral colors look good on those lucky few. Ashy blondes usually have cool skin tones, so reds, pinks, and purples look best. Golden blondes usually have cool skin tones as well, although with the warm golden tone of the hair, some neutral colors look flattering on them as well. A golden blonde can wear a more earthy green or blue color as well.

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