Deep blue sapphires have long been associated with royalty. Queen Victoria sported a famous sapphire in her crown, the same that Edward the Confessor wore in a ring during his 1042 coronation. More recently, Princess Diana flashed a gorgeous sapphire engagement ring. That ring has since been passed to Kate Middleton. So if sapphire is your birthstone, you’re in royal company.
Where in the World?
Where do these amazingly blue jewels come from? Australians dig up many of the world’s best sapphires, especially in Queensland and New South Wales. Sapphires rest in alluvial deposits of basalt, waiting to be dug up and turned into jewelry for September babies. They’re also found in Kashmir and Montana, though these American sapphires are smaller and more often used for industrial purposes.
Sapphires have long served mystical, protecting and healing purposes. Apollo worshippers wore sapphires when they visited the god’s shrine at Delphi in ancient Greece. In the Middle Ages, people believed sapphires protected loved ones from harm and envy. Medieval clergy used the stone to symbolize heaven and the soul’s purity. They also hoped sapphires would help them avoid fleshly temptations and impure thoughts.
People in many cultures used sapphires to protect themselves from sorcery and venomous creatures. Some believed that if they could confine a snake in a jar containing a sapphire, the reptile would die.
Choosing Your Sapphire
While sapphires come in many colors – including purple, green, pink, yellow and orange — the most highly prized are blue. They range from light to dark blue and blue-violet. The deeper the blue and the mores saturated the color, the more precious the sapphire. You’ll pay more for an evenly-colored sapphire than a lighter, less saturated stone.
Sapphires make good choices for any type of jewelry, including rings. They rate 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, second only to diamonds for their durability.
Unlike diamonds, sapphires don’t have standardized cuts. A well-cut sapphire should be symmetrical and reflect light in a pleasing manner. Common sapphire shapes include cushion, emerald, round and oval. Rare star sapphires are cut in oval domes, to show off the star.
Sapphires make a beautiful gift for your loved ones born in September. Or any other month! And for the woman who is a little different – and perhaps has royal inclinations – they are gorgeous as engagement rings. You can always include one with a few diamond accents, like the 14 round diamonds surrounding Princess Di’s center sapphire.
So, you’ve decided to surprise her with a ring. How do you figure out which ring she will admire and treasure, day after day, for the rest of her life? It takes a brave man to proceed. But it can be done.
Understand her style
Your first task is to figure out her style. Does she like estate sales and vintage stores, or is she glittery as Vegas? Would you describe her as understated or larger-than-life? Does she like everybody to turn in her direction when she enters a room? Glam girls will want a big, flashy ring. Minimalists prefer simplicity.
Remember, it’s about her. Be sure you’re assessing what she likes, not what you think she should like. Part of marriage is accepting the other person. If you try to change her or her style, she will definitely notice.
What if you are clueless when it comes to style? Enlist the help of one of her friends or relatives who seems to share or at least understand her tastes. Be sure to pick one who can be discreet. If you want the ring to be a surprise, don’t ask the friend who posts every sandwich eaten on Facebook.
Once you understand your prospective fiancée’s general style, it’s time to zero in on diamond shape. Most women have favorite shapes of stones. Common shapes include round, oval, square and emerald-cut. Diamonds come in about ten common shapes, plus some more obscure ones.
Observe her jewelry choices. Does the same shape appear in different pieces? Then this is probably a favorite. You can also peek in her jewelry box. But remember that women sometimes keep jewelry for sentimental reasons, even if they seldom wear it. You need to determine the shape she will want to wear daily.
It may feel a bit too obvious, but if you happen to be in the mall and pass a jewelry store, ask her to point out her favorite pieces. You can phrase this as though you’re interested in giving her a future gift of jewelry, not necessarily an engagement ring. If she’s hoping to marry you, she will almost certainly play along.
There’s an old idea that an engagement ring should cost two months of your salary. Don’t buy into this outdated notion. Your ring budget depends not only on available money, but on your values and your financial situation. If you have the means and you’re marrying a glamour queen, up your budget. But if you and your woman dream of world travel, home ownership, having kids and putting them through college or other expensive ambitions, she might prefer a simpler ring and more money left in the savings account.
Set a budget before you go shopping. This will make life easier for you and the jeweler. And, like many things in life, jewelry prices are often negotiable.
Go for quality
As you embark upon your ring buying adventure, you’re sure to hear about the 4 Cs: clarity, cut, color and carat.
• Cut – Not to be confused with shape, cut is how the diamond cutter maximizes a diamond’s sparkle and reflective qualities
• Clarity – Most diamonds have imperfections, but some are more obvious than others. If you can only see flaws with magnification, you probably don’t need to worry about them.
• Color – Ideal diamonds are colorless. The closer to colorless you get, the better, unless you’re choosing an exotic colored diamond, such as pink or yellow.
• Carat – How big is that stone? All other factors being equal, the bigger, the spendier.
Unless you have an unlimited budget, you’ll need to prioritize one aspect over the others. Cut is the best place to put your extra dollars. If you have two similar diamonds, the one that’s cut better will look brighter and bigger.
A Trusted Jeweler
An engagement ring is a big purchase, both financially and emotionally. Find a trustworthy, experienced jeweler. Choosing one that’s accredited by Jewelers of America or a member of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is a good place to start. And inquire about their return policy, just in case you need to exchange the ring.
Three of Sylvie’s rings were featured on Bridal Guide’s slide show, “30+ Vintage-Style Engagement Rings”!
What beats seeing the look on your girlfriend’s face when you surprise her with the absolutely perfect engagement ring? Picking out the right ring shows how well you know her and reassures her you can take care of her needs and desires.
But wait. It’s 2014. Many women are independent, accustomed to shopping for what they want and taking care of themselves. And what if you pick out a dud?
Men face this quandary all the time. Picking an engagement ring can be a huge stressor, and bring up feelings of uncertainty, doubt, self-consciousness and even resentment. You’re her man, not her mom or girlfriend. Are you really supposed to know everything about settings and stones?
Don’t worry. This is not an all or nothing proposition. There are degrees of surprise, and lots of ways to get help.
Know Thy Girlfriend
She’s planning to wear this ring for the rest of her life, so she’d better like it. But how particular is she? If your woman is extremely fashion-conscious, loves to shop and can tell you 10 facts about every gemstone, you’d better get her input on this decision. You might even need a ringless proposal, after which you can set a budget and let her pick a ring she loves.
On the other hand, does your girlfriend adore every gift you give her, just because it’s from you? She’s going to be much easier to shop for. You might be able to pick up enough hints about her preferences by observing the jewelry she already wears.
Making the Proposal the Surprise
Instead of surprising her with a ring, you could focus on the proposal being the surprise. You’re asking her to spend the rest of her life with you. This is obviously more important and meaningful than the ring. So try not to get so hung up on diamonds that you miss being fully present for this hugely significant moment.
You have two main ways of dealing with the split proposal/ring surprise. You two could shop for the ring together, then surprise her with the timing of the proposal. Or propose, then shop for the ring together.
If you choose to propose first and buy the engagement ring later, it’s still nice to have a prop. Some jewelers will lend you a “proposal ring,” which is a placeholder until you two can shop together. You could use any ring for this purpose. Depending on your prospective fiancée, she might want a flashy cubic zirconia, a simple silver heart or even a gumball machine ring. Be sure to let her know the real thing is coming soon!
If you know the shape of diamond she prefers, you could pick out the center stone and present it to her loose with your proposal. Or have it set as a simple solitaire, with the plan to pick a permanent setting together. This also works if you’re offering her a family heirloom ring. She might want to have the stone reset in a setting of her choice to both honor family memories and have something that’s her own.
Get Her Help
You’re getting married to become a team, a family. This is the opposite of going it alone. So don’t hesitate to enlist her help. As you get to know each other and get more serious about the future, ask her opinion on jewelry: shapes, settings and types of metal. Some women like to stop in a jewelry shop and point out favorite rings, or helpfully leave magazine photos around for you to find.
Notice which of her friends or family members share her taste. Does she always like the birthday gifts her mom, aunt or best friend picks out? Ask for that person’s help.
Surprise Jewelry Store Trip
You could stage your surprise proposal at a jewelry store. Ask her out to lunch but instead drive to your favorite jeweler. Then propose in the store, surrounded by hundreds of beautiful diamonds and settings for her to choose from.
If you decide to surprise her, make sure you know the jeweler’s return policy. And if she accepts the proposal but reluctantly lets you know the ring isn’t exactly what she wanted, remember the important part was that she said yes.
Kesha wore Sylvie’s white gold bangle (her right arm) and rose gold (her left ring finger) ring on Thursday’s episode of Conan O’Brien Presents: Team Coco!
Get the look here! ➨ http://www.sylviecollection.com/floral-rose-gold-diamond-ring-fr168.html
Luxury Jewels 24 Magazine featured a few Sylvie Collection engagement rings, as well as mentioned Sylvie in their “Wedding Trends: Engagement Rings” story.
View the article here: http://www.lj24magazine.com/article/article_000444/1.aspx
Ask any modern American to describe a classic engagement ring and they will almost surely mention a diamond. Preferably, a big one. But diamonds’ dominance of betrothal is actually a fairly recent development in the world of jewelry and romance.
An engagement ring is a public acknowledgement of the private sentiment, “I’m yours.” But our ancestors took this a bit more literally. Cavemen tied rings of braided grass – okay, more like lassos – around their mate’s ankles, wrists and waist to control her spirit. In the 2nd century BC, Pliny the Elder reported the practice of the groom giving the bride two rings – a gold one for the ceremony, and an iron ring, signifying his ownership, to wear around the house. Fortunately, the beauty of rings and the sentiments attached to them have vastly improved and modernized over the centuries!
In the 13th century, Pope Innocent III grew increasingly worried about young lovers’ rush down the aisle. So he decreed that marriages must be announced publicly and a fixed time set between this announcement and the wedding. Hence, the tradition of engagement was born.
This new idea of engagement sparked the new trend of engagement rings. Since no rules had yet been set, there was an “anything goes” attitude. Some rings in the Middle Ages contained gemstones, while many were simple bands. Eighteenth century Europeans exchanged rings engraved with romantic sentiments. Later, Victorians spelled out endearments in human hair, then adorned these rings with emeralds, rubies, amethysts and diamonds. The American Puritans, those great squashers of romance, tried to get away with giving thimbles instead of rings, but these were often sliced into rings anyway.
Rise of the Diamond
By the end of the nineteenth century, grooms bought the best engagement rings they could. Usually these featured a pearl or gemstone according to their taste and budget. Diamonds appeared in engagement rings since at least the 15th century, but didn’t become a requirement until the DeBeers Mining Company devised a plan to elevate the sparkly stone.
Miners found a huge cache of diamonds in the Cape Colony, now part of South Africa, in 1867. DeBeers was founded in 1880 and controlled 90 percent of the diamond biz within a decade. Soon they hit on their genius message: A diamond is forever.
Those four little words summed up what people were looking for in their marriage, something lasting and valuable. Indeed, even people who feel a bit cynical about marketing campaigns can quickly fall under a diamond’s spell. The way they sparkle, flash and catch the light is truly magical. And from a practical standpoint, you can’t beat the hardness and durability of diamonds.
However, modern couples have endless choices. Whether you go for the newish classic diamond engagement ring or the colored gemstones favored by our ancestors, it’s the symbolism behind the ring that gives it the most value.
International pop singer and judge on “Rising Star,” Kesha, wore Sylvie’s Yellow Gold and Lemon Quartz Halo Diamond Engagement Ring during this week’s episode of ABC’s hit show, “Rising Star”.
Sylvie’s jewels featured on former Real Housewife of Beverly Hills, Taylor Armstrong, for her wedding day that was featured on David Tutera’s CELEBrations season premiere on the WeTV channel.
Sylvie’s stunning tanzanite ring is featured today on WWD online in a jewelry trend story entitled, “Fine Jewelry Trend: Case of the Blues.”