Tag Archives: engagement rings

Goodbye Diamonds: You’ve Got Options

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-ring-fingers-happy

Engagement Ring Stone Varieties

Ok people, ’tis the season once again.  No, not just that of the annual ‘turkey stay of execution,’ of avaricious munchkins clamoring for toys and the ‘imposed family visitation’ season; it’s marriage proposal time as well.    For some reason, one third of the year’s proposals occur during the holidays.  Perhaps this is because people are feeling so cheery and warm (despite the plummeting temperatures) in their lover’s arms, that they can easily envision and hope for a well spent life together.  Maybe they just get all giddy at the sight of candy canes.  We’ll never know for certain, but one thing that is for sure is that engagement rings will need to be purchased. 

So what’s a potential proposer to do?  Drop the requisite ‘three month’s salary’ on a costly, environmentally destructive, possibly bloody diamond?  Well, that’s always one way to go – but luckily there are a bunch of other merry options.

Be “Fake”

If you’ve been following diamonds in the news at all over the past year or so, you will have seen an explosion of information on the man-made diamond front.  Scientists are becoming increasingly more efficient and clever at growing diamonds in labs (instead of under the earth’s crust, like ‘real’ diamonds that are made by the gods).  These stones have the same exact chemical composition as naturally derived diamonds (often with less blemishes too; they’re farmed in pristine labs, not the dirty, dirty dirt).  The only noticeable difference is that they are cheaper: significantly.  Score!  White diamonds, the most desirable across the board, that are fabricated will run you about 15 to 20 percent less than natural diamonds.  Even better if your thinking lies somewhere over the rainbow; colored High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT) diamonds can cost an astounding 80 to 90 percent less than ‘real’ diamonds of the same hue.  

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-ring-engagement-wood

Moiss Doesn’t Grow on a Rolling Gemstone 

Now, on to the ‘diamond simulant’ category.  These are stones that mimic diamond in many sparkling ways.  The much maligned cubic zirconia is in this batch; the main complaint about this guy is that it chips, breaks and eventually loses its luster.  As a result, most people turn their noses up to the high heavens at all diamond simulants.  However, there is one of these diamond copiers that has some real staying power; moissanite.  Naturally occurring moissanite is found in meteorites (obviously making them the most cherished gemstone of intergalactic aliens) and is incredibly similar to diamond in terms of density and glitter-ifficness.  Believe it or not, moissanite can have a higher rating than diamond in the brilliance (sparkle) and fire (the way that light is refracted and dispersed through the stone) categories.  Moissanite is commonly replicated in labs now, just like diamond, and is priced well below what human-made diamonds go for.  Expect to pay about a cool grand (or less!) for a perfect 1 carat moissanite stone.  Unless your soon be to betrothed and all of your mutual friends are expert gemologists, no one is going to be able to tell that this isn’t a diamond.  We’re not saying to try to pass it off as one; just use all that saved cash for more essential things as an engaged couple, like a ravishing vacation or bathroom supplies.  

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-moissanite-engagement-ring-linen

Alt. Rocks 

We’ve been touting the benefits of alternative gemstones for quite some time.  Not even getting into how much cheaper these all can be than diamonds, they can also be so much more unique and personal.  Each gemstone has its own story as to where it comes from, how it was named and what its hue (or hues) symbolize.  Maybe you pick your lover’s birthstone, maybe you just go with their favorite color.  The possibilities here are endless (see?) 

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-ring-yellow-stone

-Joe Leone 

Ring Fingers: Who’s Right…What’s Left?

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-jealous-woman-happy-engaged-girl

In America, when we want to perform a perfunctory assessment of whether someone is married or not, we scope out the fourth finger on their left hand and check if there’s a ring situated there.  In essence, we are investigating if someone did indeed like it, and if they put a ring on it.  However, this tried and true method for seeing if you have a shot (romantically) with a particular individual may not play out so seamlessly in some other corners of the globe.  Why?  Because in some countries and cultures, the wedding/engagement ring is worn on the …wait for it… right finger.

Before delving into this , you may want to edify yourself on the general history of wedding rings, so you fully understand how far back and complicated the whole international betrothal ring routine is.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-wedding-rings-US-Passport

Ok, let’s start with the basics.  In many Western cultures, the ring is worn on the left hand because (according to legend) there is an artery that runs the course of your left arm and channels right into your heart.  Hence, once the ring is placed on that prized left digit, an unbreakable, eternal bond is forged between your heart and the person who placed the ring on that spiritually connective finger.  It’s quite the cute explanation.  So why doesn’t every country adopt this adorable practice?  Well, if we can take a break from unbridled nationalism for a moment, we can see that there are several important factors at play in other global territories.  Up until fairly recently, all Indian women wore their wedding rings on the right hand for one immutable reason; the left hand is viewed as “unclean.”  The right hand is used for fun and positive things, such as eating and squeezing a baby’s cheek; the left hand is used for cleansing oneself after using the restroom… So not the best location for an esteemed and symbolic piece of jewelry.  Another group that adheres to the right-ring-hand principle (for a somewhat similar reason) is the Greek Orthodox clan.  They keep with Roman rituals in many respects, and the relevant one here is that the left hand is considered to be evil or “sinister.”  In the Latin tongue, ‘sinis’ means left, and ‘dexter’ means right.  Ergo, the left hand and left-handed people were thought to be not so great; therefore there was no way anybody was putting a lovely ring on that dastardly hand.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-wedding-ring-Indian-henna Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-Greek-couple-just-married-bicycle

Other lands that go along with the right hand wedding band motif are some of the Nordic ones, including Denmark and Norway.  Perhaps they are just chilly there and prefer to keep their left hands in their pockets a lot, while the right one conducts all necessary functions of life (just a theory).  Moving a few kilometers east, the nations of Bulgaria, Poland and mother Russia still contain entire populations with right-hand-ring bearing peoples.  The actual explanation here is rooted in religion.  There are a few biblical references to The Lord telling people to put rings on their right hands – and eat yummy fatted calves, rejoice, etc., etc.  It appears the devout people of these places aren’t about to break this tradition anytime soon.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-Russian-couple-married-mugs

Finally, there are some wedding ring idiosyncracies that utilize a custom known as the ‘ole switcharoo.’  In sultry Brazil, both males and females wear engagement rings on their right hands.  Once they exchange vows – bam – they switch them over to the left.  In the opposite hemisphere, the Netherlands and Germany do the reverse; start with the left, switch to the right (keeping in accordance with the ‘cold left hand theory’…)  People of the Jewish faith perform a nifty switch too; the wedding ring is first placed on the index, or pointer finger,  because it is the most important.  Decorum has the wearer shift the ring over to the fourth finger, after the glass has been smashed and everyone has cheered ‘Mazal!’

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-Jewish-wedding-rings

While some people are strictly traditional, rigidly adhering to past customs, there will always be a rebellious sect, carving out a unique niche for themselves.  As cultures continue to mix and mash, time will tell what wedding ring habits will stay the course and which ones will fall by the wayside.  As we collectively revel in the past and explore new and exciting options, only one thing is truly for certain; your grandma wants you to settle down and stick a ring on one of those fingers, darnit.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-wedding-rings-hands-sunset

-Joe Leone 

Engagement Ring #Trends: Fall 2015

via etsy.com
via etsy.com

When it comes to buying engagement rings, most people tend to (smartly) play it safe.  Jumping on some new and zany trend clearly may not be the most practical move when we’re talking about an item that is supposed to last for the duration of you and your partner’s *eep* lives.  Luckily, there are some jewelry “trends” that do such an exquisite job of staying within the boundaries of class and sophistication, they will undoubtedly be able to go the distance.

The following styles are not just currently popular; they each hold a certain uniqueness that right recipient may verily identify with.  Read on to see which variety may perfectly suit your soon-to-be betrothed, thereby ensuring an elated “YES!” – as opposed to a “Wow, well…it really is something.

Twist and Shout

via etsy.com
via etsy.com

The Twist style is definitely not a new fad, but is seeing quite the surge in popularity these days.  Dating as far back as the Victorian era, twisted bands are cool for a multitude of reasons.  First, they look very intriguing, as if the wearer’s hand is ensconced in a vine and ivy laden forrest.  Second, they symbolize an entwining of two partners, in what could be perceived in a highly (*giggle*) sensual manner.  Just think, the people entering into this eternal bond of marriage, their bodies wrapped around each other, for life.  Also, this is a nice pick if you just happen to like knitting.

Do I Detect an Accent?

via etsy.com
via etsy.com

As far as accents go, this year it’s go bold or go home (to your native land).  There are actually a lot of ring styles and designs that fit into this category, so let’s examine a few of them.  First, there are the floral inspired bands, which feature some flouncy flower element to them.  Either tiny petals encircling a center stone, little leaves around the band or some other incarnation of naturally grown, blossoming beauty.  Next, there are the bows.  An elegant bow can enhance the aesthetics of an otherwise humdrum ring (however, try not to go overboard here, as a big, bouncy bow will make the ring look like a cartoonish cotillon present).  Last, rings that feature a center diamond (or other gemstone) that is cut in an irregular shape or fashion.  Within this sub-genre would be the rough cut diamond grouping.  These stones can be breathtaking, and wholly represent “raw beauty.”

I can see your Halo…Halo

via etsy.com
via etsy.com

The double halo.  This angelic motif has been around for a while, but has really been gaining momentum as of late.  The obvious benefits of a halo setting are that it really directs the eye to the center of the ring and also gives the main attraction stone an added bolstering of melee side-sparkle.  In addition, the halo aides in giving the illusion that the primary stone is somehow larger.  Ergo, two halos do twice the heavy lifting in this sparkle-enhancing context.  Twin halos also make the ring look “stacked,” as if there are just so many layers of diamonds on the thing, that it’s got to be extraordinarily valuable (not to say that that’s anyone’s goal or anything, *cough cough*).

Deco the Halls with Art 

via etsy.com
via etsy.com

For the Gatsby-loving Gal, Art Deco can be the way to go.  The current climate of ring design, and the general ethos surrounding engagement ring culture is that you can’t miss with pieces from, or inspired by, this era.  Either actual vintage items from the 20’s/30’s or ones just now designed to recreate that distinct look, Art Deco rings have a style like no other.  The mixing of colored gemstones, the rectangular and oblong cuts, the juxtaposition of the simple and the ornate; all leave quite the impression on one’s finger.  There’s just something ravishingly regal and cool about Art Deco rings, as if the wearer is both elegant and refined, but also knows how to pop bottles and get down, flapper style.

This quartet of ring styles embodies what is currently trending; yet they each should have true staying power in their own right.  If you think your special someone may prefer a more traditional mounting, by all means, go with your intuition.  In truth, your best bet is to either ask their close friends what they really want or (depending on the kind of relationship you have) just ask them outright.  While any ring will be appreciated, one that really speaks to them will be forever #adored.

avatar_99975d940e66_128

-Joe Leone 

How NOT to Ask your Partner for a Prenup

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-couple-fighting-funny

As we’ve previously investigated, prenuptial agreements can be a very necessary and useful tool in protecting one’s assets and interests.  Ergo, it is (pretty much) unanimously agreed upon that securing a prenup can be a smart road to travel down when approaching the ever ambiguous altar.

Yet how does one broach this (potentially) highly sensitive subject matter?

Well, there may not be an absolute “right” way, but there certainly are few irksome and bumbling phrases and terms you should desperately avoid.

“I don’t want you to divorce me and then take all my money.”

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-couple-hot-young-wife-old-husband

Well, duh.  This is clearly the most common fear of someone who has money when they enter into a marriage with someone who doesn’t have a penny/is in debt/has a loan shark waiting for them in the parking lot.  Perhaps a “let’s get a prenup so, in case things don’t work out, we both get what’s fair” will sound less insulting and laden with paranoia.

“Sorry, but I just want to make sure you won’t divorce me as soon as you get your citizenship …and take all my money.”

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-angry-couple-fighting-pretty-brunette-ennui

Um…le awkward.

When walking down the aisle with someone from another land, there may be a slight tickling at the back of your brain that they are getting hitched to you solely so they can enjoy the fruits of your country.  If this is the case, simply explain that you need a prenup in place because it looks good to the immigration board when they conduct your review.  This will at least temporarily assuage some of the awkwardness and buy you some time…in the event that they aren’t just using you for your glorious connection to the USA: debatably the greatest country in North America.

“Hey, don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m scared you will divorce me at the drop of a hat and use your high powered lawyers to make sure I never see a penny.”

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-wealthy-woman-sexy-sunglasses-plane

Ok, so if you’re the one who is entering into the marriage without any dough, you may (justly) have some trepidation about getting married to someone who could conceivably squash you in divorce court.  Here a touch of simple ‘reverse psychology’ may help: “Just so you know that I’m not trying to rob you legally blind, let’s get a prenup!”  This may quell their fears about your intentions, while you quietly conjure up some equitable prenup conditions of your own.

“I just want to ensure that if we ever get divorced you won’t raise our children Wiccan.”

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-angry-couple-fighting-kid-ashamed

Prenups are not only about money.  They can state certain things about child rearing and the like.  If you are scared your mate has the potential to do weirdo things with your kid’s upbringing (be it religious instruction/cult involvement/AmWay sales) you can protect their innocent minds with a thoughtfully crafted premarital agreement.  To execute this with propriety, you may go with something along the lines of: “It’s so great that we’re on the same page now with everything – just in case either one of us loses our marbles one day, let’s get a prenup that will safeguard our future offspring from lunacy.  Heart you, honey!”

“So…I was talking to my friend…she thinks you have a huge amount of debt that you’re not telling me about.  I’m thinking prenup: STAT.” 

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-funny-couple-broke-man-hot-wife

Sometimes people have secrets.  Sometimes those secrets come in the form of ginormous, gaping chasms of debilitating debt.  In the modern times in which we live, people are more aware than ever that when you marry someone, you are also entering into a blessed union with their finances, be they good or ohdearlordwhatishappening??  If you suspect a massive amount of credit card/student loan/etsy.com account debt looming in their past, you may want to arm yourself with a prenup.  One alternative to the graceless phrasing above could be: “Sweetie, I’ve battled with some debt demons in the past.  I’d love for us to get a prenup so we both feel confident that we are protected from either one of us possibly going off the deep end.”  It’s not ideal, but at least they will feel the empathy you are expounding, which may even lead them to coming clean themselves about the $32,000 they owe to Bath & Body Works.

“I am worried that my business will blow up and you will rob me of the one thing I have put my entire heart, soul and loins into.”

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-angry-couple-fighting-pretty-brunette-sunglasses

When you are a small business owner, it’s easy to develop a strong attachment to the very thing you have cultivated and nurtured into being.  If a prospective spouse sends off the vibe that they may usurp you of your little business-baby, you naturally will feel a tad overprotective.  In this case, all you need to say is something to the effect of: “You are the most important thing in my life; my business is the second.  Let’s hash things out so everyone knows exactly what we’re entitled to.”  It’s not perfect, but it’ll do the proverbial job.

“If you dump me, I’m keeping the rings.”  /  “If you dump me, I want my rings back.” 

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-angry-couple-fighting-pretty-blonde

Believe it or not, this is an actual point of contention for numerous couples.  Sometimes the engagement or wedding ring is a family heirloom that not only has monetary worth but emotional value as well, and the person supplying it will want it returned in the event of an uncoupling.  There are other circumstances where the person receiving the rings feels that these objects are then their property and they are forever entitled to them (the law, incidentally, is typically on their side in this case).  Whatever the scenario is, if you want to make sure you ultimately retain the rings, simply say: “Dear, you know these rings mean a lot to my family; so my mother/father/wacky Aunt Helen is making me get it in writing that if something goes awry, they then can have them back” or “If it somehow doesn’t work out with us, I just want to always have the rings to remind me of you.”  They’ll still likely know you’re spouting fabricated nonsense, but this makes it a little more palatable…like you’re actually considering their feelings.

“If you gain a lot of weight, I want out.”

Uh…there’s just no delicate way to put this one.

avatar_99975d940e66_128

-Joe Leone 

Best Places to Propose: Focus on Venice

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-Canal-Grande-Venice

Momma Mia!  You are finally ready to pop-a the big question, but you’re not about to drop to one knee and propose to your signora at “Johnny’s Pizzeria.”  So where to?  Why, how about one of the most romantic, canal ensconced cities on the planet?  Ciao, bella – we’re off to Venice!

Here are some of the most iconic and luxurious locales in the City of Canals to ask your lady fair to be yours forever.  Let’s just hope she doesn’t mind getting a little water-logged.
Continue reading Best Places to Propose: Focus on Venice