Recently, clients I hadn’t seen since 2005 came into my office. It was so great to see them and I couldn’t believe that it had been so long; but their 7 year old son and 5 year old daughter were undeniable proof. After we caught up and I was introduced to the new additions to the family, we got down to the true reason for their visit. Unfortunately, their home was broken into and their bridal set stolen. I quickly asked if they had insurance and they assured me they did. We all breathed a sigh of relief – that is, until I noticed they hadn’t updated their appraisals nor had annual checkups since I last saw them. The rings were covered but under-insured. With the insurance check, it would cost them an additional $12,000.00 to replace what they had. They told me they had meant to come in but something always came up.
There are three simple questions to ask yourself to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.
1) Does my jewelry have an up-to-date appraisal?
According to Chubb Personal Insurance, because of rapid growth of luxury markets, unprecedented jewelry auction sales, rising production costs, and robust online sales, the average consumer has outdated appraisals that extremely undervalue the true replacement cost of their jewelry by as much as 50%
Solution: If your jewelry appraisals are over 5 years old, it’s time to get them updated – NOW.
2) Have I purchased any new jewelry in the last five years that hasn’t been added to my policy yet?
Remember standard homeowners policies for jewelry range only from $1000-$5000.00, plus a deductible. If it’s not scheduled, it may not be covered.
Solution: Get either itemized coverage or blanket coverage. Check with your agent to decide which option is best for you. It has been my experience that the downside of blanket coverage is that there are typically limits placed on individual pieces and at times there may be a deductible.
3) When was the last time I had my jewelry inspected for loose stones or structural damage?
Most people wait for something to break before they consider taking their jewelry in for help, but this is inadvisable.
Solution: Like with our bodies, preventative maintenance is of key importance. Take the time to have your jewelry checked once a year. In an annual checkup, any loose stones, pulled prongs, warped shanks, or scratches are detected and fixed. Studies show that those people who regularly take their jewelry for annual checkups are 4x less likely to lose a major stone.
When I think about an alluring woman, there are certain words that immediately come to mind: Simplicity, subtlety, naturalness and elegance. Natural beauty captures our hearts and imagination with ease. It awakens us, it enlightens us, and it fills us – mind, body and soul – with joy. Beauty is grace. Beauty is passion. Beauty is love.
People say that for one to possess beauty, one must “be-you-till-full”. In other words, only when we stop hiding from our own inner power & greatness and dare greatly can we truly be ourselves and thus know true inner beauty. Without this, our light cannot shine; our love cannot flow. Jewelry doesn’t make or complete a woman, it celebrates her.
If a woman is happy before wearing jewelry, she will be happy after wearing jewelry. Jewelry essentials are about amplifying the simplicity, elegance, and grace she already has. They accentuate the nape of her neck, the pulse from her wrists, the soft lobes of her ears, and the touch from her hands. Jewelry essentials awaken the senses.
The Simple Necklace
Like a perfectly well-worn pair of jeans that hug your hips ‘just right’, the simple necklace is the finishing touch you throw on right before you head out the door. It’s the smile you always have on – your sparkle.
The Cuff Bracelet
When you put on a cuff bracelet, it lets the world know you’re in charge. ‘Nuff’ said.
Inside-Out Diamond Hoop Earrings
Inside-out diamond hoops earrings seem to defy gravity as they let your inner light shine bright. You’re beautiful – Inside & Out.
The Always Bracelet
Some things you never take off. Some things you never confess. Some things you love forever. The Always Bracelet – forever and a day, always with you.
No one defines you; that’s your job. You don’t play by their rules, you have your own. Stackable rings let you tell your story your way.
You’re never naked with a pair of diamond studs – unless you want to be.
Hey Bosslady – You are not every woman. You are your own woman. When you’re ready to kick ass and take names, put on your Knucklebuster. It’s Game Time.
Van Cleef & Arpels is a member of the Four Horsemen Club (nickname for the top four jewelers in the world); the others are Cartier, Graff, and Harry Winston. They are also referred to as gild stores after the Gilded Age. The company was founded in 1896 by Salomon Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef. Their brilliant business plan was a simple, yet elegant, three prong approach to selling jewelry. First: only use the finest materials in the world! This meant all their rough diamonds were full term crystals (also referred to as sawables in the industry). They bypassed all the macles and flats (cheap, poorly formed & wildly abundant inferior diamond crystals) and only selected the top two percent of what Mother Nature had created. With 49 out of every 50 diamonds being rejected as “not within our standards”, Van Cleef & Arpels quickly got the reputation as being the best money could buy! Their standards for excellence didn’t just stop with diamonds. Van Cleef & Arpels introduced the world to a palate of colored gems the world had never seen – Aquamarines; Mandarin garnets; rubellites as well as the finest Kashmir sapphires; burmese rubies and muzo chrome green Colombian emeralds. Exceptional stones; exceptional jewelry pieces. Secondly, they hire the finest master diamond cutters and colored stone cutters in the world. Without the master cutter at the wheel a priceless gem could be grounded into a worthless bauble in the blink of an eye! No cutter was ever hired by Van Cleef & Arpels that hadn’t proven himself to be world renowned. The third prong is the mounting. Van Cleef & Arpels knew that how a masterpiece stone is placed into the jewelry was as important as the masterpiece stone itself. For this they coined the term “the mystery setting” as a way to set gemstones into their mount without the use of visible claws. By removing as many obstructions to light as possible, the master stone setters at Van Cleef & Arpels allowed the gemstones the opportunity to take full advantage of the available light. Three simple rules: only the finest raw materials; only the finest diamond and colored stone cutters in the world and wherever possible create an invisible mounting, “mystery setting”, to give the appearance the diamonds and gemstones are just floating on air! If price is no object and you insist on having the most valuable vivid white diamonds and colored gemstones, then search no further.
My name is Julie Seitz and I’m the newest employee of Diamond Cutters International. I’m the Assistant to our President and CEO, Fred Cuellar. I’m 34 years old, with two beautiful children, ages 11 and 13, and a wonderful husband to whom I have been married for 14 years. I decided to go to work full-time as my children entered middle school, and everyone seems to be adjusting well. It was an incredibly difficult decision; much more difficult than I anticipated. I loved being a stay-at-home mom for many years, but as my children got older and hungrier for independence, I found myself wanting to be part of the “rat race.” I’d heard people discuss it, complain about it, even praise it. I was ready to discover what it was all about and if it was for me. I miss the days of kids running home from elementary school, hugging me, wanting a cookie and a glass of milk…but we can’t go back, all we can do is move forward and look for the next adventure. It’s what life is all about. My kids are doing it, my husband is doing it, and now I am too.
Yes, it’s true, we can’t go back. But it is fun, on occasion, to look back. I was lucky enough to meet the man of my dreams at an early age–in high school, actually. We got engaged the year after high school, and after a long engagement, married at ages 20 and 21. When I became “Bride-to-be” on that fateful May evening, as my favorite guy pulled a small ring box from his jeans pocket standing in our favorite park with a light mist falling, something happened to me. Yes, I was incredibly, deliriously happy, excited, nervous…but I immediately began stressing out about everything I had to do to prepare for this wedding. Everything had to be perfect. The cake, the dress, the jewelry, the honeymoon, the hair, the guest list. I was overwhelmed, to say the least. I don’t think I handled the stress very gracefully. In fact, I know I didn’t. I’m sure, if they’re honest with themselves, most brides-to-be will admit to the same thing to some degree. I was, for this short period of my life, known to my family and friends as BRIDEZILLA! I was the stereotypical, hysterical, stressed out bride-to-be who had the overwhelming urge to control, plan and organize every aspect of my wedding. Oh yes, my bridesmaids and friends and family members all tried to help by pacifying me to the best of their ability, but some of my requests and demands were just too unreasonable for words. “No drinking at the bachelor party! Where is that maid of honor? She promised to loan me her new blue handkerchief! (It’s time efficient to combine traditions whenever possible.) What do you mean the church doesn’t allow rice throwing? Who knows what kind of children we’ll have if they throw BIRDSEED at us?!! ” I can look back and laugh now. However, I don’t think that I’m alone in my thinking that certain things, no matter how silly they may seem to some people, are important to brides all over the world. We don’t need a reason for them to be important, they just are, and that should be enough. It’s our day, dammit… Sorry…Getting back on track…..
Is there truly any actual reasoning that is involved in a woman’s frantic search for something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue? Have you ever seen a bride “freak out” because her guy accidentally caught a peak at her a few hours before the wedding? Not a pretty sight. But is there any factual basis to why this is a bad thing? I was curious, so I did some research. I was surprised by how important and, yes, necessary, many of these customs were at one time. Of course, some were silly then and are still silly today, but learning their origin will make you understand them in a more sensible way. But who are we kidding? The bride (zilla) is always right, and is under no obligation to be sensible.
Did you know that several of our wedding traditions are based on the concept of the bride being too ugly for the groom? I’m serious! Seeing the bride before the ceremony is considered bad luck because there was a time when marriages were completely arranged by the families. To keep the groom from backing out, he wasn’t permitted to see the bride until the ceremony just in case he considered her unattractive. The custom of wearing a veil came about for same reason. But in this case, the groom wasn’t allowed to see the bride’s potentially ugly mug until he actually lifted the veil to kiss her. Cruel? Maybe. But necessary at the time.
Watching a groom remove his bride’s garter at the reception is always fun. She’s usually quite embarrassed, he’s usually way too comfortable with the whole thing. Everyone gets a big kick out of it. What’s the purpose? In certain parts of Europe in the 14th Century, it was considered to be good luck to come away from a wedding with a piece of the bride’s clothing. Inebriated guests would destroy the poor bride’s dress trying to get a scrap. So, over time, it evolved to the tossing of the garter, providing safety for the bride, but making the dispersion of luck more of a lottery. This same idea of protecting the bride is also why the bride has always stood to the groom’s left. This was so the groom could have his right hand free to draw his sword against sudden attack. I guess this could still be considered a convenient concept. How else is the poor guy supposed to retrieve his cell phone from his right pocket on the first ring?
You’ve all heard, I’m sure, the term “to tie the knot.” I always thought it referred to tying your lives together. It actually goes back to Roman times, when the women’s girdles had many strings on them that were tied securely. Of course, the groom had the “duty” of untying the knots on the wedding night.
Stag parties have had the same meaning since they started. Stag parties, or bachelor parties as they are often called, are a farewell to bachelorhood and celebration of camaraderie between the groom and his friends. Although the reason has changed over the years, there has always been a shroud of mystery and secrecy when it comes to the bachelor party. It’s a sort of unspoken rule that details of the party usually aren’t revealed to women. I’ve heard rumors and hints, but after 14 years of marriage, I’m still not 100% sure what happened at my husband’s bachelor party. I only know that he lost his shoe and never did find it. Interesting. I think I feel an in-depth article on bachelor parties coming on.
Of course the bride has her own festivities to attend in the weeks leading up to her wedding. The first bridal shower is said to have come about from a Dutch folk tale in which well-meaning townspeople gave household items to a poor, newly married couple. The father of the bride disapproved of the union, so he had not provided a dowry. Anything goes today. Many bridal showers even become “bachelorette parties.”
Have you ever wondered where the word “honeymoon” came from? I have. I’ve even asked around. Not surprisingly, few people know the origin of the word or original meaning. Teutonic newlyweds drank wine made of honey and yeast from one full moon until the next full moon after they were married. I guess I should refer to my post-nuptial vacation as my “margaritamoon.”
Speaking of drinking, I found out in my research that the word “toast”, as in toasting the happy couple, actually comes from toasted bread. An old French custom is the source of this tradition. A piece of toasted bread was placed at the bottom of a glass filled with wine. After passing the glass around at the wedding, the bride would finish the wine, eat the wine-soaked bread at the bottom, thus receiving all of the good wishes of the guests.
Now to the tradition that most brides take very seriously. I know I did. Did I understand what the meaning of “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” was? No. But now I do. Something old signifies continuity. I had my Great Grandmother’s wedding band to wear on my little finger. Something new signifies optimism. This is the easy one. The dress is new, the rings are new, the shoes are new, you get the picture. Something borrowed signifies future happiness. A friend of mine borrowed her uncle’s Ferrari to drive to the church. Hey, whatever works for you. Something blue signifies modesty, fidelity and love. It’s funny to me that most brides I’ve known have gone with the blue garter. The garter is removed in front of hundreds of people! Fidelity and love? Maybe. Modesty? I’m not sure.
There are enough stories about the origin of the customary white wedding dress to fill an entire page. But, I couldn’t find a single story that had anything to do with wearing white only if you were “pure.” It was mainly just a fashion trend credited to Ann of Brittany in 1499 and again by Queen Victoria in 1840. I did come across a great poem about the topic, however.
Married in White, you have chosen right
Married in Grey, you will go far away,
Married in Black, you will wish yourself back,
Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,
Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,
Married in Blue, you will always be true,
Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,
Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,
Married in Brown, you will live in the town,
Married in Pink, you spirit will sink.
When a girl wore a green dress, the implication was that she was of questionable morals and her dress was green from “rolling in the fields.”
There are many traditions, customs and superstitions that are not covered here. There are, simply, too many to mention. Depending on race, culture, religion, geographic location, there are literally thousands of different particulars that brides must organize and prepare for her wedding. Some are silly, meaningless things that are done “just because it’s always been done.” Others have been passed down from generation to generation and, for whatever reason, have true meaning for the bride and her marriage. Do we have any conclusive answers to whether following wedding tradition will lead to a happy marriage? No. I do know, however, that I have never met a divorced person who told me that the reason for the split was that rice wasn’t thrown at the reception, or he didn’t carry her over the threshold, or cans weren’t tied to the bumper of their car. Not that I’m trivializing the value of these actions. In fact, it may be many little things combined that will make or break your wedding day. But remembering the “little things” AFTER that one day is what will make or break a marriage in my opinion. Rice may or may not have been thrown at the reception, but taking the time to throw your arm around each other for no reason…now that’s important. He may or may not have carried her over the threshold, but has he ever carried the groceries in from the car without being asked? I don’t feel that I missed anything by not having cans tied to the bumper of my car on my wedding day. Seeing my husband teach my son to tie his shoes for the first time, however, I wouldn’t have missed for the world.
Wedding Traditions: A Quick Reference Guide
A party given for the groom to say goodbye to his bachelorhood and celebrate the camaraderie between him and his friends.
Bad Luck for Groom to See Bride Before Ceremony
This came about as a means to keep a groom from backing out of an arranged marriage to an unattractive woman.
Bouquet Toss, Garter Toss
In the 14th century, it was thought to bring luck to have a piece of the bride’s clothing. To prevent the bride from harm, brides began throwing their garter. That later evolved into the groom throwing the garter and the bride throwing her bouquet.
Breaking the Wine Glass
The Jewish tradition of the groom stomping on a wine glass at the conclusion of the ceremony signifies the fragility of the relationship and also the irrevocable act of breaking something. “Mazel Tov!”
This tradition has many different origins depending on culture. The groom would use the help of his “bridesmen” to capture or escort his bride from her village. They were also responsible for getting the bride to the wedding and to the groom’s home after the ceremony. The women who assisted the bride were called her “brideswomen.”
Dating back to the 1800’s, a bride receives gifts from her friends to prepare her for marriage.
Bride Standing on Grooms Left
This goes back to ancient times, when the groom would need to keep his right hand free to draw his sword against sudden attack.
Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold
It is considered very bad luck for the new bride to trip and fall upon entering her new home for the first time. To eliminate the risk, the groom traditionally carries her through the door.
Pope Nicholas I decreed the engagement ring a required symbol of intent to marry. The Diamond became popular because of its long-lasting and enduring qualities.
The practice of matching the groom’s boutonniere to the bride’s bouquet goes back to medieval times when knights would match the colors of their lady in tournaments.
Teutonic newlyweds would drink wine made of honey and yeast from one full moon to the next immediately following their wedding.
The kiss between the bride and groom dates back to the earliest days of civilization. A kiss has almost always been used as a legal seal for contracts and agreements, thus the obvious use of the kiss for the end of a wedding ceremony.
The money dance that many people see at wedding receptions, has its roots in dozens of cultures around the world. Basically, guests pay the groom money for the privilege of dancing with his bride. The money is then used for the honeymoon.
Greek belief was that the third finger was connected directly to the heart by a vein they called “the vein of love.”
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Old signifies continuity, new signifies optimism, borrowed reflects future happiness, and blue is a sign of modesty, fidelity and love.
This is a symbol of fertility and also a wish for the couple to always have a full pantry. Note: birdseed is often used as an alternative that is nature-friendly.
Tie the Knot
This dates back to Roman times when the bride would wear a girdle tied in little knots.
Toasting the Bride and Groom
Originates from the 16th century. A small piece of toasted bread was placed in the bottom of a glass of wine. Guests would pass the glass until it reached the bride, who would drink the last drink, eat the bread, and receive the good wishes of the guests.
Tying Cans or Shoes to the Car
In England during the Tudor period, shoes were thrown at the carriage as a sign of luck. Eventually it became more common to just tie the shoes to the vehicle. Today, it’s usually tin cans that are used.
Veils were originally worn to keep the groom from seeing his bride until he lifted the veil to kiss her in case she was unattractive. In Roman times, veils were also thought to ward off evil spirits.
Vows are spoken promises between the groom and his bride in front of witnesses. Today, many religions and cultures allow and encourage the bride and groom to write their own vows.
The Anglo-Saxon word “wedd” refers to promise of a man to marry a certain woman, but it also refers to the money or land, or social status to be paid to the woman’s family for her hand.
Like many wedding customs, bells are rung to protect the couple from misfortune.
In the 1st century, cake was thrown at the bride for fertility. It is considered very good luck to all who eat wedding cake.
Ancient belief was that the ring was protection against evil spirits. Early Rome is the source of our modern symbolism of love and commitment.
White Wedding Dress
A fashion trend credited to Ann of Brittany in 1499 and again to Queen Victoria in 1840.
According to Cuellar, author of “How to Buy a Diamond” and “The World’s Greatest Proposals” (Casablanca Press), women often witness unusual behavior from their boyfriends just prior to marriage proposals. Cuellar has researched more than 10,000 proposal stories and has spent years in the industry advising men on popping the question. Now, he has partnered with another proposal expert, Korbel Champagne Cellars, to compile this list of signs
— from getting a new gold card to buddying up with your dad — that may signal that your boyfriend is gearing up for the engagement:
TOP TEN SIGNS HE’S ABOUT TO POP THE QUESTION
1. He’s cleaning his closet: If your boyfriend is finally tossing out that “private” box of mementos from former girlfriends, he is letting go of his past and is ready to focus on the future with you.
Weight: 1 carat plus
Weight: .50 carat or bigger
Weight: .50 carat or bigger
Weight: .50 carat or bigger
Shape: Round (No other!)
Weight 1 carat or bigger
Clarity: VVS1 to Flawless
Color D, E or F
B. Nice Size
C. A Boulder
D. I can’t lift my hand from the weight.
B. 2-5 years
C. 5-7 years
D. I can’t remember it’s been so long.
B. Once a week
C. When it gets dirty
D. I’m supposed to clean my diamond?
B. I will keep my diamond till the day I die unless
something better comes along.