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Let’s Shop For Engagement Rings!

If you’re looking at diamond engagement rings online, chances are you are close to that rock being on your finger! While you know what you like when you see it in a picture online, there is definitely investigation required when you are in person at a jewelry store to make sure you are getting the best diamond or gemstone for the price you are paying.

There are probably some terms you will hear while shopping that you are unfamiliar with. This blog will give you a head start in learning more to help you make the best decision. In this blog we are not going over the shapes of diamonds, rather the features of diamonds and bands.

The “Four Cs” – these include cut, color, clarity, and carat, and they determine the value of the stone.

Cut – A specific style or shape into which a gemstone is formed. Most cuts intend to alter or maximize how well the stone will sparkle and reflect light. Common cuts include princess, brilliant, Ascher, cushion, emerald, heart, oval, and pear. Some cuts work better with certain gemstones more than others.

Color – The diamond color is based on the absence of color. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently, a higher value.

Clarity – Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number and size of internal and external blemishes created upon formation of the diamond. No diamond is perfectly pure, but the closer it comes to purity, the better its clarity.

Carat – To put it simply, it is how much a diamond weighs. Diamond price increases with carat weight because larger diamonds are rarer. However, two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different prices depending on the three other factors above!

So once you have your stone picked out then you are going to pick your setting. The most common are:

Bezel –  The gemstone is protected and secured by being completely surrounded by the metal on all sides.

Bezel setting

Claw/Prong – A claw setting holds a gemstone in place with little prongs or “claws”. Most rings have 4-6 prongs.

Claw/Prong setting

Channel/Pavé – These styles have multiple gemstones implanted into the ring band, but so closely that no metal can be seen in between. Alone these can be referred to as eternity bands:

Channel/Pave Setting

Halo – The halo setting refers to the placement of diamonds around a center stone. The halo setting makes the center stone appear larger and increases the sparkle.

Halo setting

Tension – The tension setting is named for the tension of the metal band that secures the diamond in place; the result is that the diamond appears suspended between the two sides of the shank.

Tension setting

What about the band? Which is really just another term for the ring itself.

Bands can come in a number of different metals:

Alloy – most jewelry pieces are often sold as a mix of multiple metals because precious metals are not durable for the long term. For instance gold on its own is very soft and if it is alloyed with other metals it will last much longer. Often gold is mixed with other metals to create a different color such as mixing gold with copper to produce rose gold or with white gold to produce platinum.

What about diamond shapes? To make it easy here is a graphic with the most popular shapes:

Some other terms you should be familiar with are:

Bridal Set

A matching set of rings, such as the engagement and wedding ring, which are meant to be worn together. A common bridal set includes one solitaire ring and an enhancer that creates the illusion of having two additional side-set stones.

Facet

This refers to a flat side (or layer) of a gemstone that results from it being cut into a certain style. Generally speaking, at least with diamonds, more facets mean better light reflection. The brilliant cut, which intends to maximize the sparkle of a diamond, features 58 facets.

Karat (K)

Sometimes misspelled as carat, but appreciated with a K. This term is used specifically for silver or gold, in reference to how pure the metal is. It may be accompanied or replaced by a stamp that shows the purity in percentage. Here are some examples for reference:

14K = 58.5% pure, or 585
18K = 75% pure, or 750
24K = 100% pure, or 1000

Satin Finish

Also known as a brushed or matte finish, a satin finish features many micro parallel scratches, which give it texture. It is popular in men’s rings.

Solitaire

A solitaire ring (or another jewelry piece) simply means that there is only one, single gemstone set upon it.

Now you will be armed with all the info you need to find the perfect symbol of your love! And after you get that beautiful ring, come to us and let us find your equally beautiful wedding dress!

Your Wedding Invitations 2018

Congratulations, you’re engaged!  Now who’s getting an invitation to share your big day?

How is it worded, when does it go out, what goes along with it? So many colors, papers, designs, fonts, what’s a bride-to-be to do?

She reads this blog! Featuring our good friend Lori Norcross from Cortineo Creative – The Wedding Studio.

Lori’s grandfather was a printer over 100 years ago and she admits, “Ink and paper are in my blood.”  A master in her field with thousands of invitations designed over her 35 years, Lori is a professional we are proud to know and feature.

She sits on the board of directors for the Graphic Arts Association, and you may  run across her at one of the many bridal shows where she presents throughout Pennsylvania and at the Jersey shore.  Lori loves what she does and that makes her a joy to work with!

Let’s jump right into it. Take it away Lori:

Lori Norcross, Cortineo Creative – The Wedding Studio

 

The real impression of your wedding day comes from your invitation set.  Uniquely you, it should bring a smile to your face every time you see it, from the first view and for many years after.

You want to capture the emotion with your theme, design, and colors and you will get great advice and ideas from a professional wedding stationer.  I’ve been doing this for a long time and every bride is different.  We tweak a few things and when we see that smile, we know that’s her design!

A few things to keep in mind to begin:

  • Save the Dates:  These are sent 9-12 months before the wedding, mainly if your guests will need to make accommodations (multiple day event, destination requiring advanced planning, etc.)  You can use a photo from your engagement session, or they can be designed as part of the theme of your wedding.
  • The Invitation:  These are sent 8-10 weeks before the wedding and includes the information of who is getting married, where, and what time. If the wedding and reception are at the same location, then all you need to say is “Reception immediately following the ceremony” which  can be added to the bottom of the invitation.
    • If you are getting married in one place and the reception is at another location, you will need a reception card stating the place and time. Receptions do not necessarily need to be right after the wedding, it can start hours later. This gives the entire wedding party time to have photos done without missing any of the celebration.
    • Reply card & envelope or postcard – very important!  This is a card that is returned to you stating whether or not the invited guest will be attending and who they are.  It is also used for meal selection (if a choice is offered). You may also add a line for any food allergies that your guest might have and/or add something fun, such as “What song will get you on the dance floor?”
      • Helpful hint on the reply card:  Place a small number on the back of the card to match your list of attendees, so that if anyone fails to put their name on the card front, you will easily find their name with the corresponding number on your list. Saves time in the long run and makes it easy to find out who they are.
      • Transportation/directions/reservations card:  Any additional information you might want the guests to know, such as a shuttle between the church/hotel and the reception, if parking is available and where, and directions, if hotels have rooms blocked for guests, etc.

For the design, the ideas are endless.  Think about your wedding first – is it formal or casual?  Is it on the beach or in a cathedral?  Is it a summertime outdoor event or a snowy winter wonderland?

Also consider any special interests you and your fiancee share.  For instance, are you Game of Thrones fans?  Do you share a symbolic tattoo?  A quote?  Design your invitations around it!

 

Many couples forgo those traditional or “expected” invitations and make their wedding day as unique as their relationship.  We couldn’t agree more!  Your wedding day is all about your new beginning together and writing the next chapter of your story.

 

Speaking of writing, let’s talk a little about the wording of them:

  • If you do not wish for children to attend, a simple “adults only” will suffice.
  • Dress code – if you have a specific dress code, state it clearly.  For instance, guests are confused about “Black Tie Optional”.  If you want them to wear a tux (or casual, themed, etc.) say it.
  • Blended families are the norm now, and there are a number of ways to simply state the invitation without causing hurt feelings. Ask your stationer for the simplest way to address your particular situation.

And what about pricing?  Most brides have a wedding budget and like anything else, the pricing of invitations varies considerably.  If you truly want a stress-free wedding, you hire professionals.  Your invitations are no different.  From consultations to drafts to tweaks to the perfect set!   You can have wax seals, ribbons and bows, textures and colors, metallics and gems, lace, there is nothing off limits and the inspiration is everywhere!

Tap into your bride vibe, talk it over with Lori, and let her design something incredible!

Lori Norcross can be reached at Cortineo Creative / The Wedding Studio 215-348-1100, or visit her website www.cortineocreative.com.

Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo is an award-winning bridal and tuxedo store located in Warrington, Bucks County, PA.  We are proud to partner with some of the best vendors in the wedding industry.