Fine Jewelry

Fall 2008 Designer Jewelry Trends


Diamond White Gold Necklace


As the summer days come to a memorable end and the crisp fall weather makes its way through the coming weeks, jewelry colors and designs begin to heat up! Expect traditional warm tones in jewelry designs and stones to become a hot staple for most wardrobes this season and well into 2009.

Some trends becoming more popular among designer jewelry aficionados are statement accessories. Whether it’s a stunning cuff bangle bracelet or a gorgeous diamond necklace, one eye catching piece will be enough to create a dazzling signature look.  The “less is more” approach is definitely in right now.

Designer jewelry lovers have a lot to look forward to this coming season, there’s many surprises in store!

How I Chose The Perfect Engagement Ring

Engagement RingWhen I found the one I wanted to make that life long commitment to, I was elated. But like many other soon-to-be hitched men, the same questions arose. What, where, how and how much to spend for the engagement ring? Here are some things I learned when it came time for me to get the ring.

Know Her Taste

You should have a sense of the kind of jewelry she wears, likes, and desperately wants. Find out what her favorite jewelry designers are. If you know her favorite jewelry designer then that will really narrow down your search. The idea is to figure out what she likes and desires. I was lucky enough to find out what designer my then girlfriend wanted. It was much easier from then on.

Know Your Limit

Make sure you know how much you can spend. If you want to spend a little more, save accordingly.  Having a number in the back of your head is good when shopping around; because you (or her) do not want to be emotionally attached to a ring that you cannot afford. Also, if you already have the ring in mind that you want and don’t have enough. You can find out how long it will take to save for it. This does 2 things:

  1. It gives you a proposal day to work towards. (“Just 2 more paychecks and I can ask her on the 3rd!”)
  2. Some jewelers will hold on to the ring and give you a discount if you promise to purchase it from them.

Do Your Homework

A simple Google search and you can find out what stores have those designers, their locations, and prices. You will know where to go, their hours of operation, and the price ranges. This cuts out the time you might otherwise spend store hopping. Plus, since you have all this new knowledge you will know where to get the best price for the ring you want.

Keep Quiet

Getting engaged should be more important that the actual ring. So make it a day she will remember. Make it a surprise.  That is part of the gift. Here are some tips to make it suspenseful. Plan Big!!

  1. Borrow one of her rings to find out her ring size. (So you don’t have to ask her!) Any jeweler will tell you.
  2. Don’t mention anything about marriage, rings, wedding, etc. If she doesn’t hear you talking about it, she won’t think you are going to pop the question when you go out to dinner this Saturday.
  3. Get her friends to help out. (The ones that can keep a secret.)

These are just some things I learned when it came time for me to pop the question. If you have any more suggestions please leave a comment below.

10 Tips On Creating A Memorable Wedding Proposal


1. Make sure you’ve found the right person
It sounds obvious to most people, but marriage is not something that you want enter on impulse or with some doubts. Hopefully, you have thought long and hard about your mutual feelings, goals and dreams. You might be crazy for each other, but if she wants children and you don’t, then your marriage may already begin on a shaky foundation. If the two of you have very different values or want different things out of life, then you will probably spend a lot of time arguing. Do some soul-searching before entering this lifelong commitment.

2. Know that timing matters
There is no standard guideline that will tell you when is the best time to “pop the question”, but if you are already thinking about proposing a few weeks after meeting her, then you should slow down. If she is going through a particularly difficult time in life or is stressed with personal matters, it would be best to postpone your proposal until her life becomes a little less overwhelmed. The best time to propose marriage is after you’ve been committed to one another over an extended period of time. Ideally, you should have already talked about marriage and a possible future together and the both of you have a good understanding of what the other is looking for in a long-term partner. However, make sure not to wait too long. A diamond is forever, but she will not wait around that long. If you’re finding it hard to make that commitment, fire up the courage within you and go for it!

3. Keep your plans closely guarded
It only takes one person to “spill the beans”, so if you plan on keeping the proposal a surprise, only tell a select few that you trust with utmost certainty(if you must). It is custom in some cultures to ask for the parents’ blessings before proposing. If you decide on doing this in advance, be sure not to wait too long to propose after. The longer you wait, the higher the likelihood is that she may accidentally find out.

4. Give her the ring of her dreams
Some people are very particular about the type of ring they like in terms of style and functionality. Know the type of person that she is and decide in advance whether you want to pick the ring out together or keep it a surprise. If you decide to do the latter, there are many ways of finding out what style diamond and ring she likes without asking her directly. If she has made any comments about specific jewelry while passing by a jewelry store or browsing online, be aware of the style and diamond cut of the item. Pay attention to any jewelry related magazines she has been looking at or has laying around. You can also find clues by looking at the current jewelry she wears or you can even casually ask some of her friends and family that know her best. In either case, you should know
how to buy a diamond.

5. Choose a jeweler with a great reputation
Make sure the jeweler you are dealing with has been in business for many years. A ring is a big investment and you want to be comfortable and confident with your purchase. The last thing you need on this joyous occasion is to stress or worry over the ring.

6. Insure the diamond
This is one of the first things you should do after purchasing the engagement ring. If the ring you’ve bought is expensive, you may want to make sure you protect your investment. Most home insurance policies cover up to a certain amount. Find out from an insurance company what it will cost.

7. Stay within your financial capacity
You have a wide range of options when it comes to purchasing an engagement ring and an infinite number of options when it comes to setting the stage for your proposal. You want to impress the woman you love and show her that you care, but at the same time you don’t want to overextend yourself financially, so it is important to reach a delicate balance. How much should you spend you ask? The general accepted guideline for purchasing a diamond engagement ring is two months’ salary. This number may or may not work for you but it’s a good place to begin. Plan in advance to determine what you can afford and then make the right decision.

8. How to set the stage
You need to consider the type of woman that she is when thinking about how and where to propose. Is she a hopeless romantic? Is she bold, unusual or extravagant? Your proposal should reflect this and it should play a part in deciding on whether something intimate and one on one or something more public will win her heart. The place that you decide on should have special meaning to the both of you. It could be the place that you both first met, or somewhere that you’ve both always wanted to be – from your favorite restaurant to the white sanded beaches of Barbados.

9. Expect the unexpected
If you’re planning a wedding proposal during a tropical weekend get away but severe storms makes the trip/moment impossible or if you decided to do it at your favorite restaurant but can’t get a reservation that day, you’ll have to reschedule – or come up with a backup plan. Nothing in life ever happens exactly as we plan it and this is definitely no exception. Think of this as a rehearsal for your wedding which will probably have a surprise or two as well. There’s always the chance that she might say “no”, but don’t get upset. Talk to her and find out what she’s feeling and thinking. Maybe she needs more time or maybe she is not the right girl for you. It’s better to talk things out early on than to end up marrying the wrong person.

10. Announce your engagement and celebrate!
Once she does say “yes”, telling everyone else the good news would naturally be the next thing to do. If you have not already told her parents, make sure you speak with them first. If either of you have any children from a previous marriage; now would also be the time to talk with them if they don’t already know. Also, if either of you have a previous spouse, it would be best to notify them, both as courtesy and to resolve any unsettled legal matters. It is custom to arrange a meeting between her parents and yours soon after getting engaged. Remember to relax, have fun and make it a day to remember for the both of you!


Platinum’s Appeal

At one point, gold wedding rings were the option. But recently platinum has grown tremendous in popularity. Platinum is more precious than gold, and has other advantages over gold as well.
Platinum wedding rings are elegant.  Platinum was often mixed with gold, but today you can find wedding rings of pure platinum. Polished platinum sparkles as much as gold.  Platinum is a durable metal, and your active lifestyle will not get in the way of wearing a platinum ring.

Given that platinum wedding rings have a very modern look, the best styles are elegant, but simple.  A “comfort fit” is curved slightly in the inside, and most men find them a good choice since a ring is worn more then anything else that adorns the body.  Platinum is heavier than gold which is often the main reason men choose them over gold.  Remember that many men love Swiss sports watches for the same “weighty” reason.
You will pay a premium for platinum.  One reason some buyers go with gold is they are concerned they will lose their ring, and want to be able to replace it less expensively.  Do keep in mind that an engagement ring is not like a set of car keys.  You will grow to love it more and more with each passing year, as you do your partner, and will have a magnetic connection to it.  That may mean that IF you take it off, you will have a brilliant system for making sure your ring is never lost.

What’s hot for summer engagement rings

Antique Styles
For people who are not fortunate enough to have heirloom engagement rings in their family, pieces that are handmade using styles from generations past also provide historic  reverence.  A vintage ring is sometimes made with filigree designs, highlighting a period’s characteristics (Edwardian, for example), and have attention to detail that one would find more often when these styles were contemporary.


Bezel Settings
A lipped metallic ring keeps a diamond safely in place on bezel rings and make sense for women that are on the go.  An added bonus is that the setting makes  the stone look larger, while also holding it firmly in place.

Engagement & Wedding ring combination
Often these rings have many small diamonds which sparkle brightly around a platinum or gold band.  With the emphasis on more stones, they are higher on glitter and lower on cost than the traditional separate engagement ring with a large stone.

Personalized Engravings
This can be as simple as the date of a wedding or as detailed as a phrase from a song or poem.  If you intend to have a ring engraved by hand, do so weeks in advance.

Colored Diamonds
We’ve mentioned before on The Top Shelf that color is very in with all types of jewelry this year.  Expect to pay a significant premium on colored diamonds due to their scarcity.  These are favorites with celebrities.


Gemstones continue to show strength as investments

As investments in Real Estate and stocks continue on a downward spiral, many are realizing that a girl’s best friend may also be her best investment.  Very high quality diamonds and other gemstones have a lot of investment appeal if one takes into account global trends in the coming years.  The fact is that wealth is being distributed more widely in our global world, but at the same time mines are being depleted of fine quality stones.

Antoinette Matlins is the author of “Jewelry & Gems: The Buying Guide.”  She says “The cost of the finest emeralds has increased approximately 75% over the past 2 years, rubies about 70%, and sapphires over 60%.”  She notes that wealthy individuals in the Middle East and China are increasingly interested in purchasing top quality gemstones, and their habits go a long way in explaining why prices are moving up.

Investing in gemstones requires a tremendous amount of expertise.  Stories of tourists trying to buy gems from individuals near mines in places like the Golden Triangle in Thailand are infamous.  Scores of people have been swindled while outside their home countries because they think their hobby or amateur knowledge is good enough to identify quality when buying from individuals at seemingly immense discounts.

If you want advice on what gemstones are most likely to increase in value, ask one of the experts at Firenze.  Test our salespeople’s knowledge and you’ll see they are some of the most educated in New York when it comes to high-end gemstones.  Our reputation comes from our genuine commitment to each and every person that approaches us for advise.

How to become a high-tech jewelry treasure hunter for under $200

If you lose jewelry at the beach this summer, chances are it will not stay buried in the sand. In contrast to years past, amateur “treasure hunters” will have a much easier time locating your lost gold necklace or ring. Technology advances, as well as falling prices from higher production numbers, mean the metal detector of 2008 does far more for much less. A “hobby” metal detector ten years ago could help you find tin cans. Today, for a similar price a detector can find small jewelry items, sometimes worth over $1000. Machines today can detect the difference between platinum and gold. Furthermore, the high price of gold and shaky economy makes hunting for gold objects particularly attractive this year.

If you are forgetful, and leave a ring or bracelet under a beach blanket, chances are you won’t find it the next day; regardless of whether it’s still there or a treasure hunter found it after the beach goers left for the day.

There are, however, plenty of stories of good Samaritan treasure hunters who find identifiable items they return to owners. Vietnam veterans have been reunited through finds of their class rings and dog tags.

Basic engagement ring etiquette for men

Do not give a “secondhand” engagement ring to someone! If it was a family heirloom that’s different of course. If you’ve given that heirloom to numerous wives from numerous prior marriages, and your soon to be fiancé will probably guess that, think twice. Engagement rings have far more meaning to most women than wedding rings. Remember that, as girls, diamond rings stand along-side princes in storybooks and represent all that is love.

No one wants to think about the history a ring had on the finger of a former fiancé or wife.

Educate yourself about ring styles and fashion on at least a simple level. “American consumers favor the largest rocks possible, as demonstrated by Hollywood starlets,” Ruth Donaldson, the UK manager of Platinum Guild International says. “British consumers are still living up to their more austere reputation. Ladies like a better class of diamond and lean towards the best metals being used to secure their jewels. It is strongly felt by brides that their fiancés are getting it wrong if they are just selecting the biggest rock.”