13 January

Super-Fan Glam

I realize that this is a little out-of-the-box compared our usual posts, but with the “Elite Eight” NFL Playoffs coming up this weekend it inspired us to get into the game and see how you, the fans, like to show your enthusiasm.

Since the playoffs are such a big deal (I mean, Tom Brady vs. Tim Tebow… need we say more) we want to know: how do you display your passion for your team?

How about a gemstone ring designed in your teams colors? A small amulet for good luck? Maybe a little sparkle by your ears to raise conversation.

Are you a 49ers fan? Gemvara’s Fourty-Niner Band may be right up your alley. The Horseshoe Pendant proves lucky for a Broncos fan, and a thick masculine band, like the Two Lane Ring would be fitting for a tough Giants fan. We started to cultivate some boards on our Pinterest page, but we’d love to hear your feedback.

How would you design your team’s colors? Play around with it at Gemvara.com and share it with us on Twitter and Facebook.

Oh, and good luck this weekend. (Go, Pats!)

5 January

Brilliant Advice

Shopping for a gemstone can be harder than you think. Admittedly, before I began working for Gemvara, I had no clue about the difference between a well cut stone and a poorly cut one. (Not to mention the fact that all stones have different hardness levels! Who knew?)

However, lucky for you, our resident gem expert, Roy Albers, agreed to get under the bright lights and film a few short videos to guide you through the process of purchasing a gemstone.

Roy is the VP of Jewelry Fulfillment at Gemvara and the buyer for all our gemstones. He is extremely well-versed in the business and you will see that as he discusses the guidelines for buying three gems, a ruby, an emerald, and a sapphire, in the videos below.

At some point in each video Roy displays a multitude of stones – some good, some bad. Unfortunately, we were even fooled by a few of the stones. (Good thing we don’t do Roy’s job!) See if you can spot the perfect stones from the imperfect. Did you get it right?

How to Buy: Ruby

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_1033BQuPQ&feature=relmfu[/youtube]

How to Buy: Emerald

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBPdPEOv7uA&feature=relmfu[/youtube]

How to Buy: Sapphire

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XBLqEjqSsY&feature=relmfu[/youtube]

28 December

Ring in the New Year

Engagement season is in full swing – that time of the year when it just seems like everyone is in love. If Christmas wasn’t your ideal time to propose, New Year’s Eve makes for a wonderful night to pop the question. It’s an exciting time to anticipate the things to come and make plans for the future. What better way to usher in the new year than with a proposal?

However, planning the perfect proposal can be difficult, so we’ve pulled together a list of five ideas to make yours one to remember.

  • Entwine the proposal with the countdown to midnight. This is perfect if you’re at a large party with friends and family. As the countdown begins, to whisper to your partner that you love her. Once the countdown reaches zero, get down on one knee and ask her to marry you. She (and the crowd) will go wild.
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  • Make use of the New Year’s Eve toast. As everyone is passing around the champagne, hand a glass to your girlfriend with the ring in it. If you’re worried about her wearing a wet ring, use a plastic champagne cup with a removable bottom. Place the ring on the neck of the glass like a wine charm and casually present it to her. This is one glass she won’t misplace!
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  • After the New Year’s Eve spectacles are clearing out, talk to your partner about your New Year’s resolutions. Ask her to write a few down. Do the same, but make the last one on your list, “To make you my wife.” Then get down on one knee and tell her how much you love her.
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  • Not into the crowds? Have a night in. Make a home-cooked meal, watch a romantic movie, and transform your living room into a luxurious boudoir for two. Make it a decedent affair with truffles and champagne and when the ball drops at midnight, ask her to marry you. It will be an intimate affair she’ll remember forever.
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  • If you don’t mind sharing your moment with a room full of delighted onlookers, a restaurant is a classic way to propose on New Year’s Eve. If your wallet permits, take her to one of your favorite places, preferably somewhere where you can get a quiet table. Let the waitstaff in on your secret, and when it’s time for dessert, have them present the ring on a silver platter (with champagne ready, of course!)
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    Happy New Year!

    Photo Credit: Ashley Fluit wearing her Princess Kate engagement ring.

    21 December

    Creative Christmas Proposals

    Christmas is not only the most wonderful time of the year, it is also one of the best times to get engaged. Think about it – everyone is in good spirits, friends and family abound, and the beautiful holiday decorations make for a charming backdrop.

    If you are thinking of getting engaged this holiday here are five creative proposal ideas to make your day even more magical.

    • If the two of you usually trim your tree together, sneakily hang the ring like an ornament and draw her attention to it. You could also hand her an ornament with the ring attached to it. (Bonus points for this one since the ornament will now hold a special meaning). Tree already trimmed? Remove all the ornaments except for the ring. This would be a sight to see on Christmas morning!
    • Wrap the tiny ring box in lots of larger boxes. Make her work to find the gem inside!
    • Do you use an advent calendar? Depending on the style of your calendar, replace one of the days with the ring. (But be certain she’s the one who finds it!)
    • Attach the ring to a candy cane with a bow. It’s double the holiday sweetness.
    • Wrap the ring in a larger box and put it under the tree. Then place a lot of other presents under the tree, but leave the boxes empty. On Christmas morning (or whenever you open gifts) explain to her that she must search for that “special” box. It’s quite involved, but the excitement and the pay-off will make for a marvelous moment.

    Happy Holidays!

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    15 December

    What a Winner

    Guys like Daniel don’t come around every day. And according to Daniel, girls like Teresa don’t either. It is this sentiment that has crowned Daniel W. of Munster, Indiana the winner of Gemvara’s What a Guy contest.

    On Tuesday afternoon, Daniel received an e-mail letting him know that he won the ring he designed for his fiancée and a Sony BRAVIA® 46’’ 3D HDTV. Talk about a sweet deal! Daniel was ecstatic.

    All participants in the contest were asked to design a piece and write a short blurb about why they designed what they did. The entries with the most votes were then tallied and a panel of judges picked the winner from the top 10.

    Here is Daniel’s story:

    Elegant. Unexpected. Feisty. Unique. Classic. These words don’t make sense on their own, but they do if you know Teresa. I get to marry the love of my life next year, and I can’t think of a better way to honor her than this beauty of a ring: a braided band that signifies our interconnected lives; dots of diamonds mark the many small moments that make up a lifetime; and a big, beautiful gemstone, unexpected, warm, fiery, one of a kind — like her. It’s not a solitaire so much as it is a promise for a beautiful future.

    The ring Daniel designed is the stunning Emerald Isle Ring in platinum featuring a bold fire opal with shimmering side diamonds. We can only imagine how beautiful it will look on Teresa’s finger.

    Congratulations again to Daniel and Teresa, and thanks for all who participated. We loved reading each entry, and we hope they’ve inspired you as much as they have inspired us.

    Photo Credit: Jessica DeKock / Forever October Photography

    23 November

    What A Guy

    Wouldn’t it be nice if this year you could get your loved one something lavish and simultaneously win a big-ass TV? Well, good news — you can!

    Gemvara’s “What a Guy” contest is a creative effort to bring $5000 of mutual joy this holiday season. The premise is simple: you design a piece of jewelry for that special someone and in return get an entry to win a Sony Bravia 46’’ flat-screen TV for yourself. Sound good? We thought so.

    All you need to enter is to design a piece of jewelry inspired by your one and only. Stumped on how to choose? Why not use a birthstone, favorite color, or the gems to match his or her eyes. You can even use the upcoming holidays to get some advice from family and friends! Be sure to make it meaningful. Besides, you could really win it!

    Submit your entry and then solicit all your friends, family, co-workers (even your mailman) to vote. The top 10 with the most votes become finalists and one lucky couple wins it all!

    Put a little effort in this season and just think about all the hugs, kisses, and complimentary back rubs you’ll receive. Not to mention all the games you can watch on your new TV for the rest of the year. It’s a win-win.

    17 November

    Sly Guy

    So you’ve decided to propose. As if this day isn’t a surprise enough, you’ve decided to surprise her with the ring, too! First of all, we commend you, brave fellow. This is no easy task. However, you’ve got your heart set on it so we want to help.

    Around this time last year, one of our resident gem-experts and copywriter extraordinaire, Cheryl, wrote a post about sneaky ways to find her ring size. These tips are invaluable for a man looking to go-at-it-alone, so we decided to bring attention to them once again. Besides the holidays are quickly approaching and you know what that means: proposal season!

    Here are our tips for nailing it the first time around.

    1. Get a Clue

    If you pay attention, you may discover she’s leaving you hints. Check for magazines open to pages with ring ads, styles she’s drawn to while shopping at the mall, or things she brings up in casual conversation. This may be the hardest part because you want to make sure it’s a ring that will fit her personality and lifestyle, as well as piece she’ll gush over… again, and again. Do your research!

    2. Borrow A Ring

    If she wears a ring on the ring finger of her right hand, chances are pretty good it’s the same size.  Borrow it and take it to a jeweler to be sized or have friends try it on. But don’t dig into her jewelry box for a ring you’ve never seen her wear: it may not fit or it might fit a different finger.

    3. Make An Impression

    If you can’t borrow a ring because she wears it almost all the time, you’ll have to be quick.  If she leaves it at the sink or on her dresser, you can press the ring into clay and make an impression.  Or you can trace around the inside of the ring on paper carefully with a sharp pencil. Take that to a jeweler or compare the size to a ring from a friend or sister who might be the same size.

    4. Try One On

    You can try her ring on your finger and mark how far it comes down on your finger without forcing.  Then try on rings until you find one that is the same size.

    5. Take Her Shopping

    If normally you’d rather go for a swim in boiling oil than go with her to the mall, this may be a stretch. You’ll need an excuse like your parent’s anniversary or a sister’s birthday.  Ask her to help you pick out a gift and look at some rings (among other things so she doesn’t get too suspicious).  Ask her advice on size and get her to try them on. A trip to a craft fair isn’t a bad idea: she’ll probably look at jewelry and then you can say you like a ring and urge her to try it on.  Try to choose something like a skull ring to put her off the scent.

    6. Recruit an Accomplice

    Ask one of her friends for help. The friend can ask to try on her ring and will be able to tell you which finger it fit.  If the friend just got engaged, it will be very natural to have her offer her ring to be tried on (She can say she wants to see how it looks on someone else’s hand.)  Or the next time they go shopping, the friend can try on rings and she’ll be sure to follow.

    7. Give Up!

    A proposal doesn’t have to include the ring to be romantic! (Take for example, our customer Cynthia’s story.) Your girlfriend would probably enjoy ring shopping and finding something that perfectly suits her style.  She’ll get exactly the right ring in the right size and you’ll get all the credit for how perfect it is for the rest of your life.

    10 November

    Making A Case For "Advised Adam"

    Last week one of our beloved customers sent us this outstanding customer testimonial video (below). We were speechless. The fairy tale story mixed with her incredibly unique ring almost had us in tears. However, aside from the mushy-gushy, lovey-dovey sentiments, it also left us thinking…

    In the video, Cynthia’s husband is what we like to call an “Advised Adam.” This person shops for jewelry already knowing what his recipient wants and is simply set with the task of either picking between two (or more) options or just handing over the credit card.

    When it comes to engagement ring shopping, being an “Advised Adam” can sometimes seem unimaginative or feel like it would detract from that special and surprising moment. However, we wish to make a case for Mr. Adam.

    First of all, let us make it clear that we don’t want to knock those brave men wishing to go at it alone (or women who would rather be completely surprised). There is definitely a certain excitement that goes along with both the ring shopping and the question-popping moment that no teamwork could re-create.

    That said, it can be a daunting task. An engagement ring is something your fiancée will wear every day. You want to be sure it is something that feels good, is the right size, and suits her lifestyle, as well as her personal style. There are many things to consider and it can feel extremely overwhelming. For this reason, we think that it may be easier and more successful to let the woman help.

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyy7rNBUSjE&feature=channel_video_title[/youtube]

    Don’t worry guys, you’ll still be the hero. In fact, it’s guaranteed. Shopping for the ring together ensures that she will love it and then proceed to tell all her friends and family how amazing you are for getting exactly what she wanted. Shopping for the ring together can also be really fun! Granted, you must have discussed the idea of marriage beforehand, but there are many ways to make this an enjoyable event.

    Why not make a day of it? Go to lunch, browse the shops, let your loved one try on as many rings as she wishes, or go online and design as many as her heart desires. Then have her pick her top favorites. That way, you’re still left with the ultimate decision and she will still be surprised. Or if she has one ring in mind, just wait some time before proposing. It is still up to you to make the move, so use this time to get creative and surprise her.

    Also, letting your lady pick out her piece means that you won’t run the risk of having to return the ring because it doesn’t fit or she doesn’t like it. In the end, being an “Advised Adam” guarantees a happy fiancée: she’ll be so proud that you not only picked out that ring for her, but that she picked you.

    10 November

    {Guest Post} 5 Proposal Tips For Men

    The Man Registry stops by to give guys a few tips on how to pop the question:

    So you’ve decided to get married – congrats! If you haven’t figured out how you’ll pop the big question yet, here are five tips to consider before taking the proverbial plunge.

    1 – Get a ring. Whether it’s a diamond stunner, simple band or even a placeholder ring representing what’s to come later on, to do it right, you need a ring. Consider taking her ring shopping ahead of time to determine her tastes and preferences (even window shopping can be helpful) or enlist a good friend or close family member to help you do some recon.

    2 – Get creative. While simply blurting out the question over frozen dinners or between commercial breaks will get the job done, it’s probably not quite the proposal she’s always dreamed of. Go above and beyond by putting yourself in her shoes. What would she really love? To wow her, cook up her dream day and make it happen. Then put the icing on the cake by asking her to marry you.

    3 – Be sneaky. To really impress her, you need to surprise her. Even if you’ve already been ring shopping, wait a few months before popping the question so she isn’t expecting it. Consider enlisting her friends and family to help make everything a surprise. Want someone to take photos from afar while you’re proposing or drive her to the proposal location? Ask her sister or best friend to get involved. Another option is to invite your closest peeps to grab drinks afterward so you can share the big news with everyone.

    4 – Put pen to paper. Not quite sure what to say, other than “Will you marry me?” Make your proposal a heartfelt one by writing down how she makes you feel and why you want to spend the rest of your life with her beforehand. This little exercise may also help ease some nerves, so you don’t completely blank on what to say later on.

    5 – Be confident. This is a big step in life, but don’t let that scare you. Be cool. You’ve found a great girl and she can’t wait to marry you. You can do this. Man up!


    TheManRegistry.com is the leading wedding planning resource for men. Created by three guys who had noticed a lack of groom-focused resources during the planning of their own weddings, the site offers a dude-friendly wedding registry, groomsmen gifts, a local vendor guide and countless articles and blogs. Additionally, The Man Registry’s groom guide will be released this January by Alpha Publishing.

    20 October

    5 Tips for Giving the "First" Gift

    Giving gifts is often a stressful activity, even when it’s for someone you’ve known half your life. However, giving a gift to a girl you’ve just recently started dating can send any guy into a tailspin. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of five easy tips for guys struggling to find the perfect “first” gift.

    Be Thoughtful

    If your time to give a gift comes early (say her birthday or Valentine’s Day happens to fall 2 weeks into dating… yikes!) don’t back out just because you think it’s too soon. Show her that you’re thinking of her by giving something small. Send her a note in the mail instead of just a text, or find out her favorite flower and give her just one. Little things go a long way.

    Create a Memory

    One of our favorite ideas is to give your girlfriend the gift of quality time together. Get her tickets to a fun event such as a concert, sports game, or a wine festival. Creating a memorable experience together ensures that you two will build a stronger bond, plus planning an activity gives you something to look forward to.

    Get Personal

    If you can manage, giving her a gift that shows you know her as a person, and not just as a girl, will get you major brownie points. Think back to those get-to-know-you conversations you had over dinner or coffee. Does she love to cook? How about going to a cooking class together? Has she mentioned a cute sweater that she wants? Paying attention to the things she’s drawn to will make her truly feel special.

    Avoid the Tiny Box (For Now, Anyway)

    We know that every ad may be screaming at you to buy her jewelry, but (surprisingly) we say, “WAIT.” First of all, jewelry is a pretty big present, not to mention it could put a nice dent in your wallet. Second, it kind of limits your options for the next big occasion – how will you go up from here? So save the big guns and stick to the simple stuff, for now at least.

    Ask her Friends and Family

    If all else fails resort to the people that know her best. They should have some valuable insight and she may have even spoken to them about the subject.

    Bottom Line: Listen up, keep it simple, and you can’t go wrong!

    Photo Credit: Getty Images