24 January

Top Celebrity Engagement Rings

Jaw-droppingly large, undeniably brilliant, and surprisingly colorful, it’s been a great year for celebrity engagement rings.  Here we count down the best of the best of the year’s celebrity engagement rings. (and show you how to get the look for less.)

1. Kate Middleton’s Royal Sapphire Engagement Ring

If only all hand-me-downs were this stunning!  Kate Middleton’s 18-carat sapphire surrounded by diamonds is, of course, Princess Diana’s engagement ring. Enormously influential then, this ring is sure to once again make sapphire a popular choice for engagement rings again.  The ring itself looks as beautiful today as it was when Diana received it: a bewitching argument for choosing a classic style and beautiful gem that holds its appeal for generations.  Originally valued at $40,000 to $60,000 in 1981, it is now valued at about $500,000. If that’s a bit out of your price range, you’ll be happy to know that beautiful sapphire engagement rings are available for much less. Gemvara has a 2.45 carat Diana sapphire engagement ring is $6,700 in platinum.

2. Carrie Bradshaw’s Black Diamond Engagement Ring

Carrie Bradshaw may be only a fictional celebrity but when Big gave her that stunning five-carat black diamond ring in 2010′s Sex & the City 2, real brides around the world said yes to a black diamond ring. Sales of black diamonds have surged ever since. At Gemvara, since our customers are generally looking for something unique, we now sell more black diamond engagement rings than white diamond engagement rings! And a five-carat stunner that’s just like Carrie’s engagement ring is just $6,000.

3. Natalie Portman’s Brilliant Halo Engagement Ring

Delicate but bold, Natalie Portman’s engagement ring perfectly suits her. A four-carat round brilliant diamond with a delicate double halo around it on a pave band, the ring is classic but also of the moment. Halo engagement rings are very fashionable right now. It’s bound to get a lot of attention during the award season, with Portman winning acclaim for her performance in Black Swan.  This ring will look good with an Oscar, don’t you think?

4. LeAnn Rimes: Rose Gold Oval Engagement Ring

LeeAnn Rimes engagement ring is noteworthy for two reasons: first it’s set with a five-carat oval diamond, a classic but unusual choice. Second the band has rose gold fleur-de-lis accents. We love rose gold engagement rings, they are so romantic! And that oval gem makes her fingers look long and lovely.  The ring is valued at $85,000.

5. Katy Perry’s Yellow Gold Engagement Ring

KatyPerryEngagementRingKaty Perry and Russell Brand aren’t what you would call a conventional couple. So it’s not surprising that the singer and comedian didn’t pick a conventional engagement ring: Katy’s three-carat round diamond is set in an unusual wide yellow gold band with some side detailing. It’s feminine without being lacy or delicate. The Diamond Information Center estimates the ring is worth $120,000. To get the look for less, set the stone of your choice in an interesting yellow gold setting rather than the white-on-white look that is most common today. The Alhambra ring or the Ribbon Lace Ring from Gemvara would be just the right combination of bold but feminine and both are less than $5,000.

6. Carrie Underwood’s Fancy Yellow Engagement Ring

Carrie Underwood’s spectacular engagement ring from hockey star fiancé Mike Fisher is set with a five-plus carat flawless fancy yellow diamond.  The diamond is surrounded by a diamond pave halo that makes it even more dramatic. The Diamond Information Center estimates the ring is worth $150,000. To get the look for less, try a yellow sapphire engagement ring. The Raquel Ring from Gemvara is less than $3,000 set with yellow sapphire.  And the center stone of any engagement ring will be enhanced by a halo engagement ring setting like Carrie’s which surrounds the center gem with a circle of brilliance.

7. Jessica Simpson’s Romantic Ruby Engagement Ring

Jessica Simpson’s engagement ring stops traffic: the center of her ring is a spectacular ruby and diamond three-stone ring. The center gem is an oval-shaped five-carat ruby but the side stones are pretty significant too: two pear-cut diamonds that weigh in around five carats combined. The gems are set in yellow gold and the ring is reportedly worth $100,000. Not only is ruby a romantic choice for an engagement ring, Jessica was born in July so ruby is her birthstone too, making it a personal statement. While something that looks like Jessica Simpson’s engagement ring is more than $25,000, three stone ruby engagement rings start around $2,000.

8. Penelope Cruz’s Mysterious Sapphire Engagement Ring

Penelope Cruz hasn’t really talked about her recent marriage to Javier Bardem but she wears a stunning oval sapphire surrounded by diamonds on her ring finger that would make a very lovely engagement ring! The halo of diamonds around the center gem are surrounded by metal, giving the ring a lovely scalloped floral effect. With Kate’s ring also in the spotlight, blue sapphire engagement rings are having a major moment.

9. Chelsea Clinton’s Classic Engagement Ring

An American princess, Chelsea Clinton’s wedding was the event of the year.  Her ring is simple but sizable: a large Asscher-cut diamond with a plain platinum band. Never comfortable in the limelight, the bride has managed to avoid clear photos of the ring.  But it’s size and simplicity have enchanted brides looking for a timeless style that still catches the eye.

16 December

Engagement Rings Fit for a Queen

Whoever said engagement rings have to be diamonds has obviously never been a queen. Not only are colorful engagement rings unique and elegant, they also have adorned powerful potentates throughout royal history. Thanks to these women bulldozing jewelry boundaries, your options are limitless when choosing an engagement ring that packs a loving punch, in whichever color you please.

It all began with Queen Elizabeth, who was proposed to with a blue sapphire ring. This marked the birth of a tradition; Princess Anne and Princess Diana also received blue sapphire engagement rings. Princess Sarah Ferguson kept the colorful tradition alive, yet mixed things up with a ruby engagement ring.  It seems like Royal Rocks are just more colorful!

And now the latest royal, Kate Middleton, has captured the hearts of Prince William and the world, wearing Diana’s ring: a touching example of how style transcends time.  Dazzling in blue, Kate has taken the trend for colored gemstone engagements to a new generation.

These royal women opened the diamond door for engaged women across the globe. You are welcome, of course, to go the traditional diamond route if you so please, as many women still do. Other color and gemstone options include amethyst, emerald, aquamarine,  pink sapphire, black diamond, and yellow sapphire.

Go ahead and be creative and unique; explore all of the options that are right at your fingertips!

Actress, writer and improviser Brooke Lenzi is a performer on stage and screen in Los Angeles. She likes gifts that come in small packages.

6 December

A Ruby for Jessica

Just last month, Jessica Simpson and her boyfriend, life coach and former NFL player Eric Johnson, announced their engagement after just five months of dating. When asked what she loves most about her fiancee, Simpson replied, “Just the way he makes me feel, honestly. How comfortable I feel being myself with him. I love how confident he is and he’s not fazed by this world and life that I’m living… I can’t imagine my life without him in it.”

Jessica debuted her vintage, 1910 Tiffany ring, purchased from Neil Lane, at a Kansas City Dillard’s department store while promoting her clothing line. The shining scarlet star of her ring is an oval-shaped, five-carat ruby; two pear-cut diamonds on both sides also weigh in around five carats combined. The stones are set in yellow gold, and the ring is reportedly worth $100,000. A similar style, aptly named the Jessica Ring, is available on Gemvara, for about $25,000.

The story of the proposal itself isn’t very romantic: Jessica has told the press that Eric kept her engagement ring tucked safely away in a shoe for weeks before proposing while watching TV. The pair held a massive pizza party and celebrated with 50 friends soon after the announcement. This will be the second marriage for both Jessica and Eric. A wedding date has not yet been set.

Jessica is doubly thrilled with the vintage ruby ring – not only is ruby a romantic choice for an engagement ring, but she was born in July, and so ruby is her birthstone too, making it a personal statement.

Ruby has long been considered the king of all gemstones, symbolizing passion, power, and royalty. In England, rubies were set in coronation rings and even battle helmets to make the wearer invulnerable. In Ayurveda, rubies are believed to help to prevent miscarriages, fortify the heart, and restore balance in relationships. In more modern times, rubies represent undying love and passion – the perfect way to start a marriage.

Colored gemstones are becoming more popular  as engagement rings as a new generation looks for a ring that expresses their own unique personalities. Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, received a ruby engagement ring from Prince Andrew. And of course, Kate Middleton’s ring famously sports an enormous cobalt-blue sapphire. Would you opt for a colored engagement ring if you had a choice in the matter?

You don’t need to spend a hundred grand to get Jessica’s look: Gemvara sells a much more affordable option, though no less lovely. The 1.6 carat, oval-cut ruby shown here, flanked by two pear-shaped diamonds, each just over half a carat and set in yellow gold, is a very similar style.

19 November

Kate Middleton's Crown Jewel

Prince William and Kate Middleton finally announced their engagement this week, after eight years together. This was a great day for the British Royal Family, but there was one thing that outshone the interviews, the reporting, and even the announcement itself – the ring.

On Kate’s hand was Princess Diana’s sapphire and fourteen-diamond stunner, staring out across TV and the Internet, and initiating an enormous wave of demand for a similar ring. Even her gorgeous, matching blue Issa dress sold out in sheer minutes on the designer’s website.

The eighteen-carat oval sapphire is set in a ballerina-style mounting with diamonds encircling the cobalt-colored gem in white gold. Originally valued between $40,000 and $60,000 when it was purchased from jeweler Garrard in 1981, the present value of the ring is reportedly at about $500,000.

After Princess Diana’s death in 1997, it was Prince Harry who chose the ring to remember his beloved mother. Prince William chose her 18K yellow gold Cartier Tank Francaise watch, on which she used to teach him to tell time. However, Harry gave the ring to William to propose with, as he saw that it was the perfect way to officially welcome Kate into the Royal Family. (No word on if William has traded the watch to Harry in thanks.) The most celebrated wedding since Princess Di’s will likely take place next summer.

Blue sapphires have a history as rich and deep as their color. The term sapphire comes from the Latin word “saphirus” and the Greek word “sapheiros,” both of which mean “blue”. Kings across the globe wore sapphires, having believed that the gems kept them safe, promoted divine favor, and imparted wisdom. Sapphires were also thought to have protected against witchcraft and to keep thoughts pure. The deep hue of the blue sapphire is said to promote serenity, honesty, and to preserve innocence. In more modern times, sapphires have been connected to love, and represent fidelity, honesty, and devotion. When the lore of the deep-blue gem is taken into account, the properties of the sapphire are indeed very appropriate for an engagement ring.

What do you think of Kate’s ring? Would you go crazy for a Kate/Diana engagement ring of your own? The holidays are coming, and it’s a great time to drop some hints if you’re hoping for a truly spectacular gift this winter. Men, we want to know what you think! Would you consider proposing with a sapphire ring instead of a traditional white diamond?

Even if you don’t have a half-million dollar budget, a ring like Kate’s is within reach.  Gemvara has a lovely similar sapphire style with 14 diamonds in platinum that is less than the average ordinary diamond engagement ring.  Like Kate’s ring, it will definitely turn heads.

3 September

Black Nails, Bright Jewels

At the Emmys, I was struck by the number of bejeweled stars on the red carpet who accessorized their rings and bracelets with black nail polish. Once acceptable only at the rock & roll Grammys, black polish seems to be having a mainstream moment.  But, as you might expect, I’m most interested in how black polish affects their jewelry choices.

The good news is, done right, black offsets bold jewels well.  The not-so-good news is that it makes piled-on style much harder to pull off.

What Works: One Ring

What clearly does work with black polish is one killer rock star ring.  The best examples of this from the Emmys are Heidi Klum in a Lorraine Schwartz ring and January Jones in Cartier, the two images at left.

What May Not Work: Piled-On Style

But too much is even more with the addition of black polish. A ring and bracelets can be pushed over the edge by agressive nails. Lea Michele and Anna Paquin tried this at the Emmys and you can see the results at left.

Do either manage to pull it off? You tell me.

Black Nails, Blue Jeans

Off the red carpet, black nails are a fun way to make even a romantic vintage engagement ring look a bit edgy. Take this example: Nicole Richie shows off her engagement ring by calling attention to her hands with black polish.

10 August

Chelsea Clinton: Get the Look

It’s wedding season, as the paparazzi remind us daily.  Maybe you’ve heard somewhere that Chelsea Clinton recently married her longtime beau, Mark Mezvinsky? It may not be the wedding of the century, but coverage of the wedding will certainly influence wedding trends this year.

Chelsea’s ornate Vera Wang strapless gown, with a sleek lined bodice, elegantly accentuated by cascading waves of laser-cut silk on the skirt and train will probably lead to a big revival of strapless full-skirt silhouettes that are flattering on almost everyone.

Chelsea’s jewelry is also is setting the trends for wedding-day jewelry. In particular, her diamond flower drop earrings are a lovely look, especially for brides who are considering an updo. Her diamond tennis bracelet is a classic look that is perfect for your wedding day and every other day for the rest of your life. (And a fabulous gift idea for the bride’s parents, even if they don’t travel with secret service agents.)

No doubt Chelsea’s engagement ring would also set the style for sparklers, maybe even more than Carrie’s ring from Sex and the City, which has caused a surge in black diamond engagement ring sales this summer. There’s just one problem: so far, no pictures are available that clearly show the design of Chelsea’s ring.  Is it a three or four carat emerald-cut diamond engagement ring?  You tell me: the only photos are pretty blurry.

Chelsea’s wedding band is another story. The Platinum Guild recently announced that Chelsea wed with a platinum band with vintage detailing. This Tacori band is said to be “similar.”  Does this mean the engagement ring is platinum with vintage-inspired details?  Unless you have can just say “enhance” and make those blurry images suddenly come into focus like they do in the movies, we’ll have to wait for new photos from those paparazzi to say for sure.

5 August

Megan Fox Loses Engagement Ring

Just hours after Brian Austin Green popped the big question to Megan Fox on the beach in Hawaii, Megan lost the three-carat vintage platinum engagement ring in the sand! Believe it or not, this is a common occurrence. If this has happened to you, don’t panic! It’s not the end of the world, although it may appear that way at first.

Here’s some advice if you’re searching for lost jewelry:

  • Search High and Low: First, don’t panic. Relax, take deep breaths and retrace your steps for that day. If you think it may be lost in your home, remember that rings can make their way into the smallest of crevices, including couch cushions, small pockets in clothing or purses.
  • Confess: If you come up empty-handed, confess to your loved one. This is probably the most difficult part of the search, but the quicker you invite another person to aid in the search, the sooner you might find your jewelry.
  • Shop for a New Ring: If your search proves to be unsuccessful, then it’s time to accept it and move on. Go hand-in-hand with your partner to shop for a new ring. Look at the bright side and get excited about choosing a new one. Turn the day into a celebration and plan a romantic dinner after you both decide on the perfect ring. Instead of dwelling on the loss, think of it as a new beginning and a new chapter of your life together.
  • Prevention Is Key: The most common reason women lose their engagement rings is because of band size. Ensure your ring is the perfect size and does not slip off your finger easily. Be aware that over time your weight could fluctuate so make sure to get your ring resized accordingly. Insure your new piece of jewelry in case it gets lost again.

Actress, writer and improviser Brooke Lenzi is a performer on stage and screen in Los Angeles. She likes gifts that come in small packages.

9 July

Ruby: Gem of Passion

Posted by in Gems | 4 Comments

No one can ignore a lady in red. Worn by passionate women with a flair for the dramatic, ruby is the gem of courage and emotion. Its fiery brilliance attracts the eye and quickens the pulse.

In legend, ruby is the gem of the heart with the power to kindle the flame of desire. Burning with an unquenchable fire, ruby has long been a symbol of undying love, making it a popular choice for gemstone engagement rings.

Because ruby derives its name from the Latin word for red, it’s not surprising that ruby is a red carpet favorite. Like red lipstick, it’s bold and classic at the same time. Salma Hayek and Naomi Watts both turned heads in Cannes this year in eye-catching ruby earrings.

Couples looking for something more daring than diamonds are choosing ruby engagement rings, reviving a tradition from European royalty.  Sarah Ferguson received a ruby engagement ring from Prince Andrew.

The epitome of red, ruby inspires jewelry designers to the height of drama. Just look at how its bold color adds an extra dimension to these rings by Jessica Behzad.

Ruby is the birthstone for July, the fifteenth and fortieth anniversary gem, and the zodiac gem for the sign of Cancer. But this bold gem can’t be put into a box: those who love it are born to wear it, no matter what the calendar says.

7 July

Top Three Sex & the City Trends

As you might expect, the second Sex and the City movie is a feast of fashion.  But this time, the three trends with real staying power are jewelry, not clothes or shoes. Here are the top three Sex and the City trends and some tips on where to find these sizzling styles.

1. The Black Diamond Engagement Ring

Big chooses a black diamond engagement ring for Carrie because she is “not like anyone else.” Ironically, this unusual choice is becoming a whole lot less unusual since the movie, with women everywhere choosing basic black for their engagement ring. Sales of black diamonds have been surging in the past few weeks. The ring in the movie is a five-carat 18k black diamond ring by Itay Malkin which is being offered for $10,000.  If that’s a little out of your price range, Gemvara has a 1.5-carat black diamond engagement ring in a similar style in platinum for less than $2,500 that’s still plenty breathtaking.

2. The Moon & Star Pendant

Patricia Field found Carrie’s Moon & Star pendant in a bazaar in Turkey.  Ever since, fashionistas have been searching for something similar (and it’s a bit frustrating since many styles advertised as similar really aren’t the same.) At Gemvara, we saw your Moon & Star and raised you one brilliant planet. It’s Carrie’s Moon & Star pendant. Only better.  We promise.

3. The Four-Leaf Clover Pendant

This oversized diamond pave four-leaf clover is the only design that Patricia Fields herself knocked off. She made an inexpensive copy.  It’s totally sold out for now.  You can find a similar three-leaf Shamrock pendant on Gemvara and a five leaf flower on emitations. SheFinds has some more alternatives. But, alas, nothing is exactly the same. But be patient! In the next few weeks, more four leaf clover styles are sure to be available: it’s the horseshoe pendant of 2010.

5 March

Katy Perry: Engaged in Yellow

Katy Perry and Russell Brand aren’t what you would call a conventional couple. So it’s not surprising that the singer and comedian didn’t pick a conventional engagement ring when they got engaged on New Year’s Eve. OK, we’re not entering Carmen Electra black diamond territory here: the ring features a traditional three-carat round diamond the Diamond Information Center estimates cost $120,000.

But Katy’s new engagement ring is not the white gold pave encrusted style that is most in vogue in Hollywood today, it’s a wide yellow gold band with some side detailing. And Scarlett Johansson’s engagement ring is yellow gold too: are yellow gold engagement rings ready for a comeback?