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Posts Tagged ‘engagement’

The launch of Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold in time for Valentines Day in February was a great leap forward in the development of trade in the jewellery industry. Hollywood stars, celebrity jewellers and our favourite names are embracing the new status and showing it has the lux appeal.

Historically the allure of jewellery has been the mystery surrounding how beautiful stones and metals are brought together to make glittering jewellery to adorn our bodies as they were worn by only the richest. However, now we understand more about the production processes of the products that we use day to day, transparancy has become the key factor as we want assurance that out luxuries are not at the expence of anothers life.

No longer simply indulging inthe world of luxury, the celebrities we look up are embracing these issues and bringing injustices to light. Livia Firth, the wife of Oscar winner Colin Firth, is a Fairtrade ambassador. She told the Telegraph: ‘We associate gold with love and beauty but there is often nothing beautiful about the way that gold is produced. Tens of millions of small-scale gold miners risk their lives in often appalling conditions and get a raw deal for their strenuous efforts.’

Most of the world’s gold is collected by small scale miners, often in dangerous conditions and exploited by middle-men. And in the race to keep costs low mines are simply abandoned when finished with leaving a large blot on the landscape. Gold certified as Fairtrade and Fairmined (a dual certification) ensures fair working conditions and wages and a guaranteed price for gold despite market fluctuations, and a premium on top of pay to benefit the community.

When CRED jewellery started the idea of fairtrade gold over 10 years ago, they dreamt that one day it would be worn on the red carpet. Luckily Livia Firth backs up her beliefs by living them out. She wore the first ever Fairtrade Fairmined Ecological gold jewellery at the Oscars 2011 ceremony, a set designed and hand-made by goldsmith Anna Loucah in collaboration with CRED Jewellery. Over the awards seasons of 2010 and 2011, as she accompanied husband Colin to pick up his numerous awards for ‘A Single Man’ and ‘The Kings Speech’, she wore only ethical or eco dresses and accessories for her Green Carpet Challenge

Meanwhile, in the USA, actress Brooklyn Decker (wife of tennis pro Andy Roddick) hit the red carpet at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in a Joy Cioci dress accessorised with conflict-free and fair trade jewelry from Diamond in the Rough.

Jeweller to the stars (Christina Aguilera and Madonna are both big fans), Stephen Webster announced that both his label and Garrard, the renowned house he oversees as creative director, will be among the first 20 jewelers in the world to launch Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold. Like longstanding ethical jeweller, CRED, he is starting with wedding and engagement rings, but he hopes that soon his brands will be 100% Fairtrade.

Crown jewellers Garrard have been associated with the Royal jewellery collections since 1700’s, making royal jewellery commissions including Queen Victoria’s diamond crown, many coronations crowns and the Sapphire and diamond ring made for Princess Diana’s engagement ring that Kate is now wearing. Will Wills and Kate be commissioning them to make their royal wedding rings in fairtrade gold?

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Are you a to-do-lists girl? Maybe you like to cut and stick pictures to make mood boards? Or do you creatively doodle ideas in a wedding notebook?

Do you have a thick wedding planning notebook that goes with you everywhere, or have you got some excel spreadsheets on a memory stick that make an appearance when you are planning together at the weekend?

Photos this week of Kate Middleton’s lunch with Camilla at the Berkley Hotel show Prince Williams bride-to-be making notes in a slim red notebook. As an Art History student and aspiring photographer I imagine Kate to be very creative – lets hope that royal protocol doesn’t stifle some innovative ideas that she may be sketching out…

When I was planning my (sorry, OUR) wedding, I loved browsing magazines and websites for ideas. I was never going to buy into the high-society wedding projected in many of the bridal glossies, but every-so-often there was a little something I thought I could recreate within our budget, or make it myself. The page was duly ripped out and stuck in the pages of my wedding notebook…

The notebook came with me at weekends to my fiances house so we could get on with bits of planning. There were also guests lists, information on suppliers etc saved on my memory stick… If we have done bits of wedding planning from our respective bases during the week this was then collated so we could have all the up-to-date stuff together… phew! (We did make sure we had weekends off – where talk of the wedding planning was banned to concentrate on US!)

Browsing websites in my lunch hour was fun, but tricky to get the images and info into my book as it involved printing and getting them home. The interactive online wedding planner Wedding Notebook came from this conundrum – I loved the idea of an online version of the traditional wedding notebook where you can make moodboards with images from websites and have a central place to tick off your wedding to-do-list that bride and groom-to-be can access from their respective workplaces or homes.

Keeping you organised, without reducing the creativity and fun, Wedding Notebook is a handy place to plan and create your wedding, including a personal wedding website to communicate all your wedding info to your guests, and an online gift list organiser to have gifts from anywhere – no restriction to one department store – and can include honeymoon vouchers, charity giving and gift experiences.

Register free for Wedding Notebook

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With all the factors involved in choosing an engagement ring – the stone, its footprint and history, why not look to the past for your ring instead?

With the elegance of another age, vintage jewellery will not add to the environmental cost of mining precious metals & stones. There is a vast amount of jewellery already made that is unused. It just needs seeking out.

Visit antique specialists or jewellery shops nearby who have a selection of rings. Be careful of buying ‘vintage style’ as this usually means new…

A vintage or previously owned ring will be more personal by being a one-off design, or a vintage ring that she will not find a friend wearing…

Is there a ring in the family, a great-grandmother’s perhaps,  that will add family history to the occasion and mark it as a real joining of two families.

In the same vein, do you have any plain family jewellery that could be used as your wedding rings, or if you do not like the style, melted down to restyle to make your rings?

My husband and I each had family rings that we wanted to re-make into our wedding rings, turning unworn pieces into something that would be treasured daily. Unfortunately they were different quality to each other so couldn’t be combined (I loved the idea that our rings could be a mix of the two families…oh well) so they were made separately.

Check back for more about gold in the next post…


Rent the rocks

Does rental count as ‘something borrowed’?

For the day itself, not the engagement ring or wedding rings, rather than buying new , consider renting your wedding jewellery – to get a stunning look without breaking the bank…

Try www.diamondthrills.co.uk who have an amazing range of designer jewellery that will make you sparkle on your wedding day without mining new rocks to sit in a draw until another special occasion.

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Valentines is one of the most popular days to propose, followed closely by Christmas (I was a Christmas engagement) so congratulations to those of you who got engaged on Sunday.

Of course, THE RING is the usual way to seal the deal, and whether you were presented with a ring or not, choosing an engagement ring, and wedding rings, that will be on your finger for the rest of your life, is obviously a big deal…

So we have put together a guide to help you do just that…

About the ring

The most lasting element of your wedding, apart from your photographs, are the rings that you will wear on your finger everyday as a reminder of your love and commitment.

So you need to get it right…

The symbolism of the wedding ring comes from the circle, a never-ending shape – representing eternity, life and death, and in the case of the wedding ring, love.

Wedding rings have been used as symbols of marriage and part of the celebration for over 5,000 years, with the first evidence coming from North African hieroglyphics. They wore it, as we do, on the third finger of the left hand, believing that it intersected a vein or artery that went straight to the heart.

Tips for choosing the engagement ring

If you were not presented with a ring at the proposal, or are shopping for a suprise, then read on.

– First of all, have your finger measured. Any jewellery shop will be able to do that for you, or you can print out a handy chart from Leblas. Once you know your size you have the freedom to choose a ring you have seen online.
If you are shopping as a surprise, then make sure that you can have a ring resized afterwards if necessary, as part of the cost.

– What colour do you want? Do you wear more white-gold or yellow-gold jewellery? You’ll want to consider this carefully and get your wedding ring made in the same quality (i.e. 18ct or 9ct) to match.

– What stone? If you are considering the ethical approach to diamonds then check back for our next post – a focussed article on the subject.
Or why not choose an alternative precious stone entirely? An emerald, sapphire, or even a pearl make just as dramatic a statement as diamond, and you will love bearing an unusual ring that is personal to the two of you. check back soon for a guide to help you think about an alternative stone…

– To consider if the budget is tight:
An unusually shaped engagement ring (like the princess cut diamond setting above) will mean you need a shaped wedding ring, rather than just a circular band, so that they fit flush. This will call for a bespoke design or fitting which can be expensive.
If the stone on the engagement ring is larger than the width of the band, make sure it is set above the height of the band then a wedding ring can fit flush underneath without the need for bespoke shaping.

To be posted a free guide to choosing a ring, with a free ring-sizer, contact ethical jeweller Fifi Bijoux

In the next post we’ll be taking an in depth look at diamonds…

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