How to Choose the Perfect Diamond Engagement Ring!

For our next installment of “Intern Blogs” we are delighted to introduce you to Gemma, who has been with us since September 2015. Over to you Gemma, to tell us more about an area of weddings that you love (and we do to!) – Diamonds ……

Gemma’s Blog
My name is “Gemma”, which is derived from the Italian meaning ‘precious stone.’ And whilst unfortunately, to my knowledge, I do not have any Italian ancestry, I do, however believe that this inspired my love for gems. I like to think my parents chose my name as they see me as precious to them, but the fact that they named their second child, Joshua, which means ‘saviour,’ casts a shadow of doubt.

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Stunning diamond cluster ring (left) and diamond heart-shaped single stone ring (right). Pictures courtesy of FEU Diamonds www.feudiamonds.com

So, for this blog I decided to investigate one of my favourite things – DIAMONDS – and their influence on the wedding market.

‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ is a well known quote by Marilyn Monroe and it appears the bridal community have embraced this sentiment with open arms. Despite the increasing popularity of other precious stones such as rubies, emeralds and sapphires, diamonds still remain the ultimate favourite for engagement and wedding rings.

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Photo courtesy of Kate Nielen www.katenielen.com taken at a Stylish Events Wedding.

A diamond is pure crystallised carbon brought to the surface, encased in solidified magma, during a volcanic eruption. Amazingly, a diamond can only be cut by another diamond as it’s the hardest substance known to man. They are mined across the world and particularly prevalent in Australia, Russia and South Africa.

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Three popular engagement ring styles (left to right) – diamond single stone ring; modern 3-stone diamond ring; marquise diamond ring. Picture courtesy of FEU Diamonds www.feudiamonds.com

With Diamonds representing strength, endurance and beauty it’s hardly surprisingly that in 1939 De Beers, a diamond company, decided to harness this idea and market the diamond as the ultimate symbol of unbreakable love. Using the clever slogan of ‘Diamonds are Forever’, the diamond industry was on the up! By the mid 1940’s sales had increased by half and the diamond was the most common style of engagement ring. Still to this day the diamond is the most popular choice and even now, in 2015, De Beers promotes it’s products using the phrase ‘A Diamond is forever.’

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Picture courtesy of www.brides.com

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Vintage style with surrounding diamonds on the head and shank. Pictures courtesy of FEU Diamonds www.feudiamonds.com

A diamond’s worth is determined by a number of factors, however together we can navigate our way through the jewellery jargon by focusing on the following four caterogies, affectionately known as the 4C’s: Colour; Clarity; Cut; Carat Weight.

Colour
The colour of a diamond can be anything from colourless to brown and it is the responsibility of the Gemological Institute of America, GIA, to compare each diamond against a master set in order to determine the grading. They are graded from D (colourless) down to Z (dark brown). The higher the grading, the better the colour, and more often than not, the greater the worth.

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Picture courtesy of www.ninaellejewels.com

Clarity
The GIA also grades the clarity of the diamond based on the number and location of the internal flaws (inclusions) and surface characteristics (blemishes). These features are only taken into consideration if they are visible under 10x magnification. There are eleven grades of clarity ranging from Flawless to I3. The higher the grade (i.e. the closer it is to flawless, generally the greater the worth of the diamond.

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Picture courtesy of www.ninaellejewels.com

Cut
Defining the cut of a diamond is somewhat difficult as it considers the overall appearance and quality of the diamond. The GIA grades the round brilliant diamonds from Excellent to Poor by assessing many features including brightness, symmetry, and polish. (Note, the cut of a diamond is not the same as it’s shape). The round brilliant diamond is not the only shape of diamond; there are a number of other exciting shapes too! The radiant, pear and marquise are also typically used in rings – some people even have a heart shaped one!

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Common shapes of diamonds. Picture courtesy of www.thediamondauthority.org

Carat Weight
Carat weight is the standard unit of measurement for diamonds. It is measured in the GIA laboratory and rounded to the nearest hundredth of a carat. As a rule of thumb, one carat is the equivalent of 0.2 grams and again the greater the number of carats the higher the price of the diamond.

The 4C’s define the quality of the diamond and influence it’s worth. Nevertheless, De Beers is correct in the sense that a diamond IS forever. So where do we go from here?

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Photo courtesy of Kate Nielen www.katenielen.com taken at a           Stylish Events Wedding.

The world of rings, diamonds, jewellery and quite frankly weddings themselves is a minefield! Please don’t be put off by the vast amount of choice; you would think that the more options you have the easier the choice – but that’s really not the case. It’s ok to find the experience daunting, but it’s not ok to choose a ring because your friends like it, because your future mother-in-law says so, or because you can’t decide so you just picked any old one.

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Picture courtesy of www.brides.com

A ring is yours to keep for eternity; a symbol of your love and commitment to your partner. If your partner chooses it, and it’s perfect, then good for you! However, many couples go shopping together whilst some women leave carefully placed magazines around the house or accidentally leave a ring on the computer screen!

Shop around; have fun; make a day of it! Whatever takes your fancy. You don’t need to buy the first one you try on – take your time and try a few. Cliched as it sounds – everyone is different. If every single bride, liked the same kind of ring, the world would be a very sad and a lot less sparkly place.

I like the vintage style rings, whilst my best friend likes the heart-shaped diamonds and my cousin is drawn to the 3 stone ones. All three of us like different styles, but that’s what makes us different. So, use your ring to celebrate you personality and choose a ring that suits you. Your ring is yours to keep; pick one that makes you happy. If you look down at your hand and smile when you see it, then you know you’re on to a winner.

Fingers crossed that my future husband will read this blog and make detailed notes! Vintage please, no pressure and good luck!

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Picture from www.bridesmagazine.co.uk courtesy of Instagram/ jillygolightly

I had a dream….

So how was your first week back from that lovely four day weekend? …. it’s always a bit grim right? coming down off that long weekend high and having to adjust back to the norm. It’s the same feeling you get when you land back in London after your holiday of fun in the sun, that whole “wow..it’s over… and I live here in London… where seeing the sun is as rare as catching a on time train” lol

But hey, let’s look at the positives, it was a short working week and it’s now the weekend again! hoorrahh for that! and keeping on with the whole “looking on the bright side of things” I thought I would talk to you about something positive and even hopefully inspiring! Now if you’ve checked out my blog before, you will have (I hope) taken at least a peek at the “About me” page and did a quick scan of my life story and what I’m all about; but in case you haven’t (and shame on you for not – I suggest you head over right now! lol) you will know that being an Event Planner is still a relatively new career path for me, prior to 2011 I was working as a receptionist in a regular 9-5 job, I wasn’t even working in the field that I have a degree in; in case you want to know that is Journalism. I did a brief stint at a few magazines, but clearly I had a rose tinted idea of what working as  Journalist would be like; turns out it’s not something I’m that suited to or even really enjoyed! Cant’ tell you what a major bummer that was, to realise the degree I had worked 3 oh so long years to get, would be a field I didn’t end up working in – but it’s a tale very familiar to many Uni leavers. So anyway, fast forward to 2011 and I started to evaluate what it is I really wanted to do with myself career wise and after much umming and arriing and research and deep “who am I?” “What’s my purpose in life?” type convo’s with friends, I decided that I could see myself as a Wedding Planner

Great!…..but how do you become a wedding planner?! lol I was at a complete loss, so one day I randomly decided to check out a wedding fair, just to go for the hell of it! lol I didn’t go with any real idea of what I was hoping to achieve by doing this, but I went never the less, accompanied by some trustee friends and through it I met Dominique Douglas of Stylish Events – where I am now a Partner and Senior Event Manager! From a 5-10 min conversation with her that day at the wedding fair, I managed to secure myself an internship at Stylish Events.! As a result I resigned from my full time job of 5 years and decided to jump in with both feet into this career and really give it all my energy and focus.  I have to say taking control of my life and making that decision do an internship, was the best decision I’ve made in very long time! I can’t tell you how much I learnt during my internships (I also worked with The Lansdowne Club, Mayfair and with Penny Cullen of Tigerlily Weddings) I was gaining real life experience and skills in a job that really challenged me and had me waking up each morning actually excited to go to work – which I dont know about you, but was something very new to me! lol

But where I learnt and gained the most was during my time with Dominique, she allowed me to be so hands on with her events that year, I wasn’t there to make tea and coffee and re-orgnize her filing lol, No! I actually contributing to the planning and organising of a international wedding in Jamaica and a large Bat Mitzvah – this was my first ever event, I was seriously lucky, We had Diversity performing! I was definitely not complaining lol (see below for photo’s of this event). There was no sitting on the sidelines, Dominique really forces you to get stuck into the work and gives you assignments that as an Event Planner you will have to deal with; so I was sourcing suppliers, designing moodboards which I would present to clients at meetings and even being responsible for managing a project within the event, it was great! My time with Dominique really gave me the confidence and push I needed to be able to take myself and my future that much more seriously.bat mitzvahBut as well as taking on interns (we offer 6 internships a year – so take note all you aspiring Event Planners out there) Dominique also  runs a “Life of a Wedding Planner”  course. It’s a one day course, which teaches you the REALITIES of this job and what to expect. Dominique as an Event Planner of 10 years, talks to you about all the things you don’t really think of, from how to attract new clients, invoicing and preparing contracts, to finding the perfect venue and more! something I found BEYOND eye opening when I attended, was the ‘How to get a job within the Event industry’ segment which covered CV and Cover Letter Writing. I found this really informative and helpful, Dominique really breaks down to you, what it is that potential employers (like herself) look for when receiving cover letters and CV’s from hopeful and aspiring event planners; it’s funny, because the advice she gave was so simple, yet effective. Isn’t it strange how the majority of us rarely take the time to think of how our CV’s look and must read from the employer side of things? but when you think about it, our CV is our one chance of grabbing a potential employers attention and make them want to call you in for that interview! Now I could sit here all day gushing about how great Dominique is and how fab the course is – which to be fair is very biased of me some might point out! lol – so how about I show you some great feedback we recently received from Gemma who attended the course; Gemma contributes her getting a job, down to Dominique’s advice, as they say the proof is in the pudding!

“Dear Dominique, 

Following your course last November, I commenced a year long course with the wedding planner school, but I remembered your advice that getting some experience in the industry was crucial. So I applied for a part time role as a wedding manager a month ago.  I honestly didn’t think I stood a chance, but I followed your instructions about a good CV and covering letter, if I’m honest I actually used the exact template I wrote in your class, and I was amazed because I got an interview! I have just found out that I have been offered the position, which I am so excited about, so I just wanted to email to say thanks, because of  the course and  your advice it gave me the confidence and skills to get this job.

Regards Gemma”

Well like I said the proof is in the pudding and with feedback like that you can’t put a price on what attending a quality and well thought out course can do for you! Dominique feels really passionate about passing on her experience and knowledge to the next generation of Event Planners, which you can tell throughout her course. She especially values  how a well laid out and written CV can do wonders for you and can really give an insight into what type person and employee you would be. Many of the girls who have attended the course, have enjoyed themselves so much, they have wanted to stay on as an intern – in fact the past ( and present) 3 interns  (Becca, Sophie and Lindsay) all attended the course and each impressed Dominique with their determination and commitment so much, that she offered them an internship! Here is some lovely feedback from previous interns on their time working at Stylish Events:

“Unlike the majority of Dominique’s interns, I had previous experience in the events industry. Working for Dominique was a unique experience, one that cannot compare to any other job, volunteering or internship. I was working for Dominique almost for 5 months and I have been involved in weddings and events which was very satisfying as I could try many different things. Dominique isn’t a regular employer, the trust, freedom and responsibilities that you receive are very motivating. I strongly recommend it to anyone who would like to become wedding planner or work in events industry to do work experience with Dominique” – Lenka Podolanova

“Working with Dominique for three months over the summer 2011 was an eye opening experience. Not only does it look amazing on my CV but working alongside an events planner who has been in the business for nine years really is the best way to see and feel if this profession is for you.Dominique lets you have a go at everything that you would be doing as a real life event planner” – Danielle Simpson

“Dominique’s internship allowed me to pursue my passion for wedding planning and events. As a recent graduate I found it very difficult to secure any placements within bigger events companies as they are a very competitive industry; however it wasn’t until I attended “The Life of a Wedding Planner” that I found what I was looking for. What I loved most about the internship was that Dominique was not afraid to push you in at the deep end; she places full trust in her students and allows them to learn right from the start. With this I have now managed to apply everything I have learnt in my new role as Events Coordinator at a recruitment agency” – Jessica Harris

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From Right to Left: Interns: Lenka, Becca, (Me and Dominique) Jessica, Laure & Seyda

For more information on course dates, prices and internships head over to our website  quick quick!

So what can I say, attending this course and or doing internship with Stylish Events is something to seriously consider, look at me! I had a dream, which has now become a reality!

I hope you enjoyed todays aspirational post, tune in next week, for our ‘Supplier of the Week’ featuring ‘3 Egg Design’ and her lovely invites but until them peeps….

stay blessed and we’ll speak again soon.

xx