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Apple Watch

For all you Mac fans, there’s a new product coming out shortly called the Apple Watch. The first pre-­orders, which opened April 10, are scheduled to arrive next week. The newest timepiece was so popular that orders are already backed up until July.  What makes this watch so trendy?  Well, aside from its coveted brand name, the Apple Watch has a number of attributes intended to bring online communication and other technology right to your fingertips… or at least to your wrists. Features include social media updates, Siri, phone calls, and plenty more.  Using ‘taptic’ (i.e., vibrating) feedback, the watch can alert its wearer of incoming emails and calls. From your wrist you will be able to access your credit card, passport, and music cache as well as track your exercise and, in limited quantities, store photos.  If that’s not enough, it also achieves the unbelievable: it tells time, too!

Although the battery life may not last the anticipated full day, CEO Tim Cook has promised 18 hours of use for an average person’s day. There’s also a pleasant range of styles, from aluminum sports bands to sleek gold pieces.  In fact, there are over 30 different designs to choose from.  It may be hard to decide, but that also ensures you find just what you’re looking for.

With an Open Heart

New this year is the jewelry line “Open Hearts”, inspired by actress and designer Jane Seymour. The collection is a very personal one, admits Seymour, who developed the first necklace of the line in honor of her mother. The design consists of two hearts connected at the tails, with the most prominent feature ­­ and the basis for the collection’s title ­­ being the missing slivers that leave each heart lacking a small part of its outline. These hearts can be arranged in any of a variety of ways: from chains of repeated rose gold linked hearts to diamond necklaces, where a single “open hearted” design is encircled within a standard heart shape.

In honor of Mothers’ Day, which is quickly sneaking up on us, Kay Jewelers is offering a few mom­specific pieces for a limited time: necklaces, charms, and more that have the word “mom” fixed somewhere along the piece. (In true “hearty” fashion, the “O” of “Mom” is, of course, always crafted with a heart.)

According to Seymour, this style has featured in much of her work, including paintings for the American Heart Association. Her mother had lived by the counsel of keeping her heart open to giving and receiving love. This advice is something that Seymour always took ­­ well ­­ to heart. The pieces of her line offer both elegant design as well as poignant sentiment, which make them the perfect gift for an appreciated mother… or anyone else!

Fun Facts: Stones

A couple of “did you knows” to educate you about the gemstones in your jewelry…

Garnet, a category comprising several related minerals, was named after the word “pomegranate,” for their similar shades. Although garnet can come in a variety of colors, the most common one you’ll find is dark red, a hue similar to the seedy pulp of its namesake.

Most people know the hardest stone — diamond — but did you know the softest?  Next time you’re asked, you’ll know it’s amber.  In comparison to diamond’s impressive score of ten on the Mohs scale, amber measures up at two and a half.  (And in case you were wondering where amber got its name, it is derived from the Middle Persian word “ambar” or “ambergris,” a substance extracted from a whale’s stomach for its pleasant smell.)

Before becoming October’s special stone, the opal was widely utilized.  For what, you ask?  It was believed that wearing opals would help maintain the color in blond hair.  If your hair dye isn’t sticking, maybe you should take a peek inside your nearest jewelry store instead!

 

Cha-Cha Cowie

If you’re a couple who is leaning toward marriage, you may want to push off your engagement for a couple of weeks, at least until May rolls around. What happens in May? A partnership between Blue Nile and the acclaimed Colin Cowie, which will debut a selection fine jewelry with a special focus on engagement rings. Cowie is television’s ‘nuptial’ expert, having appeared on talk shows such as Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres, to name a few.  He has also hosted the Lifetime TV series Get Married for nearly a decade. Between planning celebrity parties, it seems he also likes to dip his fingers into the fine jewelry side of the design pool.

In this upcoming partnership, for which he will act as Blue Nile’s official spokesperson, Cowie admits to having “a passion for jewelry, and [he is] in the business of romance, which go hand in hand.”  Although no pictures are currently available, Blue Nile has released a description of the variety that will be offered.  Pieces in the collection will be made of one of three materials: 14 karat white gold, 18 karat yellow gold, or platinum.  Design options include a few of the most popular engagement ring styles: solitaire (a single stone mounted atop an otherwise bare ring), halo (a stone accompanied by a bejeweled band), and the three ­stone form (a single larger gem sandwiched between two smaller stones).  This commission expects to produce a sizable assortment, enough to feed four separate jewelry collections — ­­ three women’s lines and one for men.

If you’re not ready to walk down the aisle, don’t feel disappointed.  In addition to wedding­ related creations, Blue Nile’s newest production will include necklaces and bracelets, as well as earrings and a few pendants. No matter the reason ­­ upcoming nuptials, some other milestone, or simply a desire to freshen your inventory ­­ make sure to check out Blue Nile’s May release.

Helzberg Sale

Helzberg Diamonds is having an online and in-­store clearance celebration, offering up to $1,000 off products in all shapes, sizes, and price brackets. The discount ranges from cheaper dainty pieces ­­ like the double-­digits pendant with two interlocking silver hearts and the word “mom” (something to keep in mind for Mothers’ Day, just over a month away).

They also have significant cuts for their pricier items.  Most notable is a 14 karat white gold bracelet, encrusted with a total of 217 round brilliant diamonds arranged in a floral chain. This dazzling piece, once nearly $10,000, is now being sold for just over half its original price at $6,000.  And though diamond is Helzberg’s specialty, you will definitely find expert manipulation of various other precious stones, as in the diamond and blue sapphire engagement ring, which has each of sixteen sapphires encased in a black square setting.

This major sale is valid for only the next couple of days, so be sure to check out these products­­ as well as others ­­soon.  Visit http://www.helzberg.com to view more.

Going Public!

In the summer of 2005, the site Etsy was launched as an online marketplace of handmade and vintage products, including art, knick­-knacks, and of course jewelry.  According to its CEO, this Amazon­-esque website values the small businesses, the micro-­producers, and the crafts-­makers over the mass­-producing manufacturing companies.

Well, those standards have certainly paid off; at the end of last year Etsy had a 54 million registered members (which doesn’t include the countless unregistered users) and upwards of 29 million items listed for sale. Until now, if you wanted to get in on the action you were out of luck.

Until very recently, Etsy was a private company. But as of earlier this month, the company has finally gone public, releasing privately held shares for public sale. At an estimated $100 million, Etsy’s IPO (initial public offering) is one of the largest for an online company in over a decade. Does that suggest the promise of even greater strides for this civilians’ e­market? Only time will tell.

 

Engagement Annual Survey

Of all milestones in life, weddings are possibly the most steeped in cultural significance. After all, the prospect of forgoing a reception — in lieu of simply a visit to a government building for a marriage license — would fill most people with disappointment. If you’re a traditionalist, then this special occasion may leave you with a slew of questions about how to fulfill those conventional expectations. Well, the XO Group Inc. (formerly The Knot) may be able to ease your concerns with its comprehensive Real Weddings Study, the results of which were released this past month.

These statistics won’t help you determine your personal cultural traditions, but they can at the very least identify some of the many factors found in an average wedding. And if you’re someone who likes to stand out from the crowd, then this report will tell you precisely what to avoid.  For example, the most popular month to get engaged is December, an engagement that lasts typically about fourteen months.

According to this same survey — as mentioned in a previous post — the average price of an engagement ring is documented at $5,855. That’s up nearly $300 from 2013’s $5,598.  Another useful fact to know when picking out your ring is that “round” the most common diamond shape used, with “princess” as the next likely option. In terms of material, you’ll find white gold far in the lead, taking over 73% of the population.

As for the bands exchanged during the ceremony itself, while last year’s final stats haven’t yet been publicized, the year before has quite a bit of information on the subject.  In 2013, more grooms wore wedding bands than brides (96% to 93%), which is an interesting and perhaps unexpected twist.  If you’re looking for most common metals, it will depend on which half of the couple you are; the most frequent choice for brides is — like the engagement ring — white gold, used by an overwhelming majority of the population (70%).  For grooms, meanwhile, the spread is much more diverse.  Only 27% of men go for a white gold band, which comes as a close second to the top metal — tungsten carbide — accounting for 32%.  Least common option?  For women it’s cobalt, at under 1%, whereas for men it’s the dainty rose gold.