Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Engagement Rings

One of the reasons I LOVE working in the jewelry business is that I get to help make people happy, whether it’s people finding gifts for themselves or for loved ones, or people receiving jewelry as a gift. Engagement rings are one of the most fun gifts for me to help someone pick out: whether the ring comes as a total surprise or the couple selects it together, being part of something that will be worn forever is such a treat.

Although the modern American idea of an engagement ring dates back only to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, variations on the engagement ring have existed for millennia and across cultures, including the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and many groups across Asia. Egyptians wore and were buried in a thin silver or gold band, Romans had an iron and gold band, the latter for out of the house wear only, and Asian rulers used rings as a way to identify their multiple wives. Christians increasingly embraced the engagement ring tradition beginning in the 13th century. The first known engagement ring featuring diamonds arrived on the scene in 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented Mary of Burgundy with a band set with diamond “chips” in the shape as a letter “M.” However, non-diamond engagement ring trends would continue for centuries. In eighteenth-century America, for example, colonial women often turned the standard engagement gift of a sewing thimble into a ring by removing the thimble’s top. When diamonds were discovered in South Africa at Cape Colony in 1867, the sudden plentiful supply allowed diamond jewelry to really take off. By the end of the 1800s, the modern diamond engagement ring was becoming increasingly well-established, but it took a clever DeBeers marketing campaign in the 1930s to make the link between diamonds and love as firm as it is today in our minds. Nevertheless, non-diamond engagement rings aren’t going anywhere – one need look no further than the Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement ring, which features a large center sapphire surrounded by diamonds, for evidence that the diamond solitaire is not your only option.

Here at Prather Beeland, we love engagement rings whether they’re big or small, and with any kind of stone. Whether you’re dreaming of a classic diamond or looking to start a new trend, we’ve got some of our favorite picks for you below!

Sapphires and Diamonds
Non-traditional! Diamonds
Opals and Rose Cuts
Platinum, .51ct Old European Cut
14K, 1.50 Old European Cut

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Watches and Watch Fobs

Watch design and style has changed over the centuries, beginning in the 16th century, when the first personal watches were made. Although much smaller than a clock, they were still significantly larger than the wristwatches people wear today and were typically worn on a chain around one's neck. It wasn’t until the 17th century that pocket watches became popular - and then only for men. Pocket watches were commonly attached to chains in order to keep the watch safe and easily accessible. In the Victorian era, pocket watches became increasingly stylish, and it was common for a man to carry a watch in his waistcoat. Watch fobs, also referred to simply as fobs, were attached to the other end of the chain and worn as decoration. These fashionable accessories were often intricately and beautifully made. Some were set with stones (most commonly agate, carnelian, and citrine), and others were engraved, often with seals. Pocket watches fell out of fashion by the late 1800s in favor of wristwatches, but fobs can still be fabulous: they are perfect for use today worn as a necklace on a chain or as a charm on a bracelet! See what you think of these fobs from Prather Beeland and check out a few more on our website. 

English Fob- set with carnelian
Gold Filled Victorian Fob

Initials Engraved on Gold Filled Victorian Fob
Another Gold Filled Victorian Fob (also has engraved initials)