Proposing with an engagement ring just seems like a fact of life – the sky is blue, the grass is green and when you want to marry someone you buy a big beautiful ring and propose. But this hasn’t always been an accepted tradition and derives from symbolic gestures of eternity and ownership in different ancient cultures.
So, why do we offer a ring to the person we want to spend the rest of our lives with? When did the tradition begin and what does it mean? How has it become such a widespread and accepted tradition?
It all dates back to Ancient Egypt. The Ancient Egyptians saw circles as a symbol of eternity, so newly wedded couples would create rings out of braided reeds to exchange as a token of commitment. These rings were worn on the left-hand ring finger, due to the fact this finger contains a vein that runs directly to the heart (named the Vena Amoris at a later date) – the heart was also a symbol of love even in Ancient Egypt. This is the oldest documented use of rings being exchanged as an engagement ritual.
In 2nd Century B.C., the Ancient Romans are believed to have started the use of betrothal rings as an offering to the bride instead of money or other valuables. The symbolism involved here is distinctly less romantic than in Ancient Egypt or in modern times – this was about signalling the man’s ownership of the woman. The woman would wear a gold ring during the wedding ceremony and while attending other significant events. Then, while at home, the woman would wear an iron ring as a reminder of her binding legal agreement i.e. that she has agreed to be owned by her husband.
So far we have seen modest woven rings to symbolise eternity together, gold rings to signal ownership in public facing ceremonies and iron rings to remind wives of their legal agreement. When did diamonds and other glitz come into the equation? Diamonds didn’t come into play until many centuries later, as late as 1477, when the Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy with a ring that had flat pieces of diamonds spelling out the letter “M”. After this, the rest of the European nobility had to follow suit and began adding more extravagant jewels as a way to show their prowess. There are also documented uses of romantic rings in the Middle Ages called “posey rings.” These rings had romantic poems engraved on them and would be exchanged between couples.
The use of diamonds became widespread after 1880, following the DeBeers Mining Company’s exploits in South Africa. The company adopted the slogan “A diamond is forever”, and told men they should spend two months wages on a ring. Somehow, this advertising venture became embedded into our culture, and by the 1940s it was widely accepted in Western Culture that you had to propose with a diamond. Nowadays we are flooded with wonderful engagement ring options, such as tiffany engagement rings, and have more choice than ever on how we propose.
Your Guide To Wear Jewelry At The Beach
Whoever said that you can’t wear jewelry at the beach is wrong. With so many different styles and designs of beach accessories trending in the market, it is hard to keep yourself away from that collection.
You are probably concerned about your jewelry when wearing them at the beach. No worries, we have got your back. This guide will help you pick the best beach jewelry and also tell you how to take care of them. So without wasting any more time, let’s get to the details.
Don’t forget the hazards
When you are at the beach, you must be careful of all the hazards around you. By hazards, we mean sand, salt water, and sun exposure.
Sand between your toes might feel comfortable, but it’s not good for your jewelry. When the tiny grains of sand rub against your jewelry, they can cause significant damage to your pieces. On the other hand, saltwater from the sea can stain or tarnish your jewelry. Even strong sunrays are bad for your beach jewelry. It can affect the metal or dull the sparkle of your gem.
So these are some of the concerns you need to take care of. It is advised you take off your pieces before getting into the water. Plus, you should prevent your jewelry from direct sun exposure.
Keep it simple
Wearing beach jewelry like handmade pearl choker, shell bracelets, etc., is fine. But you shouldn’t overdo it. What we mean to say is that you should keep your style simple.
You go to the beach to relax or get a nice natural tan. Consider wearing small pieces so it doesn’t result in big tan lines. Also, bigger pieces tend to get stuck in your swimsuit or tangled in the air.
Go for small and lightweight jewelry pieces that are easily manageable. To get a better idea, you should check out some reference pictures on the web.
Carry a few sandwich bags
Yes, you read that right! Before diving into the water, take off your jewelry and store it in those bags. This is a good way to keep your jewelry safe. Plastic sandwich bags are reliable and waterproof.
Keeping your jewelry in a plastic bag not only keeps it safe from the elements, but also reduces the chances of you losing it in the sand. Make sure that the sandwich bag is durable enough.
Consider the metal type
When buying beach jewelry, you must also consider the metal it is made of. This is because certain metals can handle the hazards better than other types.
For example, sterling silver, pewter, and copper are likely to tarnish from contact with salt water. Better choices are platinum and gold, as they are resistant to tarnishing.
If you can follow these simple tips, you can wear and flaunt your beach jewelry without any worries. Make sure that you take good care of your pieces after wearing them to the beach. Some jewelry may require heavy cleaning after coming in contact with sand and saltwater.
Tim Gunn on Fashion, Florals and the Royal Wedding
Tim Gunn, America’s favorite fashion mentor, is best known for his work on Project Runway alongside Heidi Klum. Through his subtle wit and attention to detail, Gunn redefined the understanding and appreciation of modern fashion as we know it. On meeting him a few weeks back when he was getting ready for the Command x Gilt Pop Up Shop in New York City, I was gratified to realize that in-person, Gunn is gracious, wickedly sharp and incredibly kind. In other words, Tim Gunn personifies his catchphrase and seems to always “Make it work.”
In addition to his keen knowledge of fashion, Gunn has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of design history. He spouted architecture tidbits and design history and proudly referenced his past at Parsons School of Design where he served as associate dean before becoming Fashion Design Department chair. I’m certain I blushed fiercely when I mentioned teaching a class I developed in partnership with French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH. Gunn asked me the name of the course, and when I told him, A Short History of Beauty Culture from Cleopatra to the Kardashians, he drolly responded “Well, at least I like the first part, let’s just skip the ending.”
Gunn shared some of his thoughts on how to update your personal look and your home without breaking the bank.
Flowers everywhere: Floral patterns tend to pop up frequently during the spring, with this year being a flowery fashion bonanza. In case you’re wondering, florals go in and out of fashion for clothes, but they can be really tricky when used in home decor. “I think with interiors it’s different,” Gunn said, “because you’re living it and not just wearing it.” He referenced hyper-feminine and florally infused designer Betsey Johnson saying, “I don’t know how Betsey Johnson lives, but I would imagine it’s like her clothes. That’s got to be hard.” If you’re a die-hard floral fan, Gunn suggests using it in limited quantities and spread throughout your home instead of in high concentration in certain spots. Bedrooms and sofas could work, dining rooms—not so much.
With all this talk of florals and royal wedding mania, I was sure that the chintz and cabbage roses traditionally favored by the royal family would set off a craze on our own shores. Not so, according to Gunn. And though he covered the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton for ABC News back in 2011, he’s not really planning on binging the upcoming nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It’s a style thing he said, and he isn’t really expecting much of a “celebration of fashion there.”
Your home vs. your personal style: Gunn said even in the fashion industry, one can grow tired of looking at eye-catching items all day. “You’re surrounded by beauty all day and sometimes you just want to shut it off,” he said. For that reason, his own home is decorated in muted shades and neutrals. “I feel like our homes truly are like a nest, the one place where you have to feel comfortable. I have a very neutral palette to my apartment inspired by the colors of limestone. Color is having a moment, but if that’s not your thing you can achieve the same effect with artwork. And keep moving everything around your home- the furniture, the artwork, the rug that doesn’t serve you, the upholstery you never liked. Just because something has been in your family for generations doesn’t mean it will work for you. I use artwork to really bring in more palpable color.”
Get Moving: Gunn grew animated when talking about his partnership with Command, the brand better known for their sticky strips and hooks. As he explained it, you can update your home all the time by switching things around regularly. “I think color can revive you and your home,” Gunn said. “In my home it’s all the colors of my book collection. I think people don’t realize how you can change the look of things by repositioning them. I move things around as opposed to trading things out, so it always feels new.” The new invisible or decorative items in the line allow you to hang your art temporarily and keep moving it around. Gunn also artfully arranged small gold hooks that can be used as decorative in and of themselves, or more glam when hanging favorite pieces of jewelry. “I like that you can move something 3 inches to the right, or change an arrangement in a room and change everything,” he said. “But don’t just change one part of a room, because moving pictures or furniture changes the proportions of the room and the visual relationships between what’s on the wall and what’s around it.”
Decorating battles: Meanwhile, what do you do if you live with someone who has terrible taste? Do you have to let them add their zebra printed metallic table to your living room? “You pick your battles,” Gunn said. “I’m not sure there’s one right way to solve it,” he said gesturing to an extremely shiny rhinestone and metallic pillow. “Maybe you add a pillow. No, not even a pillow. Maybe you add a border–a very thin border– and leave it at that.”
P.S. I tried some of Tim’s tricks for quick spring home updates. After struggling to arrange some hooks in a vee shaped design I kind of gave up, but my walls overall look so much better!