Book Review – No Cheating, No Dying: I Had a Good Marriage. Then I Tried to Make it Better by Elizabeth Weil

Over the past few years, especially since Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert published to great fame, there has been an influx of memoirs by “regular” people who took a year from their normal routines to change their lives. The authors’ changes range from the very specific, as A.J. Jacobs did in A Year of Living Biblically when he followed every single rule in the bible, to the more conceptual, as Gretchen Rubin did in The Happiness Project, where she aimed to find ways to bring more happiness into everyday life. Elizabeth Weil’s book, No Cheating, No Dying: I Had a Good Marriage. Then I Tried to Make it Better follows the latter concept – over the course of a year, could she make her already happy marriage happier?

Elizabeth’s journey involved looking deep into the issues that every couple deals with – money, sex, food, religion, etc. – to see if there was room for improvement in her own relationship. She consulted with sex therapists, financial planners, marriage coaches, and rabbis to get answers. The book basically reads like a memoir, but there are facts and research about marriage and relationships where relevant. I was able to read the book in just a day because the concept is so compelling. So often you hear about couples who decide to work on their relationships with therapists or counselors when things have gotten too unbearable to deal with anymore. The suggestion implicit in Elizabeth’s book is to be proactive about your relationship when times are good, in hopes that you can effectively communicate, connect, and build on your already solid foundation.

I loved Elizabeth’s candid descriptions of her relationship. She writes very openly and honestly about her and her husband’s past, their conflicts during the project, and the issues that come up time and again in their relationship. Even her descriptions of family and friends are very forthright. She isn’t afraid to describe things the way they truly are. If there is any issue I had with the book, it’s that I wanted more of that, the honest meat of their relationship and the straightforward experiences, rather than the stats about marriage. While the data was nice, the real heart of the story is about her and her husband.

I give this book a solid 3 carats. It’s not likely a book you will need to read more than once (so maybe borrow it from the library or buy it from a used bookstore), but still, it’s a lovely peek inside a couple’s relationship.

Book image found here. Diamond review image is hand drawn by me!

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And the Highest Bidder Is…

Yesterday I told you all about the magnificent jewels that I viewed (and tried on!) at the Sotheby’s exhibition. Today these stunning jewels were auctioned off to the highest bidders. What were the final bids? Let’s find out! (Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium).

Lot #144, “Platinum and Diamond Bracelet, France, Circa 1930” from the Estate of an East Coast Lady, estimated at $80,000 – $120,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $116,500 USD

Lot #142, “Platinum, Emerald, and Diamond Ring”, estimated at $75,000 – $125,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $92,500 USD

Lot #122, “Pair of Platinum, Tourmaline, and Diamond Pendant-Earrings, Tiffany & Co.”, estimated at $6,000 – $8,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $36,250 USD

Lot #73, “18 Karat White Gold, Keshi Pearl and Diamond Bracelet”, estimated at $20,000 – $25,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $25,000 USD

Lot #333, “Pair of Diamond-Pendant Earrings, Circa 1910”, property from the estate of Eunice Joyce Gardiner, estimated at $30,000 – $40,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $206,500 USD

Lot #428, “A Very Rare Platinum, Carved Emerald, Emerald and Sapphire Brooch, Cartier, New York, Circa 1920”, estimated at $300,000 – $500,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $482,500 USD

Lot #418, “Platinum and Diamond Ring”, property from the estate of Nancy B. Hamon, estimated at $500,000 to $700,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $1,082,500 USD

Lot #103, “18 Karat Gold and Diamond Ring”, property of a Lady, estimated at $450,000 – $550,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $842,500 USD

Lot #183, “Platinum and Diamond Ring”, property from a private collection, estimated at $30,000 – $50,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $86,500 USD

Lot #382, “Platinum and Diamond Ring”, estimated at $75,000 – $100,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $92,500 USD

Lot #421, “An Impressive Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring”, estimated at $1,500,000 – $2,000,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $1,874,500 USD

Are you surprised by any of the final bids? Many of them sold within their estimated price range, while others tipped the scales quite a bit. Did you notice that Lot #333, the diamond pendant earrings I thought would look lovely with a wedding dress, sold for $206,500, a whopping $160,000+ more than the highest estimated amount? Some lucky bidder must have really wanted them!

Lot #144 image found here, Lot #142 image found here, Lot #122 image found here, Lot #73 image found here, Lot #333 image found here, Lot #428 image found here, Lot #418 image found here, Lot #103 image found here, Lot #183 image found here, Lot #382 image found here, Lot #421 image found here.

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Magnificent Jewels!

Today I ventured to York Avenue on the Upper East Side of New York to see the last full-day viewing of the Magnificent Jewels Exhibition at Sotheby’s before the auction begins tomorrow. It was free of charge, open to the public, and featured jewels from various estate and private collections. The jewelry ranged from period pieces crafted two hundred years ago to creations by the most heralded designers of the 20th century. There were diamonds, pearls, and colored gemstones in all shapes and sizes. Settle in while I show you several of the most amazing pieces!

Having never been to Sotheby’s before, I was struck by how friendly and laid back the whole establishment is. The concierge at the front desk was jovial and quite delighted to greet me, and the employees behind the jewelry counters were happy to take out jewelry to see. Yes, I actually got the chance to try on some of the amazing pieces up for auction. What a thrill!

The crowd was mixed, and there was an area off to the side with designated tables and jeweler’s lamps for true buyers who were being assisted by staff in inspecting the pieces. There was even a school group of adults on a trip to see all the sparkly baubles. Unlike the Elizabeth Taylor auction at Christie’s back in December, the pieces in this exhibition varied quite a lot in style and elegance. There were several pieces that I considered to be a bit tacky, and others I adored, but that was the beauty of it. There was definitely something for everyone there!

Enough talk, let’s get to the beautiful photos!

One of my favorites, and one of the first pieces I walked in to see, was Lot #144, “Platinum and Diamond Bracelet, France, Circa 1930” from the Estate of an East Coast Lady (yep, that’s the real description from the website), estimated at $80,000 – $120,000 USD:

The bracelet is an amazing Art Deco design, and the diamonds have a colorful fire reminiscent of a rhinestone. Since the photo doesn’t show scale very well, the round diamonds that are in the center portions are a large 3.00, 3.00, and 2.90 carats each. Just one of them alone would make a stunning engagement ring! One of the other elements I noticed about this design was the diamond baguettes in the outer sections. They have one long baguette, and then two on each side that are each slightly shorter than the next.

Immediately made me think of the photos that UsWeekly had up yesterday of Angelina Jolie’s new engagement ring that Brad Pitt designed for her!

A beautiful design in both pieces of jewelry!

Lot #142, “Platinum, Emerald, and Diamond Ring”, estimated at $75,000 – $125,000 USD:

As with some of the emeralds at the Elizabeth Taylor auction, this 5.59 carat emerald looks unreal. And by unreal I mean it truly looked looks it is a synthetic, manmade stone. It has a greenish blue hue, but the inclusion in the center of the stone gives it away that it is natural. Can you see it in the picture above? It almost looks like a little feather. The inclusion was actually a bit distracting when looking at the stone, but you have to forgive it, since it isn’t often an emerald of this quality and size can be cut from rough material.

Lot #122, “Pair of Platinum, Tourmaline, and Diamond Pendant-Earrings, Tiffany & Co.”, estimated at $6,000 – $8,000 USD:

The tourmalines in these earrings are absolutely gorgeous. They looked to be about 12×10 millimeters each (with a total carat weight of 24.83), and they have that real vibrant Caribbean blue ocean hue. I could have stared at them all day!

Lot #73, “18 Karat White Gold, Keshi Pearl and Diamond Bracelet”, estimated at $20,000 – $25,000 USD:

The design of this bracelet was so amazing in person. The dark color and shape of the pearls makes them look like small pebbles, and the diamonds weaving in and out give the effect of water running in a stream. A really lovely, artistic piece!

Lot #333, “Pair of Diamond-Pendant Earrings, Circa 1910”, property from the estate of Eunice Joyce Gardiner, estimated at $30,000 – $40,000 USD:

These earrings are so incredibly elegant in person. Again, the photo doesn’t show the scale well, because the center pear-shaped diamonds in each earring could easily make anyone happy as a solitaire engagement ring, weighing in at 4.99 and 4.23 carats each. These earrings would look wonderful with a bridal gown!

Lot #428, “A Very Rare Platinum, Carved Emerald, Emerald and Sapphire Brooch, Cartier, New York, Circa 1920”, estimated at $300,000 – $500,000 USD:

The carving work on this emerald, depicting a Mughal flower motif, is so incredibly intricate. The emerald part is about two inches across, and maybe a quarter of an inch thick. I have no idea how the emerald didn’t break during the carving process, since it looks to be all one piece. You could see through the emerald a bit in certain parts, causing lighter and darker areas in the stone. It was really just stunning to behold.

Hands down the “hottest” area in the auction was cases 14 and 15, where all the engagement-like diamond rings were displayed. They contained Lots #418, #103, #183, #382, and #421.

Lot #418, “Platinum and Diamond Ring”, property from the estate of Nancy B. Hamon, estimated at $500,000 to $700,000 USD:

This marquise diamond, E color and VS1 clarity, weighing in at 12.64 carats, is absolutely gorgeous in person. The photo here doesn’t do it justice. It is incredibly sparkly, and you don’t see any imperfections to the naked eye. It was so lovely to see a less popular shape like a marquise featured in the auction.

Lot #103, “18 Karat Gold and Diamond Ring”, property of a Lady, estimated at $450,000 – $550,000 USD:

In the photo above, the yellow gold prongs and setting look much more apparent than they do in person. In real life, you barely notice the gold at all, you just see the breathtaking 11.08 carat pear-shaped diamond. Like the marquise ring before it, this F color, VVS2 clarity diamond is just mesmerizing, because of the sheer size as well as its complete lack of inclusions to the naked eye.

Lot #183, “Platinum and Diamond Ring”, property from a private collection, estimated at $30,000 – $50,000 USD:

I was drawn to this ring because the design was unlike any of the other rings at the auction, and the 9.99 carat emerald cut center stone was simply stunning. It has a slight yellowish milky color to it, and although it is hard to tell in that kind of jewelry lighting, I would have guessed it had some fluorescence to it. This is one of the rings that I actually had the chance to try on. I knew that Sotheby’s allows people to touch and look at the jewelry, but somehow when I was making small talk with the employee behind the counter I kept stumbling over my words. I guess a diamond ring going for $50,000 on your hand can do that to a girl?

That emerald cut diamond takes up all the space on my pinky finger, from my hand to my first knuckle!

Lot #382, “Platinum and Diamond Ring”, estimated at $75,000 – $100,000 USD:

This ring wound up being my favorite of all the diamond rings I saw at the exhibition. Admittedly, I am a sucker for a cushion cut diamond with a halo setting, and this one weighs in at a lovely 5.02 carats. The band looked to be on the thin side, to the point where I would worry about the stability of the center setting, but when the Sotheby’s employee took it out of the case, I was able to see that from the front view the band looked thin, but it actually had some thickness to it depth-wise. This diamond is a D color, with an SI2 clarity, which I was really surprised by. After taking a very close look, I could see the inclusions that made it an SI2, but somehow they didn’t matter at all, and weren’t distracting in the least. It is always amazing to me how some diamonds can have a lower clarity, but if the inclusions are placed well and the diamond is designed for a beautiful ring, you don’t even notice them. What do you think — should I buy it for a cool $100K tomorrow?

I think I’m in love! ♥

And last, but most certainly not least, is Lot #421, “An Impressive Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring”, estimated at $1,500,000 – $2,000,000 USD:

Sotheby’s showcased this ring on a small rotating glass table within the case, so you could really see all sides of the ring. This naturally fancy vivid yellow colored diamond is a whopping 23.02 carats, with VVS1 clarity. When you see it up close you don’t even notice the half-moon shaped diamonds on the sides, because the center stone is just so incredible. It felt almost out of this world, it was so unlike anything else.

All of the jewelry listed above will be up for auction starting at 10am tomorrow. You can watch it all happen live on the Sotheby’s website. Also, if you really want to see some of these amazing jewels in person, you have one last chance to get to Sotheby’s tomorrow morning from 10am to 12pm, although you will only be able to see the items that are part of Session 2 (since Session 1 will be auctioning at that time). Or, if you can’t make it to either of those, Sotheby’s has an amazing iPad app that lets you zoom in on the photos, watch videos, and take notes (birthday gift wish list, anyone?). Very handy for drooling over gorgeous gems on the go! Or you can check out their e-catalogue online. I will be following the results tomorrow and will let you know in a separate blog post how much the items sell for in the end. What fun!

Did you get to visit the Sotheby’s auction as well, either in person or online? See any pieces that you adored that I didn’t mention here? Are you as in love with that cushion cut 5.02 carat diamond ring as I am? Sigh 🙂

P.S. Although I mention the name Sotheby’s a million times in this blog post, I was not paid or perked to write about this exhibition. I am simply a lover of gorgeous gems, especially the ones that I get to try on!

Lot #144 image found here, Angelina Jolie image found here, Lot #142 image found here, Lot #122 image found here, Lot #73 image found here, Lot #333 image found here, Lot #428 image found here, Lot #418 image found here, Lot #103 image found here, Lot #183 image found here, Lot #382 image found here, Lot #421 image found here.

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Win Tickets to the BBraxton Exceptional Groom Expo!

This Sunday, February 12th, I will be joining many other fantastic exhibitors at the First Annual BBraxton Exceptional Groom Expo here in NY. This event is for gentlemen and couples who are engaged or soon to be engaged, and will feature info from vendors specializing in engagement, wedding, groomsmen, bachelor celebrations, honeymoon, home, and so much more. Plus, guests will enjoy cocktails, cigars, hors d’oeuvres, and The Ultimate BBraxton Swag Bag. It is going to be an awesome time, and the great news is that I have two tickets to give away to this fabulous event!

Here are the contest rules:

  • PRIZE: 2 tickets to the BBraxton Exceptional Groom Expo
  • WHERE AND WHEN: Sunday, Feb 12th from 3pm to 6pm at BBraxton, 1400 Fifth Avenue at 116th Street, NYC 10026
  • TO ENTER: Email me at ringliaison@gmail.com with the answer to the following question: Which diamond color grade has more of a yellow hue – D or J? (don’t worry, a simple internet search should get you the answer, plus it’s good to brush up on your Four C’s!)
  • GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Friday, February 10th at 11:59pm EST
  • NUMBER OF WINNERS: One
  • PRIZE PICKUP: You and your guest’s names will be added to the list, all you need to do is show up and have a great time!
  • USUAL STUFF: One entry per e-mail address is permitted. The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on Saturday morning as a new blog post. So come back here on Saturday for the announcement of the winner. Good luck!
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Flatter Spam, That’s So Sweet!

Everyone is used to the concept of spam. Those annoying emails that worm their way into your inbox, trying to convince you to invest money, buy pills, or join a special VIP gaming site. One of the other forms of spam comes to websites through the comments section on their blog. Traditionally these would be spam comments that would contain a link to an unsafe website. But lately there has been a new form of comment spam called “flatter spam”. In these, sentences are put together using flattering terms, in hopes that the use of positive words will help them make their way through any spam filters. Since they are created by a spambot, they are usually easy to detect because the sentence structure is very poor. After my relaunch last week, I received several hilarious spam comments, and I wanted to share the chuckles with you. None of these spam comments contained unsafe links, so I’m not sure why they even wasted their time. Plus, I have since installed new spam filtering software, so there won’t likely be any more like these. But let’s enjoy these “gems” for now!

One of the funny parts of these spam comments is that they always seem to make sure at least one word is spelled incorrectly, so the comment seems more “realistic”, like a real human would write it. Like these:

Dasia: “Your aritcle perfectly shows what I needed to know, thanks!”

Tallin: “Good points all aournd. Truly appreciated.”

Vlora: “Extremely hlefpul article, please write more.”

Lucka: “You keep it up now, undresatnd? Really good to know.”

There are the comments that make you wonder about the spambot’s mental health:

Cassie: “And to think I was going to talk to seomone in person about this.”

And others where the spambot is just giving it to you straight, like a good friend would:

Patsy: “No more s***. All posts of this qaluity from now on.”

And last of all the long comment, that provides a full paragraph of advice:

Walawender: “It’s perfect time to make some plans for the longer term and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I may I wish to counsel you few attention-grabbing issues or tips. Perhaps you can write next articles regarding this article. I want to learn more things about it!”

Have you ever encountered some hilarious spam? Share the laughs!

Spam hair clip image found here.

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The Results Are In!

Earlier this week, I filled you in on all the fabulous jewelry I viewed at the Elizabeth Taylor gallery auction at Christies. This week these stunning jewels were auctioned off to the highest bidders. Let’s see the results! (Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits).

Lot #233, Two Unmounted Heart-Shaped Rubies, estimated at $4,000 – $6,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $80,500 USD

 

Lot #869, Amethyst Geode with Calcite Inclusions, estimated at $2,000 – $3,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $20,000 USD

 

Lot #7, Diamond and Sapphire Ring, estimated at $80,000 – $120,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $722,500 USD

 

Lot #60, A Set of Sapphire, Diamond, and Gold Jewelry, by Mouawad, estimated at $120,000 – $150,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $386,500 USD

 

Lot #56, The Taj Mahal, an Indian Diamond and Jade Pendant Necklace with a Ruby and Gold Chain, by Cartier, estimated at $300,000 – $500,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $8,818,500 USD

 

Lot #26, Emerald and Diamond Ring by Bulgari, estimated at $600,000 – $800,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $3,330,500 USD

 

Lot #20, The Burton Cognac Ring, by Van Cleef & Arpels, estimated at $180,000 – $200,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $2,322,500 USD

 

One of the biggest sales of the night was Le Peregrina, a natural pearl, diamond, ruby, and cultured pearl necklace (not mentioned in my original post). This pearl is one of the most famous in the world, and has a history dating back to the 16th century. The original estimate for this necklace was $2,000,000 – $3,000,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $11,842,500 USD

That is the highest price ever paid for a pearl at auction. I watched the auction live streaming on the Christies website on Tuesday night, and it was intense! After hearing that, I was at the edge of my seat when the final auction of the night was up, the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond ring. Wouldn’t it have to sell for more than La Peregrina??? At one point when the bidding for the ring was slowing down, the auctioneer was actually reminding the audience that this is THE Elizabeth Taylor Diamond!

Lot #80, The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond Ring, estimated at $2,500,000 – $3,000,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $8,818,500 USD

Shocking! I would have sworn that based on the other sales of the night, this ring would have sold for more than it did. Of course, it is still a whole lot of money, but this is the ring that she wore almost every day of her life.

Wondering who the winning bidders were for some of these auctions? People magazine’s Style Watch has a great breakdown of who bought what here (even Kim Kardshian walked away with something from the collection!). Word is that a Korean hotel conglomerate called E-Land purchased the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond and has plans to feature it at their E-World theme park in Daegu. So at least the public will be able to view it again!

Were you shocked by any of the final prices? Can’t wait to see the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond when it is unveiled in South Korea? Have a favorite piece you wish you could have bid on?

Heart-shaped rubies image found here, Amethyst geode image found here, Pear-shaped diamond ring image found here, Sapphire necklace and earrings image found here, Taj Mahal necklace image found here, Emerald ring image found here, Burton Cognac ring image found here, La Peregrina necklace image found hereElizabeth Taylor diamond ring image found here.

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The Elizabeth Taylor Collection

“It would be very glamorous to be reincarnated as a great big ring on Elizabeth Taylor’s finger.” — Andy Warhol

Yesterday I had the privilege of seeing the Elizabeth Taylor Collection at Christies on it’s final day of viewing. The auction began today and will continue in various categories over the next few months. It consists of fine jewelry, costume jewelry, clothing, handbags, luggage, paintings, and much more. Walking into the gallery, I was struck by how many female guests arrived in their finest jewelry, in homage to the late Elizabeth Taylor. I even overheard one older woman relishing a security guard with stories of the time she met and spoke to Elizabeth Taylor long, long ago.

If you didn’t get to see the collection for yourself, let me take you for a guided tour. First off, one of the Christies employees confirmed that the prices listed for each piece were determined as if they did not belong to Elizabeth Taylor. There is no way for them to know what the pieces will actually gather at auction, since bidders may have a fondness for Elizabeth Taylor that is beyond the technical value of the piece.

Imagine room after room filled with women who are excited and slightly pushy, each making jokes about the prices of the pieces and how their husbands should be buying them gems like these. There were plenty of fine and costume pieces in the collection that would be considered tacky to today’s modern woman. Many women I walked past could be overheard muttering the same thing. In turn, it made the pieces that were created in timeless styles that much more stunning.

One of the most delightful things about the auction was the books of “paper jewelry” on sale for $25. It was four panels containing photos of key pieces of jewelry from the auction, perforated around the edges like you would see in a book of paper dolls. You could simply detach the paper and wear these “jewels” around your neck, wrist, or finger. Or as some of the Christies staff so cleverly improvised, you could take your regular pair of stud earrings, poke a hole through one of the “paper” earrings, and wear them as if they were real. It was quite adorable, and was inspired by some paper jewels that Malcolm Forbes gifted to Elizabeth Taylor.

Let’s start with one of my favorites, Lot #233, Two Unmounted Heart-Shaped Rubies, estimated at $4,000 – $6,000 USD:

Perhaps it is my love of colored gemstones, or my gemological upbringing, but these two stones were just stunning. They contained inclusions, but that was part of their charm. Their color was a rich deep red, and their size was equally impressive. I wonder if the final bidder will mount them into a piece of jewelry, or leave their beauty as is?

Lot #869, Amethyst Geode with Calcite Inclusions, estimated at $2,000 – $3,000 USD:

This geode was quite large at 14 inches high, 24 inches wide, and 12 inches deep. The rich purple hue and sheer grandiosity made me wonder when she began collecting such raw gemstones. A real stunner!

Lot #7, Diamond and Sapphire Ring, estimated at $80,000 – $120,000 USD:

The photo above doesn’t do justice to the approximately 16.98 carats of this yellow pear-shaped center stone, or the small sapphires and pear-shaped diamonds surrounding it. This ring was a gift to Elizabeth Taylor from Michael Jackson, and it is the color and size of the center stone that is most impressive about this piece. It has a lovely light yellow hue to it, and is extremely impressive in person. What a generous and lovely gift for one friend to give to another!

Let’s take a moment to talk about one of the non-jewelry auction pieces that I was surprised to see there. In a separate room were featured works of art from her personal collection. There was only one security guard in the large room, and the paintings were on the wall with no glass or cases to protect them. I am consistently impressed by the level of trust that galleries and museums give to their patrons! My favorite painting was a beautiful piece by Vincent Van Gogh, estimated at £5,000,000 – £7,000,000 (approximately $7,800,000 – $10,900,000 in US dollars):

Upon first glance it was obviously a painting by Van Gogh, but what struck me most about this one was the subtle pink color in the sky. Van Gogh was able to capture the fleeting color of an afternoon sky with just a few brushstrokes. I was honored to see this painting up close and personal. For the art enthusiasts out there, there were also some stunning works by Renoir, Degas, and Pissaro on display at the auction as well.

And now back to the sparklies with Lot #60, A Set of Sapphire, Diamond, and Gold Jewelry, by Mouawad, estimated at $120,000 – $150,000 USD:

The sapphires in this collection were absolutely gorgeous. Their color was reminiscent of a tanzanite, but with a bit of a light “cornflower” blue hue to them. Both are amazing pieces that I am sure went together splendidly with Elizabeth Taylor’s famous blue eyes.

Lot #56, The Taj Mahal, an Indian Diamond and Jade Pendant Necklace with a Ruby and Gold Chain, by Cartier, estimated at $300,000 – $500,000 USD:

This necklace was a gift to Elizabeth Taylor on her 40th birthday from Richard Burton. It is set with an inscribed heart-shaped table-cut diamond bearing the Islamic date 1037. Admittedly I am not an expert on the history of this famous necklace. It wasn’t beautiful in quite the same way as the more traditional fine jewelry in the collection, but it was impressive nonetheless, simply because it was so unique.

Lot #26, Emerald and Diamond Ring by Bulgari, estimated at $600,000 – $800,000 USD:

One of the only ways I can describe this ring is that it was so free of inclusions, it practically looked manmade. It was so incredibly large (I wish they listed the carat weight) and impressive. A truly amazing ring.

Lot #20, The Burton Cognac Ring, by Van Cleef & Arpels, estimated at $180,000 – $200,000 USD:

This pear-shaped diamond, a whopping 32.14 carats in a fancy deep brownish orangy yellow, is quite a sight. The color changes in the light as you view it from the front and the side. As the name of it indicates, this is another gift to Elizabeth Taylor from Richard Burton. That man sure knew how to buy a girl some jewelry!

And saving the best for last, there was Lot #80, The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond Ring, estimated at $2,500,000 – $3,000,000 USD:

This ring was a gift from Richard Burton, and was purchased from Parke-Bernet Galleries in New York on May 16th, 1968. It weighs approximately 33.19 carats, is mounted in platinum, and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has determined it may be potentially internally flawless. The center diamond is out of this world. Looking at it in the glass case, it was hard to focus on it, simply because my eyes kept looking for flaws they weren’t going to find. It is the kind of diamond where I am thankful to have seen it in person once in my life. I wonder which bidder will win at the end of this auction, and what they will decide to do with it. Donate it to a museum, for all to see? Or lock it away, to be swooned over in the privacy of their home? One can only hope this won’t be the last we see of it. I can’t wait to find out where the final bid will fall on this one!

All of the jewelry listed above will be up for auction today and tomorrow. I will be following the results and will let you know in a separate blog post how much the items sell for in the end. Exciting!

Did you get a chance to check out the auction? Feel the same about the gallery show as I did? Any pieces I missed that you were in love with?

Elizabeth Taylor image found here, Heartshape rubies image found here, Amethyst geode image found here, Pear-shaped diamond ring image found here, Vincent Van Gogh painting image found here, Sapphire necklace and earrings image found here, Taj Mahal necklace image found here, Emerald ring image found here, Burton Cognac ring image found here, Elizabeth Taylor diamond ring image found here.

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It’s Relaunch Day!

Almost two years ago, I started my business as an Engagement Ring Liaison. Since then I have helped many men (and couples) navigate the Four C’s, figure out correct ring sizes, stay within their budgets, and ultimately present fantastic rings to their now fiancées. In October I graduated from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) with my Graduate Gemology (G.G.) degree, and since then I have been revamping my website and my business. Today is my official relaunch day! The website has a completely new design and plenty of new info, and I am excited to share it with you all!

My social media presence has expanded a bit as well, so you can now feel free to follow me on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Linkedin, and Pinterest. (By the way, if you haven’t checked out Pinterest before, it is a wonderfully creative and visual website, and I have plenty of invites to share if you need one).

I have also started a newsletter, which will give info about recent news, blog posts, testimonials, reviews, and plenty of other things I think you would be interested in. You can sign up through this website (in the section below the header), or by clicking the link here: http://eepurl.com/g-3NM

Thank you all for your support over the past few years. Looking forward to many more!

P.S. I love feedback, so let me know in the comments below if there is anything else you would love to see on my website or know more about!

Space shuttle image found here.

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The Thin Line Between Love and Engagement Nagging

It’s common to reference a ticking biological clock when a woman begins feeling the intense desire to have a baby, but what about earlier in the relationship story, when all she can hear is the loud tick-tock of the engagement clock?

As the modern-day relationship benchmarks are crossed — first date, moving in together, getting a pet — many of us get impatient to cross the engagement threshold. We already split the bills, share a bed, and know we don’t want to be with anyone else. So what is taking so long? This is the moment where us women do the thing we know we shouldn’t, but can’t seem to stop ourselves from doing… engagement nagging. It starts simply enough. We comment  to our boyfriend on a ring in a magazine ad that we would love to wear someday. Or while looking through a friend’s wedding photos we mention how we’ve always wanted a wedding with flowers like that. At first we are mentioning these things simply to see if our thoughts about the relationship and future marriage are in sync with our partner’s.

But then the slippery slope dips, and it becomes an undercurrent of engagement nagging. We purposefully drop hints about marriage in more and more situations. It becomes less about wanting to know if our partner is on the same page, and more about reminding him that we are thinking about marriage. A LOT. And for some reason, we seem to think that reminding him of this, more and more often, will make him propose. It is a hard place to be, feeling like you are a step ahead of your boyfriend, and not knowing when he will catch up. What can be done?

Ladies, here’s the thing we all already know but have a hard time reminding ourselves: if you have dropped hints on several occasions, he knows you want to marry him. He has gotten the message. Repeating that message when you are not getting an equivalent level of enthusiasm back from him will possibly delay the goal you are trying so hard to achieve. He may start feeling like there is no space to propose, since your conversations are constantly mentioning it. Plus, the pressure has now continued to build, all around this thing you expressed you want from him. One of the best things you can do is have a quick conversation to clear the air. Tell him that you know you have been bringing up marriage a lot, and that you’re just really excited about spending your life with him. And then ease up on the marriage hints. Give him room to think about proposing without all the pressure. Sometimes that is all it takes to let the natural course reset itself.

And guys, here is what we ask of you: please remember that since we were all very little girls, the fairytales we were read in bed, the movies we have seen, the magazine ads we have flipped through, have all told us we want to get married. And when we find the guy we truly want to be with, we can’t help but think about the day when we will hear a proposal from him. If you haven’t been proposing because your girlfriend is constantly bringing it up, forgive her. But if you’re not proposing because you have an inherent fear of marriage, or because there are things about the relationship you feel need to be addressed first, or because you’re not in the professional or financial place you want to be before joining lives so completely, let us know. Communicating that will help us understand you better, and perhaps even tap the snooze button on our ticking alarm clock.

Ladies, do you find yourself engagement nagging when you know you shouldn’t? Guys, are you feeling the pressure from your girlfriend to the point that you’re not proposing because of it?

Diamond ring clock image found here.

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