I want to become a society lady Rockin' a new rock?!

Engagement rings are a big ticket item. For most people, engagement rings are one of the biggest purchases they’ll ever make. And it’s easy to see why people are ready to drop a lot of cash on their ring— after all, engagement rings are meant to symbolize everlasting love and people want the quality of their ring to reflect that. Plus, diamonds appreciate over time, so engagement rings are also an investment purchase that people want to get right. 

So, what exactly are people spending on engagement rings? Across the US, the average amount spent on an engagement ring is $6,351. Though, the amount spent per state ranges from $3,518 to $10,241, with the lowest average coming from Utah and the priciest coming from California. 

While it’s good to consider how much people are spending on their engagement rings, it’s also important to remember that your budget doesn’t have to hit that average number. Every person’s unique situation is different— the most important thing about your engagement ring budget is that it’s comfortable for you. No one wants to start a marriage with strained finances or debt. 

So, how do you buy the perfect engagement ring when you’re working within a budget? We partnered with Fancy Lab to answer that question! The first thing you should do is make sure you know exactly what your budget is. Some people have a range they look within and some people just set a hard upper limit. To figure out your budget, just take an honest look at your finances and think about what you’d be completely comfortable spending.

Once you know your budget, it’s time to start shopping around. If you’ve never bought an engagement ring before, you might not know that engagement ring settings are usually sold separately from the engagement ring’s center stone (which is, traditionally, a diamond). So, keep that in mind while you’re shopping. 

If you’re shopping online, most retailers have handy filters that will allow you to only look at settings or diamonds within certain price ranges. But one online retailer, the luxury jeweler RockHer has taken diamond “filtering” up a notch with their online diamond concierge, ROSI. 

ROSI, a combination of algorithm and AI (powered by IBM’s Watson!), was designed by the team at RockHer to help make what used to be a very difficult shopping decision very simple. Essentially, ROSI works by getting a few pieces of information from whoever’s using her, then sorting through thousands of diamonds and showing the user only the very best ones within their criteria. So, in a nutshell, ROSI helps you find the best diamond within your budget, taking all the confusion and work out of the diamond shopping process. Plus, she does it faster than even an expert gemologist could.

And RockHer is a full stop shop— you can use ROSI to find your ideal diamond and then pair that diamond with your ideal setting right away (or vice versa). They have every imaginable setting style, from intricate vintage settings to sleek modern rings. 

So, the answer to the question of “how to buy the perfect engagement ring without breaking the bank?” Figure out your budget then use ROSI, an AI advanced digital diamond gemologist, to help you sort through the rubble and find your perfect ring. 

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner— do you know what you’re getting your Valentine this year? Picking out just the right gift for your sweetheart can be tricky. Everyone wants to give their Valentine something that will make them feel special and appreciated. That’s why so many people opt to give jewelry on Valentine’s Day. Fine jewelry is beautiful and romantic— plus, it will last a lifetime. To help you pick out an amazing gift this year, we’ve partnered with Fancy Lab to put together this V-Day Gift Guide, full of gorgeous pieces that will make her heart skip a beat.

Diamond Studs

Is there any jewelry more classic and gorgeous than a simple pair of diamond studs? These earrings are the definition of classic beauty, featuring two radiant white diamonds set in 14k white gold. If your Valentine doesn’t have a pair of diamond studs in her collection yet, she’ll be overjoyed to receive them this year.

Oval Diamond Pendant

This diamond pendant is wearable, unique, and absolutely beautiful. Diamond pendants are a classic jewelry item that can enhance any outfit; their simple radiance goes with everything. The oval-shaped diamond in this piece adds a unique touch to this diamond pendant, which would more commonly have a round or princess shaped diamond.

Black Diamond Studs

Black diamonds have been rising in popularity in the world of fine jewelry. Their bold, rich look adds a cool, edgy feel to every piece they’re used in. These black diamond studs, securely bezel set in 14k white gold, provide a boldly beautiful way to wear these distinctive diamonds.

Rose Gold Solitaire

Rose gold has grown quick popularity in fine jewelry and has become the new staple. Rose gold is a popular and desired metal choice along with its counterparts yellow and white gold— if not even more so. This beautiful rose gold solitaire ring elegantly pairs a soft rose gold setting with a unique, yet classic cushion cut white diamond. This ring is a great choice if you’re thinking of popping the question this Valentine’s Day.

Diamond Hoops

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend— so these diamond hoops featuring 50 brilliant round cut diamonds might just end up being her soul mate (after you, of course). These dazzling earrings, with their twin rings of radiant white diamonds, are classically beautiful and simply to die for.

These pieces are from Diamond Studs, known for their classic and timeless jewelry selection. Their sister company, Diamond Wish, is known for their unique engagement rings, like the gorgeous blue and white diamond ring pictured above. This ring, which features an elegantly scalloped halo of diamonds around its blue center stone, is a beautiful example of an alternative engagement ring. Alternative engagement rings are a great change to classic white diamond engagement rings. They’re great for the modern bride that seeks out a more unique and personal feel and isn’t afraid to deviate from tradition. Alternative engagement rings are also having their moment in the spotlight right now!

Give Your Gift In Style

Once you’ve picked out your Valentine’s Gift, consider this: how you give your gift can help to make it feel even more special. Here’s a gift giving idea: give her a handmade Valentine’s Day card along with her new piece of jewelry. Making her an old school, handcrafted Valentine’s Day card (complete with your personalized words of devotion, of course) is sweet, thoughtful, and charming. You can either give her her jewelry at the same time as her handmade card or hide the jewelry and write clues in the card to help her find it. Either way, she’ll love that you went the extra mile to make her Valentine’s Day even more special and memorable.

Well, if Erin’s comments about her Air Force husband and their love don’t make you tear up, we don’t know what will. The couple fell in love fast and hard and Jack’s waterfall proposal soon-after was totally romantic. The couple has endured many long-term separations, including Jack’s deployment to Afghanistan, yet they remain strong and in love. Erin and Jack enlisting the talents of  Elyse Alexandria Photography  to mark their one-year anniversary of marriage with a gorgeous desert engagement session and we’re totally smitten.

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From the Bride: My husband, Jack, is the most genuine, straightforward, and generous man I have ever met. When we first met, we immediately became exclusive and every hour we were not at our jobs, we were together. We both fell fast and hard—I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Almost 6 months to the day after we met, we were in his hometown in Northern California hiking to a waterfall. Jack asked a stranger to take a photo of us in front of the waterfall and after a few smiles, Jack turned to me. When he started telling me how much he loved me and cared for me I knew exactly what was going on. He then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes, of course! Not only did he propose with a beautiful ring, he had the ring custom made from a boutique jewelry shop in Washington. He even had our initials engraved on the ring. To this day, I still stare at it every day and smile.

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Twenty seven days after Jack proposed, he left for a six-month deployment to Afghanistan. From that time until now, we have gone through many short-term physical separations because of the Air Force. Enduring those separations is not always easy, but through the hard times Jack has stayed the same man I fell in love with only a few months after meeting him. He encourages me, he pushes me, and he supports me.  He makes me feel beautiful and loved with not only his words, but his actions as well. He is my dessert recipe guinea pig, my handyman, and my gardener.

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The months and days leading up to our wedding and our wedding day went by so fast. Even though we’ve only been married for a year, we’ve already moved from Northern California to a home in Las Vegas. And now that it’s been one year since our wedding and we have finally settled into our married life, we wanted to celebrate our marriage and our new home.

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Photography: Elyse Alexandria Photography // Florals: Layers of Lovely // Stationery/Calligraphy: EG Letters // Makeup: Makeup by Cassidy // Dress: Rent the Runway // Film Scans: The FindLab // Location: Mt. Charleston, Las Vegas, NV

 

Cory and James fell in love in the desert, so it was a natural choice for their engagement session. Michael Radford Photography captured the couple at Joshua Tree, capitalizing on the different textures in landscape and the magnetic colors in the sunset as our backdrop. We’re loving the simple styling of the couple and their easy smiles. Of course it all came naturally as Cory and James chose their “happy place” for their session. It serves as a great reminder to all the engaged couples out there—work with your photographer to pick a favorite place to capture your most authentic selves.

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Photography: Michael Radford Photography // Dress: Stone Cold Fox // Shoes: Sam Edelman // Suit: Custom // Makeup and Hair: Anna Irving // Jewelry: RoamRumah

 

We always love a twist on a wedding tradition and this one from Ooh Events is adorable. Bridal portraits are a longstanding Southern tradition and real bride Kate and her friends joined a team of fabulous professionals for “Brunch and Bridals.” Kate invited her wedding party out to Rockville Retreat to celebrate with her and enjoy the sea breeze at an al fresco brunch the morning before her photo shoot. The girls had a light brunch and enjoyed the serene views afterwards while Kate did her portraits. Stylist Candice Lorraine created a fresh, breezy look highlighting an organic vibe with watercolor invitations by Olive Juice Press and a delicious spread from Harvest Catering and ABCD Cakes. We love the mood and how perfectly Marni Rothschild Pictures captures it all!

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from Ooh Events: Here in the South, bridal portraits are kind of a big thing. Rather than post an engagement photo of the bride and groom together in a newspaper announcement, a formal bridal portrait is typically published the day after the wedding to announce the news. Shooting formal bridal portraits beforehand also offers a great opportunity for the bride to get comfortable in front of the camera and do a trial run with her hair and makeup team.

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Real bride Kate Francis chose to do her portraits in Rockville, just outside of her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. Rockville is a 45 minute drive from the city and is a charming, laid back, waterside village, boasting little more than a historic yacht club, grand live oaks and winding dirt roads.  Kate invited her wedding party out to celebrate with her and enjoy the sea breeze at an al fresco brunch the morning before her photo shoot. The girls had a light brunch and enjoyed the serene views afterwards while Kate did her portraits.

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Anna at Olive Juice Press printed a stationery suite and escort cards using colors that reflect the calm nature of the surroundings. Harvest Catering prepared a sumptuous brunch with seasonal produce that included a spring asparagus tart and local crabs served benedict style and topped with a quail egg. After Kate’s portraits were complete, the group previewed a taste of the cake Kate chose to serve her wedding guests…a lavender almond cake with whipped wild berry filling and a blackberry compote drizzle from Charleston cake artist Ashley Brown at ABCD Cakes.

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Event Planning: Lisa Thomas, Ooh Events // Photography: Marni Rothschild Pictures // Styling: Candice Lorraine // Paper Suite and Calligraphy: Olive Juice Press // Producer: Vail Duggan, Loulu Agency // Venue: Rockville Retreat // Rentals: Ooh Events // Hair: Michelle Atwood // Catering: Harvest Catering // Makeup: Charlotte Yeager // Cakes: ABCD Cakes // Engagement Ring: Croghan’s Jewel Box // Looks: Out of Hand and BHLDN // Wedding Gown: BHLDN // Ring Box: The Mrs. Box // Lab: Indie Film Lab // Bar: Batch Bar Service