There is much to consider when purchasing a diamond – especially diamond engagement rings! The tradition of presenting a woman with a diamond engagement ring when proposing began in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian presented a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy – and in most cases, the woman you plan to propose to will expect a ring to accompany that proposal!
First, determine how much ring you can afford. Most people use the ‘two months salary’ rule. This means that the ring should cost the equivalent of two months of your current salary. Because you have other bills to pay, saving up this amount of money may take quite a bit of time. You should consider financing. Simply go to the jeweler of your choice and tell them that you plan to buy an engagement ring, and that financing will be necessary. Go ahead and get the credit check out of the way, find out what your payments will be, and how much of a down payment is required.
Now, have your mother, sister, or your girlfriends best friend take your girlfriend shopping, and make sure that they gaze at he engagement rings to get an idea of what she might like. Make sure that the jewelry store you buy the ring from will allow you to return the ring, if that is required, or allow your girlfriend to exchange it for another if she isn’t happy with it!
There’s no more fascinating subject in history than the doomed French Queen Marie Antoinette. Much maligned by history (she never said “Let them eat cake,” in response to the people’s need for bread), she was an unwilling part of the one of the greatest revolutions in history. And met an untimely end at the guillotine in 1793. While she loved jewelry, and possessed many magnificent jewels, she often preferred simple muslin gowns and very little jewelry. Many of the portraits of her by Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun show her dressed just like that.
Two large, pear-shaped diamond earrings, weighing 14.25 and 20.34 carats respectively, are part of the Smithsonian Institution’s collection. The diamonds once were supposedly set in earrings that belonged to Marie Antoinette and some sources say they were her favorite pieces of jewelry and she wore them constantly. They were taken from her during an attempt to flee France as the Revolution dawned and the position of the Royals became dangerous.
The diamonds were later acquired by the Grand Duchess Tatiana Yousupoff of Russia. When jeweler Pierre Cartier puchased the diamond earrings in 1928, their authenticity was attested to in an affidavit by Russian Princess Zenaide Yousupoff and her son, Prince Felix Yousupoff, stating that they originally belonged to Queen Marie-Antoinette and have never been reset in the one hundred years that they were in the family. Marjorie Merriweather Post acquired the earrings from Pierre Cartier in October 1928. Harry Winston reset the large diamonds in platinum replicas of the original silver settings in 1959. Cartier, Inc. designed the triangular tops. In November 1964, Mrs. Post's daughter, Mrs. Eleanor Barzin, donated the earrings, along with the original setting to the Smithsonian Institution. The diamonds are originally from India or Brazil, the only significant sources of diamonds in the eighteenth century.
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