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Learn the 4 C's of diamonds at Abazias.

conflict-free diamonds

I don't think anyone ever had an entirely conflict-free engagement, but you can get a conflict-free diamond, and you should. According to Amnesty International "diamonds have been, and continue to be linked to terrible human rights abuses either by insurgent groups to fuel conflict and carry out atrocities against innocent civilians or by unscrupulous governments who are equally brutal." Currently in place is something called the Kimberley Process, which is supposed to "protect the legitimate diamond industry and consumers from purchasing tainted stones" . However, Amnesty and other human rights groups don't think the KP goes far enough. There are still thousands of conflict diamonds sold every year, which are used to "fuel civil wars and human rights abuses." Globalwitness.org, reports that conflict diamonds have funded the weapons purchases of warlords and rebels in Africa. According to their website, " An estimated 3.7 million people have died in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in conflicts fuelled by diamonds."
The chances are very small that a jeweler here in the US would sell you a conflict-diamond. Because of the Kimberley Process, jewelers are only allowed to import certified conflict-free stones. However, that doesn't mean it never happens, black market and smuggled diamonds do find their way into mainstream jewelry stores. So what can you do to be SURE that you're not buying a conflict diamond? Ask your jeweler to show you a written guarantee from their diamond suppliers stating that their diamonds are conflict-free. If they don't know what you're talking about, or can't supply a written document for you, go somewhere else, and tell them why. They should be more than happy to help. For more information about conflict-free diamonds, see:
Amnesty International
Buyer's Guide

we heart shannon mclean


I don't think Shannon McLean has ever designed a disappointing dress. Oh, the attention to detail! The fabrics! The pure oldy-worldy, Grace Kelley goodness! Some of the pictures on her website don't do them justice, so if you haven't come across them, seek them out! Her lines are carried (somewhat skimpishly) by both The Bridal Atelier and Kleinfeld's here in New York.

pre-ordained...(on the internet)

I always thought it was a great idea to have a friend or a family member perform your wedding. However, I was always under the impression it was hard to do and tricky to line up all the paper work. Come to find out, this isn't so much the case. In fact, according to Rose Ministries (a non-denominational online ordination service), anyone can become ordained online and perform a wedding ceremony. There are a few instances where additional documents are required, such as in NYC, where you must file with the city as a wedding officiant before performing any ceremonies. Rose Ministries does recommend that you check with the county clerk's office where you'll be performing the ceremony, but assures that it is legal and completely doable in every state. They give an informative listing of requirements by state here, and they offer standard ordinations for about 30.00. You'll even get an official 'clergy member' card, (which, once received, means you have to stop saying things like: holy crap, holy sh*t, holy cow, Jesus Christ!, jeez, ohmigod, or jeebus). As you can see, I myself have never been ordained, and therefore would love to hear from someone who has gone thru the process.

custom engagement rings


colored engagement rings are becoming more and more popular, but they can be so hard to find! If you're looking for a colored diamond...um, then congratulations to you. If you and your fiance are feeling less than excited about dropping 30,000 dollars on a colored diamond, think about getting something custom made with a precious or semi-precious stone. It can be surprisingly affordable. Above, this 2.6 carat aquamarine set is set in platinum with two small diamonds. Setting by Maressa Tosto Merwarth of Carla Bijouterie in Ithaca, NY. Stone selection by James and Co. of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, who has the most fantastic array of colored precious and semi-precious loose stones for a huge range of prices. Choosing can be difficult, but it beats the hit or miss of shopping for pre-made rings! Compared to the price of a diamond engagement ring, custom settings with colored stones can save you a lot of money, (like buy a small used car with the savings, a lot).

spring


This is Brooklyn in the springtime! As my mother-in-law would say, 'it's better than a sharp stick in the eye'
you can't beat that fresh spring green...I may have to incorporate that into some invitations for next year's collection.

celebrity sparklers


Love Natalie Portmans headband from the 2005 Oscars? Dying to find something similar to Oprah's pear drop diamonds? You can find them all at emitations.com. Most of their pieces are knock-offs of celebrity looks, items that would be monumentally expensive should you try and get the real thing. Most of their earrings are under $100 a pair, other pieces can be a little more, but overall, a better selection of affordably priced, stylish pieces is hard to find.

claire pettibone collection


Claire Pettibone collection, spring and summer '06. These dresses have gorgeous modern silhouettes. The advertisements featured in MS Weddings make the collection look a little 'mother of the bride', but they are anything but. Oh, if only I could get another wedding dress without getting married again...I'll have to work on that.

not your moma's almonds


Such great color! On jordanalmonds.com. They come in all different colors; red, bright green, striking orange and pretty much anything else. Imagine these filing glass cylinders on your tables. the blue/green ones look like turquoise beads, and would be perfect in a silver or wooden bowl for a summer wedding.

when I was little

When I was little, I used to fantasize that my wedding would be in a gothic cathedral, complete with gargoyles and turrets. I wanted an enormous corsetted dress made of the finest satin and lace. I wanted a veil 20 feet long, hand sewn by nuns in France. I wanted the ceremony delivered in high Latin, with priests swinging incense, and choir boys dressed in high collared robes to flank me on either side as I walked down the aisle alone, to the awe and astonishment of everyone I knew.
Needless to say, I might have watched Sleeping Beauty one too many times. I might have had a princess complex, actually no, I didn't. I didn't want to be princess, I wanted to be queen, and I wasn't looking for a wedding, but a coronation.
Flash forward twenty years, and needless to say, things have changed a little, and I'm only slightly disappointed to say that I have not fulfilled my childhood desires of becoming even remotely royal.
My wedding was nothing like what I've described here. There was no cathedral, no gargoyles, and not a priest or a choir boy in sight. What did remain of my lofty childhood notions was something very small, and very large at the same time, and that is the desire to show people something they haven't seen. Now, I'm aware that throwing a spectacular party isn't even remotely the reason we get married, I know that commiting your life to someone else's doesn't have to be glamorous to be spectacular. But that being said, I think there's great fun to be had in making your day as unique and creative as you can.
Now that I've entered into this wedding industry, I'm constantly thinking of new ways to be different and creative with weddings and receptions and parties in general. I'm devoting this blog to that little notion.