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When we think of the ideal Pratiksha bride, we think of someone like Maggie: a digital-savvy woman with a modern aesthetic and vision. For her big day, she had imagined a pair of elegant and dainty diamond drop earrings that would be a stylish, versatile, and a smart investment for her jewelry wardrobe. We were so pleased to work with her to design a pair of custom earrings for her wedding day, and this special, one-of-a-kind gift to herself was the perfect compliment her bridal look!
Tell us how you met your husband:
“We met on Tinder. Our first date was a Skype video date!”
Can you share your proposal story?
“Stuart planned a surprise party for me, and proposed during the party in front of 50 of our closest friends.”
Tell us about the jewelry:
The earrings are made in platinum. They feature 18 round diamonds set in a cascading drop, with a total weight of 1 carat of diamonds in tapering widths.
We love Maggie’s idea of creating a special pair of drop earrings for her wedding because they’re a perfectly timeless style that can be worn with anything. The earrings you wear on your wedding day will featured heavily on every photograph (even more than your engagement ring), so it’s a really good idea to spend some time thinking about your bridal jewelry and how it will tie into your look. Maggie’s dress featured a high neckline with lots of detail, so it was a wise choice to skip a necklace in favor of these dangling earrings. They feature such a romantic silhouette, resembling falling snow and shimmering clean lines. This set of diamond drops will always keep memories of her special day close to her heart.
The PJ Custom team has been privileged to craft engagement rings for over thousands of proposals globally, from Paris to Iceland to Texas. As a family business of crafters and designers, we cherish being a part of our clients' important life moments as they start their own beginning as a family. Proposals mark the point where two paths become one, and family cultures and values blend together to create a brand new story.
To honor #NationalProposalDay today, we rounded up stories of where some of our favorite "forever" moments happened.
A Paris Pratiksha Proposal
Matt popped the question to Sarah under the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Sporting a very unique and sparkly engagement ring, Sarah says "I am beyond elated with this beautiful piece of jewelry, and can't believe that this is what I get to look at for the rest of my life. The three rows of diamonds mean "I love you" and the two rows of baguettes symbolize Matthew and me."
A Private Proposal Dinner at Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, India
On her first trip to India, this lucky bride-to-be received the royal treatment for her proposal. A private dinner on the terrace awaited her at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, complete with flowers, candles, musicians and dancers. "It was truly the most romantic night of my life!"
A Snowy Mountaintop in Aspen, Colorado
On their last day of a ski trip, Kirk proposed in Natalie's favorite place in the entire world with her dream ring. "I love that I have a ring like no one else's!"
A Surprise Christmas Day Proposal at His Future In-Law's House
Sneaky sneaky... David tricked his future fiancee by telling her he would fly out to her parents' house the day after Christmas, even booking and cancelling a flight to show evidence! But in reality, he flew in Christmas day to pop the question. "Her dad and sister helped me execute my master plan. I took pictures along the way, including me at the airport, on the plane, and at her front door. I texted them all at once... surprise!"
A PJ Picnic Proposal on Art Hill in St. Louis, Missouri
Andrew told Andie he wanted to marry her after just two dates, but for his proposal, he organized a classy picnic on Art Hill. "I set it up complete with champagne, snacks and flowers. When she arrived, I got down on one knee. Both of us were so excited, we sort of forgot to eat!"
A Library Hunt in Philadelphia with All Their Family
This couple bonded over their love for museums, monuments, memorials and books before the big question. "Jamie proposed in the beautiful Free Library of Philadelphia. He led me through the library on a scavenger hunt. Each of our family members was there with a book and the next riddle."
With ancient history rooted in folklore, spiritual influence, medicinal and cultural values, jewels have captures human interest for thousands of years. The perfect application of minerals, time and pressure create these precious treasures of the earth, with nature determining their rarity. Everything else about gemstones is created by human interest, such as their value, fashionability, legacy, cultural importance, and all the fun stories (including how effective they are at warding off bad luck).
In honor of National Jewel Day today, we put together a collection of our top gemstone picks. You'll find these beauties bedazzling many of our top selling styles, as these stones offer high color saturation, hardness, quality and durability for daily wear-and-tear. There's a reason that royal jewels have stood strong through centuries of politics, family dynasties, drama and debacles... they're strong and beautiful, just like the women who wear them.
For thousands of years, the ruby has been considered one of the most valuable gemstones on Earth. The Sanskrit word for ruby is "ratnaraj," which means something like "king of the gemstones." It has everything a precious stone should have: magnificent color, excellent hardness, outstanding brilliance, and extreme rarity. For a long time, India was regarded as the ruby's classical country of origin.
Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum, one of the hardest minerals on Earth, named from the Sanskrit word "kuruvinda." Only red corundum is entitled to be called ruby, with all other colors being classified as sapphires. The close relationship between the ruby and the sapphire has only been known since the beginning of the 19th century, thanks to modern technology allowing us to study mineral composition. Up to that time, red garnets or spinels were also thought to be rubies, and many famous historical rubies were later discovered to actually be spinels.
If there is talk of the sapphire, most gemstone aficionados think immediately of a velvety blue. However, the beloved royal blue is only one of a rainbow of colors in the family of sapphire gems. Composed of corundum, a mineral second only to diamond in hardness, the sapphire is actually defined as any color of the mineral besides red (reserved for ruby). The most valuable are genuine Kashmir stones (pure, intense blue with subtle violet undertone), with Burmese sapphires valued almost as highly; then come the sapphires from Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
Star sapphire varieties feature a star-like phenomenon known as “asterism,” when direct light shows star-like rays throughout the stone. Other rare sapphire colors include orange, green (mostly found in Thailand and Australia) and the most rare and highly prized of all: the Padparadscha sapphire (the enchanting coral stone found in Princess Eugenie’s engagement ring).
The famous green stone has a long and colorful history (one of the oldest of all gemstones) and was the preferred stone of Cleopatra. This variety of beryl can grow to fantastic sizes: the Bahia Emerald, one of the biggest found in the world, is 840 pounds and is worth over $372 million.
Emerald is known for its verdant green coloring, which is its most important characteristic when estimating its value. It is also known for its flaws, which are tolerated more than any other stone as a mark of its character. Most emeralds feature tiny fissures, cracks, and inclusions, and flawless stones are extremely uncommon. Some actually prefer a stone with minute flaws over a flawless one as proof of its authenticity. Oil and resin treatments are common in the industry to improve the appearance of these imperfections.
Tanzanite is a fairly new to the gemstone world. It was discovered in 1967 by Masai tribesman Ali Juuyawatu, who happened upon the glittering stones weathered from the earth and brought the find to ruby prospector Manuel de Souza.
So far the extremely rare stone has only been found in the original region of its discovery, the Mererani Hills in Northern Tanzania. It is a transparent indigo blue stone that resembles sapphire in coloring, brilliance, and luster. Given its pleochroism (change in color depending on orientation to the light), tanzanite can appear bright blue, violet purple, and rarely have a desirable burgundy flash. The stone was officially added as a birthstone for December in 2002 by the American Gem Trade Association, the first stone added since 1912.
Pastel colored tanzanite is far more common than darker-colored stones – about 80% of mining production is pastel in shade, from soft greyish blues to lilacs. This is partly because the smaller tanzanite stones do not “hold” a deep blue color well, meaning that dark blue tanzanite is typically only available in larger stones over 2.50 carats. Supply of the stone is extremely limited and is expected to run out in the next 25 years.
Our fierce, fiery co-founder is a force to be reckoned with. Pratiksha Vaidya, aka “Tisha,” launched our fine jewelry line with the goal of offering high-quality, beautifully trendy pieces within reach. Growing up as a fourth-generation fine jeweler, Tisha spent her childhood shuffling Ceylon sapphires and learning the ins and outs of jewelry fashion. She took this love of color and design along when she moved up north to spend her college years in New York City and beyond.
After graduating with her Master’s at The Wharton School and working in finance, she often found there was a fine balance between looking elegant but also classy and professional. She sought to create a jewelry collection designed for women who mean business, embody the spirit of fun and fashion, and lower their expectations for no one. We sat down to learn a bit more about the woman behind the jewelry line.
You launched Pratiksha Jewelry after becoming personally frustrated with your other jewelry falling apart. Do you have any stories about jewelry failing you right before an important moment?
"I used to wear big costume necklaces that were full of color and personality, anything to help balance out the wardrobe of black, navy and gray that I wore while working at a conservative firm. I was pitching a major deal to our Investment Committee, and my necklace suddenly broke and fell onto the table! It clattered and crashed, totally throwing me off my game… so embarrassing! This was one of several incidences that forced me to explore jewelry alternatives, where I wanted to combine my love of color and design with quality craftsmanship that functions in the working world."
What did you hope to change about the fine jewelry business?
"I wanted to change the notion that jewelry has to be gifted and be purchased for you. There’s a rising force in the industry - working women. Empowered women. We are comfortable being the primary breadwinners of the house, taking on Corporate America, and buying ourselves beautiful accessories like handbags and shoes that are long-term investments for our wardrobe. But for some reason, we have an obstacle when it comes to buying ourselves fine jewelry despite earning that right. I wanted to take back ownership of that purchase."
What was it like growing up around the jewelry business?
"Sparkly! I learned early on to appreciate quality first. I also learned very valuable lessons around work ethic, the value of creating your own destiny, and creativity around precious materials."
What do you love most about designing bridal jewelry with your clients?
"I love hearing about the couple and incorporating personal details of their relationship into the design of the rings. As a small business, we cherish each of our clients and appreciate their support. I feel like I’m invited into their 'inner circle' when I’m asked to design such a special ring for their life milestone."
What do you love most about designing with color stones?
"I love color! My personality is far from muted, so why should my jewelry be any different? I love diamond staples, but I really love the ability to turn precious and semi-precious color stone pieces into “every day” accents. Particularly, I love the color stone trend for engagement rings. Check out some of my favorite PJ Custom bridal ideas below."
What’s it like co-founding a company with your brother?
"Like any partnership, it takes a lot of work! But there’s no one in the world I trust more. We are polar opposites in terms of our working style, but are identical in our long-term goals and milestones for the company."
What is something you think about anytime you lay out the groundwork for a Pratiksha design?
"My philosophy is that jewelry should be worn and appreciated every day, not adored from afar. Every piece we design is with a living, breathing woman in mind. Where does she work? Dine? Work out? Hang with friends? Go on dates? The balance of beauty with practicality of wear is something we heavily incorporate into the design of every Pratiksha piece."
Tomorrow we turn the calendar page to mark the official season of love! Valentine’s Day ramps us up because there are SO many different ways to honor timeless love with fine jewelry, including gifts of love to yourself, a parent, sister or bestie. Amongst the women who choose and purchase their own fine jewelry, over half of the brides we work with are actively designing their own engagement rings. We love this turn of tradition on its head, where women are taking charge of the piece of jewelry they’ll be wearing every day for the rest of their lives.
Take a note from PJ Custom bride, Heidi, who had a hand in the design of her engagement ring, but still got a wonderful surprise for her proposal. We love this method of engagement jewelry design because everyone wins while the romance is still kept alive. This PJ Custom couple’s Valentine’s Day engagement is particularly special because Neal picked out a beautiful and famed location – the Taj Mahal – to pop the question during his fiancee’s first visit to India. Built in 1643, this historic location’s name means “Crown of the Palaces,” and it was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to be “as beautiful as his love” for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
TELL US YOUR STORY!
Heidi: Neal and I met through friends. A fun fact about us as a couple: we are polar opposites! He took me to India for my first time, and proposed at the Taj Mahal on Valentine’s Day.
I gave him several pictures but didn’t know which idea he would go with, so the ring was a surprise!
Pratiksha only uses the best quality and I get compliments ALL the time. It’s something about the design and quality that catches people’s eye.
I’m swept away by the level of detail of this proposal! I can’t imagine a more romantic backdrop than some of India’s most beautiful buildings and scenery.
As summer temperatures hit the high nineties here in Texas, wedding season is in full swing. Whether it’s your turn to walk down the aisle, stand by your bestie’s side as a bridesmaid, or indulge in open bar glory as a guest, there’s something for everyone to love about romantic, balmy summer weddings. You can probably guess what excites us most about wedding season: sparkling engagement rings!
That’s why we were delighted to be a part of a stunning, ethereal bridal editorial for Dear Gray Magazine. The goal of the photoshoot was to capture a very romantic, dreamy bridal session using angelic pastel colors, soft flowing fabrics and shimmering accessories that set the tone.
Shot against the French neoclassical architecture of the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco, California, the photoshoot was aided by west coast fog, a dream-like haziness that must be seen to be believed.
The Annabeth Debutante Morganite Ring with Diamond Leaves was the perfect pairing for the shoot. Playing off the bride’s Roman-style backdrop and golden leaflet headpiece, the delicate Debutante Ring is set with romantic rose gold and a 1.12 carat champagne-blush morganite.
Colored gemstone engagement rings and wedding bands are exploding in popularity, topping our custom jewelry requests at the Pratiksha design lab. Sapphires, tanzanites, rubies, emeralds and morganites have been used as center stones, matching side-stone pairs, or within the wedding band.
Ring Design by Pratiksha Jewelry / Styled and designed by Ivory & Vine Event Co. / Bridal Headpieces by Maggie Wu Studio / Stationery & Calligraphy by Sarah Ann Design / Location the Legion of Honor / Wedding Dress by Crystal Designs / Bridal Shop the Blushing Bride Boutique / Hair and Makeup by Natalie Issa / The film lab used was Goodman Film Lab / Photography by Stephanie Brazzle Photography
It seems that snow flurries, twinkly lights, and the holidays give couples the warm-and-fuzzies—the holiday season is the most popular time of year for couples to propose tying the knot. Because of this, the fall has become engagement season for jewelers, who help clients pop the question with breathtaking bling.
But not all jewels (and jewelers) are created equal. With such an investment, it's of utmost importance to understand what you're getting and what factors are most important to consider.
If you're considering buying a diamond for your partner, you likely already know about the 4 C's: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight. But how can we use this information to make the best purchase? We've outlined six of our best tips for choosing your diamond that you won't find in Diamonds 101.
GIA is considered the highest standard for grading,whereas other laboratories like EGL USA, IDI, and AGS are more generous with their grading policies. For this reason, we recommend reducing the grading of non-GIA certified stones by one grade when comparing them with GIA certified stones. Ultimately, it is important to remember that diamond grading is subjective and not mathematically defined. So if one lab consistently calls one color grade "H" while another lab calls the same color grade "G", it’s perfectly reasonable as long as they do so consistently.
Every lab has its quirks: one may be looser in color, or clarity, or perhaps more forgiving of certain inclusions. What makes the lab’s certificate authoritative is consistency in these grading practices. It is for these reasons that we recommend staying far away from stones with certain low-reputation lab certificates, including those from the now defunct EGL-International.
Diamond certificates include a top and bottom diagram illustrating the stone’s unique arrangement of inclusions. Using these diagrams, inspect your stone with a loupe to verify that the certificate provided matches the stone being offered. Some inclusions may be difficult to find even with a loupe; ask your gemologist to help you find them!
The quality of a diamond’s cut directly affects its brilliance and is one of the most important factors when evaluating your stone. At the very best, a round "ideal" cut diamond will show high fire, brightness, and perfect symmetry—resulting in a hearts and arrows effect. Be aware that grades offered above this GIA recognized grade are created by the diamond seller to inflate the value of their stones. There is no difference between an "ideal" stone and a "super ideal", "signature ideal", or similarly described stone.
You go into the car dealership looking for a modest sedan and come out with a fast-and-sporty, full-loaded coupe with all the bells and whistles—many that you won’t ever use. The same can happen with a diamond, too. While many would adore having a colorless, flawless diamond, the price difference between it and a pretty-much-completely-perfect diamond can be astronomical. Further, it can be very difficult for even the trained eye to tell the difference! For many people, diamonds in the range of F-H in color and SI1-SI2 in clarity hit the sweet spot for appearance and price. Take advantage of the nuanced spectrum of colors, clarities, and grading criteria to pick a stone that is ideal for you and your budget.
Diamond prices jump at half carat and full carat marks, so aim for a stone that is slightly below that size for the same look without the same price tag. For example, 0.95ct looks identical to 1.00ct but is much more attractively priced.