Sofia's Blog

Understanding the 4Cs of Diamonds

4cs-of-diamonds-Salt-and-pepper-diamond-engagement-rings-sofia-kaman

We get it, diamonds are hard. Ring shopping can be daunting and overwhelming at first, what with all the terminology, numbers and tricky names. The 4Cs of diamonds are generally never taught or discussed openly, to men or women. We’re just supposed to hit a certain age and magically understand diamond speak! Picking out a diamond engagement ring is typically something that only happens once every blue moon. This means the process should be fun, exciting and educational! Fear not, the Sofia Kaman team is here to help you understand the 4Cs of diamonds: Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat.

Color

First up, Color. When we talk about the 4Cs of diamonds and color, we are referring to the amount of saturated color in a stone. The normal range of the color scale starts at D and goes all the way to Z. Beyond Z we have the realm of  Fancy colors. Diamonds naturally come in every color, but we most commonly see diamonds in normal range which exhibit some touch of color falling within Yellow, Brown or Grey ranges. The scale starts with stones graded D-F, which we consider Colorless. G-J is considered Nearly Colorless, K-M Faint color, N-R Very Light color, and S-Z is considered to have Light Color. Here at Sofia Kaman, we are completely open to all diamond shades! We find the warm, buttery hues of diamonds not only entrancing, but a little easier on the budget as well.

Pro-tip: Color is graded from the side of the stone, so from the side it might appear more saturated with color, but “face-up” whiter when viewed from the top. (This means you can get away with a lower color grade but still have the appearance of a whiter stone.) The color (or lack thereof) of diamonds can directly affect budget, so this is a great place to play around with different shades to see if you can spot the difference! Our personal fave diamond shades are Champagne (technically faint a Brown or Yellow diamond), Grey and Black!

Clarity

The diamond making process is a complex one. As carbon is heated and pressurized, natural organic material can get caught up in the process creating markings visible to the eye called inclusions. In the 4Cs of diamonds, the clarity scale is based off of the visibility of inclusions, and blemishes (which lie on the surface of a stone) under 10x magnification. The scale begins at Flawless (FL), then Internally Flawless (IF), Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2), Slightly Included (SI1, SI2), and Included (I1, I2, I3.) In general, the fewer inclusions a diamond has, the higher the value. Here you can also play with the scale. Looking at stones and the placement of inclusions is very important. A stone may have been graded as an SI2 stone, but depending on the placement of the marking, the inclusions may not be very visible or could be covered with a strategic prong setting.

Again, here are Sofia Kaman we embrace the underdog and love the unique look of a Salt and Pepper diamond (a stone that has many visible inclusions giving it a peppery, speckled look.) No two stones are alike, and we adore their galactic, mesmerizing appearance. Shop our Salt and Pepper Diamonds!  

Cut

Diamonds come in so many various shapes and sizes (round, oval, marquise, pear, cushion) but how well they are cut is imperative to their sparkle, scintillation and fire. The Cut grade ranges from Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, to Poor. Earlier stones like Old Mine Cuts and Old Europeans weren’t being cut to spec like diamonds are today, so their shapes can be unusual and considered inferior by today’s standards–however they are so special to us for their rich history and unique facets. If you love the look and shine of a diamond but it doesn’t have an Excellent cut grading, don’t fret. Stick to your instincts and know that if you love it, that is all that matters! 

Carat

Diamond carat is the measurement of how much a diamond weighs. The carat is divided into 100 points for precise measurements or 1.00ct. Again, since older stones like Old Mine Cuts and Old Europeans weren’t being cut to spec like diamonds are today, you can sometimes find them in varying sizes like the 0.80-0.90ct range. This is a great sweet spot to be in because appearance wise you get the look of a 1.00ct size stone, but the price is generally less when it is right under a 1.00ct or 2.00ct mark. If carat size is most important to you, then you’ll most likely want to play with color and clarity to create the perfect stone in your budget.  

There you have it! This is the basic breakdown of the 4Cs of diamonds. Pro-tip: To ease your search, establish an overall budget then prioritize which category is the most important to you, (color, clarity, cut or carat) and go from there. For more inquiries or questions, please chat, email or call us, we’d love to help you create your dream engagement ring! 

Diamonds: A Whimsical History

April happens to be one of our favorite months as it brings springtime, fresh air, lots of flowers… and it also happens to be the month of the Diamond, not that we are biased or anything. In celebration of April and the whimsical history of the diamond, we are touching on what beliefs, myths and folklores have surrounded these precious stones for years and what makes them so alluring.

The King of Gems

Whether opinion or fact, diamonds have been known as the “king of gems” for years and there are many reasons why. From healing powers to protection from the plague to being thought as actual living creatures, diamonds have had many personas and powers. The word “diamond” actually originates from the ancient Greek word “Adamas” which means invincible. The Greeks thought diamonds to be actual living creatures – Greek philosopher Plato would refer to diamonds as living beings, which the Romans then took a step further around the first century, claiming that diamonds were the tears of God and splinters of stars that had fallen to the earth. Roman soldiers would wear breastplates bearing diamonds as protection to their health, as well as a deterrent to their enemies’ weapons.

Hinduism has a heavy history with diamonds as well. With the discovery of diamonds believed to have been between 800 and 1000 BC in India, the stone became closely associated with the Hindu god Indra. In Hinduism, the diamond was considered to be a result of rocks struck by lightning and was even thought to have been a lightning conductor itself.

There are moments in history where diamonds would even decide one’s fate. In Jewish history, high priests believed that a diamond held before a person accused of a crime would darken if the accused was guilty but would illuminate if held in front of an innocent person. Would you let a diamond decide your fate?

Diamonds: Good or evil?

Diamonds were not always seen as precious or good. There was a time where Persians believed they were evil, derived from Satan to tempt man into materialistic things.

Fast-forwarding to the 16th century, it was believed by some that diamond were poison, and that diamond powder was an ingredient in the famous “succession powders” of Catherine of Medici. She would deal the death penalty by diamond powder, forcing the wrongdoers to swallow it until they keeled over and died. This legend was kept alive to discourage thieves from swallowing diamonds to steal them.

Diamonds Today

The diamond symbolizes everlasting love and a lifetime of commitment as it is the most durable stone. People have been proposing with diamond engagement rings as far back as 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented Mary of Burgundy with a simple gold band set with a diamond. He placed it on the third finger of her left hand, believing it contained a vein that coursed directly to his beloved’s heart and this tradition still lives on today.

Hope you have enjoyed this mix of diamond’s history and whimsical folklore! If you’re interested in reading more about the science of how diamonds are formed, head here for “Diamonds, Why Are You So Amazing?” written by Sofia herself. And don’t forget to check out our newest arrivals to gawk over our latest pretties… Unfortunately, these didn’t fall from the stars, but they sure are sparkly. 😉

Photo Credit: @diamondsdogood

 

ASHLEY + BRENNAN’S STORY

February is over but SK Love Stories live on! We have an exciting collaboration in the works with Ashley Guyatt and Brennan Cassidy of @ashbegash and @himcollective so what better way to introduce them than by sharing their love story. This sweet couple’s story starts right here in sunny Santa Monica, and we are happy to play a small part in their wedding fun.

Names: Ashley Guyatt & Brennan Cassidy

Current Location: Marina Del Rey, CA

Meeting Date: July 23, 2015

Wedding Date + Location: October 11, 2019 – Santa Barbara Zoo

How did you meet?

It was sort of on accident! I went to a Santa Monica pier concert one night with one of my girlfriends.(Brennan had been going weekly since 2012– his favorite summer tradition!) We originally didn’t have plans to meet up with anyone, but realized there was a friend nearby that I went to college with. My girlfriend sent a quick text to find out where she was. Upon arriving to the designated area on the beach, I didn’t see my college friend anywhere. All of a sudden, another girl came running towards us! We quickly realized we had been in contact with someone completely different, but went with it because my girlfriend knew her (just didn’t save last names in her phone)! Minutes after we sat down on our new friend’s blanket, Brennan walked up and introduced himself. Hands down, the best mistake my girlfriend ever made.

The proposal – please tell us the story! 

Brennan and I take “staycations” frequently, so when we set up a quick trip to the Malibu Beach Inn in October 2018, I had no suspicions whatsoever. After checking in and exploring the hotel a bit, Brennan suggested we walk to Nobu to get a drink for happy hour. I’d never been to the restaurant, so I excitedly agreed. As we walked onto the beach to set out for our walk, I began to hurry because it was windy and I was in a dress. Brennan quickly told me to wait; he first asked if I wanted to “take a picture on the rock,” but after realizing I was in no mood to hang out on a windy beach he switched gears. He said “I have something to ask you,” and that’s when I realized! After some very sweet words, he got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. I can’t explain the overwhelming joy that came over me when I yelled “yes!” After some emotional moments on the beach, trying to soak in everything that had just happened, we turned right back around to the Malibu Beach Inn to pop some bubbly and call our families and friends. It was more perfect than I could have ever dreamed!

When did you know that your significant other was the one?

I will never forget the moment Brennan introduced himself on the beach. My heart whispered that he would be special in some way – I know that’s cliché, but it’s true. I was in a relationship at the time, so when Brennan stuck around and was patient the few months it took for me to be single again, that was my first inclination that he was in fact very special. I could list so many moments that made me think “this guy is the one,” but overall it was just a consistent feeling of being home. Everything was always easy, and he loved me so well. Better than I had ever been loved, truly. He  understood me from day 1, and made every single day feel like it should be celebrated…simply because he was by my side.

What is your favorite thing about your significant other?

I don’t know how he does it, but Brennan rarely gets upset. I’m SO emotional, so I have the ups and downs covered for both of us, but he is the rock in our relationship. No matter how many feelings I may experience each day, I know that I can go to Brennan for the positive, consistent, steady feelings. It’s very comforting and calms me down. He also has a joy for life and a desire for spontaneity that are both contagious.

Do you have a favorite story or funny moment from the last few years that has stood out, made you a stronger couple, etc.?

I’d say that moving in together was something that made our relationship stronger! My parents weren’t encouraging of the decision so I had to rely heavily on Brennan for reassurance that everything would turn out okay, and to this day I think it’s the best thing we ever did. It brought us closer, made us that much more comfortable with each other, gave us the opportunity to make decisions together in a different way, and overall just showed us how much we truly loved and craved each other’s presence. Coming home to your best friend every day is the best feeling ever, and looking back it was the best thing for our relationship!

Wedding talk time! What’s been the most fun and the hardest parts of planning your wedding? Do you have any advice for anyone just getting started on the process?

The venue was hands down our biggest challenge. We thought we wanted to get married in Palm Springs, but after shopping around we realized it was just way over our budget, and couldn’t accommodate our guest list. After going back to the drawing board and writing down key details that we wanted included in our special day, we finally narrowed it down. I’d say my biggest piece of advice is to realistically look into venues a year and a half in advance or more (if you know you want to get married somewhere popular) because things book out years in advance! All of our top 5 venues were already booked solid for the following year, which I did not expect. I’d also say not to get discouraged. It will all come together (I hated hearing this before we found our venue haha) but I can now say that it is true! Stick to your non-negotiables, and shop around for the best pricing. Also weigh the options of a DIY venue vs. a venue that provides everything. Sometimes they are similar in cost, but one is much more work than the other. So many things to consider! But those are my top 😉

Do you have honeymoon plans?

Right now we’re thinking Thailand! It’s way more adventurous than anywhere we’ve been.

Brennan did a great job choosing a crisp, clean Emerald cut diamond solitaire for you. If you could add any piece to complete your set or stack that best reflects your personal style, what would it be? 

I tend to gravitate to a Bohemian style with a modern chic sophistication. I love the playfulness of a nesting band, but don’t want anything to take away from the clean lines of the Emerald cut, so… I think the perfect piece would be your Diamond Priestess Tiara Band; it’s breathtaking!!

Credits:

Venice Canals and Engagement Photos: @hallemarcelphotography

BHLDN Desert Photos: @kayleechelseaphotography

Do you have a special story of your own to share? Click here and share with us to be featured!

DAYANA + JASON’S STORY

Our month of SK Love Stories continues with Dayana and Jason, a couple of college sweethearts who survived a long distance break-up, a sweet reunion, and a surprise oceanfront proposal. Read their romantic story and see what they are up to now, pre Santa Barbara spring wedding!

Names: Dayana Falcon and Jason Koester

Current Location: Marina Del Rey, CA

Meeting Date + Location: August 1st, 2010 in Gainesville, FL while in college at the University of Florida

Wedding date + location: May 11th 2019 in Santa Barbara, CA

How did you meet?

We met in college when we dressed up as Ninja Turtles at a Fraternity/Sorority Social.

The proposal – please tell us the story!

For my 28th Birthday, Jason bought me photo frames to match our newly beach-themed bathroom decor.  He undersold the photo shoot that came with it, claiming it was a “friend of a friend” that wanted to help us get some nice photos on the beach of us. A few weeks went by, and it was the week of our shoot. I remember one of the days I came home from work, and he started freaking out, saying the photographer wanted a Pinterest mood board for our shoot and was overwhelmed as he thought it would have been an easier process.

The day of the photo shoot came and he asked me to match him so we both wore white. We drove over to Playa Del Rey, CA, and met with Sarah Mack, the amazing photographer of both our engagement and our soon to be wedding day photos. She made us feel super comfortable. She was very conversational and asked us about how we met, how we fell in love, etc. and captured our love in the most authentic way. At sunset, she said she wanted to take a photo from a far which gave Jason a private moment for him to ask me to marry him. I remember him grabbing my hands intently and looking at me into my eyes, and saying “Dayana Falcon, I love you with all of my heart and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?” As he was down on one knee, my entire body came over with emotion. I jumped back and dug my face into my hands in an utter state of shock. I then leaped into his arms kissing him and said “YES!” as I looked into his eyes. He placed the ring onto my hand, and I hugged him so intently, with tears running down my eyes. I couldn’t believe it. I was engaged and going to marry the love of my life. And then I saw the ring, and my mouth dropped open. It was stunning, so unique and custom designed for me by him. We then popped champagne on the beach and continued taking photos, celebrating this special moment in our lives.

He had pre-planned a trip for us to Palm Springs, CA, that I thought we were going to the next day and shortly after says to me, “by the way, we’re not going to Palm Springs, we’re going to Cabo, baby!” We then spent an entire weekend under the sun in Cabo, celebrating our love for each other.

When did you know that your significant other was the one? 

Dayana: After Thanksgiving Break of our college senior year, we were apart for around 6 days. I remember coming over to his house when we both got back into town and I leaped into his arms, I was so excited to see him. I had butterflies everywhere. And in that moment, I knew we had something SPECIAL.

Jason: Dayana and I dated for 1 year and a half, and due to our long-distance relationship from Los Angeles to Barcelona, Spain while I was studying abroad, we broke up for 4 months. I then moved to Miami after studying abroad, and she got relocated to New York for work. Then over the holidays later that year, we met up in Miami while she was in town and we spent a lot of time together and fell in love all over again, as if no time had passed. That’s when I knew she was the one. I let her get away, but fate had other plans and brought us back together.

What is your favorite thing about your significant other?

Dayana: One of my favorite things about him is how he looks into my eyes and makes me feel at home and safe, no matter wherever we are.

Jason: One of my favorite things about Dayana is her relentless positivity in life. It’s eternal and contagious and has helped me look at life through a more optimistic lens, and I am the biggest pessimistic you have ever met.

What made you choose the engagement ring?

Jason: I was inspired by Sofia Kaman’s natural boho look with her jewelry craftsmanship and I wanted to work with someone that could help me create something that was totally unique for Dayana, a custom designed ring where she would be the only person in the world to have the design.

I shared that Dayana and I loved to spend time in the outdoors so Sofia thought of including a leaf design on the band and intertwine the back of the band. I also wanted to make the back just as special as the front, so I asked her to add an orange sapphire to remind us of where we met and brought us together, The #GatorNation at the University of Florida. Sofia was so easy to work with and made every decision of the custom-designed ring feel easy and authentic.

Do you have any advice for planning a wedding?

We highly recommend taking your time, we did a 2-year wedding planning process, and it was life changing as we were able to work on each 2-4 things at a time and not stress about them.

Alright – what’s next for the two of you?!

Bachelor/Bachelorette parties, the wedding day, honeymoon, saving up money to buy our first home and get a 2nd dog to grow our family!

We are so happy to have been a small part of Dayana and Jason’s journey of love. Do you have an inspiring story of your own? Click here and share with us to be featured!

 

LARA + JUSTIN’S STORY

We are honored to feature Lara and Justin this week on #SKLoveStories. A very special couple that not only craves new experiences and adventures by nature, but these two are tying the knot with not one, not two, but three weddings! Read on for this cool couple’s story on how they met and how all these weddings came about…

How it all started…

After years of living abroad, Lara and Justin both found themselves back in the States for some R&R, but it didn’t take them long to both say yes to their next adventure which would take them on much more than a fantastic vacation, but a lifelong journey of love. After both agreeing to a trip to an island off the coast of Honduras with mutual friends, they met and had instant sparks. After staying up all night talking on the first night on the island, they spent the remainder of the trip falling in love. Once back in the States and settled into reality, they decided to flip a coin to see who would visit the other one first. Justin lost (or according to him “won!”) and was on the next flight to Asheville to meet the family. The first year together they spent traveling the world and then sealed the deal with a proposal in Patagonia, whilst hanging out with some penguins, literally.

The RING.

Lara and Justin’s journey to the ring was a fun one. Lara had sketched her ring out one night on a hotel piece of paper and brought it into the boutique, where Sofia talked them through the process of sketch to finger, and the rest is history. “Sofia’s craftsmanship and knowledge of her craft were immediately recognized and appreciated during that first meeting,” Lara notes. Sofia designed both Lara and Justin’s rings and needless to say, they fit them perfectly, literally and figuratively.

There are HOW MANY weddings?!

In the continuous search for stimulating adventure, this thrill-seeking couple decided to have not one, not two, but three weddings scaling from an eclectic ceremony at Burning Man, an art festival, to a beautiful and traditional wedding in Lara’s home state, North Carolina. Lara has an incredible travel company, Packed Perfectly, so it only makes sense that she put her skills to work for her own weddings.

The couple will have their final wedding this June at the Biltmore House in North Carolina, where Lara grew up saying she was going to get married one day after first touring it when she was just 7 years old. Bringing their friends and family together for the perfect wedding at the Biltmore House is “literally is a dream come true,” says Lara.

We are so happy to have been a small part of Lara and Justin’s journey of love. Do you have an inspiring story of your own? Click here and share with us to be featured!

SOFIA + GEOFF’S STORY

In celebration of Valentine’s Day and SK Love Stories, it is only fitting that we chat with the couple that it all began with… Sofia and Geoff Kaman. Read on for a tale of two people who fell in love and together created a flourishing business and a beautiful family.

So tell us… How did it all begin?

Geoff and I met in Feb of 1998.

We met at work, more precisely the gym where we both worked in our twenties. I taught a 5:30AM spinning class to sleepy adults before running off to my day job of teaching riotous first graders. Geoff worked the opening shift, where he was a personal trainer while teaching himself computer coding till the wee hours of the night. We would see each other in passing, have fleeting conversations, and share a very basic common ground— the need for caffeine! Which brought us to our first date.

After class one morning, Geoff casually asked if he could talk to me. We stepped off to the side and he said in the most confident, yet easy-going way, “Would you like to go on a date with me?” And before I could answer he added, “how about for coffee?”

So we went, and we talked and talked about our life adventures to date. Geoff had been in the Marines, deployed in Iraq, come back to civilian life, spent time sailing a boat in the Caribbean, learned how to snowboard in Crested Butte, built airplane frames in Texas (where we both had grown up), drew comic books for fun, and had recently landed in LA where his dreams of working in graphics or a design based business lead him to learn coding. Meanwhile, I had quite the opposite life- gone diligently through college, then graduate school, then had a steady job as an elementary school teacher. I loved creating jewelry (an obsessive hobby, really) but I didn’t have the confidence to believe that I could follow my passion and my heart to design jewelry for a living. I think it’s true about opposites attracting…!

Wedding details, please! 

We got married in December of 2000.

Both of us wanted a tiny wedding to celebrate with immediate family and friends, 40 to be exact. Santa Monica was our home and our wedding was held there, at a quaint historical building called The Victorian. It was an evening affair, held in the upstairs library of this beautiful old home. Being notoriously camera-shy, I told my parents I didn’t want a photographer at the wedding. To which my mother replied, “Then I suppose there won’t be a wedding!” So, begrudgingly, I hunted for a wedding photographer. Now, let’s remember, friends, wedding photography in 2000 looked more like stiff, posed family line-ups than the beautiful, editorial, natural style that we so commonly (and fortunately) have access to today.

In any case, I finally found a friend of a friend, who had once shot a wedding and had a camera. Yes, high standards. I told him I didn’t want anything contrived, just to disappear into the background. Our wedding was shot on film, not to be artful, but because it was pre-digital everything. In retrospect, I really should have listened better to my mom about taking that aspect a little more seriously, as most of our pics are out of focus, poorly lit, and well, look like anybody’s uncle with a camera could have taken them!

And about the ring(s)…

When Geoff proposed, much before we started our jewelry business, he knew I would want to design my ring so he gave it to me in a simple four-prong solitaire. Little did he know that this would set the stage for endless renditions. In fact, the diamond has now come out of a ring entirely and is fitted to a sweet gold pod pendant that I wear on my “family” charm necklace. I guess you could say I’m quite sentimental about things in non-traditional ways! For example, I always have to wear a ring on my left hand when I leave the house. Which ring that may be, however, changes with my mood. Over the last 18 years I’ve worn about six different rings, some of which I’ve made, some vintage, some have been given, others bought for myself, all of which have brought a smile to my face when I look down at it. They’ve been guilty of distracting me when light perfectly hits while gripping a steering wheel, or created countless brilliant sparkles on an airplane. They’ve reminded me of joyful times, as well as have been angrily left on the nightstand after a spat or two.

Whatever ring I’m wearing doesn’t really matter I suppose. My feeling about rings is that they are treasures to be enjoyed. They are a beautiful representation of a couple’s love, but also a representation of personal style and can reflect the changes we go through in life together.

Tell us a bit about your lives now.

Eighteen years later, and we haven’t killed each other yet! 😉 Our greatest treasure is our daughter Ella, who’s turning 13 in one month!

It was shortly after our wedding, in January of 2001, that Geoff encouraged me to take a chance and start my jewelry business. In 2014 Geoff was able to join me full-time in our business as our technical and web guru, but throughout that entire time he’s been my partner, my champion, my rock.

Last year we opened a new, bigger space where we work under the same roof, like we did many years ago. A lot has changed, but also a lot has stayed the same! ❤️❤️❤️

GHAZAL + PAYAM’S Story

We are thrilled to announce the re-launch of SK Love Stories, which celebrate the timeless narratives of special couples falling in love. We are kicking off this series with an enchanting and beautiful couple, Ghazal and Payam Doostzadeh. Try not to shed a tear after reading their innocent high school friendship turned lifelong partners, love story.

Names:

Ghazal + Payam Doostzadeh

Current Location:

Venice, CA

Wedding Date + Location:

November 4th, 2017 at the Ebell of Long Beach.

How It All Started

Ghazal and Payam’s story started back in 2000, when her family won the green card lottery and immigrated to the United States. But the luck didn’t stop there, because only 4 years later, Payam would win a lottery of his own and meet the love of his life. Ghazal and Payam started their relationship when they where both in high school in Irvine, CA, tackling dances, honors classes and strict curfews. Ghazal recalls their first date. She went to Payam’s show at The Spectrum, and promised her parents that she was just going to support her best friend… and to be fair, she wasn’t lying. Ghazal and Payam shared a very deep connection from the very start. They would talk on the daily, discussing their goals, dreams and desires to take on the world together. The strong foundation that they were building would guide them through the good times and the bad.

The Proposal: How It Went Down

On July 3rd, 2016, Payam and Ghazal headed up to Big Sur, one of their favorite places in California to reconnect with Mother Nature and the goodwill she brings. They decided to wake up in the early a.m. in hopes of catching the sunrise but ended up with thick marine layer and the peacefulness of the coastal morning all to themselves. They found a big hill that they hiked up to which had beautiful views of the ocean, and Payam suggested that they come back to the vista point later to take pictures when the sun was out. So later that afternoon the soon-to-be engaged couple hiked back up that same hill, now boasting impressive views of the California Coastline, and started taking pictures at the top. Payam asked Ghazal to turn around and face Bixby Bridge, instructing Ghazal to stay put while he was reloading his film. The truth though was that Payam was reaching into his backpack to take out the ring and then got down on one knee and asked his bride-to-be to turn around. Payam went on to explain how the four points of her ring symbolize the cardinal directions of a compass, and that it would be a constant reminder of their journey of love together.

The Ring

From Payam: “Picking a ring out for Ghazal was a little bit of a process. Considering it was something she would have for her entire life, and that conversations about marriage were already on the table, I figured she should have at least a general idea of what I would propose with. We made a trip downtown, and found some other local designers, and we both were just not really feeling it. Then, one of Ghazal’s friends suggested we look into Sofia’s work, and we couldn’t believe we had been walking by the Venice location almost every day without going in. It only took a couple of minutes until we both saw the Genevieve engagement ring and knew it was the one. I tried to play it off cool and said we’d keep our options open, but the next day I started talking to Sofia about making a custom one in a slightly larger size and with a platinum band. We’ve since added two Alethea Diamond Tiara Rings as wedding bands to complete the set and we couldn’t be happier. The rings really complement just how beautiful and unique Ghazal is.”

The Wedding Day

The ceremony was the couples’ favorite part. It started with a beautiful violin performance by Payam’s cousin, followed by a saging ceremony by their best friends. The couple wrote their own vows, which to this day still brings tears to their eyes. The performance by Payam’s band was also one the most special, touching and memorable moments at the wedding for the bride,  groom and ALL their guests.

The newlyweds took off to Thailand soon after and gushed that it was truly one of the most magical trips. While in Thailand, they were approached by a lovely Canadian photographer when walking on the beach and got asked to take some “casual” wedding photos during sunset. Without any preparation, they ended up having their own private/tiny wedding #2!

Credits:

Wedding Photographer: Winsome & Wright

Thailand Photographer: Zsuzsi Pal Photography

Engagement and Wedding Rings: Sofia Kaman

Do you have a special story of your own to share? Click here and share with us to be featured!

TOP 5 JEWELRY ESSENTIALS YOU NEED

Whether your last year was tumultuous, exhilarating, life-changing or hum drum, there’s never a better opportunity than the New Year to clear out the old, messy bits and organize our lives… or at least our jewelry boxes. Having all the bling is fun, but let’s be honest – you probably are not wearing your grandmother’s brooches, nor your middle school fling’s heart-shaped pendant on a regular basis. So, after you recycle, re-gift and re-design, which pieces do you keep around? We’ve narrowed down our top five jewelry essentials we think every gal needs in her jewel box all year, every year.

1.) SMALL DIAMOND EARRINGS

A pair of  diamond earrings are a classic staple that never goes out of style. A subtle sparkle that can be worn with any outfit is key. For a twist on traditional single diamond studs, see our Trilogy Diamond Cluster Earrings – the perfect option for a dainty everyday pair. Crafted in matte gold with a cluster of three dainty diamonds and a bit of rustic texture, wear these lovelies daily and move them to your second holes when you’re stepping out for a night on the town and want a little extra bling!

 

2.) A PERFECT STACK

The perfect stack is a non-negotiable when it comes to necessity in a woman’s jewel box. (For tips on how to build your perfect stack click here!). The ease of wearing individually or together is what makes a stack so important. If you’re running errands or going for a hike, you might only wear one or two rings on different fingers to have a small sparkle statement, but if it’s a dinner party or night out with girlfriends you’re attending, you can easily layer on that stack for the ultimate effect. You can find one of our favorite stacks below or click HERE to shop our stack of the week!

3.) A DAINTY LAYERING NECKLACE

Another no-brainer and the easiest way to dress up an everyday outfit: a simple and pretty layering necklace. Pick one that is dainty, with just enough sparkle. Wear with your casual looks and layer on top of it when you’re ready for a little extra! A few of our favorites that will serve this purpose are the Mini Baguette Bezel Diamond Necklace and the Rounded Daisy Charm Necklace (if you’re the floral type). Minimal and understated, both options give you the flexibility to wear with any and everything and layer up as you please!

4. ) A STATEMENT RING

What is a jewel box without a statement ring that reflects your unique personal style? Statement rings have the ability to pull together an entire look together and are also extremely versatile: wear solo to make it the star of the show during the day, or layer with your other stacking styles for all the bling on a special night out. Most loved in our collection? Our Torn Paper Bands from our Poesie collection, as seen below.

5.) A POP OF COLOR

The most fun essential to any jewel box: a pop of color. While neutral diamonds are the most obvious choice for classic, everyday wear, a pop of color can be the eye-catching missing piece. Add said pop of color to your other everyday pieces to bring in some personality. Below is our Blue Sapphire Simple Solitaire-Square Band layered with a sparkly stack to give the look a final touch!

We hope this new year brings you lots of love, laughter and sparkly new additions to your jewelry wardrobe, and we look forward to sharing our passion for jewels with you!

~SKFJ team XOXO

INSPIRING WOMAN: Elizabeth Messina

We are so happy to introduce this week’s Inspiring Woman, Elizabeth Messina. Photographer, artist and author, Elizabeth is not only a master of capturing the moment, she’s a true pioneer who has carved out a distinctive niche in the world of wedding photography and risen to the top! Read on to find out what keeps Elizabeth motivated creatively, where she finds her inspiration and how she deals with creative struggles. 

Elizabeth, your work has given rise to a unique genre of artful wedding photography. Can you describe your style and what inspires it?

EM: Thank you. I think my style is intimate and artistic, even moody at times. I am an artist at heart. I adore photographing women and people in love. I am also drawn to capturing beautiful spaces, still moments, longing, sadness, the sky, life…… I’ve had a love affair with natural light and film for sometime now. Arte is air for me. I hope my work evokes an emotional or visceral response from the viewer. I yearn to capture feelings, not just images. Arte provides a bit of grace amongst the mundane demands of day to day life. I put a lot of effort into running my business and being present for my family, but underneath it all, I am always an artist in my heart. Beauty has a place, has meaning in our complicated lives. Arte matters. Weddings are full of such sweetness and joy, it’s an honor to capture people in love.

Did you ever doubt your creative direction? How did you deal with that?

EM: Creativity can often be elusive. This is true not just when I photograph weddings but with all of my work. I am extremely critical of my own images and am very rarely satisfied. I strive to be better and more consistent. Photography is an interactive and constantly changing arte form. I try to remain engaged and thoughtful about light and compassion each time I compose an image.

What sets your photography apart and what about your photography do you take most pride in?

EM: Photography is my passion. I am most proud that I have been able to do it for so long. My first camera was a gift from my mother when I was twelve years old. I was in love instantly with making images. At such a tender age, I did not know photography would be come such an important part of my life. Photography is the language of memories. There is an intangible quality to making photographs that defies language. That is what I love. Each shoot I am in search of a language I do not fully understand, a gesture, something authentic. I hope I can continue to capture memories and make arte for many years to come.

You are constantly around new people in settings where emotions are high. What has being a photographer taught you?

EM: The dance of the unknown. There is great beauty in how a shoot unfolds. Although I feel confident as a photographer, I do not know what or how the day will reveal it self. There is a gentle magic that I want to discover. Sometimes it is how the window light caresses the curve of a cheekbone. Other times, it is the connection between myself and the subject. A shoot for me is a quiet, sacred space. I try to remain present and respond. I strive to create images that honor both my inner voice and each couple’s unique and beautiful wedding day.

Do you have a favorite image you’ve shot, and why is it “the one?”

EM: I could never choose a favorite. There are so many moments and images that are dear to my heart. I’ve chosen a few of those to share with you in this interview. The images that linger with me are ones that capture something I cannot put into words but rather encapsulate a feeling.

Thank you for sharing, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth has been a true inspiration creatively, and we feel very lucky to have had the chance to work with her and experience her magic first hand! (We’ll be posting some of our favorite shots from our past shoot with her on IG this week!) We hope you enjoyed learning about her creative process much as we did. Below you will find ways to keep up with all the beautiful projects Elizabeth Messina has to come!

Website: Elizabeth Messina

Shop: The Arte Department

Instagram: @elizabethmessina

 

INSPIRING WOMAN: Mary Beth LaRue Aporta

This week we were lucky enough to get a word with the radiant Mary Beth LaRue Aporta, a life-coaching, yoga-teaching, mother and founder of Rock Your Bliss, a movement encouraging self-love, authenticity and community. Read about Mary Beth, how she got to where she is today, how she deals with creative blocks and her thoughts on being a foster mama.

Mary Beth, you are a yoga teacher, life coach, wife, mama and co-founder of a blissful company Rock Your Bliss. How did this lovely journey begin?

MB: I moved to Washington DC after college to work for a magazine. I was at a desk all day long and found myself becoming pretty depressed. I found a yoga class down the street and immediately fell in love with how it felt to be back in my body and breathing deeply. I signed up for a yoga teacher training and after another year at my desk job started teaching and freelance writing, leaving the desk behind. I moved to Los Angeles a couple of years later where I immersed myself in a lot of new teachers and practices and met my BFF Jacki Carr, who I started Rock Your Bliss with, and my husband Matt Aporta, not long after that. He proposed with a ring designed by YOU. 🙂

How important is creativity to you? Do you ever find yourself creatively stuck, and how do you find your way out?

MB: Absolutely important. I’m pretty aware of the things that suck my energy – emails, too much time on social media, overthinking etc – and try to spend an afternoon in the park or coffee shop with just my notebook every week. My yoga mat is also a place where I explore creativity as well as reading and writing.

You remind us about the importance of self-love. What are some of your favorite ways to appreciate and to love yourself?

MB: Time outside in nature, writing, bubble baths, getting a facial and my brows down at Browdown Studio, wearing anything other than yoga clothes to just be out and about (too many years in them I guess!), meditation.

What does it really mean to you to “rock your bliss”?

MB: Living an authentic and vulnerable life that was meant for you. When I was younger I often found myself living someone else’s “shoulds” or values and if I would’ve stayed on that path my life would’ve looked very different. The life I’m living is so where I’m supposed to be.

What has being a new and foster mom taught you about life?

MB: Ahhhhh.. everything. Our little guy came to us at six days old and is now 9.5 months old and we still don’t have any idea if he will be with us forever. But honestly none of us know what is coming tomorrow or in the next hour and the best thing we can do is live boldly, vulnerably and give 100 percent of ourselves in the face of uncertainty. I am so grateful for the gift of unconditional love no matter what conditions are present. We are capable of so much more than we might think or believe.

Thank you for sharing, Mary Beth!

Staying true to your personality, self, and style is the approach we believe in when it comes to designing wedding jewelry as well. Working with Mary Beth and Matt on a ring that reflected her individuality and style was a dream! We hope you enjoyed learning about the good she is doing and are as inspired by her bliss-crafting as we are. Below you will find where to keep up with Mary Beth and her adventures to come!

Website: Rock Your Bliss

Blog: www.marybethlarue.com/

Instagram: @marybethlarue