Jewel Journal

May Birthstone: Emerald

We have a lot to be thankful for in the beautiful month of May–Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and one of the most vibrant gemstones, the May birthstone Emerald! This stone is so special for its unique saturation of color, variety of meanings and history. Emeralds date back as early as 330 BC in Egypt, but are estimated to be 2.97 BILLION years old. Can you imagine discovering such a bright and vibrant stone in the desert?! Cleopatra was an avid emerald lover, so much so that she claimed ownership over all emerald mines during her reign.

The Kennedy Marquise Ring $3,030

Early on, the Egyptians believed these stones to hold the power of protection and buried their monarchs with them. Throughout history, emeralds were also believed to cure stomach problems, control epilepsy and stop bleeding. They were also thought to bring the wearer peace and serenity. (Making it the perfect gift for a new mom!)

Art Deco Vintage Diamond and Emerald Engagement Ring from Sofia Kaman Fine Jewels

The Estella Art Deco Ring $11,660

Meaning literally “green” in Greek, the May birthstone can come in a variation of hues, with the most rare being deep green-blue saturation and the most common being a lighter, vibrant green. As a form of the mineral beryl, they typically have inclusions that are able to be seen without a microscope, but this by no means takes away from their beauty and charm. We adore the galactic-like wonder these beauties can possess!

Emerald Simple Solitaire $4,730

While diamonds are typically used for traditional engagement rings, emeralds can make for the perfect alternative engagement ring for the alternative bride! They just need slightly more TLC as they are a softer mineral than diamond. (Emerald’s hardness on the Mohs scale is 7.5-8 while diamond is a 10.) We recommend cleaning with a trusted jewelry cleaner and avoiding steam or ultrasonic cleaners.

Thank you May for celebrating this gemstone with us! Although we highly suggest wearing your beautiful emeralds all year long! 😉

Unique Engagement Rings As Seen On Green Wedding Shoes!

Unique Engagement Rings from Sofia Kaman featured on Green Wedding Shoes Blog

At Sofia Kaman we happen to know a thing or two about unique engagement rings! That is why we are SO excited to have two of our lovely pieces featured on Green Wedding Shoes‘ “23 Unique Engagement Rings We’re Absolutely Loving!” Engagement rings are personal, intimate pieces of jewelry we wear everyday. We want them to feel special and unique to us, something that no one else has, just like our love. With our one-of-a-kind diamonds and handcrafted techniques we are able to create these unique engagement rings that will last a lifetime!

GENEVIEVE – $5,900

First up is our beloved Genevieve ring. This vintage inspired beauty features a 0.54ct G color VS1 Oval Brilliant Cut stone with a glittering double halo of delicious Round Brilliant Cut diamonds. Scalloped edges and a muted matte finish create a stunning juxtaposition. We adore this unique engagement ring shape because it takes up a good amount of real estate on the finger and has a very low profile, making it easy for everyday wear. This ring is ideal for the vintage romantic bride who appreciates old world charm and class! Available in platinum, yellow gold or with a round stone center.

STARDUST – $7,850

The second pick is the insanely divine one-of-a-kind Stardust ring! This unique engagement ring features a 0.66ct Emerald Cut diamond set in 18K matte yellow gold with spires of Baguette diamonds radiating from its center. The linear shape and muted sparkle of the upside-down set Baguettes really make this ring stand out above the rest. Pair this with our Hexagon Diamonds Stacking Ring for an even more eye catching look. This ring is bohemian bridal perfection!

Thank you Green Wedding Shoes for the sweet shoutout! Click to follow their blog and Insta for the most insightful wedding tips, highlights and vendor recommendations!

Bridesmaid Gifts Made Easy

It’s happening. You’re getting married. You are in a whirlwind of cake tastings and seating charts, dress fittings and meetings with your venue… And somehow while you’re spinning in a bridal tornado, you had an extravagant bachelorette party, a perfectly-executed bridal shower and already have a checklist of all the small details made for the big day. Who is the girl gang making behind the magic, you ask? Your BRIDESMAIDS. Read more to find out what to get as your bridesmaid gifts!

Possibly some of the of most important puzzle pieces to your big day, this small army of personally hand-chosen women (or men!) are people that already mean the world to you and are going the distance to make your big day a fairytale. Although friends and family are supposed to be there for you at this special time in your life, showing them you’re appreciative by small gestures or bridesmaid gifts is going to guarantee you a spot on the #1 bride list. We know you have a million other things going on so we’ve put together a list of fool-proof items your girls are guaranteed to love you even more for.

1. SWEET GOLDEN RING DISH – $45

You’re the one with the ring this time around… but your girls have jewelry too! Gift them these sweet jewelry dishes (made with real 24k gold paint!) so they always think of you when taking their jewelry off and on.

2. CLASSIC ONE DIAMOND WIRE BAND – $330

Need something to compliment the Sweet Golden Ring Dish? You’ll never go wrong with a simple band like the Classic One Diamond Wire Band to give as your bridesmaid gifts to wear minimally alone or stack with her other jewelry. One sweet little diamond makes it extra special and she will always look down and think of you!

3. TULIP & BEAR ARTISAN CANDLE – $28 

Who actually wants to buy candles for themselves? No one. Which is why your girls will be ecstatic when they open up these soy wax, hand-poured artisan candles by Tulip & Bear. They even have a different scent for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, so you can give your bridesmaid gifts accordingly!

4. ONE LINK NECKLACE – $345

A dainty little circle necklace accented with a golden dangle and one twinkling diamond that will fit nearly any girls style makes this the perfect gift for your bridesmaids.

5. SLIP SILK EYE MASK – $50

Let’s be honest, your girls are losing at least a little bit of sleep being the best bridesmaids they can be for you. Repay them with this silk eye mask that blocks out light while the soft silk protects against damage to skin and hair.

6. JEWELRY CLEANER – $25

We don’t mean to brag but we might have the best jewelry cleaner around. Guaranteed to keep you and your girls’ jewels shining bright!

7. UNITY NECKLACE – $645

Symbolizing eternal friendship, this necklace is the perfect gift for your bridesmaids (or more specifically, your MOH!) because it represents your forever friendship and love for one another. Cue the tears!

8. PRETTY CERAMICS FROM NOTARY

Locally sourced from the Pacific Northwest, Notary Ceramics creates beautiful silhouetted vases, mugs, dishes and more and has a minimal and vibe that makes for the perfect bridesmaid gift for your ladies.

9. TINY DISK WITH DIAMOND STUDS – $365

These little studs are one of our most popular earrings and are a no-brainer for your bridesmaids. Made in yellow, rose, and white gold, get each of your girls her choice of gold!

10. KIM + ONO SILK ROBE – $140

These pretty robes are great to be worn on the big day – and beyond! Each piece features an original pattern – first sketched by hand, then saturated in rich watercolors using a traditional paintbrush – making each kimono completely unique, just like each of your bridesmaids!

Good luck ladies! You got this. We’re so excited for you and your big day! Shop more of our bridesmaids picks here!

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!