Category Archives: Gentlemen’s Guide

Getting Engaged? Thinking Of A Christmas Proposal? Top 10 Most Creative Christmas Engagement Ideas

christmas-proposal-34

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… Tis the season – the most wonderful time of the year… Full of cheer, joy, love and mistletoes, Christmas is the perfect time to pop the question.

As shared on The Fun Times Guide.com, Christmas is not only one of the most popular times to get engaged, it’s also one of the best times of the year to become engaged.

Why? Well, it’s already a happy time of year (at least for most people). Plus, you don’t have to spend a fortune on decorations or setting a scene because hey, it’s Christmas. There are fun and beautiful holiday decorations as a backdrop practically everywhere you turn!

Here are some unique Christmas engagement ideas that should help you when planning your very own fun Christmas proposal…

 #1 Put the engagement ring in a Christmas ornament.

You could create your own Christmas ornament and put your engagement ring inside, or buy one that “opens” or has interior nooks & crannies. Wait until all the presents have been opened, and then mention there’s one more! You could give her the ornament and let her find the ring inside on her own. Or, you could encourage her find the ornament (with the ring inside) on the tree by giving her clues. Then again, you could always just hang the ring box by a ribbon on the tree as well.

ornament-engagement-ring

 #2 Make the engagement ring be the only ornament on the tree.

That’s right, don’t decorate your Christmas tree at all. Simply hang the engagement ring (or the box with the ring inside) on the tree and no other ornaments. Then after she’s done admiring your tree, take the engagement ring down and propose.

engagement-ring-on-christmas

#3 Give her a personalized t-shirt as a Christmas gift.

Have a t-shirt made that says, “Future Mrs.”  Then be on bended knee with the ring in hand immediately after she opens your gift with the shirt inside. You can search for pre-designed engagement t-shirts, or make your own.

 #4 Dress up like Santa Claus.

When you make your grand entrance as Santa Claus, have a bag with “toys” inside. Instead of giving her toys or a candy cane, reach inside and pull out her engagement ring. Santa on bended knee will make great photos!

#5 If you’re unable to be with her for Christmas…

If, for example, she will be traveling alone to visit family this Christmas, try this: put the engagement ring in a bigger box. Make sure you add some newspaper or something to keep it from rattling. Then send the gift with her to open in front of her family on Christmas day. Once she opens the box, she will see the engagement ring, along with a card asking her to marry you. You can either choose to let at least one member of the family in on the secret (so you’ll be sure to have good photos for a moment you were unable to be there for!) or keep everyone in the dark and propose quietly from afar.

 #6 Write your marriage proposal in Christmas lights.

First, you’ll have to break away long enough to spell out “Will You Marry Me” in Christmas lights on the lawn or on the roof. Then, once it’s dark and the time is right, have her plug the lights in. Waa-lah!

wedding-proposal-lights

#7 Plan a romantic evening out & about.

First, take her out to a nice dinner on Christmas Eve. Then, take a little drive somewhere in nature where there is a bit of snow. Finally, propose in a way that is special. The beautiful holiday atmosphere will be very appreciated.

proposal-written-in-snow

 #8 Stage a fun treasure hunt.

Start by placing “clues” all around the room, or all around the house. Each clue leads to another clue. Each clue could lead to a bunch small “gifts” that symbolize fun things you’ve done together, or plan to do together. The final gift will be the ring box that is hidden safely in your pocket! As she follows the clue and pulls it out of your pocket, drop to one knee and say, “Will you be my treasure forever? Will you marry me?”

#9 Wrap yourself up like a Christmas gift.

There are lots of fun ways you could do this. You could hide yourself inside a big box (with air holes) and then surprise the daylights out of her when she opens up the box! Or you could have fun with it and make it obvious that you’re a self-wrapped gift. Let her unwrap you, and when she gets most of the way through all the wrapping, surprise her with the ring.

 #10 Lead her to believe that Valentine’s Day will be your engagement day.

As long as your good at keeping secrets, this one is a no brainer. There will be no greater sense of satisfaction than the day you are able to officially surprise her like she’s never been surprised before! The hardest part will be convincing her (and her friends & family members) that you’re planning the engagement for Valentine’s Day, and then pulling it off yourself 2 months earlier for Christmas.

christmas-proposal-ornaments

As you can see, there are plenty of creative, fun ways to propose during the Christmas holiday. In fact, in some ways it may even be easier to propose over Christmas because there are so many unique opportunities. With a little imagination, a Christmas engagement could be really easy to pull off.

7 Things Men Really Really Want in a Relationship

relationship advice getting married getting engaged

In our continuous quest to build passionate, fulfilling and growing relationships, this article presents some interesting insight for both the ladies and gents on 7 things men really want in a relationship.

As described in point #5 here in John Kim’s post on MindBodyGreen.com, the C-word, communication, is not a man’s speciality. So, thank you for this window into the rabbit-hole of a man’s psyche, Mr. John Kim!

1. To feel like your hero

We don’t want to be your Clark Kent. We want to be your Superman. We want you to see us as leaping tall buildings in a single bound and catching bullets. We want to carry you in our arms and show you the world. Or at least feel that way. And I know it’s our job to get there, but nothing gives us more strength than a woman who creates a space that makes us feel invincible. If you make us feel invincible, we’ll make you feel like you’re the most beautiful creature on this planet.

2. Acceptance

There’s a new T-shirt trending Los Angeles titled “Love Me Anyways.” They should make them for men. Because we NEED to feel that when we stack the dishes in the dishwasher like a five year-old, say the wrong thing in front of your friends, leave the toilet seat up, get too logical, forget something you’ve said a thousand times, that you love us anyways. Because inside every man is a boy who forgets he’s a man sometimes. And every boy gets into things, not because he’s bad but because he’s got a curious mind and a short attention span.

Unconditional support from our woman is what will snap us out of our boyish behavior and inject us with a desire to be a stronger man. Only when you accept us as we are, who we are, will we want to become someone better.

3. Not to be left in the dark

So many women don’t tell their men how they feel because they don’t want to rock the boat. Or they’re afraid. The truth is when you don’t express yourself, you leave us in the dark. We don’t really know the truth of you. You are prepackaging and presenting parts of your life instead of doing your whole life with us.

Couples grow and get stronger overcoming adversity, not by doing life separately. Know that every time you hold things in, you are building walls inside the sacred space of the relationship. No, we don’t want you to verbally vomit on us. But believe it or not, we really do want to know who you truly are.

4. Blinders sex

There’s sex. Then there’s blinders sex, the kind of sex that gives you blinders, keeps your eyes forward and intentions straight when you’re out in the world. Let’s face it. Men are going to look. They’re like squirrels. They get distracted by shiny things. But there’s a difference between noticing and wanting. Blinders sex gets men to say, “Yeah, she may be pretty but I would never trade in what I have for anything else.”

Blinders sex isn’t just good sex. It’s a unique connection with someone who makes you fantasize about them in the shower, call in sick so you can lie in bed all day making love and eating Oreos. It produces glue that cannot happen with anyone else.

5. The C-word

Communication. Without it, relationships are built on sand. We want you to communicate directly. We don’t get clues. We need things spelled out. And we understand that if you have to spell it out, it’s not the same. You don’t just want us to do the dishes. You want us to want to do the dishes. We get it. OK, then tell us. Explain. Model how you would like us to communicate back.

For many of us, communication is not our specialty. We need some guidance. Generally speaking, men tend to pull from a logical place. Women pull from an emotional place. If you can meet us at logic, we will match your emotions. Hopefully. But we need you to tell us.

6. Sweat

There’s nothing sexier than working out with your intimate partner. Watching you sweat and work on your body only encourages us to work on ours as well. We get to see the raw and real you, a different type of naked. Now, if we do this together, we’re in the act of building something, a lifestyle. We’re not just talking. We’re doing. And that’s hot.

7. To have our own lives

We may not say it, because how do you tell the person you love to get a life? But we really want you to have your own life. Really. We want you to have your own set of friends, activities, and passions. Of course we want to be supportive of everything you care about and be a part of anything you would like us to be a part of, but we want you to have your own identity.

Because if you have nothing that is yours, our relationship is standing on one leg. Also, if you have your own life, it forces us to get our own life as well or risk losing you. Forget legs. Let’s put our relationship on wheels. One is yours. One is mine. And together, we’ll ride.

Guys – do you agree? Any points to add? 

Ladies – thoughts? Valuable information or more of what you already knew?

GQ’s 7 Essential Tips for Buying a Diamond Engagement Ring

how to buy an engagement ring
Photo Source: artofmanliness.com

Courtesy of GQ, author John Jannuzzi straight talks from the hip, and shares that there is a lot more to a diamond than meets the eye. From man to man, this article walks you through some basic knowledge of the diamond engagement ring world.

Check out GQ’s 7 Essential Tips for Buying a Diamond Engagement Ring below, and read the full article here.

1. You don’t have to go this alone. 
There’s a lot of pressure put on this tiny stone, which is appropriate because diamonds are formed when carbon is exposed to earth-crushing pressure. I’d suggest bringing in reinforcements to help you decide on the exact right ring. By now, you’ve hopefully met your companion’s friends and family. Should you want some guidance, they’re an excellent place to start. It’s also fairly common to make the ring decision together these days. I know plenty of married couples who did some joint ring shopping, ensuring that everybody winds up happy.

2. Sneak a peak at her jewelry box.
Before we start on about carats and what not, figure out her style and what kind of metal she wears. Does your intended have a lot of platinum jewelry? Have they mentioned a disgust for all things gold, especially rose gold? Hopefully by now you’ve learned enough of their taste to make a very well-educated decision. After deciding on the basics, you can add in the fixings like scrollwork or inscriptions. That’s again, a matter of their taste. In my honest opinion, it’s best to keep things simple, but I’m not the one wearing this ring.

3. Get rock solid, ahem, rock knowledge.
Now that you’ve figured out the band, it’s on to the rock or rocks. Most engagement rings have a diamond on them, a tradition you can thank the marketing minds at DeBeers for. Remember, after the two of you share this moment, this ring will come under the scrutiny of every single person in your network of friends. It may be blasted to instagram (please discourage at all costs) or find its way to Facebook and it will most definitely be the subject of conversation amongst all of your affianced’s brunch dates. Every diamond in the world is measured on a standard of 4 Cs. These measurements stand for color, cut, clarity and carat weight.

Color is the most obvious of the 4 Cs, because, it refers to the stone’s color. The best color rankings are D, E and F, all of which are considered colorless. The ranking basically describes how much light the stone reflects. The Rihanna lyric, “shine bright like a diamond” is probably referring to a near colorless diamond, the less color the brighter the shine. The color scale goes from D-Z, the latter meaning light yellow with a poor reflection of light. It’s nearly impossible to find a completely colorless diamond, so don’t go nuts on this end. 

4. Consider going fancy.

Exempt from the color scale are fancy diamonds. These gems are stones with strong hues like yellow, blue, pink or red. Fancy diamonds are considered more rare, are more expensive and are exempt from the D-Z scale. The ring that loosely bonded Bennifer together all those years ago was a fancy diamond, but even then, she’s was still Jenny from the block. If you’re going the fancy diamond route for your ring, I would like to be your friend so I can hang out in your mansion.

5. Choose your cut wisely.

This is very important. The cut of a diamond doesn’t refer to the shape, but to how it is sliced and diced. When you look at a diamond, I’m sure you notice the different facets, faces, and edges. These are all elements of the cut, and each detail works together to let the diamond shine at it’s maximum. So, where as color may refer to how clear and empty a stone is, cut allows the light to reflect perfectly. A poorly cut diamond won’t be quite as brilliant in the end. Although round brilliants are fairly standard, there are other options to consider: princess, cushion, heart, pear, marquise, radiant, oval, Asscher and emerald. Each of these highlight different qualities of the stone. Like all aspects of this ring, the cut will come down to personal preference, but just make sure you’re choosing one that brings out the best of the rock in question.

6. Clarity counts, but don’t get hung up on it.
As you can see, there’s a lot more to a diamond than meets the eye. In fact, what doesn’t meet the eye is usually what makes a diamond more expensive. The third C, clarity, is a measure of how flawed a diamond is. The ideal here is the “FL” grade, meaning completely flawless. This just means that when viewed under a microscope, there are no blemishes or inclusions, which are marks of impurity within the stone. Much like the legendary D diamonds, FL diamonds are extremely rare. Don’t get hung up on buying an FL. The next grade down from FL is IF, or internally flawless. The scale continues to “very very slightly included all the way to just straight up “included.” Stick as close to the top as you can.

7. Bigger isn’t always better.
The last of the 4 Cs is the one you’re probably familiar with: carat weight. The higher the carats, the bigger the stone. Simple. The Hope Diamond, which you saw on your middle school field trip to The Smithsonian, for example, clocks in at 45.52 carats. Damn. That’s one big rock. A lot of guys I know think that bigger is better here, but consider who you’re giving this to. Big diamonds can be ostentatious, and that may be totally fine for the receiver, but just give it a second thought.

Guys like Spence too…

We get it… Most guys would rather get a root canal than walk into a jewellery store. They’re uncomfortable, they’re overpriced and they’re intimidating. Spence, on the other hand, is guy-friendly. You can’t make a mistake shopping with us.

You get to browse thousands of rings designs in open showcases, uninterrupted. Each design has a price tag. You can use real gem-lab instruments to peer into your diamond while brushing up on your diamond education.

You got this, and Spence has your back. We’re here for you whenever you’re ready to get started on a ring that will far exceed her expectations. See you soon.

What Guys Need to Know About Spence

 

Well, we’re definitely not your typical jewellery store. In fact, we’re pretty certain Spence Diamonds is like no other jewellery store you’ve ever been in.

Here are a few of the unique benefits you receive when you do your engagement ring shopping with us:

  1. You’re in control from the word ‘go’. Our 2500+ designer ring prototypes are in wide-open, self-serve showcases so you can browse as many as you want without feeling pressured by a salesperson.
  2. Her ring is made especially for her after you’ve chosen her diamond and ring combination. Rings generally take between 7-14 days from the order date.
  3. Almost any ring can be made to fit any budget. You decide on the size and quality of your diamond, and the karat of gold or platinum for your ring, and we build the ring to those specifications.
  4. You’re not paying any hidden ‘middleman’ costs. Spence keeps all diamond buying, importing and manufacturing services in-house. We have a buying office in Antwerp, Belgium and a design studio in Vancouver, B.C.
  5. You never have to wonder about price. Each designer ring prototype is marked with an ‘average price’. From there, any increase or decrease is the result of your diamond and ring choices.
  6. We don’t try to ‘sell you’ anything. You choose the ring and price you’re comfortable with. We’re just there to be your trusted advisor and help you find the best diamond for your money.
  7. You get to see exactly what you’re paying for. Spence uses Binocular microscopes, GIA Facetware Cut Estimate software and other specialty tools to show you the true cut, colour and clarity of your diamond.
  8. Your purchase is protected by our diamond guarantees. You can buy with confidence knowing we’ve got your back.
  9. There’s no chance of buying a conflict diamond. Spence diamonds are purchased only from legitimate sources in compliance with United Nations resolutions. Our diamonds represent love, not war.

Are you ready to set up an appointment at a Spence Diamonds near you?

Engagement Rings Why guys love shopping at Spence

 

Wise Words

Spence Diamonds Blog - Engagement Rings

Gentlemen’s Guide – Tip #139

Spence Originals: Create your one in a million diamond engagement ring

Spence Diamonds - Diamond Engagement Rings

Every couple has a special, unique love story. Your unique love story deserves a personalized, unique symbol: a one-of-a-kind engagement ring.

What does it mean to design your unique, one-of-a-kind engagement ring here at Spence? And what does the experience look like?

We are confident that you’re going to love shopping at Spence…

Browse the largest collection of designs in North America. Every ring has a price tag so you never have to ask, “How much is this one?” And the showcases are wide open! Just pick up a ring and see how it looks on your finger. You have our permission. How can we do this you ask? The rings on display are prototypes. They look and feel like real diamonds and gold, but they’re not. We’ll make your real diamond ring, after you’ve chosen the style you like best.

How does it work?
Step 1. Pick the ring style you like.
The price you’ll find on the tag includes a diamond of the same size and shape as the illustration stone in the prototype ring. When you’ve found the ring and price you like best…

Step 2. Now you’re ready to look at real diamonds.
Remember, the price on that tag includes our most popular color and clarity of diamond, so there won’t be any surprises. You’ll personally choose the diamond you want. All our diamonds are fabulous and we have LOTS of diamonds from which you can choose.

Step 3. Prepare to be amazed.
You’re going to love, love, love shopping at Spence.
We promise.

Hand-crafted uniquely for you… Once you have hand-picked your one-of-a-kind diamond (one of Mother Nature’s spectacular creations, diamonds are truly unique for that no two diamonds are identical!) and chosen the perfect style to set your diamond in, you can leave the rest of the work to our master craftsmen in our Design Studio.

The chances of seeing another with your exact same Spence ring are less than one in a million. We don’t do run of the mill. We do completely unique, one-of-a-kind – just like your love story. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Work of Photographer Otto Schultz
Work of Photographer Otto Schultz

Wise Words

Wise Words

Gentlemen’s Guide – Tip #107

The 4Cs Spotlight – Clarity

No two natural diamonds are identical. Clarity refers to the number of natural markings found inside every diamond from the various events in the “life” of a diamond. The natural creation of a diamond by Mother Earth results in each diamond having “clarity characteristics” (aka. blemishes or inclusions).

Most diamonds contain natural ‘inclusions’ that resemble tiny crystals, which are trace elements of other minerals that got trapped when the diamond was being created. These are the birthmarks that make each stone unique. Like a person’s features, a diamond’s “clarity characteristics” also make a diamond unique and identifiable.

Diamond Education - 4Cs - clarity

The number, size and position of these inclusions affects the value of the diamond. The clarity scale of the Gemological Institute of America ranges from Fl (flawless) to I3 (many inclusions visible without magnification). The interesting note about clarity is that there is no direct link between clarity and beauty of a diamond. “Cut” is the C that determines a diamond’s beauty and brilliance.

Here’s where it gets interesting: Under 40x magnification, these microscopic crystals can be seen within every so-called “flawless” diamond. And without magnification, not even a jeweler can detect the clarity difference between a “flawless” diamond and the much-less-expensive SI1. Clarity, like color, is a measurement of rarity, not beauty. And in the absence of magnification, the less rare SI1 is visually identical to the higher clarity grades, but significantly less expensive, so… We leave it to you to make the right decision for your needs…

Defined by the Gemological Institute of America Diamond Clarity Grade Scale, there are 6 main categories.

  • Flawless (FL) – No blemishes or inclusions visible under 10 power magnification
  • Internally Flawless (IF) – No inclusions and only minor blemishes visible under 10 power magnification
  • Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – Minute inclusions that are extremely difficult (in VVS1) or very difficult (in VVS2) to see under 10 power magnification
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Minor inclusions that are fairly difficult (VS1) or fairly easy (VS2) to see under 10 power magnification
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – Noticeable inclusions that are easy (SI1) or very easy (SI2) to see under 10 power magnification
  • Included (I1, I2 and I3) – Significant inclusions that are usually visible (I1), easily visible (I2) or obvious (I1) without magnification

Diamond Education - 4Cs - Clarity

If we know one thing in the world, it’s diamonds. Whereas many jewellers have you examine your diamond through a hand-held loupe, Spence’s diamond education includes the use of 10 power magnification Gemscopes , GIA Facetware Cut Estimate software and other certified Gemological Institute of America specialty tools to show you the true colour, cut, and clarity of your diamond. We’re trained to take the mystery out of your diamond hunt – and we’re passionate about helping you find just the right diamond. When you’re finished at Spence, you’ll know diamonds too.

Asking a Woman’s Father For Her Hand In Marriage

Diamond engagement rings

Call it outdated, old-fashioned, sexist, chauvinistic… Yet, asking a woman’s father (or mother) for her hand in marriage is still viewed by many women as a sweet, thoughtful and respectful tradition. It is a gesture than can highlight the authenticity in your intentions and love – an act of a true gentleman.

As outlined by Brett & Kate McKay on TheArtofManliness.com, they walk you through a few guidelines that will hopefully ease your anxiety, and ideally, have you enjoy venturing through this rite of passage:

  1. Talk to your girlfriend first.
  2. Try to meet him before you ask.
  3. Sit down with him man-to-man.
  4. Start out expressing your feelings for his daughter.
  5. Explain your wish to marry his daughter.
  6. Promise him that you’ll take care of his daughter for the rest of her life.
  7. Respectfully ask for his blessing.

Now that you have found “the one”, our recommendation is to read their full article, as they present some interesting points and suggestions to ponder on. Worthy of a few minutes of your time. Enjoy.