Tuesday, 19 May 2015

History’s Most Romantic Engagement Ring Styles

What’s in a ring? An engagement ring, for being such a small piece of jewellery, can hold an awful lot of meaning! Today’s rings come in a wide range of styles, cuts, and settings, whether you prefer a classic solitaire or a vintage Art Deco style. Whether you’re planning a wedding or are just looking for some unique fashion ideas, these retro styles can be inspiring. The range of styles that you see today is the culmination of thousands of years of engagement ring history. To get an idea of just how far back this tradition goes, take a look at this handy infographic from jewellery retailers Vashi. Here are a few of the most romantic styles seen throughout the ages.

Roman Key Rings 
There’s evidence that engagement rings were given in ancient Rome, dating back to the third century. The traditional engagement ring during this time often appeared as a key, composed out of materials like iron or brass. The key shape was meant to symbolize a woman unlocking a new life for herself, stepping forward into the future with her husband. Sometimes the keys corresponded to jewellery boxes with other hidden goodies inside. 

Posie Rings
If you read Shakespeare’s plays, you’ll note references to engagement and wedding rings during the 1600s and 1700s. One particularly romantic style from this time period was the posie ring, composed of silver or gold with a line of poetry or secret message engraved inside of the band. 

Victorian Style
One of the most romantic eras was the Victorian era in England, when Queen Victoria’s love for her husband Albert was notable. Fashions reflected this prominent romance story, and Victorian engagement rings were often whimsical, elaborate, and filled with symbolism. You’ll see flowers, hearts, bows, and other shapes that have come back into fashion now. Diamonds became increasingly popular during this time period as well. 

Claddagh Rings 
In the 18th century, Irish lovers gave one another “Claddagh” rings featuring two hands holding a heart bearing a crown. The couple’s initials were traditionally engraved within the ring as well, for a rustic, sweet, and simple style. 

Asscher Cut Diamonds
As diamonds became the standard thanks to companies like Tiffany, they were cut in an increasingly wide range of styles and shapes. Designed in 1902, the Asscher cut is a perfect example of the era’s elegant designs. This vintage style is still extremely popular today, with its high crown and deep pavilion. It’s a cool, geometric cut that really showcases the diamond nicely and can be set off with coloured gemstones. 

Art Deco 
Do you love a clean, modern style? Look no further than the Art Deco era from the 1920s and 30s for more geometric cuts and artistic variations on the wedding ring. Platinum and white gold were favoured during this time period, and many of these rings still look quite modern today. 

These are just a few highlights from the evolution of engagement ring style over the years. Whether your personal style leans towards the flowery or the futuristic, there are romantic rings out there to suit every personality!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Coping With An Absent Father

When I was a teenager my dad stopped being in my life. I look back now and I know that it was for the best, but it took me up until I was in my thirties to realise that, in fact it was only when I lost my mother that it suddenly dawned on me my dad was a bloody useless father. He was ok until he and mum divorced when I was eleven. I adored him. 

Me and my three younger brothers visited him when he could be bothered to turn up, but most of the time he left us waiting at our living room window, and my little brothers would cry and wait for him all day. He was probably drunk somewhere, hungover from the night before. Mum would try hard to distract us and would pile us into the car to visit our cousins or  to spend the day at the beach. I didn't understand why he didn't want to see us. Still I adored him.

This went on for years, and how my Mum never lost it with him I'll never know. She still carried on coping with the weekly disappointment on our faces, wiping away the tears and even driving around to look for him. He never paid her a penny in child support, and still I adored him.

By the time I reached my teenage years I had started to play up. Not the usual teenage rebellion, I was bloody angry, but at the time I didn't actually know why. I blamed my Mum because she was a strict parent. I got drunk, hung around with boys she didn't like, got into fights, got arrested. I kicked, I screamed. I hated her. My darling mum who didn't know what the hell to do with me and my dad continued to ignore me. Still I adored him.

I then met my now Husband, and his love conquered all. I felt so loved by him, so treasured. My mum became my best friend as she guided me in the right direction. I settled down, got married and had my own family. So did my dad. He went on to raise someone else's daughter with a woman who has no time for her husband's children. It took me years to understand. It hurt that she hated us so much and that dad would sit back and take it. Still I adored him.

I raised my family without a Grandfather in their lives. Unfortunately my husbands father is just as useless as mine. I would feel sad for my kids that they were missing out on a Granddad, but remembered that neither one would be a good influence on their lives anyway. Still I adored him.

Then my mum died. My whole world just crashed around me. I was thirty six but I still needed my Mum. How was I going to go on without her. I was lost. I rung my dad, hoping for some comfort, for some love, but instead he said "Bloody hell Em, I'm at work". I hung up feeling bad for ruining his day. I felt bad! Wtf! Suddenly I no longer adored him. I saw him for what he really is. A self centered man who does not care for anyone but himself. 

I decided on that day that I would never contact him him again. If he wanted me in his life he can come find me. My mum raised his children with no help from him. Financially she struggled to pay the mortgage while he sat in his lovely home, surrounded by expensive soft furnishings, hobbies, holidays to places like Australia and he even owned a boat. I had never realised how selfish he actually was up until I began to analyse the relationship I had with my Mum. And I felt sad for her. Mum never once slagged him off, she never complained about him. She would simply roll her eyes and get on with it. I adore her for that.

Now I'm in my forties, I forgive him. I had to before my resentment towards him ate me up. I just let it go. I accepted him for who he is and Thank god that I chose to marry someone completely opposite to him. My dad's absence did really affect me, especially my self esteem and I find it particularly difficult to cope with rejection, but it has also made me a stronger person and it has taught me to treasure those people who treat me right and to walk away from the one's who don't. 

Do you have a good relationship with your Dad? If you don't how have you dealt with it?


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