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Episode 2 - Friends and Family - Tradition in Proposing
Welcome to the Ringmaster Podcast. In this episode, our Design Chief and our Diamond Experts will be speaking about the importance and the roles of family and friends when it comes to proposals. How do you come across to the family? What are your traditions? What are her traditions? We will be answering how to go about these things and how important these relationships are.
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Koorosh Daneshgar Calendar
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Welcome to the RingMaster Podcast, Chicago's most trusted source to educate, guide and give you tips and advice for choosing and purchasing the right diamonds, custom engagement rings, and wedding bands. Here is our expert design chief, Koorosh Danshgar, and our diamond experts Mory Tafreshi and Terry Hanley. This podcast is brought to you by Chicago’s very own Wedding Bands & Company where we believe marriage is too important for ordinary jewelry.
Koorosh: One of the things you guys will have to consider is asking the father of the bride permission- And that’s very traditional. My advice as someone who has done this, is it’s absolutely necessary.We have to see the situation, if her father is not in her life. You’ll have to see who is next, is it her Mom? Her Brother? That's what I did, I asked my brother-in-law and mother-in-law to come for brunch and we sat and had breakfast. I think they had a feeling something was going to happen first, but I didn’t rush into anything from the beginning. I just started with a bit of conversation about how happy I am with her daughter, how amazing her daughter is, and how good I have felt about everything with her. After I told them everything about her, I also talked about how I felt about their family and her brother. After all things were said, I said “ I want to add something, I want to ask you guys for permission to ask for her hand” and then she started crying. I think this makes you guys true gentlemen- to go ahead and ask for permission. You’ll have to see what your relationship is like with her father. If you’re a bit worried about this, try to make it very soft and casually ask them to come out with you to have a coffee or drink, then a conversation will start and you can bring it up. This absolutely give you credibility and can give the parents pride. As a father myself, I look forward to that day as it is important to me.
Terry: It is always an interesting conversation, and through the many years of doing this I have certainly come across enough couples (guys) that have pondered whether “Is there a need to do this?” or “To not do this?” to “ How do I do this?” All that kind of good stuff. As everyone has a different relationship, everyone’s family dynamic is very, very different.By this point of the game, you’re more than likely very familiar with her family dynamics and her parents You gotta use a little bit of your judgement on this. It’s [Asking for permissions is] nothing more than an expression of respect to her family...to her parents and her family in general. I think this is the most important as you’re going to be living with these people for the rest of your lives my friends! You're going to want to start on the right foot and this is always a terrific way to do it. I only know of two situations where the father said “No”, but it wasn’t a stern “No”, rather a “I don't think you’re ready yet”, too young perhaps, whatever that reason may be. Generally, the parents will totally appreciate it and respect it.. So it’s a good step so if you feel the need to do it, I strongly recommend you to step up and do it, simple as that.
Koorosh: Mory do you have any memories?
Mory: Yeah, being 15 years in this business you’re going to have a lot of memories, but as Terry mentioned, it's all about respect. You’re going to respect the tradition, her, and her family. I had a guy, about 2-3 years ago, come in and say “Mory, I’m going to take my father-in-law to be out tonight and get him drunk and get that ‘Yes!’”. I told him “Make sure you DO NOT do that!” and he informed me he was going to record it for when he says yes. I was curious if he had any doubts and he said “Nah, I was just kidding!”. A word of advice to make sure they’re sober, I’m sure they are, as it all comes back to the respect you have toward your partner more than you are doing it to his/her family. I’m Persian, so a part of our tradition is that you go with your mom to ask for permission from your parents while your partner is there! So this is more intense! Maybe a long time ago, of course, it was 23 years ago. I did have just one couple in the last 15 years in the business, that only knew each other for less than 24 hours before getting married. Other than that, they usually know each other and date for about 6 months to a year, in addition most of my clients live with each other for a couple of years. This way I assume they get to know each other a bit more. As Terry said, by the time you pop this question you most likely already know the answer but do diligence out of respect.
Koorosh: During this, a question may be revealed of “What is going to happen if I open the conversation and they offer me a passed down diamond or engagement ring / family piece?”. As a designer I will say this may be a great way to start but there are always two sides of the coin. First of all, as far as helping you financially you do not have to purchase a diamond and you have something you can take to a jeweler or designer to have it sized and ensure everything is okay. You have to understand, I have customers who have received a 2 carat, beautiful diamond passed down from Grandma and it's more than great that they can use this. I also have a customer who received a 0.5 carat diamond which was full of inclusions and lacked sparkle, and we can’t really do anything with it here. If you invest in a good diamond, a beautiful high quality GIA diamond, and you keep it for years in your family, someday someone else, like your sons and future nieces and nephews can use it. No other purchase is like this. When purchasing a car, after 10 years the value diseases and your son might say “Nah, I’m not going to drive around this old car!”. When bought, Jewelry pieces with diamonds will become a family heirloom.
Terry: Oh yes! Facing the reality of the jewelry in general...this is about sentiment. Everything is generally given for an event, a purpose, something monumental in everybody's lives. An engagement, a wedding, a birth of a child - so on and so far- all of it is about sentiment. When your great-grandmother's ring went to your grandma, and then to your mother, and now it’s coming to you… that’s cool stuff! Yes, it's also inevitable that over the years and generations the engagement rings that our grandmothers received from their grandfathers probably were not of the caliber and size or anything within the well of what you are used to seeing your friends getting. There is always that. I do think it’s always cool to integrate those stones into an engagement ring. I had one client, not long ago, who inherited a much older stone from the 1920’s, old European cut but it was a good sized stone. We literally had the stone re-cut and it came out absolutely spectacular and they were thrilled.They still wear it proudly and can tell the store about their great-grandmother’s stone! Don’t limit yourself though, your parents,your grandparents, and your great-grandparents would want you to be happy with what you are wearing. Sometimes integrating a stone like that into the design or into something else - a nice pendant or something else. Just don’t limit yourself as this is your ring, your engagement, your marriage, this is your life so do what is right for you.
Koorosh: I want to add that I recently had a project where I designed a marquise ring with baguettes on the side. This ring was amazing! We were in the process of designing with the perfect diamond (E color) a beautiful marquise with baguettes on the side about 2 weeks ago. Everything was pretty much done! During that time he also asked his partner’s family for permission. During our next meeting when he came in to see the wax model of the finished design he informed me they ended up giving him a ring that has been within the family. Right away I looked at the diamonds and could notice they were J color, or very yellow. I had everything in the design E color but it meant a lot to him to have the diamonds a part of the ring. Because it was important to him I took one of the small diamonds and embedded it inside the ring. So usually when this happens, we can engrave the word ‘LOVE” in the ring and instead of the “O” we place the round diamond in its place. That stone can be from a family heirloom and makes this piece amazing or gives it a connection. He really loved the idea and we used the diamond in the design. I always love seeing those family heirlooms, you can always check the quality of these pieces with your jeweler. One way of seeing where your pieces are is by asking a jeweler, “If I were to see this to you, how much credit could I get?” this way if they let you know they aren’t interested, it might not be something you want to present. However if they offer a couple thousand right there and then , you’ll know your ring has more value.
Koorosh: Mory I know you have some experience with passed-down diamonds from families.
Mory: Yeah, I always tell my clients the most important thing is you have to have the piece in your hand and then we can talk about it. It has happened to me in the past where a client’s grandmother was promised her mother’s ring, his great grand-mothers. For the last 15-20 years he believed the stone to be a 2 carat diamond. Finally when the time arrives and we have already designed the ring, his father ships the diamond ring over to me to get started on production...and its a 0.25 carat diamond! There’s nothing wrong with it as it was a great size for 1940-1940. As Koorosh said we can always incorporate it into the piece, using it as a side diamond if the color and clarity is okay. But we always build the ring around the center stone so we have to have all the information on shape, color, clarity, size, and then we go from there and provide you advice on how we are going to approach the whole thing.
Koorosh: I have a client who brought in a diamond engagement ring and said “This was my parent’s grandmother's ring and she loved this ring and diamond! It’s 2 carat!” He was so incredibly excited. Right away when he took it out I could see for myself and informed him “I’m sorry, this is cubic zirconia”. He freaked out!
Terry: Again you never know in history when that was changed out! Maybe one of the uncles or somebody needed a little cash at some point and got some help!
Koorosh: We ended up measuring the diameter of the stone and trying to get the exact similar ‘diamond’. Now, If you get offered a passed down ring or diamond while asking for permission that has to be one of the benefits- asking the family and maybe coming out with a diamond!
Mory: I did have a customer who got sent in a totally opposite direction! He brought in his stone and said “This is my grandmother’s ring”. And I looked at him shocked and told them “You’re kidding me, that can’t be your grandmother’s diamond” and he said “No, no I didn’t know either! It was given to my mom, and my mom ended up losing it. However the insurance value for it was high so my mom ended up buying this to replace it” It was a 3.76 carat Round diamond and he kept asking “Mory are you sure if I give this to my fiance she’s going to be okay with?” So I told him if she isn’t okay with it, give it to me! This is almost a 4 carat diamond, what are you talking about?! That’s considerable! It came out beautiful!
Koorosh: This can be two ways! You can also open a conversation with your mom, your grandma, and then you might see pieces coming your way and being told “you’re my favorite grandchild and here you are! We hope this diamond is a real diamond and good quality, hopefully you can use it”, Why not?! The stability of diamond will always be what it is. We know that the stability of this price will be backed up by and controlled by De Beers. De Beers holds the market and ensures diamonds do not flood to the streets, there will always be demand and production, and they match. You will never buy a diamond and then be told they found this mine of diamonds and now all these diamonds will be entering the market and your diamond will not have value. The market for diamonds in the last 50 years has always risen, at a slow rate, but always rising, You will never find a diamond that went down even during the recession.
Terry: Again, I don’t think this is so much the financial end, It is the sentimental aspect of it. The whole thing- marriage & weddings- all of what you’re going through, all of what you're contemplating doing, is all about getting that family support. All about them stepping up and watching the two of you publicly declare your vows to one another. This is all about the sentiment. If the ring is of caliber and is something you want to use and picture your partner wearing 40 years from now, 50 years from now, because it inevitably happens and it’s something they are comfortable with at that point. Yeah! It's definitely worth considering, but you have to do what is right for you. So, in consideration of all these things, in terms of our conversation of inheriting family pieces and coming your way for the engagement process, once you ask someone with the family and they put something in front of you you gotta make those decisions. You’ve been watching her, what catches her attention in terms of styling. You have probably been hearing about her friends rings and what she tends to gravitate towards look wise and design wise. You gotta make some decisions if #1 is what is being offered to you is something that is going to work within that criteria of what she's thinking. If so, that’s terrific. Then you can kinda begin your steps of what that item is and isn’t. These are decisions you gotta make about her and what is going to be appreciated. Considering what it is, again, I wouldn't be focused on just the value but the sentiment of it and what is going to be important for you and her. We live in a different world than our grandparents and parents in terms of double professional income households. It's a very different market than it was 30 years ago or 50 years ago, Your standards are very different from what your folks were. Sentiment is important, there are always ways for us to work these family pieces into pieces. If it is something of caliber, definitely consider it and contemplate the possibilities to utilize it. Don’t feel forced to, make those decisions on your own. We can always look at them, work with them, and walk you through the process- what in reality is this and what can be done with this? You need to ask yourself, if this is in reality is something she is going to love and cherish and want to wear, and maybe passed down to your children- that’s what this is all about.
Koorosh: Another thing that might occur in those conversations when talking to family about permission is a family jeweler. You're going to hear that, “Son, Congratulations, this is perfect. Let me get you in touch with our family jeweler. He is going to take care of you, we have been going with him for 20 years”. This is nice if you want to bring in this romantic tradition, of her parents bought a diamond from that person and they are now married going back ever since. I most definitely want to give a chance to that person. Out of respect to her family, consider it! It’s worth visiting that jewelry and talking to them about your options. We are going to expand more on another episode on how to pick your jeweler! I always make the example of when I was in High School, I used to believe my mom was the best cook in the world. After traveling the world, I now know there are many good cooks and some better than mom! God bless her soul! But it is true, you need to go try and see other jewelers. It’s a great resource to have a family jeweler, or for her family to have a family jeweler. But a jeweler should be considered a profession like a doctor, someone you’re going to need in your life or referral to. Someone you can build a relationship with and you can trust, we’ll go through this later, but then you can make that connection and you’ll have someone who has more value to offer than you think. We will explain later who to choose and the many things to consider.
Mory: It all goes back to relationships and respect. I always tell my clients with due diligence when you come to me I will never tell you not to go to another jeweler. This is a free world you can do whatever you want, but you know because of all the relationships I’ve had with them for the past 15 years I would say 3 out of 4 luckily, thank god, always come back to me and they respect that. I respect it. It’s all about the information you get and where you feel comfortable. There’s tons of information online, walking to other stores you are fed all this kind of information. You’re not familiar with this information, you may be a professional in your line of duty, but when it comes to this- We’re going to be the experts. We’ll feed you and let ya go out there on your search with due diligence. We will be happy to guide you in the right direction.
Koorosh: I want to tell all our listeners that a survey on TheKnot revealed 80% guys didn’t know anything about engagement rings or diamonds when purchasing. 20% previously bought them or knew some things about them. This is something that you need to learn more about as I said in the other episode, our goal is getting between 40%-70% to make that decision.
Koorosh: Here, we are going to finish! Thank you so much for listening to our podcast. I appreciate it and we will try to bring value. We respect your time. At the same time I hope you enjoyed this and were entertained. We would love to hear from you and we hope you can visit us at our store sponsored by Wedding Bands Company.
Terry: Have a great day!
Mory: Have a good one!
This Podcast was brought to you by Wedding Bands & Company, where we believe marriage is too important for ordinary jewelry.