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  • A Fairy Tale to Hold in Your Hand

    With Kings and Queens, stunning jewels and royal engagements, fantasies and fairy tales have been influenced by Britain’s royal family for hundreds of years.  There are scores of books and films romanticising the idea of someone ordinary being swept up into the magic of this exclusive, glorious world of pomp and circumstance.

    In this day and age you don’t have to marry a royal to take a bit of this magic for yourself.  Little connections to the culture and heritage of the royal family are easily accessible, giving you the opportunity to hold a part of the glittering, golden fantasy in the palm of your hand.

    When the Prince of Wales (Edward VIII) was officially invested in 1911, the regalia he used incorporated rare Welsh gold.  This gold started a centurial tradition that has heavily influenced the wedding rings chosen by the royal family since.

    When the late Queen Mother married in 1923, her wedding ring was crafted from a nugget of Welsh gold.  This same nugget has supplied the gold for wedding rings belonging to Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, Anne Princess Royal, and Diana Princess of Wales.  Catherine, Duchess of Cornwall also has a wedding ring made from Welsh gold, and this weekend Meghan Markle is expected to receive a ring following this same tradition.

    Although that original golden nugget has been all but exhausted, the royal family has received various gifts to supply enough for future wedding rings.  Each ring is designed by a jeweller chosen by the royal couple.  While royal engagement rings have historically been colourful and vibrant, the wedding rings are typically simple in comparison.

    At Steffans, we are stockists of Clogau jewellery.  Since Welsh gold is scarce, it can be typically priced about 5 times more than the ‘normal’ price of gold.  Clogau blends this exceptional metal with gold from other sources to create breathtaking pieces with cultural relevance at economical costs.  To commemorate 2018's royal wedding, Clogau is presenting the Windsor Pearl collection, pictured below.

    William Roberts, founder of Clogau, acquired the rights to mine Welsh gold in 1989.  Clogau ceased their mining in 1998 due to the high costs of extraction and diminishing quantities.  Mining for Welsh gold is expected to pick back up later this year after geological, geochemical, and geophysical data suggested there is a wealth of gold still undiscovered.

    Welsh gold is particularly precious firstly because of its origin, and second due to its rarity.  Gold mining in Wales began hundreds of years ago, as far back as 70 AD, and there is an inherent sense of heritage in pieces containing this rare gold as well as poetry in the amount of work it takes to acquire it.  This gold does not come easy; it requires persistence, determination, skill, and collaboration.  It is these qualities that has and will always carry the people of the United Kingdom to greatness.

    The royal family and the fantasies that revolve around them are timelessly charming.  At Steffans Jewellers, we are happy to help you find your own precious piece of history and heritage from our range of Clogau jewellery so you, too, can have a taste of royalty.

  • Perfect Proposals

    With wedding season looming, many of you are currently in the middle of planning, deciding, and tweaking the details of your own special-day-to-be.  This season can be stressful, so let us help you refocus your attention on how exciting and precious this time of your life truly is.

    We’re running a contest on Steffans’ Facebook page, asking you to share your proposal stories and what made them special and meaningful.  At Steffans we’ve been sharing our own proposal stories with each other, so here’s a few for inspiration to get the ball rolling!

    Our Internet Department Manager Dan Calvert chose to pop the question in Cornwall, where his family spent many happy holidays.  He took his sweetheart Jaime to a secluded part of the beach to ask her to marry him, adding one more treasure to his collection of family memories on the shores of Cornwall.

    Emilie Johnson, our Copywriter and Internet Department Assistant, has a similar proposal story.  Her partner Shaun chose Weymouth where his family spent several summers, choosing to get down on one knee by the sea even though it was only days before Christmas.

    Dan Weston, a Northampton local, decided there was no place like home to build his special memories with his fiancée Paige.  He knew she would appreciate a private, intimate proposal in the comfort of their own home.  After a meal at her favourite restaurant, he brought her back to a home filled with candles with their favourite song playing.  Today they are enjoying the last days of planning before their wedding next month in the middle of May.

    To participate in our Perfect Proposal contest please submit your proposal story (and pictures if you have any) on our Facebook post before May 31st.  The winner will receive £250 toward two wedding rings from Steffans Jewellers, as well as the standard £100 gift card to use in store toward any item.  Your wedding rings will have a lifetime warranty with three refinishes and one resizing at no cost, as well as the option of free engraving.

    Schedule your appointment on steffans.co.uk so we can help you find the rings that best express everything that makes your story amazing and beautiful.  We look forward to hearing your proposal stories and truly hope you are enjoying this season of you lives; it is truly unlike any other!

  • The Time of our Lives

    Every culture has their own wedding traditions, from arranged marriages to down-on-one-knee proposals.  Nearly every one of these traditions has deep historic roots, although they don’t always mean the same thing now.

    Take for example the ever familiar tradition of a gentleman getting down on one knee.  One of the most charming traditions, this dates back to the era of knighthood and has always been an act of allegiance and love.  On occasion we still see grooms secretly asking the bride’s father for his blessing, although originally this came from a time when women were assets and marriage wasn’t romantic yet.  Nowadays, we see a growing number of women proposing (as well as same-sex marriages), meaning engagement rings for men are becoming increasingly common.

    In many cultures the process of finding your future spouse is more regulated, with arranged marriages and meetings common in countries such as India, Pakistan, Thailand, Japan, and Kenya.  Very different from forced marriages, these arrangements generally give the families and couple opportunity to meet and gauge compatibility, taking many factors beyond romance and physical attraction into account.

    Some of our Western traditions are much more modern than many of us realise, with diamond engagement rings becoming a perceived necessity in 1936 due to an incredibly successful ad campaign from De Beers jewellers.  This is where we get the rule that an engagement ring ‘should’ cost three months’ salary.  In actuality, the UK spends on average £2000 on their engagement rings, which comes well below the three month salary mark of most.

    The rings themselves are romantically symbolic.  Although the exact origin of wedding rings is unknown, today they are associated with the idea of infinite love, since a circle has no beginning or end.  Rings to show loyalty and devotion have been worn on the third finger of the left hand since the days of Ancient Egypt.  The Egyptians believed there was a vein in this finger, the vena amoris, which went straight to the heart.

    The idea of marrying for love is recent.  Historically, marriage was a strategic arrangement that connected families for mutual financial, social, or political benefits.  In medieval times lovesickness was actually thought to be a kind of insanity.  However, since the American and French revolutions marrying for love is definitely no longer the taboo it once was.  During the Enlightenment, people began to consider the right to personal happiness more important, and marrying for love began to grow into the norm we know in today’s Western culture.

    With all this love going around, people now get incredibly creative with their declarations of undying affection.  We’ve seen the question popped through a variety of dramatic gestures, sometimes with the help and participation of family and friends.  We want to know your proposal stories; we’re running a Perfect Proposal competition through the Steffans Facebook page, so keep an eye out for announcements and specific information!  We will be requesting that you share the story of your proposal and what made it truly perfect.

    If you require assistance in choosing your wedding rings please feel free to contact us so we can help make every detail flawless.  Every marriage is beautiful, and if you’re in the throes of planning your own wedding we truly wish that you have the time of your lives now and forever.

  • #steffansontour at Baselworld 2018 : Part One

    Once again, Steffans has set out to find the best & most innovative pieces to bring to our customers.  This time we were at Baselworld, the world’s most prominent trade show for watch enthusiasts.

    On Thursday March 22, a small handful of our team flew out of LHR bound for Basel in Switzerland.  Inside Baselworld’s stunning Messe Basel buildings were 2100 exhibitors from more than 45 countries.  Among these ranks were Tag Heuer, Longines, Tissot, & Gucci, all of whom brought impressive new designs.

    During our meeting with Tag Heuer, they displayed several updated and new models such as the Aston Martin F1, two new Calibre 16 Carreras, the Tête de Vipère, & Gulf collaborations.

    Undoubtedly Tag’s crowning glory for this year is their Tête de Vipère certified Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon Chronometer.  This is the first Tag Heuer piece to meet this standard, & shows the increasing level of promise and prestige Tag has to offer going into the 55th anniversary of the Carrera collection.  There will be a limited number of Tête de Vipère Carreras available, making this a truly special piece.

    Tag is releasing a special edition Monaco Gulf to celebrate 50 years of collaboration, throwing a new spin onto the classic design.

    The partnership between Tag Heuer and Aston Martin has been confirmed and is being marked by the release of two chronograph watches; the Aston Martin Racing Formula 1 and the Carrera Heur-01.  The F1 features Aston Martin’s signature lime essence, which highlights the features in a way that is at once subtle and striking.  The Carrera is more understated yet no less sophisticated, with many elements paying homage to Aston Martin’s vehicles.

    A new Autavia watch is being released, with designs guided by the Siffert Autavia and the 3-register 73633 Autavia.  The classic colour scheme has been maintained, and a bidirectional turning bezel with a black aluminium bezel has been added to compliment the aesthetics.  Timeless design and vintage elements make the Autavia an attractive piece beloved by collectors.

    Every addition to the Tag Heuer range was a display of the brand’s impressive prestige and a nod to its own depth of history.  This new generation of watches effortlessly pays its respects to the roots Tag Heuer has grown from while staring point blank into the future of watch industry and design.

    Watches will be available for pre-order through the Steffans website, and many of these watches will be produced in limited numbers.  All watches are available for purchase on finance; if you have any questions feel free to contact us!

    There were great contributions from Tissot, Rado, Longines, and Gucci, which will be mentioned in the second and final part of our Baselworld 2018 account.

  • Crossing the Line; 2018’s Spring / Summer Trends

    What do Napoleon’s throne, your great grandmother’s curtains, and 2018’s most prominent jewellery trends have in common?

    Tassels; vibrant, varied, and vivacious, these playful accessories have brightened the jewellery scene.  Historically thought to be protective and often used as status symbols and fashion accessories, tassels have spent centuries evolving.  In today’s styles you’ll see them adorning bags, clothing, and jewellery.

    But really, tassels are a small part of a much bigger wave of trends.  You’ll be seeing plenty of statement jewellery from chunky jewelled necklaces to chandelier earrings.  Many of these trends reference styles that are actually quite ancient, blending and acknowledging cultures that don’t often get recognition in the same light we’re currently seeing them in.

    Another statement earring we’re seeing is hoops.  Most of us are familiar with them, and many remember them from the 1970’s, but Latinx and black communities have been rocking them for decades.  They are too prominent in these communities to be considered a 'trend'.  Hoop earrings dating back to 2500 BC have been discovered, so the design itself is definitely nothing new.  They have always held cultural significance, and outside of their current trend status they have oftentimes been looked down on by people who misunderstand that significance.

    We’re also seeing bohemian jewellery maintaining its place as a staple favourite for Spring and Summer styles.  BoHo fashion has its deepest inspirational roots in the designs of Eastern European travellers and refugees and the Roma people, with added elements of the 1960’s hippy styles and Asian influences.

    We love BoHo looks because they’re romantic and grounding, ideal for expressing our spiritual sides.  Chlobo is a great option if you’re looking for high quality Bohemian and tasselled pieces.

     

     

     

    There is an increase in masculine jewellery, with more men branching out of simply styling with watches to accessorising with necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.  Thomas Sabo, Steff, and Gucci have a fantastic selection of men’s jewellery.  Sculptural and layered pieces give a touch of unique personality to any ensemble.

    The bottom line for 2018’s Spring / Summer styles is expression and inclusiveness.  Jewellery and fashion has always been about expressing ourselves, but the coming trends are breaking boundaries and welcoming the presence of new influences.  We live in a world where Western culture no longer dominates, where every continent is connected, and where we can see into the lives of people thousands of miles apart.  The unique elements of cultures that are worlds apart from our own is coming into a renewed appreciation, and every culture has something beautiful and profound to contribute to the world of fashion and jewellery.

    With this recognition of cultures comes respect, and with that respect comes concern for the actual people involved in the production of fashion.  Ethically sourced fashion and jewellery pieces are increasingly in the spotlight with the growing perspective that if the creation of something has caused harm to anyone, it simply is not beautiful.  We’re seeing an increased effort to reach out a hand to help other people and take care of our world.  Olivia Burton is a great example, as they are beginning to produce vegan and eco friendly watches.  Also, keep an eye on our Steff brand for an upcoming opportunity to help us make a positive impact on our world!

    2018’s trends are colourful, fun, and impactful.  Whatever your personal style, you’ll find something that brings new life to your wardrobe this year.

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