Welcome to ‘Engagement Season’ When Nearly 40% of All Marriage Proposals Take Place

Welcome to “engagement season,” the magical time between Thanksgiving Day and Valentine’s Day when nearly 40% of all marriage proposals take place.

According to WeddingWire’s 2018 Newlywed Report, Christmas Day is the most popular day of the year to pop the question, followed by Valentine’s Day, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve.

Interestingly, the WeddingWire survey of 18,000 U.S. newlyweds married in 2017 reveals a dramatic spike in proposals during the month of December. Throughout the rest of the year, the distribution of proposals during each month ranges from 7% to 9%. But, in December, that number rises to 16%.

Experts believe that the winter engagement phenomenon is attributed to two factors: the romantic nature of the season… and convenience. Suitors likely choose December to pop the question because they love the spirit of the holiday season. And, certainly, there’s no better time to propose than when all the family is in town to celebrate with the newly engaged couple.

Here’s a review of the Top 10 days of the year to get engaged, according to WeddingWire’s 2018 Newlywed Report…

#1. Christmas Day. It’s the biggest day of the year for gift-giving, so it makes perfect sense that this, too, would be the biggest day to give the ultimate gift — a diamond engagement ring.

#2. Valentine’s Day. Cupid’s special day is all about love and expressing to that special someone just how much you care. Instead of delivering a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolate, millions of romantic suitors opt for a proposal and a ring.

#3. Christmas Eve. For the families who prefer to exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, this is the perfect time to add to the joyful holiday spirit by popping the question.

#4 & #5. New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve. We can’t imagine a better way to celebrate the New Year than with a surprise marriage proposal as the clock ticks down and 2018 makes way for 2019. Technically, if she says “Yes” before midnight, the engagement took place on New Year’s Eve, but if she says “Yes” after midnight, the engagement is credited to New Year’s Day.

#6. December 23rd (Day Before Christmas Eve). In the same survey last year, 12/23 rated #9. We’re guessing that the ascent to #6 reflects more newly engaged couples choosing to get a jump on the holiday and avoiding Christmas Eve distractions that might take the focus off the bride and groom-to-be.

#7. Two Saturdays Before Christmas Eve. It’s one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Might it be possible that the couples are out together, looking at engagement rings, making a selection and proposing on the spot?

#8. Fourth of July (Independence Day). One of only two dates in the Top 10 that is outside the traditional “engagement season,” the Fourth of July — with festive fireworks and some time off from work — makes for a memorable day to pop the question.

#9. Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend. This day marks the official start of summer and a perfect day to propose. A Saturday engagement allows the couple to extend the celebration with family and friends over the long weekend.

#10. Saturday Before Valentine’s Day. New to the WeddingWire Top 10, the Saturday before Valentine’s Day may reflect the couple’s desire to celebrate their engagement over a weekend and not necessarily on Valentine’s Day, which often comes up during the week (in 2018, February 14 was on a Wednesday) and is certainly not a day when most people have off. Popping the question on the weekend prior to Valentine’s Day also preserves the element of surprise.

Credit: Image by Bigstockphoto.com.

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Supermodel Josephine Skriver Shares Pics of Northern Lights Proposal and Gorgeous Ring

Barely two weeks removed from her high-profile appearance at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show in New York, supermodel Josephine Skriver got engaged to her singer-songwriter boyfriend Alexander DeLeon on a frozen lake under the northern lights of Finland. Skriver and her new fiancé, who goes by the stage name Bohnes, turned to Instagram to share stunning pics of the diamond engagement ring and epic proposal.

The ring features a sizable emerald-cut center stone set in a diamond-encrusted split-shank band.

The 25-year-old Danish model revealed in her Instagram feed all the romantic details of DeLeon’s surprise proposal and how she was able to check off three items on her bucket list within seven days… Swimming with orcas, seeing the aurora borealis (i.e. the northern lights) and getting engaged to the love of her life.

“It was a cold November night. Alex had us driven all the way to Finland to see the northern lights,” wrote Skriver. “It was my second bucket list number I was checking off in the same week after swimming with orcas, my favorite animals, in their natural habitat! He had a bonfire built for me on a frozen lake deep in Scandinavia complete with the full moon shining on our backs and hot cocoa to keep us warm.”

Skriver marveled at the coincidences and events that made the day absolutely perfect. It was November 23, the day DeLeon released “Aurora Borealis,” a song inspired by Skriver. And 23 just happens to be the supermodel’s lucky number.

“Sometimes the universe just chooses to leave you speechless!!!” she continued. “That was when @bohnes looked over at me. When he got down on one knee and asked me to be his forever… I have never been more sure about anything in my life. You are my biggest adventure. My fairytale come true. My soulmate. My best friend. The love of my life. So, of course, it was 1millionxYES!!!”

In the post that earned 773,000 Likes on Instagram, Skriver went on to describe how they bring out the best in each other…

“Sometimes in life you will meet that one person that makes everything make sense. A person that pushes you to be an even greater version of yourself. A person that makes you not just dream it… but believe it! Believe in your own abilities to make anything happen! @bohnes with you I just knew! You are all that and more. You walked into my life and I have never looked back. I love you. You are MY northern lights and MY aurora borealis. ❤ – Your Jo

On his Instagram page, the 29-year-old DeLeon posted a closeup photo of Skriver showing off her new ring. His simple caption: forever. ❤

Credits: Images via Instagram.com/bohnes; Instagram.com/josephineskriver.

PA ‘Picker’ Pays Pennies for Antique Ring Box and Finds Diamond Treasure Hidden Inside

Lauren Smith, a self-described “picker,” was following a hunch when she scooped up an antique ring box for pennies at a Goodwill outlet in Reading, Pa.

At first glance, the box that was stamped with the name of a jeweler/optometrist in nearby Allentown seemed to be empty. But, when she got home, Smith carefully pried up the velvet ring pad, revealing a diamond treasure underneath.

“It came up really easily and there was this engagement ring under there and I was just like, ‘Ah,'” Smith told a reporter from Fox29 in Philadelphia.

In the spirit of the holiday season, Smith will forgo a potential big payday and, instead, try to reunite the antique ring with the family of its rightful owner. The yellow gold ring is engraved with a specific date in 1921 and the avid treasure hunter will use that information to help verify any claimants that come forward.

“I just want to give this family back something they thought they may have lost forever,” she said. “I think if you have the opportunity to do something like that you should at least give it a shot.”

Smith explained that the ring box was priced by weight, so her outlay was just pennies.

Based on her own experience, Smith believes that the ring box — and its hidden treasure — was donated by a family who hastily cleared the home of an elderly relative.

“I helped my parents clean out my grandparent’s house and after a while you just get so overwhelmed,” she told Fox29. “You just want to get rid of things and sometimes you don’t look as closely as maybe you would under other circumstances.”

Interestingly, a representative from Goodwill told the Fox reporter that the company regularly screens for items that were donated in error. The ring hidden under the ring pad wasn’t detected by the Goodwill staff, but spokesperson Cheryl Kulp said she was thrilled that the ring ended up with the kindhearted Smith.

“That’s just the generosity of the community in which we reside,” Kulp said.

Credits: Screen captures via fox29.com.

Singer Toni Braxton Pleas for the Return of ‘Bonnie,’ Her 10-Carat Canary Diamond Ring

Singer Toni Braxton is hoping that one of her 2.8 million Instagram followers knows the whereabouts of “Bonnie,” the Grammy-award winner’s $5 million, 10-carat canary yellow diamond engagement ring.

Bonnie was lost last week on a cross-country Delta flight from JFK in New York to LAX in Los Angeles. The 51-year-old singer had packed the cushion-cut diamond ring and other valuable jewels in a Louis Vuitton train case and placed it in the overhead bin. Unfortunately, she forgot to remove it when she deplaned.

Delta was able to reunite Braxton with her bag, but most of the jewelry inside was missing.

In an Instagram post, Braxton, who was recovering from a bout with the flu, wrote, “Feeling back to my old self again, yay! But I’m sad today… my engagement ring is missing… but I’m optimistic that someone will find Bonnie and return her home.”

On Twitter, she wrote, “Hey everyone, @delta located my LV Train Case! Yay! Unfortunately most of my jewelry items are missing…including MY ENGAGEMENT RING! Whoever BORROWED it… PLEEEASE return it!!!! I promise, no questions asked!

So far, nobody has come forward with the halo-style ring that she received last January from rapper Birdman, aka Bryan Christopher Williams.

Back on October 5, the “Un-Break My Heart” singer posted an Instagram selfie, in which Bonnie the engagement ring is clearly visible. In the post, she told her fans that she was heading out of town to celebrate her birthday “all weekend long!”

It’s fair to assume that Bonnie made that trip, as well, and she was properly secured on the performer’s finger or in her carry-on bag.

With many of our readers traveling for the holidays, we remind you to heed the following tips from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company…

“It’s perfectly OK to wear your fine jewelry through the checkpoint station,” wrote TSA blogger Bob Burns. “As long as the jewelry is not really bulky, travelers should keep their precious possessions on their bodies as they walk through metal detectors or high-tech imaging devices. Fine jewelry items that are not worn should be placed in a carry-on bag that should never be left unattended.”

Burns added that travelers should never place their valuables in the plastic bowls that the TSA provides to hold smaller items. Bowls can tip over on the conveyor belts, seemingly sending small jewelry into another dimension where it is never seen again, according to Burns.

Here are a few more traveling tips from Jewelers Mutual…

• Pack light and take only the jewelry you’ll wear while traveling and at your destination. The 4-carat diamond ring you save for special occasions? Probably not. The pearls that go with everything? Definitely.
• List all the jewelry you’ll take with you. Make two copies. Take one copy with you and store it separately from your jewelry. Leave the other copy at home. Also helpful: take pictures or a video of your jewelry.
• Never put jewelry in checked baggage. Instead, wear it or stow it in your carry-on bag. If you wear it, take extra care by slipping a pendant inside a sweater or turning your ring so only the band shows.
• Put your jewelry in a favorite bag you’ll carry while traveling. Don’t leave your jewelry in an unattended car or suitcase.
• When checking into your hotel or condo, don’t hand your jewelry bag to hotel staff. Carry it personally.
• Always store jewelry in the hotel safe when not wearing it.
• Insure your personal jewelry against loss, damage, theft and mysterious disappearance wherever your travels take you, worldwide. So get the right insurance. Then relax, be yourself and have fun.

Credit: Image via Instagram/tonibraxton.

Barbara Sinatra’s 20.6-Carat Engagement Ring Tops ‘Lady Blue Eyes’ Collection at Sotheby’s

The 20.6-carat emerald-cut diamond ring that Frank Sinatra famously presented to fourth wife, Barbara, in a glass of champagne is the top jewelry item in a series of upcoming Sotheby’s auctions focusing on the treasures gathered by the couple during their 22-year marriage.

The legendary singer had met Barbara in the early 1960s, but they didn’t start dating until 10 years later. When Frank was finally ready to cement the relationship after a turbulent four-year courtship, he reportedly tossed two huge diamonds onto the bed told Barbara to pick one. The emerald-cut diamond was her favorite, so Frank had a jeweler set the stone in a platinum ring accented with triangular-cut side stones.

Ever the romantic, Frank decided to forgo the traditional box and surprised Barbara by submerging the diamond ring in a glass of champagne. According to Sotheby’s, Frank hadn’t offered a formal proposal, so the engagement was only official after Barbara made him choose which finger to put it on. The couple married in Palm Springs in 1976. Frank was 60 and Barbara was 49.

Barbara’s ring will hit the auction block at Sotheby’s New York with a pre-sale high estimate of $1.5 million. It’s one of 200 lots grouped under the banner of “Lady Blue Eyes: Property of Barbara and Frank Sinatra.” Items range from artwork and show memorabilia to jewels and objects from their home. Sotheby’s believes the 200 lots should yield at least $3.5 million.

In her memoir, Lady Blue Eyes: My Life with Frank, Barbara described how her husband always went out of his way to make her feel “loved and cherished every day, taking the time to express his feelings.”

“He loved buying jewels for her and spontaneously surprising her in interesting ways,” Mari-Claudia Jimenez, managing director of Sotheby’s Fiduciary Client Group, told CNN. “There was a time when he’d put bracelets and rings in her pockets for her to find. One time, they were watching television, eating popcorn and she found a diamond ring inside the popcorn box.”

Frank Sinatra passed away in 1998 at the age of 82. Barbara Sinatra died in July of 2017. She was 90.

Credit: Jewelry image courtesy of Sotheby’s. Frank and Barbara Sinatra photo courtesy the Estate of Barbara Sinatra.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree’s New Crown Jewel Sparkles With 3 Million Swarovski Crystals

For the first time since 2004, the world-famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center has a new crown jewel. Designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the 900-pound tree topper measures 9 foot 4 inches in diameter and features 70 rays covered with three million Swarovski crystals.

On Wednesday, a massive crane raised the Swarovski Star to the top of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in preparation of the official lighting ceremony, which will take place on the evening of November 28.

Each of the 70 rays of the Swarovski Star is designed to glow from within, with the light refracted by the crystal surface, creating a sparkling effect.

While the new star is about the same size as its predecessor, it is nearly twice as heavy and contains far more crystals. The previous star weighed 550 pounds and was studded with 25,000 crystals.

Libeskind, who created the master plan for the reconstruction of New York’s World Trade Center site, said that the new Swarovski Star is inspired by the beauty of starlight — something that radiates meaning and mystery into the world.

“The Star is a symbol that represents our greatest ambitions for hope, unity and peace,” he said. “I am tremendously honored to collaborate with Swarovski on the Star, and with the entire design team, to bring cutting-edge innovation and design to crystal technology.”

Added Swarovski Executive Board Member Nadja Swarovski: “Each holiday season the Star brings joy to New Yorkers and visitors from around the world, and will shine as a beacon of hope for many years to come.”

While the star majestically sits atop a 72-foot-tall Norway spruce on the Plaza, an exact replica will be displayed on the ground level so visitors can explore its design close up.

Rockefeller Center officially began the tree-lighting ceremony in 1933, when a Christmas tree was erected in front of the then-RCA Building and covered with 700 lights.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/Swarovski; Nadja Swarovski and Daniel Libeskind image by Bryan Bedder/Getty for Swarovski (PRNewsfoto/Swarovski); Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree by Bryan Bedder/Getty for Swarovski (PRNewsfoto/Swarovski).

Marie Antoinette’s Natural Pearl Pendant Crushes Auction Record As It Sells for $36.1 Million

A natural pearl pendant that was once owned by Queen Marie Antoinette and smuggled out of France just before her arrest in 1791 fetched $36.1 million at Sotheby’s Geneva last week.

Aggressive bidding elevated the price to more than 18 times the pre-sale high estimate and demolished the previous record for the highest price ever paid for a natural pearl. The former title holder was La Peregrina, a pear-shaped natural pearl that was sold at Christie’s in 2011 for $11.8 million as part of Elizabeth Taylor’s collection.

“Tonight we saw the Marie Antoinette factor work its magic,” said Daniela Mascetti, Sotheby’s Jewellery Chairman, Europe. “No other queen is more famous for her love of jewels, and her personal treasures, pearls and diamonds that survived intact the tumults of history.”

The ill-fated French queen’s natural pearl and diamond pendant is set with an oval diamond in a diamond bow motif. The slightly baroque drop-shaped natural saltwater pearl measures approximately 15.90mm x 18.35mm x 25.85mm and originally hung from Marie Antoinette’s three-strand pearl necklace. The pendant entered the auction with a modest pre-sale estimate of $1 million to $2 million.

With a revolution raging in France in March 1791, Marie Antoinette and her husband, King Louis XVI, prepared to flee the country. The queen wrapped her most precious jewels in cotton and packed them neatly into a wooden chest. The diamond, ruby and pearl treasures were secretly shipped to Vienna in the care of Count Mercy Argentau, a loyal retainer to the queen.

“The jewels made it, but unfortunately, she did not,” Mascetti said.

Three months later, the royal family was captured in Varennes as they were trying to leave France. Both Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were imprisoned and executed by guillotine in 1793.

Their last surviving child, Marie-Thérèse, was finally allowed to flee to Vienna after serving three years in solitary confinement. There, the teenage princess reclaimed her mother’s jewels that had been kept safe by her cousin, the Austrian Emperor Francis II.

The jewelry remained in the queen’s family for the next 200 years and had never been seen by the public — until they went on a promotional tour in the lead-up to Wednesday’s auction in Geneva.

The pendant was among 10 exquisite pieces that once belonged to Marie Antoinette, all of which attracted fierce bidding. Together they realized a total of $42.7 million against a pre-sale estimate of $1.6 million to $2.9 million.

A beautiful three-strand necklace strung with 119 natural pearls also saw intense bidding. The final price of $2.3 million far outperformed the estimated price of $200,000 to $300,000.

The queen’s jewelry was part of a larger auction collection comprised of 100 pieces from the Bourbon Parma family — a family linked to the royal dynasties of France, England, Spain, Austria, Holland and Italy. According to Sotheby’s, international collectors and history lovers demonstrated the full force of their fascination with the storied treasures. Participants represented 43 countries.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby’s.