African American Gemologist Shares 3 Super Important Steps in Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring

BY: - 20 Nov '15 | Lifestyle

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The holidays are upon us and there’s nothing like sharing in good food, good times, and good love. This time of year, it’s not unusual for couples to take a leap to the next level of their relationship and go from merely dating to an engagement for marriage.

Because that leap is an emotional one, it can be overwhelming to choose the perfect engagement ring whether you decide alone or as a couple.

And no one understands this better than Jean Luma. Certified by the GIA, the leading gemological laboratory in the world, Luma is a pace setting African American Gemologist whose internationally branded company, Luma Diamond Consultants, is going above and beyond with its service, delivery, and education of its clientele.

We caught up with Mr. Luma and he expertly advised us on the things to consider when purchasing an engagement ring.  Here are our top 3:

Understanding the Value

Purchasing an engagement ring is not like buying a car. In fact, you may go through three or four cars in your lifetime, but your “one diamond will still be standing,” explains Luma.  “That one time investment can carry on through 4 generations in your family history, and not just the monetary value but the emotional connection is amazing.”

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This generational value is not often something we think about, but we ought to consider this as more than just a fleeting purchase.

“If your mom passes down a ring to you that meant so much to the union of your dad and your mom, now you take that symbolism as what it means to your new family and you probably won’t be so quick to say I just don’t want to do this anymore,” says Luma.

Counting the Cost

When you’re ready to start shopping, it’s important to set a budget and consider how much you are willing and able to spend.

Each diamond is unique and, as Luma explains, “it’s not an apples to apples comparison with any other diamond on the face of the earth.  It’s one of the most difficult purchases to make if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.”

And, when it comes to what you’re looking for, think long term.  Because this item could one day serve as an heirloom, Luma says, “You may end up spending a little more because generations to come may have this diamond in the family.  Don’t purchase thinking you will resell in 20 years and make a profit.”

He continues, “Your son or daughter can now save 15 thousand dollars because of the seven thousand dollar diamond you purchased 20 years ago.  That’s where the value comes in, when passing it down.”

Making an Informed Decision

The emotions of the occasion should not, and most likely will not, be disregarded.  However, this will be one of the most important emotional investments you will make and you should be armed with as much knowledge as possible.

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We’ve all heard of the 4C’s – cut, carat, color, clarity – but most people are unaware of the implications of each.

“The cut of the diamond is the most important part of the diamond,” says Luma.

“But the two items you hear about the most is the carat weight and the color.

The cut probably takes 75% of what the diamond will be valued and no one educates the client on that.

So because there is no education customers end up leaving a location with a high color, high clarity, high carat weight diamond that has no value because the cut is fair or poor at best.

So when they go to the marketplace and have to resell it, the buying jeweler or someone who wants to buy the diamond says we’ll give you 20% of what you paid for this.

Because they purchased a poor quality item thinking it was a high quality item, they now have lost all of the value of the item.  That is one of the major mistakes in purchasing diamonds.

There are about 35 different characteristics as a gemologist that Luma says he goes through just to make sure that the diamond is something that he would refer to a client.

So when the time is right, as it usually is around the holidays, that special purchase should represent the emotional connection to your soon to be spouse as well as the legacy you will leave for generations to come.

Luma 1 referral source

Luma Diamond Consultants will gladly extend a special offer to BMWK readers. Just visit their website here  and fill out the client questionnaire.  Then select Black & Married with Kids as the referral source to receive a special discount.

BMWK, are you ready to pop the question this holiday season?

About the author

Joann Fisher wrote 103 articles on this blog.

Joann Fisher has been a writer and editor for both print and online newpapers and magazines for the last 10 years. She now serves as a Writer/Editor at BMWK and lead Editor for The Joy Network.

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Five Ways to Deal With Stress When Shopping and Eating No Longer Work

BY: - 25 Nov '15 | inspiration

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One of the great things about working as a personal finance coach is that I get to help women enjoy breakthroughs as it relates to their relationship with money. Recently, I was working with Susan, a client who was accustomed to relieving stress through shopping and eating.

She recently had a breakdown and resorted to buying herself something or treating herself to something sugary to eat, but realized after all of our work together, that these strategies no longer served her.

She was torn. On the one hand, she was proud that she no longer looked to food or shopping to regulate her mood. At the same time, though, Susan felt out of control because she hadn’t identified alternative ways to deal with her stress.

After a brainstorming session, here are five strategies we came up with that she found helpful for managing stress:

1. Weekend blackouts: Susan turned off her cellphone 5pm on Friday and wouldn’t turn it back on until Monday morning. She said the most important people in her life had her landline number so they could be touch in case of an emergency.

2. Cleaning: When Susan was stressed, she had little or no motivation to clean. The irony is that the messy house made her feel even more stressed. To beautify her environment without overwhelming her, she decided to tackle one room at a time and for a certain amount of time. For example, she set a goal to clean her kitchen for thirty minutes. Once the thirty minutes were done, she would stop and leave the rest of the cleaning for the next day.

3. Pre-planning how she wanted to feel ahead of time. Susan had three jobs, so she was always running. One of the ways that she focused herself was to be intentional about taking time to think positively between transitions. For example, in the morning, before she got out of her car and entered the office, she would say an affirmation of her choice. At the end of lunch hour, she would center herself before she returned to work. Between her first and second and third jobs, she would take a moment. Pressing pause and setting intentions throughout the day helped her feel lighter.

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4. Clearing her evening schedule. For some reason, Susan always felt the need to have something to do even after working three jobs every day. But this sense of “busyness” was starting to make her feel like her time was not her own. The irony was that she created this schedule. So, we talked about clearing her schedule, especially the hour right after she came home from work. No calls. No errands. No nothing. Just sitting and regrouping.

5. Going to bed at a set time. Susan is a perfectionist and has a “no excuses” mentality, which often has her taking colleagues’ work home to do to ensure that team deadlines are met. We discussed how destructive this was for her morale and her self-care. We established at bottom-line when it came to her night schedule: lights out at 10pm for Susan.

After implementing these strategies, Susan feels better about her ability to manage her time and by extension, her life and her happiness.

BMWK- What are some other ways that you deal with stress in a healthy way?

About the author

Kara Stevens wrote 142 articles on this blog.

Kara is a motivational speaker, life coach, and founder of the personal finance and lifestyle blog The Frugal Feminista .

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