Our Favorite Love Stories (so far)

Most couples probably don’t realize how privileged we, as their jeweler, feel knowing we have been part of a love story. I don’t think you would be able to find a single jeweler who doesn’t remember their first engagement ring sale, or each one thereafter – it’s simply too wonderful of an experience. Ask any jeweler and I can assure you they can describe the look on a customer’s face when they see the completed ring for the first time – they usually light up at first, then become a bit quiet and maybe a little emotional before finally exclaiming “it’s perfect” while shaking their head in wonder. The realization of, “This is real. I am proposing” washes over them. That moment, for us, is everything. At that moment we have done our job and made our customer incredibly happy. We box up their new treasure and send them on their way, to ask the most important question they may ever ask. We wonder what they’ve planned. We wonder how it goes and what their partner says. Well, we here at Sparkles have been lucky. Our customers almost always come back to tell us their proposal story, their now fiancé in tow with ring on hand, giddy to show it off. It is for Valentine’s Day, one of the most romantic days of year, we have chosen to share three of these love stories.

Shawn & Jessica

Love is patient, and so is our first couple. Shawn and Jessica met through mutual friends in college. They had each other laughing from the get-go, Shawn with his comical dance moves, Jessica with her corny jokes. Rachel Meyering, President of Sparkles Fine Jewelry, knew them both personally as they all attended Northern Illinois University together. Rachel was a first hand witness to their love story – from its inception in undergrad through Shawn walking into Sparkles to ask her to help create the perfect ring for Jessica. Shawn possessed a trait key to crafting the perfect proposal: patience. While Shawn knew after only a year of dating Jessica that she was the one, it would be a decade before he proposed. The same patience was in place when he began working on the ring and proposal. He came to Rachel at Sparkles with ideas flowing. He knew what he wanted and worked with the Sparkles team to create it. In the end he left with a custom round brilliant halo engagement ring which Jessica fell in love with the second he slipped it on her finger. However, ever the patient planner, Shawn waited six months from the ring’s completion before presenting it to Jessica, knowing he needed time to plan the perfect proposal. But present it to her he did, on a warm day at the Brookfield Zoo in front of the Wilderness Exhibit. She said yes! Shawn informed Jessica their parents were waiting at a nearby restaurant to celebrate with them, but little did Jessica know Shawn had another surprise up his sleeve. Shawn had actually conspired for months to make sure not only their parents but also fifty of their closest friends and family members would be able to join them to celebrate the proposal. It was perfect.

Shawn and Jessica are currently looking forward to continuing their life journeys together and to starting a family in the future. Their advice to couples wanting to get engaged? “Don’t rush it or put too much pressure on it. Take your time – it only happens once!”

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Shawn proposing to Jessica at Brookfield Zoo

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Jessica’s stunning round brilliant halo engagement ring


Amy & Amanda 

You can only make a first impression twice. Yes, you read that correctly. I am referring to the phenomenon of online dating wherein individuals get the opportunity to have two first impressions. The first first impression is the online profile, the second first impression comes with the initial face to face meeting. Amanda tried not to be too excited when she landed on Amy’s OkCupid profile. She did, however, have a very specific strategy to making sure Amy would reply to her message: dairy politics. In her profile Amy was adamant ice cream was the queen of desserts so Amanda asked for her thoughts on frozen yogurt. Amy replied in passionate detail how fro-yo simply could not come close to ice cream. Amanda, who didn’t actually care nearly as much as Amy did about which was better, was delighted her strategy worked and promptly asked Amy to coffee. Their second first impressions were even better; Amy seemed just as (if not more) fun, smart and cute as she did in her profile and Amanda’s infectious laugh delighted Amy. Their relationship developed from there and both use the same word to describe how it felt: natural. Their friends got along swimmingly, their adventurous natures led to spontaneous nerf gun wars, and they somehow managed to have entire conversations in their sleep. Their lives fit together seamlessly. When the pair took the next step and moved in to their own apartment they discovered they quite literally completed an aspect of each other’s lives: their Harry Potter Collection. Amy only had books 1,3 & 4. Amanda had everything except 1,3 & 4; talk about meant for each other.

The couple came to Sparkles on a sunny afternoon to design the engagement ring. They had been very open with talking about marriage together and Amy wanted to make sure she presented Amanda with a ring she would adore. Amy inherited her mother’s engagement ring and an anniversary band after her passing, and it was important to them both to be able to incorporate the diamonds into the custom engagement ring they wanted to create. Inspired by an art deco diamond band we had in the shop, we worked with Amy and Amanda to craft a stunning yellow gold vintage inspired ring with diamonds and mil-grain detailing on the band. Clearly, Amanda knew the proposal was coming. Amy, however, still wanted to surprise her. And surprise her she did.

Amy skillfully dropped hints about possible times for Amanda to expect the proposal, none of which were for when Amy was actually planning on proposing. Amanda was convinced the proposal would come in January (for their anniversary), so much so she was actively reminding herself to act surprised when it came. This made the actual proposal, on the day after Thanksgiving, all the more special as Amanda was completely oblivious to the true meaning behind why the good beer was in the fridge and why Amy was frantically biting her nails. The two traditionally spent the day after Thanksgiving cooking, decorating the apartment for the holidays, and putting up the Christmas tree. Halfway through decorating the tree, Amy excused herself and returned with a present for Amanda. Amanda unwrapped eleven handmade (by Amy), framed, hand-painted ornaments dated with important mile stones from their relationship (e.g., their first date, when they moved in together, etc.). The gifts brought Amanda to tears but she still didn’t realize what was coming. They finished decorating the tree, turned off the apartment lights, lit the tree and stepped back to admire it. Amy presented Amanda with another box. Inside was one last ornament, blank except for the date: that day’s date. It was only then did Amanda start to catch on. From there, both Amy and Amanda have trouble remembering exactly what happened or what was said. They both agree that Amy asked Amanda to marry her, Amanda said yes, and they somehow made their way to the couch to cuddle. On the couch, Amanda looked at Amy and declared, “We have had very different days.”

In the future Amy and Amanda are looking forward to going on adventures both big and small, such as becoming part of each other’s families, having kids and continuing to enjoy their routine after dinner walks. They both have great advice for couples looking to get engaged; 

Amy says, “Well, Sparkles is definitely a great place to get a ring! The staff is very friendly and incredibly helpful. They did a wonderful job with a ring that means so much to both of us. I really felt like they cared. Other than that? Remember to breathe and eat on the day of the proposal. Don’t over-caffeinate yourself. And nothing tops off a proposal like a heart-shaped pizza.” 

Amanda offers, “TALK ABOUT IT. This whole process has been so much more exciting than stressful, because we have talked about it every step of the way. That has helped us be so much more sure and confident that we are getting and giving what the other needs (like, for example, that I didn’t want to have to worry about hating the ring). I totally understand the appeal of springing the question with no warning, but make sure you’ve talked enough that both of you know it’s on the table, and that you know what the answer will be. “

amy and amanda ring

Amy proposed with this stunning yellow gold vintage inspired ring with mil-grain details and diamonds on the band

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Amy and Amanda having fun in a photo booth


Mark & Scott

We have all seen it happen in the movies: the protagonist walks into a bar and suddenly everything is in slow motion, the crowd parts to reveal their perfect partner, highlighted by a spotlight. The camera frame changes to the partner’s perspective and we see the protagonist is standing in a spotlight as well. Their eyes lock; they’ve found each other. Well, as it turns out, movies actually do imitate real life and did so for our third couple; Mark and Scott. Scott meandered into a bar in Denver one evening after a theatre outing with friends and was instantly pulled towards Mark, the dashing guy leaning on the bar who was seemingly lit by his own personal follow spot. Mark had spotted Scott as well and noted how the light was hitting his face in the most perfect way. Sensing the connection, Scott made his way to the bar where Mark bought him a drink – something he had never done before. Before they knew it, it was 2 o’clock in the morning and they had accidentally ditched their friends for several hours, having been lost in laughs and deep conversation. Scott was enchanted by how energetic and outgoing Mark was and Mark couldn’t believe how humble, intelligent and kind Scott was. The connection was obvious and instantaneous. Mark had never met anyone so comfortable with who they were — Scott had an uncanny ability to laugh at himself and never take himself too seriously. Scott was constantly amazed by Mark’s creativity and could spend hours on end listening to Mark play the piano or sing. Six months after meeting, Scott asked Mark to move in.

They talked openly about marriage and knew they would wed if it ever became legal in Illinois. Once it did, Scott knew he wanted to propose. He imagined something special, something they would never forget. They were returning to Maui on vacation that fall with Mark’s parents and Scott knew it would be a romantic location for the proposal but wasn’t sure when he would ask or how. On their second day in Hawaii Mark and Scott stopped to talk to a guide about SNUBA diving. The guide, Matt, revealed they had chosen the best week of the entire year for SCUBA/SNUBA/snorkeling in Maui. Recognizing serendipity, they immediately signed up for the SNUBA instructional class taking place that morning at the pool so they could dive the next day. At the practice class Scott had an idea for the proposal – but he would need help to make it happen. Later, while Mark was with his parents, Scott discreetly excused himself to the restroom but made his way back to the pool to find the SNUBA instructor, Matt, instead. Scott asked Matt if he had some sort of underwater tablet available for use on the dive – explaining he planned to propose to Mark during the underwater dive by writing “Will you marry me?” on the tablet. Matt, the quintessential surfer dude, exclaimed “Yo, brah, I would totally love to help you guys out.” Matt bought an underwater tablet that night especially for Scott’s proposal. It was happening!

The morning of the dive was stunning, the weather and water conditions ideal. Mark was a more experienced diver than Scott and couldn’t quite grasp why their instructor, Matt, kept going over and over and over the hand signal for “yes” (pointer finger to thumb, other fingers extended up) versus the signal for “I am going up to the surface” (thumbs up). Scott, of course, knew why. The dive was everything they hoped for, they saw two large sea turtles, a live coral reef, held star fish, glimpsed a vast school of fish, etc. Towards the end of the dive the instructor had the group kneel in the sand and motioned for Scott. Scott swam over and grabbed the tablet he had written “Will you marry me?” on earlier. He then swam to Mark, knelt in front of him and presented him with the tablet. It took Mark a moment to grasp what was happening, he even thought the instructor was playing a joke on them, but once it sank in he, to Scott’s delight, enthusiastically gave the “yes” signal. Overwhelmed with excitement, they made their way to the surface where crying and hugging ensued. Most of the hotel staff was waiting on the beach to congratulate them after the dive. Matt (the instructor) revealed he had been so excited about the proposal he had told all of his coworkers about it. Scott and Mark didn’t mind at all, it made the moment that much more special, like a scene from a movie.

Scott and Mark returned home and began the search for matching rings. They were on the hunt for something special, something that would represent their individuality and their relationship and something that would complement both of their skin tones. After much debate and many visits to Sparkles, they decided on Mokume rings. Mokume rings derive their name from the centuries old Japanese practice which translates to “wood grain metal”. These rings are the definition of “special”.  Mokume rings are crafted by taking different types of precious metals, heating them, twisting them together and hand working them to create stunning one of a kind patterns. It was almost too good to believe: the rings would match yet be unique to the wearer, the multiple metals forged into one ring clearly represented the combining of their lives and the rings also somehow managed to compliment both Scott and Mark’s individual skin tones. They were thrilled. The night they finalized their ring choice was the night they told us their engagement story. They both cried as they told it, as did all three of us Sparkles girls.

Mark and Scott have been together for over ten years and can’t wait to spend another fifty or so together. They look forward to being able to call each other “husband” – a word they weren’t sure they would get to use in their lifetime. I asked them for their advice to anyone looking to get engaged and they offered these wise words; 

Mark: “Make the proposal something that represents your life with your love.  Celebrate what you love about one another and create a special moment that the two of you will cherish for the rest of your lives.  The engagement doesn’t have to be special to anyone else– just the two of you.  Revisiting an experience, a place, or a memory can be a magical time.”

Scott: “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You know what special places and special times you have shared together, pick one of those places or special times and make that the place! Speak from the heart and be nervous, and excited and lose your train of thought! It’s getting to be with your favorite person in your life for the rest of your life!”

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Scott and Mark with the underwater tablet from the proposal in Maui, Hawaii.

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The underwater tablet Scott used to propose to Mark

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Mark and Scott in Maui, Hawaii, where the proposal took place

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Mark & Scott’s Mokume rings


Dearest readers, I hope you have enjoyed reading these love stories as much as I enjoyed retelling them. My sincerest gratitude to all three couples for taking the time to share their stories and for allowing us to share them again here. Happy Valentine’s Day!

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

-Dr. Seuss 


Claire LaJeunesse, GIA AJP, Sparkles Jewelry Consultant.


This Holiday Season at Sparkles…

It’s that time of year again! The holiday season is upon us and here at Sparkles we are already gearing up to make sure we are your one-stop shop for all of your holiday needs. We pride ourselves on offering a wide range of inventory to suit all needs. We have something for everyone.

So many exciting events are happening at Sparkles in these next few months to celebrate the season and show our appreciation for you – our incredible and loyal customers. Below is a detailed list of everything you can look forward to this season. Mark your calendars!

We will be closed Thanksgiving day, but the day after…IT. ALL. BEGINS!

  • 11/27- BLACK FRIDAY: We decided to have a little fun and take “Black Friday” literally. All black items are on sale*!  All inventory with black diamonds, black rhodium plating, black gemstones, black stainless steel, etc. IS 35% OFF!  (*excluding Lashbrook rings) Note: the entire piece does not have to be black, it just must contain something black! See examples of qualifying items below:

New Blog BF 2

  • 11/28-SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY: We love small businesses and we love our customers so we want to SHARE THE LOVE! Select pieces will be 20%-75% OFF AND all customers who make a purchase this day will receive a raffle ticket to be entered into our give-away! One lucky winner will walk away with this gorgeous sterling silver and diamond “love” necklace. SBS love

Multiple Andersonville businesses are participating in Small Business Saturday and each participating store will take part in the “passport” raffle. Every time you purchase something at a participating store you will receive a stamp in your SBS passport and be entered to win whatever prize that store is featuring! The more you shop, the more prizes you could win! Check here for more info on which shops are participating. 

  • 12/4-SPARKLES HOLIDAY PARTY & LATE NIGHT ANDERSONVILLE: Come join us for our annual Holiday Party from 4-10pm! All guests will be able to pick from our candy-cane surprise bin to discover a special discount between 10% and 50% OFF their entire purchase for that day! Be sure to RSVP on our Facebook event page. Drinks and appetizers will be served. Multiple Andersonville shops will be staying open until 10pm for Late Night Andersonville so be sure to stop by Sparkles to check a few of those people off your holiday gift list!
  • 12/13-TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS BEGINS: Make sure you are following us on Facebook and Instagram because every day for the twelve days leading up to Christmas we will feature a special sale that is for that day only! (Examples could be all earrings on sale or all men’s jewelry, etc.) It begins Sunday, December 13th, and ends Christmas eve. (Days 2 & 3 will be combined as we are closed Monday, December 14th)
  • 12/15-HOLIDAY HOURS TAKE EFFECT: Beginning Tuesday, December 15th, Sparkles will be open from 11am-7pm every day, including Monday, December 21st.
  • 12/18-LATER NIGHT ANDERSONVILLE: Sparkles, as well as multiple Andersonville shops, will stay open until 10pm! This is a fantastic night to come and get all of your holiday shopping done!
  • 12/24-CHRISTMAS EVE SPECIAL STORE HOURS: Last minute shoppers rejoice! Sparkles Fine Jewelry will be open from 10am-2pm on Christmas Eve
  • 12/25-12/28- SPARKLES WILL BE CLOSED: We will be closed Christmas day and will remain closed through Monday, December 28th, reopening with regular store hours on Tuesday, December 29th. Everyone enjoy your Holiday season!!
  • 01/01/16-NEW YEARS DAY-CLOSED: We will be closed on New Years Day. We cannot believe how quickly this year flew by! What is your new years resolution? Ours is to wear more diamonds. (Obviously.)

-Did you know we do wish lists? Please stop by and make one! It will make gift giving a lot easier when your loved ones can stroll into the store and hand pick your gift straight from your wish list!

-Help us give back this Holiday Season! We will be selling gorgeous cultured pearl and stainless steel stud earrings for just $5.00 (yes, you read that correctly) beginning December 1st. 100% of the proceeds of the pearl stud sales will go to Paws Chicago to help our furry friends find their forever homes! Limit 1 per customer, limited quantities available.


Stainless Steel and Pearl earrings, $5, all proceeds go to Paws Chicago!

We can’t wait to see you at all these wonderful celebrations!




Meet the Sparkles Girls!

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The three Sparkles girls, Rachel, Claire, and Annabelle, celebrating Sparkles’ second birthday this past September

Here at Sparkles one of our favorite aspects of our job is getting to know our customers and their stories. Having our shop located in the neighborhood of Andersonville is ideal. Andersonville feels like a secret small town hidden inside the big city of Chicago. Many people know each other, everyone says hello. Sometimes it’s as if we are living in an episode of the Gilmore Girls (in a good way, of course).This made us think that maybe it was time for everyone to get to know us a little better, too. Let us introduce ourselves…

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Rachel: Sparkles Owner & President, Travel Aficionado, Pizza Lover


Annabelle: Manager, Metal Smith, Treasure Hunter


Claire: Jewelry Consultant, Bibliophile, Tea Enthusiast

-What is your favorite piece of jewelry you own?

Rachel: My custom made necklace using my mom’s diamond. It reminds me of her every day.

Annabelle: A vintage gold coin that is bezel set in platinum surrounded by diamonds that my grandmother gave to me. It has a watch-fob style chain. It’s really cool.

Claire: My grandmother’s engagement ring. It’s this beautiful two tone yellow and white gold ring with a round center stone. My grandmother passed away when I was twelve and I had no idea she had left the ring to me. Her will stipulated I would receive the ring on my 25th birthday and my family kept it a secret until then. It was a huge surprise.

-What is your favorite piece of jewelry in the store?

Rachel: This is so hard to choose since I fall in love with everything!  There is one necklace that made me squeal when I first laid eyes on it!  The rose cut diamonds look so delicate and I can’t get enough of the black rhodium swirl detail on the pendant. It is a show stopper!

Rachel's pick

14K Rose gold necklace with black rhodium detailing, 1.62ct of rose cut diamonds. $4,040.00

Annabelle: It changes almost every day. My favorite right now is a rose gold pendant with pavé diamonds set beneath a smoky quartz. I also love all of our vintage pieces.

Annabelle's pick

Faceted smokey quartz pendant with .79ct of pave diamonds in 14k rose gold. $1,695.00 (chain sold separately)

Claire: It changes all the time but right now I am really in love with a pendant I affectionately call the “moon spoon”. It is a stunning pendant done in 14k white gold with moonstones and black diamonds. The pendant curves, giving it the “spoon” look. When the moonstones catch the sunlight they look spectacular.

Claire's pick

14k white gold pendant with black rhodium detailing, 3.2ct of moonstones, .19ct of black diamonds. $1,450.00 (chain sold separately)


(See something you like? Stop in the store to see it in person!)

-Favorite precious gemstone?

Rachel: Sapphire.

Annabelle: Sapphire.

Claire: Emerald.

-When did you start at Sparkles?

Rachel: I’ve been here since day 1! So exciting we have been open over 2 years!

Annabelle: June 2014.

Claire: August 2015- I’m the newbie.

-Describe yourself in 5 words or less?

Rachel: Caring. Loving. Crazy. Fun. Adventurous.

Annabelle: Creative. Silly. #blessed. Humble. Enthusiastic.

Claire: Loyal. Independent. Curious. Constantly cold. 

-Favorite food?

Rachel: This girl likes to eat!  My favorite is Italian!

Annabelle: Anything Spicy! Indian food and Jamaican food are two of my favorites.

Claire: Ugh, this is embarrassing. My absolute favorite thing to eat is a super soft, fresh baguette with Wishbone Italian dressing. I literally just rip pieces of the bread off and dip it in the dressing. Super healthy, clearly. I also love cheese. I could be perfectly happy eating cheese and bread for the rest of my life.

-Favorite place in Chicago?

RachelI am happy just about anywhere in this awesome city 😉

Annabelle: Sparkles!

Claire: The Field Museum, specifically the gems room. Or the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square. I love me a quaint bookshop.

-Where do you want to travel to the most?

Rachel: I am obsessed with traveling!  I want to see the rest of the world!  Next on my list is India, Japan and Bali!

Annabelle: A lot of places! I think Australia would be cool. But I really want to go Patagonia most of all.

Claire: Greece, Italy and Egypt. I have a degree in classical civilization and I grew up obsessed with ancient civilizations. I want to see all the amazing places I’ve spent years studying.

-Celebrity crush?

Rachel: Love me some Justin Timberlake and Leonardo DiCaprio!

Annabelle: Tom Hardy.

Claire: Emily Blunt and Tom Hardy.

-Favorite type of jewelry?

Rachel: Anything with diamonds!

Annabelle: Probably rings.

Claire: Tiaras.

-Favorite part of working at Sparkles?

Rachel: Interacting with customers and having fun!

Annabelle: Being able to be creative.

Claire: My coworkers 🙂

-If you weren’t working in jewelry, what would be your other dream job?

Rachel: I really can’t imagine doing anything else….can I travel the world and find diamonds and gemstones?!?!

Annabelle: As a kid I always dreamt of being either an archaeologist or a geologist.

Claire: Growing up I wanted to be Lara Croft. I even studied archaeology at University College London for a semester! But, as it turns out, it’s a lot less motorcycle chases and a lot more paperwork. Go figure.

Want to know more about us? Stop in the store! All are welcome and the three of us are pretty darn friendly. Fair warning: we may be having a dance party when you arrive…you’re encouraged to join in! 😉

Stay tuned for November’s blog post – we have a ton of exciting things going on for the holidays and our next post will detail all the great events and how you can be part of them!

Sparkles Turns 2!


Exciting news, everyone! One week from today, on September 18th, 2015, we will be celebrating our second birthday! We are even having a party, but more about that later. First, let’s take a look back at how far we have come, what we have learned in our two years here in Andersonville, and ponder on our future (and then I will tell you about the party, promise).

We sat down with our fearless leader, Boss Lady Rachel, and asked her to reflect on the past couple of years.

So, Sparkles is 2! In only two years Sparkles Fine Jewelry has managed to go from new store in town to being ranked Fifth Coolest Small Store in America. How does it feel?

It feels like a great accomplishment! Rewinding back to two years ago I always had high hopes for this adventure. 

When did you first know you wanted to open your own store?

I’ve been in the industry for a little over twelve years, and was dreaming of opening my own business all along. 

Rachel, our fearless leader, cuts the ribbon Setpember 17, 2013. It begins!

Rachel cuts the ribbon on September 17, 2013.

What do you think makes Sparkles different from it’s competitors?

We want you to have the best possible experience when you walk in to our store. We really care and want you to be wearing the best jewels!

What is your favorite part of having your store located in Andersonville?

I couldn’t have picked a better location! All the business owners work together and the neighborhood really wants you to succeed. We appreciate all of the locally owned businesses and shop there whenever we can. 

What have you learned in the past two years? Were there any growing pains?

Owning a business is like riding a roller coaster, you have your ups and downs but its such a fun ride! 

What do you want your customers to know before they come in to your store? 

Don’t be scared! It’s a very relaxed atmosphere and we want you to have a great time and see all of our favorite pieces. 

I hear there is a great story about Sparkles’ very first customer – can you share the details?

Our very first customer is an extremely close friend to me now. The day before we opened up his eyes were peering through the door. He came back the next day and picked out a wonderful Rony Tennenbaum engagement ring. Joe and Gerry just recently got married and they asked me to walk the rings down the aisle for them! What a lucky gal I am! 

In your opinion, what is the next big jewelry trend?

Vintage jewelry is having a big comeback right now. Many families are passing their heirlooms down or customers come in looking for the perfect treasure. 

Lastly, where do you see Sparkles Fine Jewelry in the future? Five, ten years down the road?

Definitely thinking about opening a second location down the road. With a dance club and bar attached! Hopefully we will become so popular we have to expand. 

So here we are, two years in. We are feeling pretty proud of all we have accomplished, and we are beyond excited for what the future holds for us. It only makes sense to celebrate, so naturally we are throwing a party! And you’re invited! Please join us for drinks, appetizers and 20-50% off select jewelry! (Kind of a winning combination, right?)

When: Friday, September 18th, 6-9pm.

Where: Right here in our store! 5405 N Clark St, Andersonville, Chicago IL 60640

Sparkle on!

LGBT Wedding and Engagement Ring FAQ’s– A Q&A with Rony Tennenbaum

Here at Sparkles, we’ve been blessed over the past two years to have met and worked with some of the loveliest clients we can imagine. We have been honored to watch love stories unfold for wonderful and diverse couples, many of them part of the LGBTQ community. Even prior to the massive strides made in the fight for Marriage Equality, since we opened in 2013 and beyond, we began to receive an immediate and steady stream of questions from our same-sex couples.

How were they supposed to navigate this whole wedding and engagement jewelry thing? What were the rules?

Now on the thrilling heels of our country’s long-awaited recognition of Marriage Equality I reached out to a designer favorite of Sparkles (and its clientele), LGBT jewelry creator Rony Tennenbaum, to see what he had to say in response to the five most common questions we hear from our clients.


Q: Do same sex couples wear engagement rings?

RT: “Since Marriage Equality in the US is only 11 years old, the same sex community is still evolving and developing new traditions in the Engagement/Marriage arena.  While 22 years ago when my partner and I didn’t have words as engagement, marriage or even family to fall back on, today’s same sex couples do.  It is still very early on in these new traditions, but I am definitely seeing a rise in same sex couples looking to wear engagement rings, and in general “getting engaged”.  Having said that, the traditional engagement ring as we know them is also morphing into different and more interesting shapes and designs.  So yes same sex couples may be wearing engagement rings, but they don’t all look as we expect engagement rings to look like.”

Q: Can men wear diamond engagement rings? What about wedding sets?

RT:  “Of course men can wear engagement rings, and in the past couple years I have seen an increase in rings designed for men, with diamonds, that are specifically worn as their engagement rings.  Since traditionally, engagement rings were designed and sold for women, there are less available designs or interesting rings out there that can be worn as “the engagement ring”, but as time moves forward, I know I am always creating new looks and concepts that are intended for men looking for those rings to propose with.  As for sets, it’s interesting.  Traditionally we always designed an engagement ring to fit snugly with a wedding band and we called it a “set”.  Today’s couples are looking outside the box to their ring designs.  Many I have seen will buy an engagement ring and use it as a wedding band as well.  With the trend for single rings though, I am seeing the wedding set morph into a broader range of acceptable designs that will cover both occasions in one.”


Q: What is an LGBT wedding ring supposed to look like?

RT: “There is no one answer. As weddings are evolving to depict different backgrounds, lifestyles, family units, I think we are going to see ring designs run a wider spectrum of acceptable looks. While many couples still seek a clean band look, what I find is that most look for something with an extra twist or edge for them.  For example, my designs are considered contemporary and more modern because I find gay and lesbian couples are early adaptors to designs and esthetics, yet I still get couples who want unique, but simple.  I have also made wedding rings for couples with diamonds  as much as I have made wedding rings without diamonds for years.  Diamonds are beautiful and represent a strong bond, but don’t always have to be a norm.

I also see a lot of couples seeking sentimental stones tailored for them, such as birthstones, or a stone representing a place they first met, or went on a date.  Wedding rings are a very intimate piece of jewelry and they represent a very deep emotional tie, that symbol of love carried on their fingers needs to be just as personal to them as the bond they share.”


Q: Do same-sex couples’ rings have to match?

RT: “My favorite question.  My opinion is this:

“I believe in maintaining your individuality within your couplehood.”   

This means, in my mind, it’s perfectly ok if both partners have different tastes and choose to wear different looking rings.  Having said that, the majority of couples I see do want something that is similar or from the same family of rings when they purchase their wedding or engagement rings.  There are many ways to achieve this, and I don’t think it’s something that needs to weigh heavily on either partner if they are not perfectly the same.  That is not to say that a couple looking to get identical rings shouldn’t do so.  Over the years I have made some stunning rings for couples who wanted the exact same ring as their partner.  Remember it’s a partnership, and as long as both sides agree to what they should wear, I think its great!”

Q: If you could share one piece of advice with members of the LGBT community on their search for wedding and engagement jewelry, what would it be?

RT: “While I am a romantic and love a “surprise” engagement, I do find that most partners are happier when they go shopping together for their rings. Talk about budgets ahead of time.  Discuss what each of you might like to see the other wearing and what you might like to have for yourself.  And most important, start your shopping early!!  The worst reply I can give any couple is, I am sorry, I will not be able to whisk these rings for you in the short amount of time you need them for.  Plan ahead!  And have fun while shopping.”


Here’s to letting your rings be as unique, meaningful, and amazing as you and your relationships, lovebirds!

-Ashley Collier Rowan, GIA Diamonds Graduate AJP

Manager, Sparkles Fine Jewelry


Spring 2015 Jewelry Trends

The temperature may be chilly right now, dear Chicago, but Spring is right around the corner (please be on point about all of these 40 & 50 degree days, Tom Skilling!!!)! What better to keep the warm weather faith alive than poring over sparkling Spring jewelry trends? Here are a few of our favorite trends (and favorite pieces) for the coming season!

1. Botanicals

Oscar de la Renta S/S 2015, via Pinterest

Oscar de la Renta S/S 2015, via Pinterest

Florals are no stranger to Spring runways; this year flora is coming up everywhere with a vengeance, and we absolutely love it! From petite blossoms to dramatic chest pieces, the flower is sitting pretty as fashion/jewelry royalty at the moment. And what could have more staying power than botanical bijoux?

{how to wear it}

Soften serious work-wear with a fiercely feminine floral pendant, or bring instant glamour to date night with a gorgeous, leafy statement ring.

14K White Gold 1/3 cttw Diamond Cluster Earrings, $905

14K White Gold 1/3 cttw Diamond Cluster Earrings, $905

Sterling Silver Leaf Ring, $225

Sterling Silver Leaf Ring, $225

14K White Gold Diamond Pendant, $685

14K White Gold Diamond Pendant, $685

14K Rose Gold Diamond Flower Necklace, $895

14K Rose Gold Diamond Flower Necklace, $895



2. Raw, Organic Elements

Narciso Rodriguez/ Philip Crangi collaboration, S/S 2015, via Pinterest

Narciso Rodriguez/ Philip Crangi collaboration, S/S 2015, via Pinterest

Raw stones, crystals, wood, and nature-inspired jewelry designs of all kinds have been all over for the coming season. After all of this ice and snow, we’re ready for all of the nature you can throw at us!

{how to wear it}

Try topping your favorite crisp oxford shirt and denim combo with a raw strand of gemstones. Or, mix it up at cocktail hour with an other-worldly opal pendant or diamond slice earrings!

Applewood Inlay Cobalt Chrome Band, $699

Applewood Inlay Cobalt Chrome Band, $699

Hand-wrapped Ruby Chain with Free-form Pearl Pendant, $...

Hand-wrapped Ruby Chain with Free-form Pearl Pendant, $560

Meteorite and Hammered Cobalt Chrome Band, $1,215

Meteorite and Hammered Cobalt Chrome Band, $1,215

Left to right: Sterling Silver Watrmelon Tourmaline Slice Ring, $... Hand-hammered Sterling Silver Band, $... Pyrite-included Quartz Recycled Sterling Silver Ring, $...

Left to right:
Recycled Sterling Silver Watermelon Tourmaline Slice Ring, $375
Hand-hammered Sterling Silver Band, $75
Pyrite-included Quartz Recycled Sterling Silver Ring, $450

Tourmaline Slice and Rose Cut Diamond Pendant, $965

Tourmaline Slice and Rose Cut Diamond Pendant, $965

14K White Gold 1.77 cttw Diamond Slice Halo Earrings,  $2,350

14K White Gold 1.77 cttw Diamond Slice Halo Earrings, $2,350



3. Sculptural

Tory Burch S/S 2015, via Pinterest

Tory Burch S/S 2015, via Pinterest

Sculptural pieces have impact,  and can instantly update an ensemble. Accessorizing with clean and interesting lines, unexpected proportions, and asymmetry help to bring your wardrobe go-to’s into the present (or future!).

{how to wear it}

 Pair your favorite flirty dress with geometric spiral earrings, an angular statement necklace with your staple black tee, or add a textured cuff to any outfit for an artistic touch.

Sterling Silver Spiral Earrings (as modeled by the lovely Rachel!), $...

Sterling Silver Spiral Earrings (as modeled by the lovely Rachel!), $125

Rose Gold and Sterling Silver pendant,

Rose Gold and Sterling Silver Pendant, $125

14K White Gold Diamond Ring, $4,200

14K White Gold Diamond Ring, $4,200

14K White Gold Layered Necklace, $

14K White Gold Layered Necklace, $379



4. Tribal

Etro,S/S 2015, via Pinterest

Etro, S/S 2015, via Pinterest

Ethnic patterns, the daring use of primitive design elements (yay spikes!), geometric themes and nods to some of the most beautifully inspiring cultures on the planet? Yes please!

{how to wear it}

Most tribal pieces draw from such timeless, universal inspirations that they work well with any style! Try a talisman pendant with a two-piece set, or pile on cuffs and bangles for an unexpected addition to your signature little black dress.

Sterling Silver Amulet (handmade in Chicago!), $...

Sterling Silver Amulet (one of my personal faves!), $225

14K White Gold Spike Earrings, $375

14K White Gold Spike Earrings, $375

Turquoise and Sterling Silver Pendant (handmade in Chicago!), $...

Turquoise and Sterling Silver Pendant Necklace, $275

14K Gold Threader Earrings, $170

14K Gold Threader Earrings, $170



5. Colorful Statement Necklaces

Ralph Lauren S/S 2015, via Pinterest

Ralph Lauren S/S 2015, via Pinterest

We are beyond excited for a season that does not require we dress for the arctic, and that means we can say good-bye to neck bundling (statement necklaces, here we come)! It also means that it’s time for color, color, and more color!

{how to wear it}

Add a statement necklace to your everyday t-shirt and jeans or blazer, or make a splash in an eye-catching collar at your next black-tie affair. Have fun with color and proportion. Top off one of the season’s biggest denim trends — serious flares — with a bright, substantial neck piece to strike the perfect balance.

Blue Topaz Necklace in Blackened Sterling Silver, $275

Blue Topaz Necklace in Blackened Sterling Silver, $275

Lemon Quartz Necklace (460 carats!), $845

Lemon Quartz Necklace (460 carats!), $845

Turquoise Necklace in Blackened Sterling Silver, $200

Turquoise Necklace in Blackened Sterling Silver, $200

6. Woven Textiles & Leather

Marni S/S 2015, via Pinterest

Marni S/S 2015, via Pinterest

A little woven leather here, a bit of embellished rope there, and you’ve got yourself the perfect rugged/casual glam look.

{how to wear it}

Natural materials like these are wonderfully versatile because they have a neutralizing effect. The casual aesthetic of these pieces make them a fantastic option when accessorizing a dress with a wild print or a boldly colored jacket.


Leather bracelets, top to bottom: Blue Leather, $60 Black/Brown Leather, $55 Black White Double Wrap, $80 Black Double Wrap, $75

Leather bracelets, top to bottom:
Blue Leather, $60
Black/Brown Leather, $55
Black White Double Wrap, $80
Black Double Wrap, $75

14K White Gold, Blue Topaz, and Diamond Bracelet,  $...

14K White Gold, Blue Topaz, and Diamond Bracelet, $860

Woven Stainless Steel bracelets, left to right:  Black, Silver, and Red, $60 Black and Silver, $80 Black, Blue, and Silver, $60

Woven Stainless Steel bracelets, left to right:
Black, Silver, and Red, $60
Black and Silver, $80
Black, Blue, and Silver, $60



7. Romantic Details

Dolce & Gabbana S/S 2015, via Pinterest

Dolce & Gabbana S/S 2015, via Pinterest

Spring is the season of romance– a walk in light April rain, sunny picnics among all of the beautiful growing things coming into bloom, armfuls of tulips and full-swing wedding season. A delicate, antique-inspired sparkler is just the thing to capture the essence of this time of year.

{how to wear it}

Add a touch of lacy rose gold to a tailored silk blouse, or dress up boyfriend jeans with heels and platinum filigree.

Vintage Art Deco 14K White Gold Diamond Ring

Vintage Art Deco 14K White Gold Diamond Ring (We LOVE to put together special collections of vintage pieces tailored just for you! Stop in for an appointment with us and we’ll curate an amazing selection for you!)

Platinum Art Deco 1.12 cttw Diamond Pendant/Brooch on Platinum Chain, $3,850

Platinum Art Deco 1.12 cttw Diamond Pendant/Brooch on Platinum Chain, $3,850

14K Rose Gold Filigree Diamond Ring, $1,450

14K Rose Gold Filigree Diamond Ring, $1,450



8. Aqua

Issey Miyake S/S 2015, via Pinterest

Issey Miyake S/S 2015, via Pinterest

Vibrant blues and greens, reminiscent of clear tropical seas, flowering gardens, and bright summer skies, are a warm weather mainstay. This year, they seem to be cropping up everywhere!

{how to wear it}

Who doesn’t love a splash of color? Think of blue gemstones like (amazingly beautiful, sparkly, breathtaking) blue jeans– they go with everything!

Rachel in our Turquoise, White Topaz, and Black Diamond earrings set in Rose Gold.

Rachel wearing our Turquoise, White Topaz, and Black Diamond earrings set in Rose Gold,  $1,955

Blue Topaz & Diamond Pendant

Blue Topaz & Diamond Pendant, $1,695

Blue Chalcedony, Sapphire, and Champagne Diamond Statement Earrings (large statement earrings like these are all over the Spring runways!)

Blue Chalcedony, Sapphire, and Champagne Diamond Statement Earrings (large statement earrings like these are all over the Spring runways!) $1,250

14K White Gold Sapphire and Diamond Ring, $1,895

14K White Gold Sapphire and Diamond Ring, $1,895

14K White Gold Pyramid Turquoise Ring with Diamond Halo, $850

14K White Gold Pyramid Turquoise Ring with Diamond Halo, $850

So, what’s your favorite trend right now? Is your jewelry box ready for Spring?

See you on the other side of winter!


-Ashley Collier, GIA AJP

Manager, Sparkles Fine Jewelry


Sparkles’ Holiday Wishlist

The holiday season is in full swing here at Sparkles Fine Jewelry, and we are having so much fun helping everyone pick out beautiful gifts for their loved ones! With the holidays right around the corner, we wanted to share our favorite picks for the season with all of you!

Rachel’s Pick:



“The hourglass shape, the glimmering diamonds, the sunset color….I’m just madly in love with this stunning 18kt rose gold and diamond necklace. With the vintage style rose cut diamonds to the hip black rhodium on the filigree detail, this piece always brings a smile to my face.  :)”


Ashley’s Picks:

kyanite necklace

“This necklace is amazing. The stone is striking– a rose cut Kyanite slice set in an organic design– and has me completely hooked! Champagne diamonds add the perfect amount of sparkle. I want to wear it every day!”

black and green watch

“I love the sleek profile and daring color combination of this watch. The black is chic and stylish, and the bright green brings it to life. It’s sporty and polished at once. I would love to gift this to my fiance, but he would have to let me borrow it once in a while!”


Annabelle’s Picks:


“I adore these sterling silver, mother of pearl, jasper and onyx cuff-links for their bold yet subtle design and the orchestration of color. I think these cuff-links could be worn with equal appeal by both men and women.”



“The setting of the diamonds in these earrings represents the art of clustering to the highest power. While looking at these earrings, all one sees is diamonds, diamonds  and more diamonds!”



“Dazzling is the way I would describe this lovely ring. The symmetry of the design, the way its three beautiful sapphires form a triptych, contributes to its charm.”




What’s on your wishlist?

We hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season so far!

Happy Gifting!


With Love,

All of us at Sparkles