Monday, July 21, 2014

Tiffany & Co Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Ring

Seahawks Championship Super Bowl Ring 2014. Photo Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic.


Seahawks Championship Super Bowl Ring 2014. Photo Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

 On June 19, 2014, a special presentation ceremony took place in downtown Seattle to commemorate the landmark victory attained by the Seahawks at Super Bowl XLVIII. As mentioned in a previous article, these rings are given not only to the playing team members, but also to all the folks behind the scenes that make the season possible, including managers, scouts, financial supporters, and more.

 The rings are subsidized to the tune of $5,000 per ring by the NFL, with a limit of 150 distributed at the NFL's expense. Teams can spend more than the allotted NFL budget and have more rings made, but the terms the NFL sets are firm. These rings are specially designed, typically by a high-end designer chosen by the winning team, with the input of the team's owners, coaches, and other key leaders within the team's organizational structure.

 These rings are meant to capture the essence, not only of the game but of the team's entire season--no small feat on the canvas of a jewel the size of a small rock. Speaking of rocks, the Seahawks wisely chose to commission Tiffany & Co., the decided leader in the artful display of all manner of rocks, to design their Championship Ring. True to their collaborative nature, the Seahawks have painted a story on each ring that "represents a distinctive tribute to this team, our fans, the Pacific Northwest and the Seahawks victory in Super Bowl XLVIII," said Peter McLoughlin, the team's president {3}. On the face of the ring, 64 round diamonds fill in the white gold outline of the team's bird-head logo. A second outline of blue enamel further distinguishes the logo. A single fancy-cut, prong-set, green tsavorite serves as the bird's eye. Above the bird, a marquise-cut diamond is bezel-set in the form of stylized version of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and these two iconic symbols are surrounded by an ocean of 107 round diamonds.

The ring's border reads "WORLD CHAMPIONS," and is further framed by two sets of six round brilliant diamonds on either side. In profile, the ring's head is rimmed by a single row of 40 blue sapphires, and from it hang two "12" flags etched in blue enamel. The shanks of the ring tell the story of the season. Etched on the side boasting the player's name is a long view of the south-facing aspect of Century Field. A "12" flag flies in relief against Mt. Rainier in the distance, a solid tribute to the 12th "player" for the Seahawks, the team's loyal fans.

 The player's number stands in relief upon the playing field, and just below, their final record of 16-3 is etched just above the 12 feathers engraved into the bottom portion of the band. These feathers are stylized to mimic the feathers featured on the team's uniforms. The opposite shank features a view of Seattle's skyline in the background, with the Space Needle taking prominence. In relief one sees the Vince Lombardi Trophy, the words "Super Bowl XLVIII", and the NFL Logo, etched against the background.

The year 2013 is engraved into the band just above the stylized feathers. The inside of each ring is etched with the following phrases: "LEAVE NO DOUBT", "24/7", "SEA 43-DEN 8", and "WHAT'S NEXT?" Tiffany & Co. expressed their pleasure in working with the team to design their special rings. "Having crafted the Vince Lombardi Trophy since its inception in 1969, we are proud to have now also crafted the first Seattle Seahawks Championship ring--both being the purest symbols of hard work and perseverance," said Tiffany's representative, Victoria Reynolds {3}. In the many images and videos floating about on the Web, the indelible mark of Tiffany's impeccable quality is unparalleled in the structure and design of these rings. They truly are beautiful jewels, and the story they tell is a story well loved by everyone in the Pacific Northwest. We applaud the hard work and dedication set forth by the best football team in the world and the best of the best in diamonds.

Notes

  1. Crabtree, Curtis. "Seahawks Get thier Super Bowl Rings," NBC Sports, June 20, 2014. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/06/20/seahawks-get-their-super-bowl-rings/.
  2. Eaton, Nick. "See the Seattle Seahawks' Super Bowl XLVII Champs Ring," Seattle PI, June 19, 2014. http://blog.seattlepi.com/football/2014/06/19/see-the-seattle-seahawks-super-bowl-xlviii-championship-ring/#24457101=3.
  3. Seahawks News. "Seahawks Receive Super Bowl Rings," posted June 19, 2014. http://www.seahawks.com/news/articles/article-1/Seahawks-Receive-Super-Bowl-Rings/b40ff317-235c-4f40-aac5-45f255b62c5e.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Turkish Engagement Traditions

Mens Scott Kay Javlin Diamond Wedding Band Brushed Platinum

Traditional Turkish marriages were once arranged by the parents of the couple. While this practice is still in effect in parts of Eastern Turkey, a majority of Turks choose life partners of their own accord. Once a partner is chosen, however, the path toward marriage is typically paved by the traditions that encompass the blessing and participation of their close-knit extended families.

Meet the Parents

Once a couple has chosen to marry, the next step is to meet each others' parents. Without the approval of their parents, it is unlikely that the couple would proceed to marriage, regardless of the depth of their love for each other. Thus, though these initial steps toward marriage are rituals based on tradition, they do carry a lot of weight in the culture still.

The first step is to meet each others' parents. These are formal affairs, where everyone dresses in their best and hosting family members take time away from their daily routines to prepare a special meal for their guest of honor. After dinner is eaten together, traditional sweets, tea, and fruit are served and a conversation commences. If the families approve, then a date is set for both families to meet each other to continue the progression.

None of these are casual affairs, such as we would arrange in America. Rather, they are all formal events laced with tradition. According to said tradition, when it's time for the families to meet, they converge at the home of the bride-to-be's parents. When the day arrives, her family prepares the food and helps her get ready. It is typical for the woman to visit a salon for hair and makeup. These meetings are considered a formal cause for celebration, so everyone dresses up and often important members of their extended families are invited, as well.

Turkish Coffee

The man's family will arrive at the door with a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers in hand. This signifies a request to eat sweet and then talk sweet, and expresses clearly their intent to ask for her hand in marriage for their son. While some families actually declare their intent by asking outright, others allow the sweets and flowers to do the talking for them. Both ways are acceptable. 

Once the guests have been properly greeted and the small talk is well under way, the bride-to-be commences with the first of the evening's traditions: making Turkish coffee. A perfect cup of Turkish java has bubbles on top, and this test of her skill is the one his parents will claim to use to determine her potential as a good wife. Not to worry, inherent in this custom is a test of the groom-to-be's character, as well.

The bride-to-be is encouraged to put salt in his coffee. If he is able to drink it without showing his displeasure, he will have demonstrated to her parents that he is able to show patience in the difficult days they will face in their future. As with most customs like these, this is an opportunity for the families to have fun together and not a true test of their character.

Humor aside, the next portion of the evening is a solemn affair, conducted by the oldest member of the groom-to-be's family. He speaks to her family on behalf of the man, announcing his intention to request permission to marry their daughter/granddaughter. An elder of the bride-to-be's family replies with their assent (hopefully), and then the couple take turns kissing the backs of their elders' hands. As a symbol of sweet harmony between the families, sherbet is poured and everyone drinks to the arrangement.


The Rings & A Ribbon

Once the families drink the sherbet together, they choose an auspicious date for the engagement party. In cases where the families have known each other for a long time, or when the couple wishes to wed quickly, this event can be combined with the initial meeting of the families. Traditionally, however, the engagement party is a separate event, another opportunity to fix a fancy meal, get all dressed up, and celebrate the good life.

Between the meeting of the families and the engagement party, the groom-to-be's mother will take her future daughter-in-law shopping for a new dress, fancy shoes, and engagement bands. These bands are typically gold, though they can be silver or platinum, as well, and they can run the gamut of styles, from simple plain bands to ornately engraved bands. At another time, the mother of the groom-to-be also sets out to purchase a very special gift for her future daughter, which she will present to her at the party.

On their chosen date, invitations are sent to close family and friends, and once again the families converge at the bride-to-be's parents' home. Lunch is served, with the women and men typically segregated, and afterward the customary rituals begin.


Jewelry and More Jewelry

First the mother of the groom-to-be presents her future daughter-in-law with the gift she purchased ahead of time: a lovely parure, including a necklace, a bracelet, and a pair of earrings. At this time, other distinguished members of both families are free to present the bride with gifts as well, usually more jewelry.

Shortly thereafter, the engagement rings, tied together by a red ribbon, are brought out by the bride-to-be and an appointed family representative on a special presentation tray. This representative (typically an elder aunt or grandparent of one of the families) offers a word of intent and blessing and then places the rings on the bride and groom's right ring fingers. In some families the couple will spend the rest of the evening joined by their rings and the red ribbon, but in others the rings are cut by the family representative with a specially decorated pair of scissors.

Afterwards, the youngest members of the families bring out the engagement cakes, and the families continue with harmonious conversation. In some households, it is customary for the youngest members of the families to join the newly engaged couple for a night out on the town, thus ending the party.

This engagement period is slightly different from ours in the States, as Turkish culture allows that the couple may or may not proceed to the altar from here. Even though expensive gifts are given, and even though rings are exchanged, the engagement period is one in which the families are expected to test their mutual good will. Much depends on this harmony between the families, and so there is a bit less pressure on the couple. The possibility of marriage is wide open and hoped for, but the arrangement is not actually as binding in Turkey at this point as it seems to be in America.


More Gifts

As the months progress toward the wedding celebrations, the couple's families begin to lavish them with gifts in preparation for their new life together. Furniture and household goods are provided for the couple, so that when the wedding comes there is no need for the guests to bring gifts of tea towels, punch bowls, china, and mixing bowls. Instead, they rain upon her with money. Forget the money tree, the Turkish bride becomes the fount of all blessing as she is literally showered with bills and coins and gold. And this is after the henna night and an exchange of yet another set of rings, these worn on the left ring finger, and a series of parties and festivals that can last for weeks on end. 

What a rich and glorious tradition, yes?!?

~Angela Magnotti Andrews, Staff Writer