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A Diamond Engagement Ring is the ultimate romantic gift of a lifetime. That said, Diamonds have proven to consistently be one of the best investments of all time, if not the very best! Diamonds become family heirlooms for generations.  They are historically the most valuable, and stable form of currency. Now can we say the same about weddings? We would never lessen the importance and significance of a wedding here at NYCWD. In my 26 years sharing the joy of couples as they become engaged, many have sought out alternative ideas to a huge wedding. The following is a fascinating article written by Kate Storey appearing in today’s New York Post. Yes, one and the same N.Y. Post that named NYC Wholesale Diamond’s President Keith J. Saxe ‘The New York Diamond District’s Favorite Jeweler’ in their Savvy Shopper Column.

Last spring, a few dozen guests stopped by a going-away party in Greenpoint for Khuong Phan and Shannon Belisario. Wearing casual summer dresses and slouchy jeans, the friends gathered at Paulie Gee’s pizza joint.

There was nothing unusual about the party, except the departing couple was a bit more dressed up than usual — Belisario in a cute purple and red frock, Phan in a sharp sports coat. And surprisingly, their family members had flown in from Florida for the lunch.

After some slices, Phan, then 32, and Belisario, then 30, invited the group of 55 to a nearby photo studio for drinks. A few hours later, Phan and Belisario climbed on top of a coffee table to make a toast.

“Our Brooklyn friends have become like a second family to us,” Phan began as iPhones flashed. “And keep out your cellphone cameras! Because we’re getting married — right now!”

The room erupted in cheers and tears as the couple dashed off to change into their wedding finery.

Top-secret weddings are usually associated with celebrities hoping to escape the glare of paparazzi — think Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick; Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds; Leighton Meester and Adam Brody, who reportedly tied the knot last week in a covert ceremony in Northern California. But recently such undercover weddings have become a welcome alternative for everyday couples looking to avoid the fuss and frills of the over-the-top, “Bridezilla” approach to matrimony.

“Ambush weddings are part of a bigger trend of couples doing away with the traditional way of doing weddings,” says Carmen Feliciano, CEO of, a New York-based wedding vendor site.

“It’s driven by a few things: cost, need for personalization and time. People just don’t want to spend a year and a half having wedding planning in the back of their minds.”

And who can blame them? According to, the average New York wedding now costs upwards of $70,000, and brides typically spend 14 months planning it.

Simply turning a party into a surprise wedding eliminates the hassle of save-the-dates, fancy invites, rehearsal dinners, bridal showers and decoration details. Plus the planning period is generally reduced to a month or two.

For both celebrities and regular folks, the key to pulling off a surprise wedding is coming up with a strong excuse to lure guests to the bash. LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian told pals they were hosting an engagement party at a private home, in 2011, but when guests showed up, the couple revealed it was actually their wedding. In 2009, Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady used their son’s christening at St. Monica Catholic Church in California as an excuse to get their group gathered.

Belisario and Phan, who had been engaged for five years, initially planned to go the traditional route with their nuptials. But they kept running into roadblocks.

“We had pseudo-planned our wedding twice,” says Belisario. “We looked around everywhere — The Green Building, The Foundry, all over the place. They’re so expensive!”

So the wedding was pushed off. But when Phan scored a job in Los Angeles, the couple knew they couldn’t leave their beloved Brooklyn — where they’d spent the majority of their relationship — without getting married.

So they dove into action, turning their going-away party into a surprise ceremony. They tracked down a priest who agreed to officiate with only a week’s notice, and tipped off their families in Florida to ensure they’d make the trip north.

Even though some female guests unwittingly wore white, some male guests arrived under-dressed in jeans and sandals, and almost everyone showed up empty-handed — no wedding invites means no registry — the response was overwhelmingly positive.

“I thought it was really romantic and a great way to take the pressure off of all of the bulls - - t that comes with a wedding — save-the-dates and invites and dress code and all of the rigamarole that’s peripheral to the celebration itself,” says Jamie Feldmar, 26, who has been friends wit h the couple for years. “I thought it was kind of awesome.”

Park Slope residents Amy and Dave Frey were so against the nuptial song and dance, they planned to skip it altogether — until a health scare changed their minds.

After dating for about four years and deciding marriage wasn’t for them, the pair decided to start a family in the fall of 2012. But Amy had a dangerous ectopic pregnancy that required emergency surgery.

“In the hospital, right before the surgery, we looked at each other and were like, maybe we need to rethink this whole marriage thing,” Amy says.

“And my husband looked at me and said, ‘Oh, we’re going to get married!’”

But they knew they didn’t want their “I do’s” to be the normal to-do.

“We’d been to nine or 10 weddings over the previous two years, and there’s so much stress,” Amy says. “We didn’t want to be stressed over money and linens and tables and all that stuff.”

In a matter of weeks, Amy, 31, had invited their friends to a surprise birthday party for Dave, 39, at MyMoon restaurant in Williamsburg. But unbeknownst to their guests, the couple secretly exchanged vows in front of a few close family members at the nearby Wythe Hotel moments before the “birthday party” began. So it was a pleasant surprise when the couple walked through the door with rings on their fingers.

“Amy had the biggest grin on her face, and I just knew,” remembers guest Anna Carnick.

“I burst out crying, and she came up and said, ‘We got married!’ ”

Meanwhile, Alec and Gaby Brownstein spent months telling everyone they were planning to elope somewhere exotic and then have a small party to celebrate.

“Our parents were not thrilled,” Alec, 33, says. “They wanted us to do a wedding.”

And when the couple realized their “low-key” soiree was becoming as big as a wedding, they decided to nix the elopement and stage a surprise ceremony at the party.

The only other person who knew of their nuptial plot was wedding planner Tracy Taylor Ward, who set up a photo shoot of the couple around the city, with beach locales acting as stand-ins for exotic elopement spots. On the day of the party, Alec and Gaby played the slideshow for their guests, listing places they’d intended to wed. And then, the big reveal: “But we knew we wanted to get married in front of our family and friends — so we’re getting married today!”

“They were crying and so moved,” 29-year-old Gaby says. “I was so surprised that so many people cared so much.”

But relationship therapist Rachel Sussman recommends treading carefully if you go the surprise route.

“Parents could be very hurt if they were lumped into the same surprise that their kids’ friends and acquaintances and colleagues are,” she says.

Sussman instead encourages couples to bring their closest friends and relatives into the planning process.

And yes, that includes the bride.

Wedding planner Sandy Malone handled the granddaddy of secret ceremonies last year when a would-be groom hired her to surprise his future bride.

The client flew his girlfriend to Vieques, Puerto Rico, where he promptly proposed. The very next day, their friends and family arrived for the ceremony — unbeknownst to the soon-to-be Mrs.

That’s when things got awkward.

At the reception, family and friends began whispering that they thought the bride had been pressured into marriage. They didn’t approve of the groom and, although they knew they were flying to the couple’s wedding, they didn’t think they’d had a chance to voice their concerns.

“I was physically ill,” says Malone. “It was horrible. I wanted to take the bride aside and say, ‘Did I do something horrible? Your paperwork isn’t filed yet. We can tell everyone it’s a bad dream!’ But if nobody in her family has the guts to tell her that, who am I to do it?”

Malone says there is a difference between good and bad surprise weddings.

“A bad surprise is not telling the bride she’s about to get married.”

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So Grateful for all your Reviews

You can find all our over 500 Five Star NYCWD Reviews on Google, Yelp, iVouch, Wedding Wire, and Facebook

Thank you Will for this very kind Google Review. Wishing you and Madeline all the happiness life has to offer together always!

I reached out to Keith early in my engagement ring search. During my initial appointment, he gave me a thorough overview of the diamond buying process. He also showed me several diamonds based on the initial criteria I gave him. We spent the next several months narrowing my criteria even further, and ultimately Keith found us the perfect diamond.
Through every step of the process, Keith was knowledgeable, patient, respectful of my budget and great with communication. I could not have imagined a better experience finding a ring! Overall, Keith is fantastic and I’m incredibly grateful for his help in finding the perfect ring. I would (and will) recommend him to anyone!
Will Stager
Google Review
Five Stars
March 21, 2022

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%Jeweler NYC %NYC Wholesale Diamonds


Industry sentiment mixed following sharp rise in rough and polished diamond prices. Rough selling at unsustainable premiums on secondary market, fueled by speculation and shortages. Further increases likely at De Beers sight.
Fancy (non round) Diamond Market robust. Good demand across all sizes. 1.20 to 3.99 ct., F-J, VS-SI is hottest category and seeing scarcities.
Belgium: Sentiment positive as value of inventory continues to rise. Dealers struggling to find profitable goods.
Israel: Traders concerned about price speculation. Sold items proving difficult to replace as valuations keep increasing.
India: Upbeat mood as US demand drives sales.
Hong Kong: Polished trading down due to spike in Covid-19 cases. Wholesale resuming slowly after Chinese New Year. Retail weak due to pandemic and lack of tourist shoppers; China border remains closed. Mainland market gradually improving but seasonally quiet. Jewelers saw vibrant gold sales during lunar festival.


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Jewelry Appraisal Advice

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NYC Wholesale Diamonds President Keith J. Saxe and his NYC Diamond Blog have featured many articles on the importance of having an accurate appraisal and insuring your engagement ring. This also holds true for all your valuable jewelry. It is not easy to establish a guideline for the value in which you should begin considering insuring fine jewelry. Every individual situation is unique, but a value of $4,000 for each piece can be accurate in most cases. Jim Donovan, Angie’s List 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter has written a wonderful article on this important topic. Here it is, enjoy!
Do you have any valuable pieces of jewelry in your home? When was the last time you had them appraised?
Megan Wright searched all over her house for her missing engagement and wedding rings before finally finding them in her closet.
“My four-year-old daughter had been in there playing dress up — swiped my rings, probably tried them on herself, and she left them in the toe of my shoe,” said Wright.
Fortunately, they were recently appraised, which is important if you want to replicate lost jewelry because appraisals provide detailed descriptions.
“When you want to recreate the piece they’ll be enough detail — the stones, the metal, the weight, the quality of the stones — that you’ll get back exactly what you had. If you have a vague appraisal, then it’s possible you’ll end up with a ring, but it won’t be the same quality or value you had originally,” said jeweler Greg Bires.
You’ll also need an appraisal if you want your jewelry insured.
“Having your jewelry appraised can make sure you have it valued at the correct amount, especially with the fluctuation we’ve seen in gold prices.The pricing and value of your jewelry can and does change over time, so you want to be sure you’ve got it insured for the right amount. If it does end up lost or stolen, you get the right return,” said Angie’s List founder, Angie Hicks.
It’s a good idea to have your items appraised every three to four years. You should expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $65 dollars per item.
More from Angie:
• An appraiser inspects the item to make sure it’s wearable and that there is no damage. The appraisal marks every detail (measurements, number of stones, type of metal, weight, etc.)
• Your appraisal should also include a photograph and a replacement value – what it would cost to recreate the piece.
• An appraiser can help separate the valuable jewelry from the costume jewelry.
The appraisal process:
• Bring in the item, not a picture, for the appraiser to examine.
• Bring the appraiser copies of any sales receipts or other documentation you have about the items being appraised.
• Tell the appraiser anything you know about the item’s origin or where it was purchased.
• The appraiser will then take a few days to research the item’s history and the marketplace.
• You should receive a written report describing the item itself, the reasons for its valuation, and which type of value was done, for example – replacement value, fair market valueor market value.
How do you know what to appraise?
• Costume jewelry/base metal/plated – not worth appraising
• “Real” metal but not expensive – describe and photograph it for your records, but don’t appraise.
• “Real” stones/metal that you couldn’t easily afford to replace within 12 months – get an appraisal and get it insured. If you’d have to save up to replace it, it’s worth the appraisal and insurance rider.
Angie’s List Tips: Hiring an appraiser
Appraising jewelry for resale or insurance can be a challenge. It’s important to know whether a diamond or stone is real in order to get an accurate estimate of value. Some fakes are difficult to spot. Therefore, it’s wise to have a professional appraise any jewelry of value.
• Start by defining your objective: Do you want an appraisal done for insurance purposes? For estate purposes? To find out your piece’s fair market value?
• Work with a jewelry appraiser who has been trained and certified: Ask if the appraiser is certified by such organizations as the Gemological Institute of America and the American Gem Society. Pick someone who has been in the businessfor a while with a physical address.
• Steer clear of an appraiser who charges a percentage of the appraised value. Hourly fees or flat rates are acceptable. Expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $65 per item. A good appraiser should review all items and establish a rate with the customer before beginning the process. Money saving tip:It can also more cost effective to bring in a number of pieces at once, rather than appraising them individually.
• Appraisals should not take much more than a day, so be wary if the appraiser wants to keep your jewelry much longer than that. Most appraisers recommend making an appointment and will go over your items with you on-site. If you do leave your jewelry, request a receipt that itemizes and describes each piece.
Tips to manage your valuables:
• Preserve your valuables. Have your items cleaned and checked annually.
• Keep the items in their original state. Know that altering a piece may lower its value.
• Consider getting your item re-appraised every three to five years. For items in highly volatile markets, its best to get them re-appraised annually.
• Keep the descriptions of your jewelry in a location separate from the actual jewels. A good place is with your homeowner’s insurance policy. For jewelry handed down through the family, add a description of where the piece came from and keep it with your appraisal information so the next generation can know its significance.
GIA and FIT trained, Keith has been a trusted high end diamond jewelry specialist for 34 years. He is the founder and president of NYC Wholesale Diamonds Inc. located at 47 West 47th Street Suite 3A in the New York City Diamond District. His website is and he authors a blog Keith has been named to The Diamond Council of America, is a member of the Jewelers Board of Trade, and Jewelers of America. He offers GIA Certified Ideal Cut Diamonds, state of the art Engagement Rings, and fine jewelry designs at low wholesale prices. Keith has been named the N.Y. Diamond District’s Favorite Jeweler by the N.Y. Post’s Savvy Shopper column, had his diamond education articles published, been recommended in the New York Times, national gift reporter Robyn Spizman’s ‘Perfect Present Guide’ and ‘The GIFTionary’, as well as having his Diamond Halo Engagement Ring design featured on ‘The Knot’


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%Jeweler NYC %NYC Wholesale Diamonds

1) Understand the 4Cs of Diamond Quality
The GIA 4Cs of diamond quality will help you learn how to buy a diamond. This basic knowledge will not only unlock the mystery of a diamond’s quality, it will also help you understand a diamond’s value and price.
Diamond Color In most diamonds, the term actually refers to the absence of color. The less color in the stone, the more desirable and valuable it is. Some of these differences are not visible to the naked eye, but directly impact the overall quality and price of the stone.
Diamond Clarity measures the amount, size and placement of internal ‘inclusions,’ and external ‘blemishes.’ Grades run from ‘Flawless,’ with virtually no imperfections, to ‘Included,’ which contain a significant number of imperfections.
Diamond Cut does not refer to a diamond’s shape, but to the proportion and arrangement of its facets and the quality of workmanship. The amount of brilliance, sparkle and fire in a diamond is determined by cut. Grades range from ‘Excellent’ to ‘Poor.’
Diamond Carat refers to a diamond’s weight. Generally speaking, the higher the carat weight, the more expensive the stone. Two diamonds of equal carat weight, however, can have very different quality and price when the other three Cs are considered.
No matter how beautiful a diamond may look you simply cannot see its true quality. Knowing more about the 4Cs of diamond quality will help you learn how to buy a diamond. The 4Cs provide you with the information you need to know the diamond’s actual quality.
2) Choose a jeweler as you would choose a doctor
Your jeweler should be armed with expert training, open to questions and able to explain how to buy a diamond in clear, simple language. A jeweler’s professional training can help you evaluate how knowledgeable he or she is. Preferably, their training comes from a highly recognized and internationally accredited program, such as the GIA. As your personal diamond-buying guide, an educated jeweler will not only explain the 4Cs of Diamond Quality to you, but will also be able to demonstrate the differences between apparently similar stones. They will encourage you to compare a number of diamonds that fall in your budget.
3) Insist On a Diamond Grading Report
A diamond grading report from an unbiased, scientific source such as GIA is more than important information, it’s proof of what you are buying. The differences in diamonds can be so subtle, even a trained jeweler can’t recognize them without lab verification. Insist that any diamond you buy come with an indisputable verification of its quality.
4) Protect The Purchase
Once you’ve purchased the right diamond, have it appraised and insured. Appraisers and insurers rely on diamond grading reports to accurately evaluate the value of gems. As an additional measure, consider having your diamond laser-inscribed with its GIA report number, to provide verification if it is ever lost or stolen.
Please feel free to contact us with any, and al questions at (212) 719-2214 or


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Extremely Rare
Three Carat Natural Pink Diamond

Magnificent 3.01 Carat GIA Certified Fancy Light Brownish Pink

100% Eye Clean VS1 Diamonds in 18kt Gold Custom Designed Ring Retail $395,000
Your Price $195,000

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