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Unique Engagement Rings – How to Find the Right Jeweler

If you’re looking for unique engagement rings or a unique wedding ring it can be difficult to wade through all the choices available. Whether you’re looking to buy on the Internet or at your local jeweler, the choices can be overwhelming. Having to learn how to tell a good diamond from a bad one, the […]

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If you’re looking for unique engagement rings or a unique wedding ring it can be difficult to wade through all the choices available. Whether you’re looking to buy on the Internet or at your local jeweler, the choices can be overwhelming. Having to learn how to tell a good diamond from a bad one, the differences between different metals and more can take a lot of reading and research.

When shopping around, the term “you get what you pay for” typically applies. The difference of a couple thousand dollars can make a HUGE difference in what you get with the quality of a unique diamond ring and diamond. However, looking at two different jewelers, the same price can also get you a very different ring and diamond for the same price.

You can break down most retailers into a couple categories:

1.       Big chain store jewelers – These are typically stores that reside in shopping malls and prices here are basically the MOST you can pay – full retail price with salespeople moderately knowledgeable on what they’re selling and their salary based largely on selling you the most expensive ring you can afford. Likewise, custom design choices are typically limited here.

2.       Large Internet “jewelers” that compete largely on price – these companies typically have most of their designs and rings manufactured overseas to cut down on costs. Most designs are relatively generic and quality is typically lower as well as having little room to customize your engagement ring design. Visit https://kobelli.com/collections/moissanite-collection for more design options

3.       Independent local jewelers/manufacturers – Most jewelry manufacturers do not sell directly to the public. However with the rising need for them to compete with Internet-based companies, it’s become necessary for manufacturers to start selling directly to the public, at prices previously unheard of. Many of these companies, custom manufacturer all their designs in the USA, and give you both more freedom in what you want as well as more “bang for your buck” – since they often would have previously sold to the “big chain stores”.

The question is where can you find these independent manufacturers turned retailers? The payoff is pretty significant, with the ability to save upwards of 40% from retail prices, while getting the same quality, it’s well worth it.

Modern Design Inc. is one of these companies – they manufacturer and wholesale custom diamond jewelry and are based in the heart of the downtown Los Angeles Jewelry District. All of their jewelry is made in the USA and they have wholesaled their fine line of jewelry to retail stores out of state since 1978, now only just recently offering their line directly to the public at the same wholesale prices. Check out their website, where you’ll find a range of engagement rings, wedding rings and diamond jewelry. Visit http://www.moderndesigninc.com

 

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Why Ghanaian-American Jeffrey Ampratwum is the menswear expert to watch in fashion!

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At the start of the Victoria era, early 19th century – the English began to tone down the royal style dressing of the French army, namely those adorned in prestigious regalia and heavy embroidery. It was a sign of English nationalism and sparked a new wave of appearance in men. A few decades later, the suit was born and heavily influenced those in Italy and America. The British and the Americans have a rich revolutionary history, of course, and coincidentally the British colonized the African country – Gold Coast – until 1957 when they declared their independence and changed their name to Ghana. 

 

As part of an independent Ghana, a host of individuals began to exercise new freedoms and venture out of the country into new territories. Many Ghanaians set their eyes on American travel and a wave of trail blazers left the country and settled in the infamous New York City. For most, it was an opportunity to plant new seeds in the hopes that their children would be afforded even more opportunities for a prosperous life.

 

One of these children of the diaspora is Bronx-born Jeffrey Ampratwum. The only child to Kate Bampoe and Eugene Asante-Ampratwum Mpere, who met in the Bronx after immigrating from Ghana. The dynamics of having African parents and being raised in a heavily eclectic environment gave rise to Jeffreys style and prose. More importantly, we can honestly say that there are only a handful of Ghanaian-Americans living in the states that can exhibit a special presentation that reflects both their African heritage married with the esthetic of their nationality. We recently caught up with Jeffrey to discuss how his early influences provided him with a framework to now become such a strong force in the menswear industry in fashion.

 

 

AD: Jeffrey, Ɛte sɛn?

 

Jeff: Haha, Eye.

 

AD: I had to test your Twi really quick! You know most Ghanaians who are born in the states dont have a clue about the language unless its spoken fiercely in the home.

 

Jeff: You are 100% correct with that. Ha. But for me, I was lucky in that my mother took me to Ghana before I even knew how to use words. So, in actuality, Twi was the first language and vocabulary I learned, and in essence, English is my second language. So, Im really decent when it comes to using Twi. Im a cheat code! But keep that quiet. Ha.

  

AD: How much of the remnants of the Ghanaian culture factored into your approach to your style and presentation?

 

Jeff: When I was younger and in school, particularly in the Bronx – it wasnt always your proudest moment to be from Africa or to say your family was African. Part of the silly embarrassment was perhaps from the narratives that were spinning on television. Americans were being indoctrinated with visuals of feed the children” which only highlighted the extreme poverty in a few Africans countries. The images and broadcasts were all the same, for decades. So called philanthropist and humanitarians took camera crews into ravaged areas and televised starving children for us to see here in the states. I believe that had a profound effect on young boys and girls born from African parents.

However, as for me – I always looked at being dark skinned and being deeply rooted into my African culture as a super power. I liked the idea of being different, even though all the kids in all my classes were also children of immigrants. They just couldnt grasp the concept of it at that time. So, from there, it was showtime. My Uncle, Joseph Ken Mintah – was the pioneer as the first in the family to travel to the states – he had extreme style. My mother also is very detailed with her sense of jewelry and fragrances. I adsorbed it all. 

 

AD: Did you start dressing in traditional African attire? What do you mean exactly?

 

Jeff: Not exactly! But, being an only child really allowed for me to sit deep in thought for long periods of time. Being left-handed allowed for me to be extremely dexterous and detailed. And being raised solely by my mother further allowed me to pay attention to the importance of clothing and accessories – as she dressed herself each morning. It was the ultimate cocktail and I was already drunk with creativity. I started customizing all the clothes I had. By no means were we wealthy, so I had to manage just a few outfits for school.

 

My styling began when I would turn 5 outfits into 15 – so essentially, a 5-day school week became New York Fashion Week for me. I would airbrush my sneakers, turn Old Navy sweaters inside out for a fleece appeal, and cuff my jeans in 4 different ways depending on my footwear. This soon became a bad habit and made me late for school many mornings.

 

AD: You see, if you are late to school in Ghana back then – you might as well have sat by the road to hide from both your mother and headmaster! What was college like for you then?

 

Jeff: Right! Ha. It grew legs during my undergrad. Now all the pretty girls were around, I had more freedom to come and go, and more importantly – I had a stage to showcase my style. I joined a student club in the SEEK Program, and soon became the President and started hosting a string of events based around fashion. 4 years and a bachelors degree later, there were 6 fashion shows and 3 beauty pageants under my belt. Huge successes. I started to doubt my real educational reason for attending college, which was to become a dentist. Fashion was dancing on one shoulder and dentistry on the other. But somehow, I figured out how to still involve the two. My best buddy, Kenny – whom I met at the college on the road to become dentists – made it through. So, I live vicariously through him. And now, coincidentally – together we’ve developed a brand – a service of bespoke mens luxury shoes and women’s handbags, and ready to wear womenswear shoes as well. Named, Kenjeffreys. It is serendipitous because all of the products are sourced and handcrafted in Haiti and infused with Ghanaian culture. As Kenny is from Haiti, we properly employ artisans within the community and focus heavily on our social impact.

Following undergrad, I then began at FIT as student, really just trying to test my styling hand – and to learn more about the industry. While there, I came across extremely talented and knowledgeable fashion professionals that have really guided me. Namely, Sadia Seymour and Joseph DeAcetis. Both wildly experienced, patient and embedded with a wealth of information. Respectfully in womenswear and menswear. You cannot beat that, and I am grateful for it.

 

AD: That is strangely unique and admirable. Talk to us about how all those experiences and inspirations give rise to the Jeffrey or Che we see today and ultimately, where that places you in your field of fashion and menswear.

 

Jeff: Sure. Great point. I have been indoctrinated by the basic principles of creativity as an adolescent – with respect to clothing. That is extremely hard to shake. Innately, styling was my ultimate form of communication, seeing that I was a shy introvert. So now, I still revert back to those same feelings…. the feeling of home, warmth, memories, great food and innocent fun. My approach now is exactly the same in the sense that when I am dressing, styling or designing for someone – I am taking into account their entire repertoire and holding a mirror in front of them which reflects the items that they love most. It is a skill that perhaps only empaths are only able to exhibit.

 

Having the ability to read into thoughts and connecting with the motivating spirits that drives people – is a gift. I ran the New York City marathon three times, and the 2nd time I ran it in a tuxedo! It was my ultimate homage and pledging of allegiance to fashion. Ha.

 

I also believe my extensive traveling experience has aided to the arsenal. Recent trips to Ghana always resets a creative instinct with me, as I look around and arrive back to a place of self-awareness. It feels right. My cousin Harry knows where to be to capture the real essence of the land. And, coincidentally enough, I am often back and forth to the UK as well. Savile row in London, England -as you know – is a menswear connoisseurs Disney Land. It is the traditional hub for the world’s best tailored-bespoke suits. Naples and Florence are a close second. However, sartorially, the British have etched their names in the fine-art making of the suit. I do though spend most of my time in Brighton, UK. Its where my love is and also like a second home for me. The culture there is infused with various styles and the community is inviting. The Duchess of Brighton-Hove, Lady Donna and her amazing friends will assure that you have a great time! 

 

AB: Finally, talk to us about your styling approach with respect to specific talent that you work with.

 

Jeff: Definitely. This is perhaps an area you cannot teach. It is learned with years of experience and even reading the room wrong most times. I tell my fashion students often that they have to continue shooting airballs at the basket. Get out the miss shots, now – and properly learn your subjects. For example, if I am styling a celebrity for the red carpet – several nuances are to be considered before arriving at a dress or a tuxedo. Such as, what stages in life is your talent currently in, how body conscious are they and what are they most nostalgic about. These (and some of my other secrets that I cannot give away) are the pillars to nailing great style, image and presentation.

 

If I am shooting for a magazine in a studio – it
s party time. If you are not dancing as a model or grooving as a photographer, you are are in the wrong business, per say! Haha. With me, you are very liable to hear everyone from Bob Marley, James Brown, MJ, and Jay-Z to Queen, Lady Gaga, Biggie, Nas and Beyonce all on the same playlist. I say that to say: I enjoy what I do in fashion, and I will always represent the joys of that. I believe that is what makes me an enigma in this industry. Always professional however, but make it subjective and inject areas of your creativity wherever you can. Particularly in menswear – I keep a very intimate and close pulse on traditional, casual and street styles of these sub genres – and study them gravely like the science they are. That all still comes from sitting deep in thought as I did
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All the Fashion from the 2022 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA)

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The 8th Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA) went down last Saturday night, at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, and it was celebration of haute couture of Africa.

It was a gallery of fashion art as movie people across Africa showed up in style, in different forms of fashion expressions.

From the mesmerizing to the captivating, and everything in-between, it was a night of fashion explosion.

 

Below are photos of your favourites at the AMVCA 2022

 

 

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MzVee Cuts Off Her Hair; New Look Outdoored At VGMAs

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Ghanaian songstress MzVee has out-doored a new look at the just-ended 2022 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA22).

The afrobeats singer shocked patrons when she got onto the red carpet in a low-cut hairstyle, drawing the attention of the cameras.

MzVee after breaking to fame some ten (10) years ago had the nickname ‘Natural Girl’ due to her admirable natural hair and her advocacy for girls across the country to stay true to themselves and as natural as possible.

But a decade down the line, the singer has seen it necessary to rebrand and champion the course from a different perspective.

She will be celebrating her 30th birthday and 10th year anniversary as a professional musician in a couple of months.

MzVee bagged two nominations at the VGMA but was unable to take home any of the plaques after a fruitful 2021.

Taking to her Instagram page to outdoor the new look, she posted a picture of herself with the caption “Fully clothed in his grace.. very excited for #TheNextChapter #10yearAnniversary #30 in June ✨”

MzVee had earlier revealed in Instagram Live interview with Dhamie Offishal (Senanu Damilola Wemakor} that her 6th studio album will be ready on her birthday on June 23. She is also set to hold her 10 years anniversary on June 30.

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Hit or Miss? What the stars wore to the 2022 Ghana Music Awards

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The 2022 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards finale came off at the Grand Arena of the Accra International Conference Centre, on Saturday night with Kidi topping the night. (more…)

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VGMA 2022 Red Carpet Looks: Osebo the Zara Man

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Richard Opoku, widely known as Osebo turned up to the 2022 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards with his usual eccentric fashion sense.  He wore a jacket over a pair of shorts and rocked black boots to complete the fierce look.

Osebo has rapidly risen to fame in Ghana as a result of his out of the ordinary fashion sense and style. He has been intensely criticized by most Ghanaians for the way he fused western culture into that of Africans in his fashion looks.

The 2022 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards kicked off on Friday evening with the Industry Awards night,   at the Grand Arena of the Accra International Conference.

A majority of the awards was focused on the technical categories. The big awards will be presented on tonight, Saturday, May 7, 2022 at the the same venue.

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VGMA 2022 Red Carpet Looks: Serwaa Amihere

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Serwaa Amihere turned out in style to the 23rd edition of the annual Ghana Music Awards, headlined by Vodafone.

The GH One TV host who is performing the duties as Red Carpet host alongside James Gardiner, made sure she turned head in her red dress.

The 2022 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards kicked off on Friday evening with the Industry Awards night,   at the Grand Arena of the Accra International Conference.

A majority of the awards was focused on the technical categories. The big awards will be presented on tonight, Saturday, May 7, 2022 at the the same venue.

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