How to determine quality and choose the rings that are right for you.
Mount Kisco (914) 864 2688
Scarsdale (914) 722-1940
What’s trending up in engagement ring styles?
The antiquing or retro look is hot, but, in this new version, the small diamonds are set using a microscope. A smaller stone looks bigger when set in the middle of a little rim of small diamonds around it as is done in micro-pavé settings. And because they are popular with Hollywood celebrities, some clients are asking for fancy yellow and pink diamonds.
What cuts or shapes are available for the diamonds in engagement rings?
Shapes and cuts include round, marquise, pear, oval, heart, cushion, radiant, princess, and emerald cuts. Round is always the most popular—it’s traditional and reflects the most light and has the most brilliance—with cushion cut a close second. Cushion, a more square-like shape, is hotter than ever—it’s very cool looking, feminine, and soft, and the next best thing to round for brilliance.
What types of settings are popular for engagement rings?
The traditional or Tiffany setting is still very hot and the micro-pavé—surrounding a single larger stone with a rim of smaller diamonds—is as hot as can be. The solitaire, in which the stone sits on four prongs on a band, always offers a classic look.
What’s the next big thing when it comes to engagement ring settings?
The non-traditional setting. The diamond is not set in prongs but, rather, a mechanical drill is used to make a hole and the stone is suspended in it; with some, you can touch it with your fingers and actually spin it. Another is the tension setting, where you take a thick round band, make a cut in it and spread it apart, and then place the stone between the two parts of the band; the two pieces hold it in place.
What precious metals are used most for wedding and engagement rings?
Platinum—rather than gold—is newly popular, accounting for about sixty percent of the engagement rings we sell. The remainder are of 18-karat white gold. Yellow gold engagement rings are very rare.
What percentage of the engagement rings you sell are custom versus finished or straight out of the showcase?
Our business us about sixty percent custom, forty percent finished.
Do you work with heirloom stones?
More and more clients are bringing in their own stones to be re-set for their engagement rings; I’d say it’s forty or forty-five percent of our business now, which is a big jump from even two years ago. With the changes in the economy, you see increased recycling of a lot of things, including heirloom diamonds from a mother or grandmother.
Any tips you can suggest to ensure a happy diamond jewelry purchase?
If you walk into a jewelry store and the salesperson starts showing you diamonds without giving you at least a ten-minute education in how to determine their quality, don’t shop there. And remember: the Internet is only information; it’s the experience of the jeweler that imparts the knowledge.
How is the quality of a particular diamond determined?
A diamond should be evaluated according to the four Cs—cut, color, clarity, and carat. Cut is the diamond’s ability to return the light or its sparkle and encompasses shape, proportion, symmetry, and polish, each of which affects how the stone returns the light and makes it dance. For color, which ranges from D to Z according to Gemological Institute of America (GIA) standards, you want at least a color H or above. For clarity, you’ll want a stone with a GIA rating of at least an SI 1, meaning slightly included or flawed to the first degree. Anything rated below that has inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. And while a diamond that is rated SI 1 does have some inclusions in it, they don’t affect its beauty or durability and are not visible without magnification. And finally, carat is the measurement of weight. Most of the stones we sell are between three-quarters of a carat and three-and-a-half carats.
How much do people usually spend on engagement rings?
Our typical price range is between three thousand and sixty-five thousand dollars, with most purchases between ten and twenty thousand. The suggested rule of thumb is to spend about three months of one’s annual salary.
How popular is the use of colored stones rather than diamonds for the engagement ring?
Rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are a little more popular than previously, but they are mainly used as accent stones.
How can someone find out a ring size while keeping the purchase a secret?
People usually take another ring and bring it to the store to be measured. But that’s not necessary for our customers because we do all our size fitting on the premises while you wait.
Do most couples these days shop for a ring together as opposed to keeping the purchase a surprise?
Yes. Nowadays, I’d say only about fifteen percent are surprise purchases.
Are men wearing wedding bands these days?
A few years ago, about eighty-five percent of all grooms were wearing them; now it’s close to one hundred percent and very rare for a man not to.
What’s more typical: matching or different wedding bands for the bride and groom?
Most couples today don’t have matching bands because the ladies usually try to match their engagement ring and want a more feminine look. The men want something plainer or masculine. Some men want stainless steel or titanium, but we try to stay away from those metals because they can’t be easily adjusted. I’d say overall, the wedding bands we sell are fifty/fifty platinum and 18-karat white gold.
What would you recommend in terms of necklaces for the bride to wear the day of?
We offer a lending service for special-occasion necklaces; a single diamond pendant or very clean-looking, lacy diamond necklaces are popular. The cost is three percent of the purchase price, or about three hundred dollars for a ten-thousand-dollar necklace.
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