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How Has The Bridal Jewelry Business Changed Most? Our Readers Sound Off

Lab-grown diamonds, custom design and millennial buying habits lead the responses.




Question: What’s changed most about the bridal business recently?

  • We are selling more from consignment. The pandemic left us struggling to reorder stock like we normally would, so we have been working with vendors that are willing to work with us! — Alison Sophy, Sophy Jewelers, St. Clair, PA
  • Everyone comes in with a picture on their phone of the ring style they need. — Frank Salinardi, Linardi’s Jewelers, Plantation, FL
  • People are ready to make a decision, not taking as much time, one visit instead of two or three. — Connie Stagner, Acori Diamonds & Design, Friendswood, TX
  • We continue to sell more lab-created centers, which allows our customer to spend more on the engagement ring. — Michael Rumanoff, Rumanoff’s Fine Jewelry & Design, Hamden, CT
  • Clients are buying bigger and better natural diamonds. We used to sell more loose and semi-mounts; now we sell an equal amount of already set solitaires. — Dorothy Vodicka, The Gem Collection, Tallahassee, FL
  • I would say the uniqueness of the rings — we continue to do new and different designs each day. — Allison Leitzel-Williams, Leitzel’s Jewelry, Myerstown, PA
  • People asking about lab-grown. Ick! — Stacey Horcher, J. Reiss, Lincolnwood, IL
  • Many couples are looking for non-traditional color engagement rings. We have loved tapping into our vast collection of sapphire, tourmaline, even moonstone! — Linda McEathron, Design House, Waco, TX
  • We are seeing many more clients than usual for engagement rings and wedding bands. — Eric Stevens, Stevens Diamond Jewelers, West Springfield, MA
  • More custom and different diamond shapes. — James Gattas, James Gattas Jewelers, Memphis, TN
  • Lab-grown centers, rose and yellow gold. — Tom R. Nelson, Nelson Jewelry, Spencer, IA
  • Princess cuts?!? We are selling them like crazy! — Christopher Sarich, Noah Gabriel & Co. Jewelers, Wexford, PA
  • Finally seeing halo trend fade a bit! Yellow gold making a strong comeback and lab diamonds! — Julie Terwilliger, Wexford Jewelers, Cadillac, MI
  • The mothers come in with their sons! A lot! — Cathy Calhoun, Calhoun Jewelers, Royersford, PA
  • I have well-informed clients with a savings account, especially for this milestone. That has changed from recent years where often credit arrangements were requested without a fleshed-out plan for the total expense. Not so today, many younger buyers are well equipped both intellectually and financially to execute the “I do” decision! — Denise Oros, Linnea Jewelers, La Grange, IL
  • The “alternatives” to traditional in showcase diamond engagement rings, whether it’s customization, lab-created diamonds or colored gemstones in a funky asymmetrical setting. Whatever, you need to embrace your client’s wishes. — Mark Clodius, Clodius & Co. Jewelers, Rockford, IL
  • I am seeing many more gay and lesbian couples than ever before. — Jim Doggett, Doggett Jewelry, Kingston, NH
  • I think it’s just an overall movement towards custom. We don’t see customers asking for brand name bridal and we don’t sell a lot of pre-set bridal. Instead, they really want to be part of personalizing their ring down to the details. It’s such a big purchase and customers are really educated and they don’t want to get something that’s cookie-cutter or mass-produced. If they are going to spend the money, they want to feel like they are contributing to every step. — Becky Bettencourt, Blue River Diamonds, Peabody, MA
  • Those who do come to the store are very serious and want to make a fast decision. If they wanted to spend time and think about it, they would still be shopping online. — Steven B. Goldfarb, Alvin Goldfarb Jeweler, Bellevue, WA
  • More new clients who find us via Google based upon positive reviews. — Jillian Hornik, Jae’s Jewelers, Coral Gables, FL
  • Lab diamonds have changed the business big time. You can now sell something to everyone. It opened doors that were once closed for us. — Michael Kanoff, Michael’s Jewelers, Yardley, PA
  • No one wants what is in the case. They bring pictures and want some part from 50 different rings incorporated into their design, for under $2,000. — Rosanne Kroen, Rosanne’s Diamonds & Gold, South Bend, IN
  • It’s not a given that the couple is looking for a DIAMOND! We have been selling so, so many other stones in the engagement ring. — Patty Gallun Hansen, Dorothy Gallun Jewelry, Cedarburg, WI
  • It may be our reputation for excellence and trust, but we have done hundreds of restorations of family wedding rings, just oomphed up and made sparkly for the 21st century. There are so many diamonds in the family pipelines around here, that we rarely have to make a diamond sale (which is okay with me). — Jo Goralski, The Jewelry Mechanic, Oconomowoc, WI
  • Young people are serving their student loan, housing and health care. This makes moissanite and $90 titanium wedding bands look good. Thank goodness for retirees. — Steven Wardle, Forest Beach Design, Chatham, MA
  • Almost every ring we do is made to order — sometimes custom, but sometimes simply changing material, stone shape, or size. — Trevor Williams, Leitzel’s Jewelry, Myerstown, PA

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.



Moving Up — Not Out — with Wilkerson

Trish Parks has always wanted to be in the jewelry business and that passion has fueled her success. The original Corinth Jewelers opened in the Mississippi town of the same name in 2007. This year, Parks moved her business from its original strip mall location to a 10,000-square foot standalone store. To make room for fresh, new merchandise, she asked Wilkerson to organize a moving sale. “What I remember most about the sale is the outpouring excitement and appreciation from our customers,” says Parks. Would she recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers? “I would recommend Wilkerson because they came in, did what they were supposed to and made us all comfortable. And we met our goals.”

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