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Readers Sound Off Regarding What’s Changed Most in the Wedding Jewelry Business

Lab-grown diamonds were the most popular answer.

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What’s changed most about the bridal jewelry business recently?

  • Montana sapphires have been a popular diamond alternative for us. Shapes other than rounds, such as emerald and oval cuts, have been popular, as well as salt-and-pepper engagement rings. — Kathleen S.,
  • Lab-grown diamonds have shifted the average size of diamonds being sold substantially. — Melissa Q., Chicago, IL
  • Like everybody else, we’ve observed the decline of the clueless groom buying a ring to surprise his bride. Now the bride takes control, which isn’t surprising considering she’s the one who’s supposed to wear it ’til death do her part. Buyers are more informed about diamonds, but since they get all their info from the internet, and most of the info is churned out by sellers, a lot of the info is deceptive (“diamonds are a great investment!”) or incorrect (“all certified diamonds have a laser inscription”) or delusional (“your jeweler should know the origin of every diamond in the store”) or just plain weird (“fluorescence means the diamonds are slightly radioactive”). — Gretchen S., Sherman Oaks, CA
  • The client wants a set that doesn’t match and huge centers on a tiny band. — Sherrie S., Tigard, OR
  • No more trio sets, and just about anything can be worn as an engagement ring. — Sue P., Excanaba, MI
  • Customization is key these days and organic free form designs. — Kelly V., Geneva, IL
  • Internet is a thing again. Seems during Covid, people wanted to support local. Not as much now. — Nicholas P., Dickson City, PA
  • It’s harder to sell out of the case. It seems like we are constantly special ordering. — Natasha H., Bend, OR
  • Lab diamonds have almost completely taken over the bridal jewelry business. — James S., Lowell, IN
  • They come to us with the design in hand. We don’t need to carry as many choices. We do need to be ready to create rings for them. — Steven G., Bellevue, WA
  • Sourcing in-demand cuts, like elongated cushions! — Jill K., Danielson, CT
  • Yellow gold is making a big comeback. — Joe K., Milford, OH
  • We have increased the number of engagement rings set with larger center diamonds of all shapes. With this, we have seen more first-trip purchases instead of selecting a loose diamond and a ring to put it in. We still do have a number of people doing this, but the quick sales of set-up rings has been a great decision. — Tom N., Spencer, IA
  • Lots of big lab-grown diamond solitaires, very simple designs. Or the exact opposite: very intricate vintage-inspired designs with marquise and baguette diamond halos or even colored gem halos. — Beth C., Dublin, OH
  • Everyone wants something nice but doesn’t want to pay for it. — Marc M., Midland, TX
  • Women are more involved with the end result of their rings. — Krystal S., Plymouth, MI
  • Everyone has become more picky, to the exact millimeter even. No joke. I’ve never heard a bride ask for a 1.7mm shank until now. — Niki N., Lyndhurst, OH
  • LAB LAB LAB. In the past three years, we went from selling zero lab-created diamonds to now 50/50 lab/natural! Simpler settings, yellow gold, very thin and delicate. — Jeremy A., Los Angeles, CA
  • More colored stones and freeform designs for bridal party jewelry. — Pamela H., Calumet, MI
  • I am shocked at how many big diamonds (1.5- to 3-carat) are going out the door! Plus, as a die-hard purist, I have finally turned the corner on selling lab-grown diamonds. They are such a viable alternative compared to moissanite and cubic zirconia (YECK!). Having an affordable option for still-in-school clients has been incredible. Better yet, upon graduation and getting their adult jobs, those couples return to have a mined stone put in their settings — INCREDIBLE! — Denise O., La Grange, IL

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Celebrate Your Retirement with Wilkerson

For nearly three decades, Suzanne and Tom Arnold ran a successful business at Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Va. But the time came when the Arnolds wanted to do some of the things you put off while you’ve got a business to run. “We decided it was time to retire,” says Suzanne, who claims the couple knew how to open a store, how to run a store but “didn’t know how to close a store.” So, they hired Wilkerson to do it for them. When she called, Suzanne says Wilkerson offered every option for the sale she could have hoped for. Better still, “the sale exceeded our financial goals like crazy,” she says. And customers came, not only to take advantage of the going-out-of-business buys and mark-downs, but to wish a bon voyage to the beloved proprietors of a neighborhood institution. “People were celebrating our retirement, and that was so special,” says says.

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