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Three-Fourths of Surveyed Jewelers Say They Sell Complete (or “Live”) Engagement Rings

do you or don't you: They say there are still customers who “need the ring today.”





Do you sell engagement rings with live centers?

Yes: 75%

  • How many men do you know who plan ahead? In all seriousness, while much of society have been trained to plan on purchasing an engagement with a bit of lead time, we get just as many who do not give themselves more than a week. Also, when browsing our non-live sample line, I can see customers’ faces fall when they find out they aren’t real. Steering them towards a case of LIVE goods gives us legitimacy. We keep most live engagements to 1-carat and under in popular and classic styles, as well as hitting certain price points. — Casey G., Orleans, MA
  • Because there is always someone coming in looking for something complete (that they do not have to put as much thought into) and often it needs to be within specific price point ranges, which we try to accommodate. — Katrina S., Racine, WI
  • We sell both, but the ones already complete seem to work well because some of the guys want it now. — Don B., Hurricane, WV
  • It is an opportune time to sell the ring right from the case. Once they see it on her finger, it is hard to not purchase it. — Joseph V., Austin, TX
  • We give the option of both. We also have two master jewelers to set our loose diamonds or to change them out, so we have the best of both worlds! — Naomi V., Haines City, FL
  • It’s always a good idea to have ready-to-go rings! — Kim H., Sumter, SC
  • We are starting to experiment with doing that … setting up unique and sought-after styles to help the “need it now” crowd. We’ll keep you posted on how it goes for us! — Jill K., Danielson, CT
  • We have some mountings set with live center diamonds, but most have CZs that are replaced when the center diamond is chosen. — Donnie B., Gainesville, FL
  • Sometimes “today” is all the time someone has … — Laura S., Indianapolis, IN
  • Sometimes the customer cannot choose a loose diamond and a mounting, sometimes they can’t wait, and sometimes you have a stone that will not sell loose but mounted and the right price will sell! — Edwin M., Brainerd, MN
  • Hearts on Fire complete signature select are always good as a complete. — Kelly V., Geneva, IL
  • And we have made up several sets with larger centers now, around two carats in size. Just found if we do, the impulse customer WILL buy them, and we found the larger sizes will sell, too. If a larger and more expensive one is ready, they may just take it to avoid more “shopping.” It has worked well thus far! — Tom N., Spencer, IA
  • We keep both. It is an easy exchange to remove the CZ, but it is also a security issue as experience with a robbery has shown, the loss is incredibly less with CZ centers. — David B., Calgary, AB
  • While we have a sell a number of live pieces, we have noticed that once a certain price is reached (in our area $5,000), the customer tends to prefer to “a la carte” their ring or go full custom. We have found this to be true for either lab or natural buyers. — Mark B., Vidalia, GA

No: 25%

  • Having live centers is very limiting for the customer and retailer. It’s also far more expensive. — Debbie F., Ventura, CA
  • It was never the one they wanted. — Connie S., Friendswood, TX
  • I make everything to order. — Mark R., Ottawa, ON
  • Very hard to remove the diamond, and it harms the prongs, plus the customer most of the time wants a larger or smaller diamond. — Barry F., Bardonia, NY
  • Everyone has a different budget and this way they can customize their ring to fit their needs. — Meg R., Edmonds, WA
  • Because many times a customer will want a lab-grown diamond or a different shape diamond. — Steven R., Houston, TX
  • Every time we invest in completely finished pieces, they sit in inventory FOREVER. It’s like stocking Cinderella’s slipper … It only fits one person. Someone likes the design but wants a different shape, size, quality center or they like the ring but want it in yellow or platinum. It’s never exactly right, and the pieces end up being expensive ring samples. — Melissa Q., Chicago, IL
  • I typically only set larger diamonds. A loose larger diamond doesn’t appear as big as it does when set. In fact, I would prefer to have all of my diamonds set in rings, but you never know what style the customer wants and almost everything we do now is custom, so almost every diamond is sold loose. — Jeremy A., Los Angeles, CA
  • 99 percent of bridal rings have to made to either the girl’s finger size or she wants a different center. I can’t remember the last time someone walked in a purchased a complete ring. — Krystal S., Plymouth, MI

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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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