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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

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.



This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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