From classic to custom – What’s new in engagement rings?


Pictured above: No more boring baguettes! Colored stones with baguette-shaped diamonds paired with rounds are a new trend in bridal jewelry.

Becoming engaged is a public declaration of a couple’s love and commitment to one another. The symbol of that love is the engagement ring –­ often a round solitaire with a simple band. Classic, like the “little black dress.” But today’s brides-to-be often aren’t opting for this classic.

Amber Todd, a buyer and bridal designer for London Gold, “eats, breathes and sleeps jewelry” and knows what is trending when it comes to engagement rings.

“Probably 75% of our business is custom bridal,” says Amber. “A lot of people have an idea of what they want and then we can go from there. Or even if they don’t, we have hundreds of settings in the store. They might like a top of one and the side of another, and we can guide them and show them how to make it all fit together.”

Amber can sketch out a design for a couple and then the CAD designer will build the ring. She can send the image to the customer through a special link, and the client will be able to take their finger (or mouse) and move the ring 360 degrees, to view the design from all angles.

The next step is to create a 3D printed ring from resin. The couple can come in and she can try on the ring and make any changes at that time. “The 3D print world has changed the way we design jewelry,” adds Amber.

For many, the design starts with the stone – and “fancy” is what’s in. “Fancy means anything besides round (shaped),” says Amber. “I have been selling diamonds for 25 years, and I don’t think I have ever had this many people asking me for pears or ovals.”

Another trend is the use of baguette-cut diamonds. However, unlike the early 2000s when they were all lined up in a channel, now they are being set next to small, round diamonds, accenting the center stone.

Jewelry styles, like fashion, are cyclical. The metal color of settings is one of those cycles. “We are selling more yellow gold and more rose gold right now,” she says.

“The tradition is white gold,” says Amber. “During World War II the government put a ban on platinum – except for military use. Right after that, you started seeing a ton of yellow gold.”

Now, rather than the big and bold of that era, the trend is delicate and feminine. Rose gold has not been popular since the 1920s, and it’s back in a big way.

One reported industry trend that Amber hasn’t seen yet in her Scottsdale store is the demand for colored stones in an engagement ring. “We do have some very cool bridal sets with sapphire or morganite center stones,” she says. “(But) diamonds are still king,”

Though she has seen a rise in emerald-cut aquamarine rings since Meghan Markle flashed such a ring on the way to her evening wedding reception.

“Trends now are different because of social media,” notes Amber. “Before it would take a while for a trend to hit and when it did, it would stay. Trends just come and go so much faster because we are exposed to so much more.”

Social media can be beneficial when a man comes in alone to pick out a ring. “We will see if she has a Pinterest,” says Amber. “They usually create an engagement ring board or a bridal board.”

Since people are exposed to so much more than even 10 years ago, a lot of women who have never set foot in a jewelry store will have a good idea of what they want from Instagram or Pinterest.

“We get a lot of customers that come in as a couple and he’ll get an idea of what she wants, and we will do a client card on that couple,” says Amber. “He can then come in without her and we’ll know what she wants.”

Occasionally, a guy will come in alone, not knowing what her style is and wants it to be a total surprise when he pops the question.

In that situation, Amber will rely on that “little black dress. “Everyone knows that the skinny band with the big diamond is an engagement ring,” she says. “I tell him let’s do a classic solitaire. She may want to change the setting, but at least you didn’t have to tell anyone what you were doing. She can be completely surprised.”

Amber knows this is a big decision and something that will eventually be handed down to other generations.

“Jewelry is one thing that looks just as pretty today as when your grandfather gave it to your grandmother 50 years ago,” she says. “Houses aren’t like that; cars aren’t like that – nothing that you have is as emotional and as beautiful as a handed down piece of jewelry.”

London Gold has store locations in Chandler, Peoria and Scottsdale. For more information, visit londongold.com.

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