When it comes to that all important ring – the one usually preceded with a ‘will you do me the honor….’ times are changing. No longer does the nervous male step over the doorway of his local jeweler armed with little more than advice from his mother and soon-to-be father–in-law. He consults the internet, compares prices, styles, metals and trends. Not only does he come armed with a list of what he wants and the price he wants to pay, he also, more often than not, comes armed with the bride-to-be.
According to a survey by theknot.com – some 65% of couples either shop for a ring together or have discussed exactly what type of ring the bride wants. An overwhelming majority of brides still opt for white gold as their metal of choice.
For those looking for something slightly more on-trend, pink or as it’s often referred to rose gold, is gaining popularity with today’s brides.
Color is beginning to come out of the wings and onto the main stage when it comes to traditional diamond designs. More and more, brides are looking at fancy color diamonds at all price-ranges, from browns and grays to fancy yellows and pinks.
One trend that is as prevalent in the engagement ring arena as it is elsewhere, is that of getting a ‘bigger bang for the buck’. A one carat or even smaller diamond center-stone, in a double halo setting makes the stone look larger and certainly adds the ‘wow’ factor that many brides are looking for at an affordable cost.
Diamond substitutes are also gaining a greater degree of acceptance, with many couples actively seeking, moissanite, synthetic diamond and even a colored stone as a preference over traditionally mined diamonds.
Let us not forget customization. Even if a bride is looking for a traditional round diamond in a white gold setting, chances are she’ll be interested in some form of customization. From adding accent stones such as hers or his birthstone, to engraving the inside of the band.
And don’t forget equality. If she’s leaving with a sparkling new ring, so should he. While most women don’t automatically consider buyingtheir betrothed a ring, many men have indicated they would be interested in walking out of the store with something for themselves. While a male-focused engagement ring has yet to really take off, make sure he gets to see timeless jewels for him that celebrate the day. From engraved cufflinks, to watches – don’t ignore the man in the deal.
When it comes to the sweet spot in price points, , according to the 2011 Engagement & Jewelry Study from theknot.com, bridal customers spent an average of just under $5,200 on bridal jewelry in 2011 including the ring and other accessories. So when a couple gives you a budget, remember they may well be gearing up to spend an additional amount in your store closer to the wedding. Service and trust counts… Don’t let this spend go elsewhere.
And finally – if a guy comes in by himself, he’s unlikely to walk out right then with a ring. According to another survey, grooms take an average of three months looking for the right ring. Be patient and follow-up. Even if they don’t buy on the spot, make sure you provide educational input and other value added services to ensure the groom will come back to you at the end of his ring-buying odyssey.
Next week: Our Top Ten Tips that will have your Valentine’s sales putting a smile on even the most romantically challenged.