Brides are looking for engagement rings that reflect their personal style and break from tradition, creating an environment with limitless possibilities.
“Unique, unique, unique,” cheers Brides. The longtime bridal publication says 2020 will see more break down of traditions, as brides opt for alternatives to the classic round diamond engagement ring. Trending are color stones, fancy cuts, and open ring designs. It also cites a return to yellow gold, and the popularity of three to five stone rings.
At the online wedding planning portal The Knot, top trends include vintage-inspired styles (from Victorian to Art Deco), two- and three-stone styles, hidden halo-settings, rose cuts and fancy shapes (emerald, oval, pear and marquise), unique setting orientations, and color stone centers, notably emerald.
Weddingwire.com also reports couples embracing the non-traditional, citing among the trends cluster stone designs, and gray and white diamonds in “salt and pepper” looks. While the solitaire is hailed back in fashion, fancy cuts are a favorite twist to this classic style. The website also identifies lab-grown diamonds as a viable choice for brides, and one of the biggest engagement ring trends in 2020, a huge part of the eco-friendly wedding trend.
In the Details
Offering options is critical to servicing wedding ring customers today. According to The Knot, customization is key when it comes to engagement rings. Nearly a third of couples in its 2019 report opted to design a piece from scratch, with more than half adding custom details to existing styles.
Bruce Pucciarello, CEO of Novell, a subsidiary of Continental in Rahway, New Jersey, says its Custom Shop has been a resounding success for independent retailers. The program, part of Novell’s “cover your bases” strategy, gives jewelers more advantages to expand their reach by increasing the services they can provide, like custom work.
Also popular are engagement ring styles that allow couples can pick all their favorite design elements. Collections like Lyrics by ARTCARVED, a Fredrick Goldman brand, is a great example in that it give couples lots of options with four ways to customize: center stone (all shapes and sizes from .50 to 1.50 carats), halo (four shapes and non-halo), and three gold colors in 14K or 18K for the signature Lyric pattern in the gallery and the overall ring (including platinum).
There’s no denying that brides today want everything to be unique to them, says Theresa Namie, merchandise manager for Ostbye. The most coveted styles for the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based manufacturer have been vintage-inspired, with non-traditional halos and ornate bridge details among the top choices. A close second, are classic designs that accommodate larger diamonds and have more of a modern flare.
Namie sees strong demand for beautiful settings around center diamonds that are under a half-carat in size, with the success of Ostbye’s Celebration collection. The rings have the same detailing as its traditional bridal lines, she says, with matching diamond wedding bands that sell well as a set, upping the wow factor for under $4,000 retail.
Also bringing more bang for the buck, rose-cut diamonds remain a bridal favorite, cites Natalie Engravido, vice president of marketing for Frederick Goldman in Secaucus, New Jersey. She identifies ARTCARVED rose cut collection popular in half-carat round and oval shapes in motifs including geometric modern, whimsical floral, iconic three-stone, and a range of halo styles. Rose-cut diamonds deliver a one-of-a-kind look. The flat base of this vintage cut sits closer to the finger, providing more surface area. Combined with 24 facet cuts, rose-cut diamonds appear larger than their carat weight.
Paramount to brides is sentiment and fashion, says Roopam Jain, president of the branded team at Renaissance in New York, which brings to market its licensed Disney Enchanted Bridal collection. The line speaks to the princess in every bride, with subtle hints of royal flare expressed in iconic profiles like a tiara, carriage and arabesque. With styles named after Disney princesses, the brand also equates gemstones to like morganite, tanzanite, aquamarine, and amethyst have been popular. Even Disney’s Villians get some love, a particular favorite Is the Evil Queen engagement ring featuring oval white diamond center framed by black diamonds in black rhodium collar, with white diamonds and gold ring, with two bezel-set rubies under the gallery. Wicked cool!
Reported by multiple media outlets as an increasingly popular “diamond alternative” in engagement rings, lab-grown diamonds present an exciting growth opportunity for jewelers. Unity Marketing describes lab-grown diamonds as the future of the industry, advocating jewelers lead, not follow.
Consumer awareness for the product has grown from under 10 percent a decade ago to over half in 2018, and rising, reports MVI Marketing, finding that 70 percent of millennials would consider buying a lab-grown diamond engagement ring. The lab-grown diamond industry is expected to grow by 22 percent annually for the next five years, and 9 percent until 2035.
More manufacturers have expanded their offerings to include both bridal and fashion fine jewelry set with lab-grown diamonds, such as Quality Gold with its True Origin brand, Fredrick Goldman with its acquisition of Love Earth, and Made For You launched by Renaissance Global in the past two years.
“As an industry, we need to find new and innovative ways to excite the consumer and compete with other discretionary purchases. We believe that lab-grown diamonds are one of those ideas,” Jonathan Goldman, CEO of Frederick Goldman said at the launch of Love Earth.
Consumers are drawn to the choice and price points lab-grown diamonds offer, and there is also an ethical and sustainable appeal. “Raised on the advancements in technology and the choices afforded by them, millennials are open minded to the lab-grown diamonds, cheers Cora-Lee Colaizzi, director of marketing and catalogs and senior merchandiser for Quality Gold in Fairfield, Ohio. “As more people understand that the difference between a lab-grown and mined diamond is the origin, they welcome the choice.”