Professional Jeweler Archive: Breathtaking Bridal

February 2004

Feature


Breathtaking Bridal

Romance is in the air with fancy shapes, romantic detailing and classic elegance


Bridal jewelry sales are expected to be boffo in 2004, continuing a surge in business that began in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 2001. “Our business is up 15%,” says Sam Sandberg, president of A. Jaffe, New York City. Bridal ring designers are creating breathtaking styles that are contemporarily classic or romantically retro. Filigree, micropavé, milligrain, bead-setting and hand-engraving all embrace the tradition of older styles while complementing modern tailored fashion.

Metals Matters

“Even though prices have increased, platinum continues to gain ground in bridal jewelry,” says David Levine, vice president of William Levine, Chicago, IL. Get around the price increase by training your sales staff to sell platinum. “The price for platinum has risen considerably, so education is essential,” says Jeffrey Adwar, owner of Overnight Mountings, Long Island City, NY. “Because it’s easier to sell down then it is to sell up, sales professionals have to be ready to discuss the benefits of platinum, its price and after-sale issues.” For customers who can’t justify platinum’s price, white gold is still an attractive option, though recent increases in the price of gold have raised costs here too.

The Shape of Things

While round diamonds are suited to retro designs, fancy-shape diamonds dominate, with more brides wanting pieces that reflect their styles. Princess, Asscher, radiant, pear, heart, oval and marquise diamonds offer a custom look. Bullets, trapezoids and half-moon shapes are gaining interest as side stones. And thanks to a Diamond Trading Co. advertising push, our experts agree larger sizes have rebounded.

What was seen as elegant – the high prong setting – is now considered out of style by many brides, who have their eyes on settings that are more flush, flowing and graceful. “A traditional three- or four-prong flush setting in platinum is the look for today’s bride-to-be,” says Levine. However, bezel settings are still popular. If unusual looks pique a customer’s interest, suggest tension settings, says Adwar. And if a bridal customer wants to be ahead of the curve, show her a trellis setting with heavy split prongs.

– by Lorraine M. O’Donnell, A.J.P.

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The Diamond Promotion Service says sales associates need to beef up their diamond-selling skills with men. Here’s some insight from DPS research, enhanced by advice from jewelers who are bridal sales experts.

  • Coach Me. Men are used to getting advice. So respect what they already know, but fill in the gaps. Don’t forget romance coaching. “I ask ‘How are you planning to give it to her?’” says Michael Wilson of Wilson & Son, Scarsdale, NY. “This makes him stop and think and remember why he is doing it.” Jewelers should have a repertoire of great proposal stories at the ready.
  • Drink Up. Many men are nervous when buying an engagement ring. Wilson offers a cup of coffee or something to drink. Even better – outfit a separate room or area in masculine furnishings and take him there with his drink to sit down. DPS says many men feel uncomfortable shopping in a jewelry store, and this will help.
  • Slam Dunk. Men like to be winners. Most also like sports. So combine the two and speak the language. Convince them there’s a competitive edge in the status her engagement ring will bring. “This ring will be a home run with your fiancée – even if the guys at the club hate you for it.”
  • In Your Face. Many men don’t want to be asked for a sale, they want to be told to buy. When an engagement ring buyer is on his third visit, Minnesota jeweler Mark Moeller cuts to the chase: “What do you say we wrap this up?” This direct approach is assertive and masculine – and it’s what men want.

– L.M.O.


Platinum engagement ring from the “New Engagement Classics Collection” features a 1-ct. center diamond and 0.33 carat of baguette diamonds.

Jeff Cooper Platinum, Carle Place, NY; (516) 333-8200.

18k white gold rings retail from $645-$1,370.

A. Jaffe, New York City; (800) 223-0553, fax (800) 628-4183.

18k white gold contemporary bridal set is from the Bridal collection.

Amy L. Levine Bridal, Chicago, IL; (914) 833-8333.

Platinum band features 0.47 carat of pink diamonds, 0.40 carat of full-cut white diamonds and 0.49 carat of yellow diamonds. Suggested retail, $17,800.

Suna Bros. Inc., New York City; (800) 456-7862, fax (212) 869-5922.

Amore band collection is available in 14k and 18k gold and platinum. Suggested retail, $570-$2,700.

Gelin & Abaci Inc., Glendora, CA; (800) 545-8545.

Available in 14k, 18k and platinum, the top ring holds 2.0 carat of round diamonds and the bottom one, 1.80 carats.

Eternal Creations, New York City; (212) 398-5006.

Platinum wedding set features 0.40 carat of diamonds. Suggested retail, $1,720 for the engagement ring (mounting only), $1,540 for the band.

Chris Correia Collection, New York City; (212) 695-4711, fax (212) 564-2477.

Three-stone platinum engagement rings are available with a selection of oval, radiant, round and other fancy shapes.

William Levine Fine Jewels, Chicago, IL; (800) LEVINES.

Two-tone handwoven wedding ring is available in 14k and 18k gold or platinum and 18k gold.

Dora Wedding Bands & Rings, Fort Lee, NJ; (201) 242-0014, fax (201) 242-0015.

Platinum engagement rings feature a wide variety of diamond shapes.

H’ratch, New York City; (212) 819-9222, fax (212) 819-9199.

14k gold filigree wedding bands have 0.50 carat of diamonds. Suggested retail, $1,197.

B&N/Britannia Bridal, Marietta, GA; (800) 358-6223.

An 18k gold vein runs through this sterling silver ring. Suggested retail, $61.

Ed Levin, Cambridge, NY; (518) 677-8595.

14k gold wedding band features 2.75 carats of princess- and baguette-cut diamonds. Suggested retail, $2,615. 14k gold engagement ring has 1.50 carats of princess-cut diamonds. Suggested retail, $7,350.

Eugene Biro, New York City; (212) 997-0146 or (212) 764-4506.

Platinum engagement ring on the left features 0.17 carat of pear-shaped diamonds and 0.07 carat of round diamonds ($2,200 suggested retail). The other platinum engagement ring has 0.20 carat of round diamonds ($3,850). Prices don’t include center diamonds.

Bergio, Totowa, NJ; (888) 237-4464, fax (973) 956-1818.

True Knots contemporary bridal rings come in 14k or 18k white or yellow gold or platinum.

My Way Jewelry Co., Los Angeles, CA; (800) 667-1515 or (213) 689-0945, www.trueknots .com.

Platinum wedding set features diamond pavé.

Overnight Mountings, Long Island City, NY; (718) 472-1212, fax (718) 784-2200.

Handmade platinum ring features a
3-ct. emerald-cut diamond and 1.0 carat of trapezoid-shaped diamonds. Suggested retail, $6,600 for the semimount.

David Levy, New York City; (212) 398-8952, fax (212) 398-8126.

14k gold ring holds 1.0 carat of round diamonds. Suggested retail, $2,450.

Camelot Bridal, Union, NJ; (800) 535-3501, fax (908) 657-8314.

Matching engagement rings and wedding bands from the Ariana® Collection vcc,nmmn,m,,m, are $250 suggested retail in 14k gold, $1,000 in platinum without center stones.

Guertin Bros., Roanoke, VA; (800) 225-3141.

Engagement ring embraces an emerald-cut center diamond and heart-shaped side diamonds.

Baroka Creations, New York City; (212) 768-0527, fax (212) 869-1553.

14k gold wedding bands are $200 suggested retail.

Relios, Albuquerque, NM; (505) 345-5304.

Platinum band has 0.90 carat of pear-shaped rubies and 0.40 carat of pear-shaped diamonds. Suggested retail, $3,200.

Sachs/Reisman Inc., New York City; (800) 236-6421 or (212) 719-4102, fax (212) 719-4103.

Available in 14k yellow or white gold or platinum, the wedding ring holds 0.02 carat of diamonds. The engagement ring is available as a semimount or with a 0.50-ct. center stone.

Esslinger & Co., St. Paul, MN; (800) 328-0205 or (651) 452-7180, fax (800) 548-9304 or (651) 452-4298.

Plain and diamond-accented platinum rings.

Benchmark, Tuscaloosa, AL; (800)-633-5950 or (205)-345-0555.

Platinum and diamond engagement rings are $750+ suggested retail. Prices exclude center stones.

Verragio, New York City; (212) 868-8181, fax (212) 244-2960.

Platinum semimount has 0.37 carat of diamonds and the matching band has 0.59 carat. Each features natural fancy yellow diamond accents, and each is $2,800 suggested retail.

Kimberley Diamond Co., New York City; (800) 223-4104 or (212) 227-3155, www.kimberleydiamond.com.

Platinum engagement ring features an oval center flanked by half-moon side diamonds.

Adasco Designs Inc., New York City; (212) 819-0288.

14k gold ring features 0.60 carat of G-H/SI diamonds.

Eyal, New York City; (212) 382-2448, fax (212) 768-3460.

14k gold wedding set with 0.50 carat of diamonds is $699 suggested retail.

Color Merchants, New York City; (800) 356-3851, fax (212) 682-1306.

Wider than standard semimounts, this design features channel settings for round accent stones. It’s available in 14k white or yellow gold and can accommodate two 0.05-ct. stones per side. Triple keystone at $350 gold, $225.

R. Findings, Rochester, NY; (800) 422-7624 or (585) 385-6730.

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications