A Classic Antique

Engagement Ring Evolution

January 28, 2014
Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Joden World Resources

Buying an engagement ring is perhaps one of the most stressful purchases a man will ever make, but that wasn’t always the case. The experts over at Joden World Resources, an online resource for antique, estate and modern jewelry, have weighed-in on the evolution of the engagement ring. While it’s interesting to hear how the process has evolved in the past 40 years, it’s also good to know the current and upcoming trends in engagement rings. The best news is, the ring’s future owner is playing a larger and larger role in the overall design and sentimentality of the ring – and that’s good news for everyone! Keep reading for Joden’s take on the evolution of the engagement ring and to learn more about the jeweler or to begin shipping, visit joden.com.

The Past 40 years

Joden Jewelers has been in the engagement ring industry for 43 years and in that time the industry has grown and changed in ways we couldn’t imagine years ago. In the 1970s, owner, Joe Murawski, gave engagement ring pitches with a tray with nine basic options and each of the options cost less than $1000. During that time most engagement rings were solitaires or very simple settings, options were limited, and most engagement rings looked the same.

Without an online bank of information, shoppers depended on the jeweler to tell them everything they needed to know about engagement ring shopping. Customer’s started from square one when they walked in the door. And it’s no surprise that without much influence from women, men naturally chose engagement rings that were inexpensive and basic. During that time nearly every engagement ring we sold was smaller than 1.00 carat. 

Today at Joden, 80-90 percent of the engagement rings we sell are 1.00 carat or larger. Most of the engagement rings we sell have diamond settings, rather than solitaire settings, and the majority of the customers walking in the door have a developed idea of what they want to buy. 

So what changed during those years? Larger diamonds were just as available during that time as they are now.  While in the 70s men were the primary customers for engagement rings, the industry has shifted to catering more to women as the primary customer for the engagement ring. It seems only fitting, as the woman is the end user of the product. Now that women are making their preferences known, we are selling less and less basic settings with small diamonds.

People used to see an engagement ring in a more utilitarian way; as an object necessary to seal an engagement, but it really represents much more than that. We now see engagement rings as an expression of the love between the couple as well as an extension of the personality and spirit of the woman wearing the ring. So every engagement ring sale is now a search for something special that speaks to the couple and speaks to the woman who will wear it. 

This Year

Joden has always been a go-to for unique, one of a kind jewelry. Many of our customers are looking for rings that don’t look like their friends’ rings and since such a large part of our inventory is antique, estate and vintage jewelry, we can easily sell rings which are quite literally one of a kind. So, the trends that we see revolve around customers who aren’t looking for “cookie cutter.” We sell a lot of rings with filigree and carvings in the setting, diamond settings are highly sought after and more than ever, our customers aren’t hesitating to ask for something unusual. We see a lot more colored stones being used as a center stone or side stones for an engagement ring. Stones like sapphires, rubies, tsavorites and topaz are coming up more and more in engagement ring conversations. 

There is still a love for classic elements. We still sell more round shaped stones than any other shape, many of our customers are still seeking the engagement ring silhouette and they like the higher table, with a defined center stone, and a side design that’s easy to fit with a wedding band. But even those shopping for the traditional silhouette often want something which makes the ring stand out. For example, this year halo settings have been very popular. 

With women directing the industry by voicing their tastes and preferences, we believe we’ll see the industry produce even more innovative designs in the coming years.

Wyndham Alltra

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