|So You’ve planned to say: “ I Do”
By: Janice & Daniel Niebauer from Ralph Miller Jewelers & Gallery
28 West 8th St., Downtown Erie, PA.
The following information has been compiled from surveys taken by Brides
Magazine and other jewelry trade publications.
Question: What is the average cost for engagement rings and wedding bands in the USA?
Answer: The bridal couple spends approximately $ 4,150 on the engagement ring and wedding band set. The guideline for the purchase of the engagement ring has not varied much for many generations; it is the amount of two month’s salary of the groom-to-be.
In today’s society, it is not in poor taste for the bride-to-be to assist and contribute in helping cover the cost of the engagement ring.
Question: Is it proper for the bride to assist in the selection of the engagement ring and wedding bands?
Answer: You’re going to be wearing it for a lifetime, absolutely, currently 70% of all brides-to-be help in someway, be it hints, photos, or suggestions, while 33% actually help pick out the actual diamond ring.
Question: Why are there so many different prices for the same size and quality diamonds?
Answer: This is a very interesting subject because ordering a diamond off the internet or purchasing one from mass marketers, big box chains or jewelry discounters does not necessarily get you the very best diamond for your money. Knowing “The 4 C’s” is the absolute key to a great selection for your budget. Note: Within the industry, diamonds cost all retailers the same amount, but in order to turn a larger profit some specific gem characteristics are emphasized more then others. If “70% off today only” is the major promotional emphasis, then usually cut, color, or clarity is sacrificed; so extreme care is recommended in making a final purchase. Don’t become an impulse buyer when selecting your symbol of eternal love. Take your time, do your homework, know the 4’Cs , and know your jeweler. The following are items to look for when caught in that “price promo – now scenario.”
Is the girdle of the diamond of even and medium thickness? This is a strong indication of good craftsmanship of the cutter and the true brilliance of the gem.
Is the girdle polished or faceted or just left roughly ground? Polishing and faceting increases the brilliance of the gem but at additional expense.
What is the grading of the cut and symmetry? Gems that are cut in locales in Asia are not done by the strictest of standards for proportions, depth and surface polish. Therefore these gems are much cheaper than those that are cut in major cutting centers through out the world such as Antwerp, Israel, Russia, Canada and the USA. Cut is now graded with current certified gems.
Is the gem color or quality enhanced, laser drilled or lab grown? Natural gems are much more valuable.
Is the mounting solid or hollow? Light weight, undercut and hollow mountings are less expensive because of less metal content, more likely slightly less comfortable and less durable. Wearability is extremely important to those individuals desiring that their selected mounting will last for many years to come.
Are the diamond prongs cast or forged? Forged prongs are more expensive but stronger.
Is the diamond certified by GIA, AGL or EGL, etc.. (Gemological Institute of America, American Gem Laboratory, or European Gem Laboratories)? Gems with these certificates are generally more expensive and not all stones have them. Your independent jeweler should be able to show you the properties of the diamond you wish to purchase in an appraisal.
Question: What are the 4 C’s?
Answer: Any jeweler will tell you, they are:
Carat (The actual weight measurement of the diamond), Clarity (The transparency, as it relates to internal or external surface irregularities and inclusions), Cut (the shape, proportions, and quality of surface polish and symmetry) and Color (The slight hues or overtones of colorization that are present in the gem, the closer to “D” or “0” colorless rating the more desirable and expensive).
Question: What are the current fashion trends that we’ll see in weddings in 2007?
Answer: Season and climate variations will always be a defining factor. For spring and summer; pastels to dark hues of vivid earth tones such as: coral, orange, tan, mint greens, sandalwood, reds, etc.; large jewelry accessories of matching earth tones in gold and silver are the current upcoming trends. The old standard, pearl accents are still very much in style. Of interest is the upcoming trend of more of an ensemble look for female attendants such as different style of cuts of dress from long to short but all matching in material and color. Another current option in this vein is matching dress styles but in various gradations of the same color hue or various colors in similar color saturation and intensity. This allows for male attendants to match colors of ties, vests, etc. to the variations in colors of their bridal partners.
Question: I’ve got my wedding dress, now what do I select for my jewelry accessories?
Answer: “Bling” is still in - on your special day – all eyes should be on you and your new husband. The jewelry that you select may be borrowed heirloom pieces from within the family or newly purchased items specifically selected for your big event, such as an additional gift of love from the groom or parents/grandparents or god parents. Often, bridal jewelry is custom made to match your ensemble perfectly. Popular pieces include right hand rings, tiaras and pearls. Whatever the choice, it should reflect the personality of the bride and her blissful glow. Whatever is selected, it will always have a very special place in your heart as remembrances of your special event. It is not uncommon for brides-to-be to bring and dress in the store to finalize that perfect adornment. Rentals of exquisite fine jewelry pieces are always available if you do not wish or can not afford to purchase your “I Do Bling.”