I am getting a lot of requests for larger stones. Oval has been the top requested shape for the last few years, followed by pear shape and emerald cut.
Right now, I am really leaning into the idea of a simple engagement ring with fun stacking bands. People are really loving the versatility this allows to dress up their ring or dress it down depending on the occasion. This new generation of brides is definitely leaning into less traditional styles and having fun exploring self-expression and individuality.
A lot of the time, I work with the [ring] giver on my custom projects, but I also have couples come to me and ask to make the ring together. I typically get requests ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, so it’s all over the board.
Maggi SimpkinsOwner, Maggi Simpkins, Los Angeles, California
We are seeing a lot of requests for lab-grown diamonds, and that continues to increase. For our non-diamond rings, we’ve been getting into lavender sapphires a lot more.
Transparency around our sourcing practices is one of our top priorities. We like to be honest and show the full picture to the client. Our latest conversation has been about greenwashing with the label “recycled gold.” These conversations always reinforce the client’s decision to work with us, as this honesty allows them to further trust us.
Often, [couples shop] together. We very rarely only speak to one person anymore. Buying an engagement ring has been an experience that both people are involved in now. The [bridal price] range has come back down since the pandemic, keeping the average budget range closer to $4,000 to $10,000.
Emily PhillippyOwner, Emily Chelsea Jewelry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Our clients are often searching for a vintage aesthetic with sapphires in soft color tones, like muted blues and greens, and peaches. These are most often set in a three-stone ring with diamonds on either side. Solitaire diamonds — colorless or champagne — with a hidden halo are also becoming popular for us.
Having a brick-and-mortar store, we find many of our customers are still learning that sapphires and fancy-colored diamonds are available to them. It surprises us because we are so immersed in it. We find it fun to teach customers about why sapphires and champagne diamonds are a great nontraditional option that feels unique and classic, and still provides a degree of customization that our clients are always looking for.
Our sweet spot is $5,000 to $10,000.
Valerie MadisonOwner, Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry, Seattle Washington
We have had more clients interested in sizable eternity bands for their engagement rings — think 0.25 to 0.75 carats per stone. Our most popular ring is still our Olivia Solitaire, so while we are getting more requests for nontraditional styles like eternity bands or colored diamonds, the majority are looking for a solitaire.
A thoughtful and sweet tradition we are hearing more is that the couple wants their wedding bands to complement one another and be in unison. They’re hoping to match elements like the shape, width, finish and metal color.
Wedding-day jewels are becoming a major thing. Serious statement earrings and custom-made lockets for the bride’s bouquet are all requests we have been seeing more of, in addition to the more common tennis necklace and tennis bracelet requests.
Octavia ZamagiasOwner, Octavia Elizabeth, Los Angeles, California
Brides are [influenced by] social media, where the boldest and most photogenic [rings] gain the most likes. This has hurtled nontraditional cuts, colors and styles into the mainstream. My most recent center stone requests have been for emerald cuts and Asschers.
My rings edge toward a modernized Art Deco vibe. My current inspiration is my enduring love affair with NYC, [and my new ring collection] Built for Love takes design details directly from some of the Big Apple’s most recognizable buildings and bridges.
Clients most often request variations of pieces I’ve done before, sometimes using their own stones. Sometimes the wearer is commissioning the design, but their partner is paying.
Sometimes it’s a surprise. Couples come in together, too. In my opinion, it’s too huge of an investment to be guessing. [Budgets tend to be] $5,000 up to $80,000.
Julie LambOwner, Julie Lamb, New York
I find that people are really enjoying a style that I like to refer to as “simple excess”: chunky settings in high-karat gold with a single large gemstone. Antique cushion cuts with large facets and shallow depth are almost always in high demand, followed by an uptick in antique ovals over the past quarter.
I’ve noticed a big shift away from Deco-inspired requests, with many leaning more toward Retro era-style pieces, and clients forgoing the mainstream obsession with diamond size and focusing on the ring in its entirety.
Budgets fall between $20,000 and $30,000 of late. Prior to 2023, I was rarely asked about lab-grown diamonds, but this year, I’ve had dozens of clients requesting information. I only work with natural gemstones, and in my own collection, I work almost exclusively with antique gemstones.
Mia MorossOwner, The One I Love NYC, New York
Main image: Selection of The One I Love NYC diamond engagement rings. (The One I Love NYC)
This article is from the September-October 2023 issue of Rapaport Magazine. View other articles here.