Made To Order
02/16/2017 07:00AM ● Published by Robert Frey
Gallery: Local Jewelers’ Custom Creations [6 Images] Click any image to expand.
Local Jewelers’ Custom Creations
By Amanda Jean Elliott
In the world of wedding jewelry, it’s out with the old and in with the new. And not just from what you see in the jewelry case. Local jewelry stores are now offering a new way to customize pieces that makes it more affordable to get the ring you’ve always dreamed of.
“Traditional custom jewelers, their process — it was totally different,” says Armentor owner Mike Armentor.
He explains that customized jewelry once required the craft of an artisan who could follow a painstaking process. Much of the process was done by hand and was very labor intensive and time consuming.
“It was a piece of art. But over the last 10 years, and definitely the last five, the jewelry industry has embraced technology, and we use it often. It’s still fledgling in the industry,” Armentor says.
But, when the folks at Armentor embraced it they found new options opened up for customers looking for the perfect engagement rings and wedding bands, and their made-to-order approach to pieces was changed forever.
At Allain’s Jewelry Emma Hanks says customizing jewelry is a trend that’s not just for high-end buyers.
“Some people want custom designs and we do that whether they want to take their stones and use them or they want something they designed to be made,” Hanks says. “We can do something with their ideas. It doesn’t have to be high end at all. It’s comparable to other rings, but it just gives them what they are looking for.”
Armentor says, for example, when people come in with a Pinterest board of various rings they are able to design the best option on a computer from scratch. Or if someone comes in loving a ring that has a 2-carat diamond in the middle, they are able to recreate something that fits their budget, which is much lower than a center diamond that size.
While Armentor got into the made-to-order approach to create things that are cool and unique, in addition to the 300-plus pieces they keep in the case from a variety of brands, he found being able to meet budgets to be a surprising benefit.
“Someone comes in with an idea they found online and you tell them — ‘this is a $20,000 ring’ and they say ‘I wanted to spend $5,000.’ I can take those design elements and can make a ring that fits into the $5,000 and brings in the same elements,” Armentor says. “Because we design from scratch, we can save money. We are selling the ring and gemstone separately also so you can give them say four choices of stones at different prices. You have much more of an opportunity to control the budget and still have the design elements and styling that you would expect in something like the kind of engagement ring they are showing you a picture of.”
In addition to creating pieces that are made to order, wedding rings are taking on new hues each year. Open a bridal magazine and you’ll see rose gold and a variety of gemstone colors in lieu of pure white diamonds. And while it’s becoming somewhat trendy, it looks like most women in Acadiana still keep things traditional. In fact, some are going back to even more traditional choices.
Armentor says women may want a traditional setting and all traditional elements with a colored gemstone.
“There are more brides looking for the colored gemstones. But, still not the majority,” he says.
“There have been some champagne diamonds, peach sapphires, some traditional blue sapphires, rubies and things that are moderately requested. There’s a little bit more of a thought of ‘I don’t’ have to have the same tradition of a diamond stone in the center.’ But, it’s still only about 1 or 2 percent of the requesting, and they are interesting and make beautiful rings.”
The other wildly popular trend online — rose gold.
“A year ago, there was more rose gold. Compared to the previous 15 years, when it was all white gold or platinum. People are going back to traditional gold and some people are going to rose gold pieces. The rose gold and the colored gemstones go hand in hand,” Armentor says. There’s a return to yellow gold. Like 20 percent. That’s a huge number compared to five years ago.”
Hanks says a classic Tiffany setting with a single diamond is still very popular and women are more and more looking at micro pave’ settings with hallows.
“Some people like the antique or traditional settings. Everyone has their own taste,” Hanks says. “Round stones and the most popular still — the brilliant round diamonds. About one in 50 wants something with a colored stone in it like with sapphires on the side. And we are selling some rose gold where the mounting is pink.”
Both said men are still looking at more industrial bands for their options — think tungsten, titanium or stainless steel as well as cobalt. But, Armentor cautions men against the trend of alternative or contemporary metals.
“Men say ‘I just want simple and something that will hold up better.’ At our store we are starting to see that guys are beginning to understand those contemporary metals don’t have value. Your ring is a reflection of the commitment you’re making and they are going back to precious metals. We can engrave and make patterns on them. It hits home — the sentiment that it’s a wedding ring and something that should last forever. Jewelry should be something you’re proud to own that you pass down and have 20 years from now.”