They say a diamond is forever, but figuring out how to choose the perfect one doesn’t have to take that long, at least not when you get the sort of head start scored by THE North Central Ohio Bride.
TNCOB recently had the pleasure of chatting with a third generation jeweler, Jeff Haring of Haring Jewelers, who has one of the most unique, common sense ways of choosing or designing the perfect engagement ring or wedding ring set.
TNCOB: Your family has been helping wedding couples for generations; how did you get involved?
Jeff: My first memories in the store were probably in grade school. I “officially” started working part time in high school and college , and then full time after college, which was some time ago, and I’m still never never bored. When you’re part of a full service jewelry store there are dozens of different things that you get to do every day, including design, bench work creating jewelry, appraisals, and of course working with and helping clients, many of whom come back over the years.
TNCOB: As you’re working with wedding couples, what new trends are you seeing?
Jeff: There’s a large trend in couples wanting to customize and create something that is really different – something that is unique to them. Engagement ring customers are really expecting to be able to help design their own rings.
TNCOB: Do couples do that together or does the groom come in and do that as a surprise?
Jeff: Guys want to get what the girl wants and likes, and there is some fear on the part of guys that if they do it completely on their own, they won’t get it right. When I first started here at the store, I’d see couples coming in together “to browse” and narrow choices. Then he would come in later and make the final choice.
That still goes on, but technology has changed how it happens. I may not actually meet the future bride, but I’ll see the picture she gave her fiance’, that she got from Pinterest or somewhere else, and he’s coming in with a pretty good idea of what she wants.
TNCOB: So then gets exactly what she has shown him in the picture – no mistakes! Jeff: Well… sometimes. But a lot times he uses his creativity and knowledge of who his fiance’e is to add his own special touches. When he goes to a full service jewelry store, the people there can use state of the art CAD [Computer Aided Design] programs specifically intended for jewelry, to make a one-of-a-kind engagement ring. He may come in with a picture and then say, “but I’d like to do this and this…”
TNCOB: We see a lot of engagement rings here in your store, do people still buy what they see?
Jeff: There are still couples who come in in, see the ring that is perfect for them, and go with it, but maybe about a third are choosing to customize their ring.
TNCOB: Bride’s mothers and certainly grandmothers may have had some choices, but by and far there was the diamond solitaire in yellow gold. What are the current trends and choices.
Jeff: We see some small trends, from yellow gold it went to white gold in thee last ten or so years and now the trend is swing back to yellow, with some rose gold. The other stronger trend is toward more unique mountings and larger diamonds.
TNCOB: We’ve all heard about the rule-of-thumb for how much a guy should invest in an engagement ring – so many months salary – the price of his last car – and others. Do you have a rule?
Jeff: We still hear that occasionally, but no, I’m a firm believer in the bride and groom themselves coming up with a budget that is right for them, and trying to live within that budget. The ring itself is a symbol of the love between them, regardless of their budget.
TNCOB: Since so many jewelers have so many rings to choose from, how can a couple know they’re in the store that is right for them?
Jeff: My advice would be to think about the ring in the future, rather than just whether it is cheaper to get it at a particular big box store or even online. The question is one of value, and value is more than price. Couples should consider things like needing the ring sized; having a damaged prong fixed, or a small lost stone replaced. Down the road – at an important anniversary – you may want to trade one ring in and upgrade to another – will your jeweler be there to help you?
TNCOB: Are there other benefits to wedding couples who visit local jewelers versus big box or online stores? Jeff: Some of the less obvious benefits – the ones you can’t see just by looking at pictures of rings online – are the experience and knowledge you get from someone who has been in business for decades. People can educate themselves on basic diamond cuts and quality, but the subtleties of diamonds are such that it takes someone with experience to help you get the most beauty for your budget.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Here are two of the best pieces of advice we’ve ever heard!
TNCOB: So how do wedding couples get the most for their money?
Jeff: Beyond the more well known things that make a diamond valuable, are the less well known things that make a diamond aesthetically pleasing. Within the range of diamonds that are all aesthetically pleasing, there is a fairly large range of prices. Shopping locally where there is someone with the knowledge and experience to help you choose a diamond that looks beautiful but is within your budget is something you just don’t get online or in a big box store.
TNCOB: What other advice would you like to share with our North Central Ohio Brides?
Jeff: I think the *process* of choosing an engagement ring is important and can help you get more beauty for your money. I’m a firm believer that couples should choose their mounting – the ring style itself – first, and then choose the main diamond (or other gemstone) second. Fall in love with a mounting you’ve seen, or modify one, or completely customize your own, but love your ring style, and then choose an aesthetically pleasing diamond within your budget to put into the your ring.
THE North Central Ohio Bride thanks Jeff Haring for giving so much time and advice to our brides.
Jeff is available to share more with you most days, except Sundays & Mondays.