Jewels of Engagement

With this ring…comes a lot of research and ­analysis! Scrutinizing the shopping and ­spending habits of diamond-buying brides.

So you think you know the bridal business? It may be the most important category for jewelers across the country, but the nuances of the market are more complicated than most retailers would like to admit.

That’s why we partnered with The Knot, the No. 1 resource for brides across America, to provide bridal insights in the form of survey results, gleaned from its 2011 Engagement & Jewelry Study, sliced and diced uniquely for JCK readers.

The major fault line (not surprisingly) falls along the budget axis. We divided respondents into two groups based on the value of their engagement rings: 744 brides had rings valued at $8,000 or more, making up our high-end, or luxury, contingent; 3,202 brides had rings valued at $8,000 or less, constituting our non-high-end, or budget, contingent.

The results provide detailed information about what brides in both segments are spending on rings, how many retailers they’re visiting, and what kind of education they bring to the search, among other helpful tidbits.

But for the general contours of the market, consider this: Brides everywhere are championing individuality; if a custom-designed engagement ring is beyond their reach, they’re looking to customize with accents that reflect a personal touch. On the other hand, they’re still gravitating to round diamonds in white gold—a perennial favorite among brides of all backgrounds.

This ongoing tension between tradition and innovation, classicism and nonconformity defines the contemporary bridal market. Provided you’re armed with the knowledge to capitalize on the evolving tastes of the modern woman, it’s an exciting time to be in the business!  

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