Bridal / Industry

Q&A: The RealReal on Engagement and Wedding Ring Trends

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For couples looking to become engaged, there are more ways to buy those all-important rings than ever, whether it is in store, through a virtual appointment, or looking online at websites such as The RealReal, which says it is seeing shoppers looking for their wedding jewelry in a variety of ways.

As couples march down the aisle in record numbers in 2022—wedding website The Knot predicts 2.6 million weddings will happen this year compared to 2.2 million in 2019—The RealReal is seeing trends toward vintage style, simple designs, and a continued interest in fine jewelry and top brands, says Steffi Lee, editorial manager of fine jewelry and watches for the San Francisco–based brand.

Lee offered some insights as to what it is seeing in terms of trends in engagement and wedding jewelry.

What are the overarching trends you’re seeing with engagement rings and wedding bands so far in 2022?

With this new era of fashion, people are more willing to leave the traditional styles behind and go with what feels more personal. It’s less about solitaire and single stones and more about functional luxury. We’re seeing simpler, streamlined designs gain popularity and designs that hold an inherently modern look. Search demand for eternity bands, for example, is up 46% and [they] are now being purchased as stand-alone pieces [comparing the fourth quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022].

Antique Emerald Diamond Cocktail ring
Engagement rings are trending toward vintage pieces, like this antique emerald and diamond cocktail ring, The RealReal says.

Is sales volume up or the value of the rings increasing for 2022 as a way to make up for lost time, perhaps?

Wedding rings and bands are top of mind for our shoppers—which comes as no surprise, since everyone has been eager to get back to celebrating again. What has been really great to see is not only are these celebratory pieces gaining more attention, but the overall appetite for fine jewelry has also remained steadfast. Brands like Chanel and Van Cleef & Arpels are retaining a large majority of their retail value—90% and 87%, respectively—even on the secondhand market, telling us that jewelry continues to be top of mind for our shoppers.

What kind of unique items are couples buying?

Eternity bands. Wedding bands. Brooches.

David Webb Diamond Enamel Bow Brooch
Couples who want to create their own engagement tradition are going outside of engagement rings and bands to look at brooches, such as this one by David Webb, as an option, Steffi Lee of The RealReal says ($12,950). 

How has unconventional style taken over on The RealReal when it comes to engagement and wedding bands?

There is no longer a clear definition of conventional and unconventional. Self-expression is at the forefront of styling, and jewelry has now become an anchor for a look rather than just an accessory. While our customers still gravitate toward the tried-and-true brands, we’re also seeing interest in colored gems, multi-stone rings, and modern, clear-cut designs. If you’re shopping with The RealReal, you already have a unique style, because our inventory is all one of a kind, especially our highlighted unbranded pieces, which include so many rare treasures and vintage finds.

What else can I share that would be helpful about your wedding rings and engagement rings?

Wedding rings and jewelry don’t have to be limited to just engagements and ceremonies. With anniversaries or other special occasions, it can bring up an opportunity to think about new additions to pair with their ring, like a diamond band or a standout vintage ring. Alternatively, if you have a piece that doesn’t fit your style anymore or doesn’t match with what you want, you always have the option of consigning it with us and trading it for a style that is more suited for you.

Top: The RealReal says with the engagement and wedding boom, the website is seeing more couples shopping online for fine jewelry, including vintage pieces like this Cartier eternity band in gold with 1.54 cts. t.w. diamonds (photos courtesy of The RealReal). 

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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