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The big day: New design twists for the trip down the aisle

Pre-owned engagement rings

No doubt, vintage has been one of the biggest design trends in engagement rings over the last few years, with brides-to-be gravitating toward the estate counter. But there’s something to be said about pre-owned engagement rings that aren’t necessarily vintage. A quick Google search results in several online spaces where the ditched or ditcher can unload a ring and with it, the memories of a relationship gone bad. While some couples may balk at the thought of buying what they perceive to be an unlucky charm of sorts laden with negative energy, others are quite happy to purchase something in perfectly good condition for a fraction of what it would cost new. So is this an untapped market?

Frank Damiani, owner of Damiani Jewellers in Woodbridge, Ont., sees it as a service he can provide his newly-on-the-market male clients. It’s not just about making a profit, he notes, but satisfying customers’ needs.

“It’s interesting that a man in love needs to buy a diamond ring, and a man out of love needs to get rid of a diamond ring,” he says, adding there’s a preference for dealing with a reputable jeweller rather than a pawn shop.

Although new product accounts for 99 per cent of his sales, Damiani says he is not opposed to buying back an engagement ring he originally sold the customer who will put the money toward, say a watch. The client gets rid of something he’s unwilling to hold onto, while treating himself to something he’d rather have.

Damiani says that in most instances, the diamond is perfectly fine, in which case, he sells it as a loose stone with its original certificate. If the ring is current and from a brand-name jeweller or if it’s a custom piece that is worth leaving as-is, he places it in the estate case and sells it as pre-owned. In some cases, its new owner can see up to a 30 per cent difference in price from a new piece, Damiani notes.

“For some people, the negative vibe that may be attached to the ring doesn’t even enter their mind,” he adds. “They’re just looking for the most bang for their buck and the best ring they can buy. And then there are others who wouldn’t dream of buying a used ring. There are some people who just want to buy new and there are others who just want to look for value or something unique that you can’t find brand new.”

You could say one person’s ‘something old’ is another’s ‘something new.’

What women want

Speaking of vintage”¦ Shows like Downton Abbey are inspiring brides everywhere to pick up the Edwardian look of European-cut diamonds, hand-engraved details, and lacy filigree. And who says one halo is enough? These days, two halos are definitely better than one. Not only does the ring look vintage, but brides appreciate how much bigger the centre diamond appears to be. And what is at the centre of those halos? Brides are opting for fancies like cushion and emerald cuts.

As far as bridal trends go, white metals are still tops with brides. However, Lisa Malbranck, co-owner of Winnipeg-based Diamond Gallery, says yellow gold is making a comeback, while its rosy-hued counterpart is gaining ground.

“If you’re going to do gold, why not do it in its natural colour,” she explains. “A small portion of brides are looking for something a little unusual and they are choosing something unique for the colour of the metal, as well. This doesn’t necessarily have to be for the engagement ring, but sometimes people will choose a rose or yellow gold wedding band as a way to change things up and have a stackable look to their bridal set.”

Toronto-based custom designer Shelly Purdy says an ‘all-in-one ring’ is one standout trend. Rather than picking up both an engagement ring and wedding band, some women are happy to get one ring with a bit more ‘oomph.’ She notes this is particularly true for female couples, mature brides, or those going into their second marriages—they’ve done the two-ring thing and this time around, they are looking for just as much pizzazz, albeit, in a one-ring package.

In some cases, Purdy says she’s had clients who have replaced their engagement and wedding rings with something that better reflects who they are as a person today.

“People are looking at their lifestyle and see their original rings as maybe being too simple or a little impractical,” she says. “They want something a little more sophisticated and substantial—they want it to make a statement.”

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