What to Look for in Your Engagement Stone
We spoke with a top West Coast jewelry designer to find out what to look for before you pop that big question.
Engagement Season is traditionally the time between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day in which almost 40% of proposals happen each year, but for Zamagias, the requests start rolling in the end of August and the beginning of September. “So many people wait until last minute,” she says. However, there are guys who like to shop after the holiday rush and engagement season. The guy who wants to create his own “special day”.
Jewelry designer Octavia Zamagias embodies the enviable California live-work lifestyle from her chic home studio in Venice where she also runs her business Octavia Elizabeth Fine Jewelry.
Not only does she hand-make stunning original creations that have caught the eye of celebrities – Reese Witherspoon is a fan of her earrings and stack rings, and Carrie Mulligan has been seen wearing the Etoile ring – but custom engagement rings are also a major part of her business.
Are Diamonds Still in Demand?
While some clients might be procrastinators, what exactly are they asking her to whip up on short notice? “I have a specific aesthetic. I use a lot of yellow gold and like to texture my metal but beyond that more people are interested in a colored stone as the centerpiece. This might have to do with pricing as you can place a larger center stone for a more reasonable price point than a diamond.”
Pricing aside there still might be a slightly negative connotation surrounding some diamonds. “Younger generation wants to make sure the stone ethically and responsibly sourced,” she confirms.
While there is more of a push towards a colored stone, the diamond is still the number one selling engagement ring. In general, Zamagias is selling more solitaires and a more simplistic, timeless or classic look. In the past, the halo has also been the number one setting for an engagement ring. According to Zamagias, “It makes your stone look larger and makes more of a statement.” Lately, this has not been high in demand as this style can sometimes be deemed too ostentatious. “This is very indicative of the more understated style right now,” she adds.
Along the way Zamagias believes in stressing personalization that is specific to a couple, “I try to come up with a stone that we can set on the inside of the band. I try to personalize it so maybe it’s not east/west facing or not straight up and down.” Other things taken into consideration include the birth month or the eye color of the bride.
More on Current Ring Trends
Despite current trends, Zamagias is still urging clients to go with a precious stone. “Your investing in this ring and want it to last.”
While the designer loves emeralds, they are not as durable for every day, so other great options include a sapphire or a ruby. Zamagias warns, “An emerald makes a great cocktail ring or necklace but is not great as an everyday ring. Save this for more of a statement piece. This is for someone who already has that diamond or sapphire and just wants something for a special occasion.”
New on solitaire ring settings include yellow gold and rose gold plus textured finished are a trend she is seeing that is becoming more popular. “It’s no longer just platinum high gloss rings but a hammered gold or satin finish are more requested now than platinum.”
Zamagias also does a good deal of resets on old engagement rings. “If you haven’t reached for that ring, why not reuse and enjoy it rather than sell it – especially if sentimental?” You also might not get as much on a resale as you thought since older stones were cut by hand so not worth as much in today’s market as laser is currently used.
Number one thing that to look for in a stone:
According to Zamagias. “People get hung up the size of stone but a high-quality white stone is more important. Obviously, a GIA (Gemology Institute of America) certified stone is important with the 4 C’s: cut, color, clarity, and carat. “The cut is most important so make sure it’s sparkly, symmetrical and the polish is great with a anything from fair to good on the report.”
Armed with this expert knowledge and sage advice, we hope your ring (and marriage) will stand the test of time.
For more information on Octavia Elizabeth and her designs, click here.