How Does Where You’re From Influence Your Choice of Engagement Ring?

It is a great privilege to be a jeweler. Not only does your daily life revolve around beautiful items, but you get to see so many people on the cusp of the greatest adventure of their lives.

Over the years, you start to be a bit anthropological about it. You attend industry conventions with other jewelers and argue about what’s popular and on-trend. But we forget that when we hail from different regions of the country, the area you’re from can influence what sorts of rings will draw admiring stares from strangers.

Let’s look at the two “Taste-maker” cities first.

New York and Los Angeles

The difference between New York and L.A. can be most succinctly summed up in the phrase “old money vs new money.” Never mind that there’s as much new money in New York as there is in L.A., the aesthetic of New York is simple and understated. It carries with it the assumption that anyone who is anyone will be able to discern quality from commonplace. Hence New Yorkers tend to purchase the highest quality solitaire they can afford.

In L.A., however, the tastemakers have to photograph well, and there’s an art to presenting oneself in a way that looks good on camera. There’s also more of a taste for innovation, which means that any of the more interesting or unusual trends (colored diamonds, double halos and so on) probably got their start in L.A.

Dallas and Chicago

By way of comparison, let’s look at these other large cities. Chicago is the third largest city in the U.S., but interestingly, they maintain their midwestern roots. They tend to purchase bands with clean lines, and classic clear stones in princess or round cuts. Channel settings tend to be popular. Channel settings protect the stones from chipping, and don’t catch on things at all. Just the thing to protect your investment.

Texas stereotypes tend to hold true in Dallas. After New York and L.A., they are third in the country for spending on engagement rings. While the focus is on a large center diamond, paved bands are also a common addition.

Washington D.C.

And what about Washington? Well, like you might expect, there’s not much emphasis on flash. The aesthetic is very conservative, and most people go with simple bands and a single round stone. Very classic, very elegant.

Why not come into Midtown Jewelers to choose the engagement ring of your dreams?

Jewelry Runway Trends for 2014: Pearls

Handcrafted to suit the most sophisticated woman, this beautifully designed collection consists of quality diamonds handpicked from Beny Sofer’s extensive inventory. Family owned and operated, you can count on each stone and piece of jewelry as having the Sofer assurance of superb brilliance and exceptional quality.

Designer Spotlight: Natalie Ziegler

Handcrafted to suit the most sophisticated woman, this beautifully designed collection consists of quality diamonds handpicked from Beny Sofer’s extensive inventory. Family owned and operated, you can count on each stone and piece of jewelry as having the Sofer assurance of superb brilliance and exceptional quality.

What Are the Newest Trends in Jewelry for 2014?

Handcrafted to suit the most sophisticated woman, this beautifully designed collection consists of quality diamonds handpicked from Beny Sofer’s extensive inventory. Family owned and operated, you can count on each stone and piece of jewelry as having the Sofer assurance of superb brilliance and exceptional quality.

Gabriel & Co. in Allure, Lucky, and Vogue Magazine!

Handcrafted to suit the most sophisticated woman, this beautifully designed collection consists of quality diamonds handpicked from Beny Sofer’s extensive inventory. Family owned and operated, you can count on each stone and piece of jewelry as having the Sofer assurance of superb brilliance and exceptional quality.

Is A Colored Gemstone Engagement Ring Right for You?

Clear diamond engagement rings are a timeless look. But they aren’t the only option for brides-to-be.

More and more we’re seeing a trend towards using colored gemstones in engagement rings. Why might you choose gemstones over diamonds? Here’s what we’re seeing:

The Bride Wants A Pop of Color On Her Hand

Recently we’ve heard couples say that diamonds are boring. While it certainly agonizes us to hear that (diamonds are glorious! don’t let anyone tell you differently!) we understand what they are getting at. “Classic” can often be another word for “conservative” and these couples want to break the mold.

In addition, the engagement ring, more so than the wedding bands, are considered to be a reflection of the bride-to-be’s personality. As such, she might not feel that diamonds suit her the best (although there are several very unique variations to be had with yellow, pink or brown diamonds).

The Bride Prefers A Certain Type Of Gemstone

Back in the glory days of high society, when ladies kept large collections of jewellery, many women had a “signature” stone or color. Some preferred topaz, garnet or emerald.

Although it may not be quite so common anymore, many women today still have a favorite gemstone — and if you’re going to make what may be the biggest jewelry investment of your life, why not have it feature your favorite stone?

The Bride Is Making A Vintage Statement

In point of fact, diamonds have only been popular in engagement rings since the beginning of De Beer’s Company’s famous marketing push in the 1930s. In fact, prior to the discovery of South African diamond mines, diamonds were far too rare and expensive for all but the wealthiest people.

So engagement rings were often made with other stones. The settings were very different as well. Victorians used a lot of flower motifs, for instance. Art Deco jewellry is quite geometric and ornate. And so on.

The great thing about vintage-style pieces is that they are just as timeless as the traditional diamond solitaire, but in a slightly different way. That way the bride doesn’t have to worry about her ring falling out of fashion as the years go by.

All this talk about gemstones is not to say that diamonds and other precious gems can’t mingle in harmony. In fact, some of the most gorgeous pieces we’ve seen do just that, using diamonds as an accent to highlight the vibrant color of the gem.

Want to see what we’re talking about? Come on down to Midtown Jewelers today to see our wide selection of colored gemstone engagement rings.

Vendor Spotlight: Hikari Pearl Co.

The pearl has been known since ancient times as The Queen of Gems. Legend had it that oysters would rise from the sea in during a full moon and a pearl would be born from a drop of dew.

The Hikari Pearl Company has a long history of creating pearl and fine gemstone jewelry. Their roots extend back into the bedrock of the Japanese Pearl industry, the Mie Prefecture, where the formerly mysterious process of forming pearls was cracked, rescuing the pearl industry from overfishing.

Pearls From Around The Globe

There are many types of pearls in every color of the rainbow, and Hikari Pearl Company creates glorious settings to display their innate lustre.

Their Freshwater pearl collection contains not only the standard white pearls, but “chocolate” and multicolored strands as well. It takes a discerning eye to sort through thousands of pearls and hand-match them to the most pleasing effect.

They are not put off by unusual shapes, either. Most jewelry designs use “gem” or perfectly rounded pearls. They fetch a premium, but it’s so delightful to see what a master craftsperson can make with unusual materials. In the same collection, you can look at their “Coin” necklaces, made from pearls that have a flattened profile.

They also make use of the “petal” shaped pearls, creating a dramatic mass of beautiful gems that looks artless, not overdone.

The Midas Touch

One of our favorite Hikari collections is the Gold South Seas Pearl collection. True to its name, these rare pearls are exactly the same color as yellow gold.

When you start to look at the Hikari workmanship, you can see that they are not merely designers of ordinary pearl jewelry. They have an equal amount of craftsmanship in goldsmithing and handling other gemstones.

The Golden South Sea Pearl Necklace with matching earrings is one such example. It nestles more than half a dozen pearls on a gloriously detailed gold leaf sculpture and highlights the arrangement with diamonds to mimic sparkling drops of dew. You won’t be able to look at it without wanting to try it on!

Natural Wonders

The Hikari Pearl Company maintains its closeness with the natural world, with many of its jewelry designs being directly inspired by natural wonders.

Look at its Nature Collection, for example. It’s full of the most delightfully wrought animals, sculpted in minuscule proportions, then set with precious gems.

The skill and artistry of Hikari Pearl Company has to be witnessed to be believed. Visit Midtown Jewelers today to view our collection!

Valentine’s Day Pandora Bracelet

This Valentine’s Day Midtown Jewelers is running a special promotion where guests can enter to win a Pandora bracelet! The bracelet features special Valentine’s Day charms and beads specific to the holiday.

Simply visit the Contact Us page on our site and enter your information. Entries will be collected and a winner will be announced on February 13, 2014.

Jewelry Runway Trends for 2014: Pearls

Called the “Queen of Gems,” pearls have been around almost as long as humans. Because of the relative ease of getting them, the pearl was the first real gem that early humans used for adornment. You didn’t need to mine for them or change them in any way once you found them. They came out of the shell ready for show. Because they’re “soft” gems it was very easy for people to make jewelry from them – even with the primitive tools they had. Pearls were thought to be a perfect blend of nature. They had the shape and beauty of the moon and the colors of a rainbow. Before cultured pearls were created in the early 1900’s, natural pearls were so rare and costly that only the very rich could afford them.

Where Pearls Are Found

The word “Pearl” comes from the Latin word “pirum” which means “pear.” Natural pearls are pear-shaped and are found inside mollusk shells such as clams, oysters or mussels. The saltwater variety is found in oceans, gulfs and bays. The freshwater ones are found in rivers and lakes. Since pearls come from living creatures they aren’t considered precious stones.

Civilizations and Pearls

Eastern nations valued pearls as a sign of a maiden’s purity. Romans linked pearls with Isis and thought they would win her favor by wearing them. The Roman Emperor, Caligula, even had a pearl necklace made for his horse! The Chinese crush pearls into powder and use them as medicine. It is said that Cleopatra once crushed a large pearl from one of her earrings and put it in a cup of wine which she then drank. India’s history is filled with tales of pearls and gods.

The Cultured Pearl

Because of the high demand for pearls, by the 1800’s it soon became apparent that the supply was nearly gone. This was due to overfishing and pollution. Then something happened that changed the face of the pearl forever. A man named Kokichi Mikimoto and his wife, Ume, did what no one else had been able to do. They were able to coax oysters to produce round pearls on demand. This changed pearling from then on. Today’s pearls are very affordable and are always in fashion. From Jackie Kennedy’s chokers to Audrey Hepburn’s long pearl necklaces, pearls are at the forefront of design. They have been coupled with crystals and other gemstones at this year’s Golden Globe Awards and on the Red Carpet. They are a classic and never go out of style.

We invite you to visit our website to see our collection of pearls and other precious gems.