“There has been a huge demand for larger stones with higher carat and clarity,” reports Orit Elhanati, who specializes in pure gold rings finished with hammering, dripping and sculpting. “During the pandemic, most clients were looking for investments, so the highest carat, the clearest stone. This year, it’s not necessarily the quality of the stone but more the size and the way I work my gold around it; how I tell their story.”
The jewelery market as a whole has experienced an unprecedented desire for color. People invested in mood-boosting jewels for themselves during the pandemic – sales for skyrocketed pick-me-up pieces – and engagement rings are becoming more colorful, too. “Clients have definitely become braver when it comes to choosing a colored engagement ring,” says Tomlinson. “We’ve seen a lot of requests for specific colors rather than cuts and our customers have become more savvy to the vast variety of gemstones available, whether it be a specific tone of green sapphire or gray diamond, or a particular hue of paraiba tourmaline. .”
It’s hard to ignore the environmental and ethical consequences that come with making a purchase – and jewelers are on a mission to ensure as minimal impact as possible. “Our clients always purchase pieces they see longevity in, and we try to design with that in mind,” says Stephanie Wynne Lalin, co-founder and creative director of Jemma Wynne.
“I find that clients who walk through my doors or engage my services are looking for a piece that is not only beautiful, but ethically sourced and made,” adds West. “Where a diamond is from and the communities they empower add to the charm of the jewel. Real human connections are important, and I enjoy the process of telling diamond stories from an African perspective.”
“Clients are definitely doing a bit of research before coming to us, which is a great thing,” comments Lucy Crowther, founder of Minka Jewels. “It allows them to explore the sort of designs they like and also have a bit of an idea of the price of some of the gemstones which can vary so much.”
Whether it’s breathing new life into an heirloom – “a really special way to incorporate personal history and sentiment into your ring,” says Tomlinson – or championing recycled metals, which Kinraden founder Sarah Müllertz notes is “no longer a novelty, but something of high value and importance to our customers which [is] only set to continue in the years to come,” there are countless ways to navigate the jewelery space in a conscious manner. “People are more engaged in the provenance of their ring and the sustainability profile; wanting to understand how it’s made, and where the gemstones and metals come from,” says Chalmer.
Then, of course, there’s considering the treasures of the past. “The increase in the number of people who are open to antique and vintage engagement rings has surprised me,” remarks Josephine Odet, fine jewelery curator at Omnēque. “Also, the actual look of those [vintage and antique] rings – I call it the non-engagement ring, the engagement ring. Instead of choosing the traditional four or six-claw setting, they’re looking at a myriad of styles and settings. Clusters, halos, target rings, bezel-set, pinched collet-set, three stones, five stones et cetera.”
Buying vintage and antique pieces not only brings unique quality to an engagement ring, but it’s a more sustainable option. Isobel Procter, founder of “consciously curated” jewelery marketplace PI London, muses: “We’re really proud to be able to be a part of the solution in helping consumers become more conscious and sustainable.”