Despite A Third Covid Winter, US Retail Sales Are Jumping

 

 

It would have been impossible to predict the ripple effect the Covid-19 virus and global pandemic has had on the retail economy. What the world initially thought would be the demise of brick and mortar businesses, ended up being an opportunity for them to pivot and get to the core of what their consumers were looking for. 

For many consumers, it was a moment of realization-- that when it comes to buying something as personal and monumental as an engagement ring, in-person is always the best option. 

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), "US retail sales rose in September 2021 as consumer fears over the Covid-19 Delta variant redirected spending toward goods rather than services. However, it’s possible September spending could have grown even more if not for the shipping bottleneck at US ports. Overall, the September report is very promising for a strong finish for the year. In September alone, sales increased year on year in all nine of the categories the US Census Bureau monitors. The clothing and accessories segment — which includes jewelry — had the highest growth, up 23%.”

This data tells us that people are choosing to celebrate major life milestones now more than ever. If nothing else, being caught in a pandemic has forced each of us to realize the fragility of life, and why spending it and celebrating with those with love should never be taken for granted.

Even during the height of lockdown, when people were hesitant to see family, we found that our customers still opted to come in person in order to learn about the diamond buying and ring creation process. Our incredible customers still wanted to see and touch and purchase in person. They wanted to get to know our team and build a level of trust. These are the reasons why in-person diamond shopping can never be replaced by a website’s algorithms or AI bots. 

Logistically speaking, a diamond should be inspected top to bottom with a magnifying glass by both the jeweler and the buyer, so you have a clear understanding of what you’re actually purchasing. An online website has no pressure to offer you a top quality diamond at a reasonable price since there is no official face to the brand. No one person's name or livelihood is on the line. A much different scenario for local retailers. 

Last March, Blue Nile, one of the largest online retailers of diamonds, announced  plans to grow its showroom presence from five to 55 locations within the next three years. Others are also dipping their toes back in the showroom waters, according to The International Council of Shopping Centers, as some things just don’t translate well to an online shopping experience.  

As a company, we’ve always believed in the value of in-person shopping, especially as it relates to something as important and meaningful as an engagement ring. Ten years ago, when La Bijouterie was formed, we made the purposeful decision to open a brick and mortar location, not an online store, because we value the importance of helping customers in person, especially when making one the biggest and most emotionally charged decisions of their lives. It seems as though today’s consumers value the same. 

Want to learn more about our thoughts on purchasing a diamond online? Check out our previous blog post, “5 Reasons to Think Twice Before Buying a Diamond Online”.

There is no denying the retail industry is alive and well. At La Bijouterie, our sole purpose is to help couples achieve a milestone moment in their lives any way we can. We believe in quality over quantity, and educating always. Before pulling the trigger on such an important decision, book a no stress 30 minute 1:1 appointment.

At Your Service,

Set F.

Founder, La Bijouterie

GIA: Fake Certificates Accompanied Lab-Grown, Treated Diamonds

 

 

Take our word for it, no one likes a dishonest jeweler more than an honest one. Recently, an article was published stating that a jeweler outside of the US who was known to sell lab-grown and treated diamonds had been charged with selling diamonds that had fake GIA inscriptions.

According to JCKonline, “The inscriptions were linked to GIA grading reports that indicated the accompanying diamonds had higher-quality characteristics than they actually did, '' the publication stated. The accused allegedly “targeted comparatively less-experienced businessmen,” a police inspector told the newspaper.”

But this wasn’t the only recent report of fraudulent certifications. Another Diamond With Fake GIA Inscription Surfaces, this time in Antwerp. According to the article, “During testing, lab graders discovered the diamond had indeed undergone high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) treatment even though the GIA grading report that corresponded with the inscription number made no mention of color treatment. Upon detailed microscopic investigation, graders noticed that even though the stone’s carat weight, cut and final clarity grade (VS1) matched the report, the clarity characteristics, while “quite similar,” did not match up exactly.”

If these findings weren’t unsettling enough, these fake certifications tend to happen mostly with lab-grown diamonds. But what does this mean for potential consumers?

These news articles bring to light some important topics relating to the circulation of fake stones, as well as the legitimacy of the jewler you decide to work with, and the overall integrity of lab grown diamonds.

As with most things nowadays, the internet is used in the beginning stages of the sales cycle, meaning, individuals start their research there. There are many online websites that promise you a great deal and premium quality, but it’s important to do your own research. 

At La Bijouterie, we encourage clients to do online research of their own, and then come to us with questions in order to talk through the pricing, certification process, and guarantees you found online. You may be surprised at what you learn, which brings us to our next point-- finding a jeweler you can trust. 

When it comes to avoiding fake stones, this is where going with a trusted jeweler is imperative. It’s more important than ever to know who you’re working with. But how to find one you ask? We suggest starting with their Yelp and Google reviews. 

Some questions to ask yourself as you’re browsing include are the reviews mostly positive, and does it seem like this company has a lot of repeat clients? Next, check out their social media pages… are they active, do they engage with those commenting? Do they promise a no stress appointment and are geared towards educating? If not, it’s probably best to keep looking. 

Remember, when it comes to online shopping, less expensive doesn’t always point to a good deal. Make sure you do your due diligence and understand your 4 C’s of diamond buying and come to the initial meeting with questions. 

Lastly, when it comes to lab-grown diamonds, here are some things to consider. 

Although their chemical structure is the same as a natural diamond, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) a lab-created diamond cannot be called “real” because it does not come from the Earth and it is not a gemstone. (Source)

In trying to differentiate natural diamonds from the lab grown alternative, the Natural Diamond Council quite truthfully underscores natural diamonds' rarity.

“Natural diamonds are finite and rare. Diamonds are becoming rarer every day because no new significant deposits have been discovered in about 30 years,” it states. However, lab-grown diamonds can be manufactured in potentially unlimited quantities similar to any manufactured product, thus they are not finite and cannot be considered rare.”

To which, the NDC adds, “Natural diamonds obtain their value from their scarcity as a natural, billion-year-old precious gem and have shown over decades to grow in value as they become more rare.”

It’s important to consider Price vs Value. When it comes to value, you can’t put a price on rarity. As basic economics states, once demand goes up, and inventory goes down, price goes up. So where does this leave us, as each claims they are better than the other for different reasons? More importantly, how does one ensure they are not getting taken advantage of? In our optionion, it all comes down to trust and transparency.

At La Bijouterie, our sole purpose is to help couples achieve a milestone moment in their lives any way we can. We believe in integrity, only working with distributions we have a personal relationship with, quality over quantity, and educating always. Before pulling the trigger on such an important decision, book a no stress 30 minute 1:1 appointment.

At Your Service,

Set F.

Founder, La Bijouterie

 

2021 Roundup of Red Carpet Worthy Engagement Rings

From timelessly classic to show stopping, we’ve rounded up our favorite celebrity inspired engagement rings that are sure to dazzle. The only question is, which will you pick? We’ll get the red carpet ready.

 

Off-Set Engagement Rings

She’s the current queen of pop music and Ariana Grande’s offset and sentimental engagement ring definitely hits a high note with us. Check out our version below.

 

View this ring here.

 

3-Stone Engagement Rings

She may no longer have the title of Princess, but she (and her engagement ring) are still quite royal. Check out Meghan Markle’s 3-stone engagement ring and our version below.

 

 




View this ring here.

 

Paris' Emerald Cut Engagement Ring

For those looking for a show stopper, no one can do the job better than Miss. Paris Hilton, soon to be Mrs. Check out her jaw dropping 15-carat emerald cut diamond engagement ring, and our more modest version below.

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View this ring here.

 

Colored Stone Engagement Rings

Color us impressed! This Spice girl turned high fashion designer has added this incredible emerald cushion cut engagement ring to her rotation. Check out one of the many ways we love to design with emerald stones below.

 

 

View this ring here.

 

Art Deco Style Engagement Rings

Thanks to her sister Kate, Pippa Middleton is no stranger to the spotlight. Her stunning art deco inspired engagement ring should probably get used to a close up or two as well!

 

 

View this ring here.

 

Oval Cut Engagement Ring

From their public online pranks to their on-screen romance, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are no doubt, couple goals to the max. And to us, her ring is a major engagement ring goal too!

 

View this ring here.

 

Rubys are for Romance: Ruby Engagement Rings

There’s no doubt you’ll be painting the town red in this timeless ruby number. Worn by the stunning Eva Longoria, red has always represented love, passion and romance. Check out our take on a ruby red engagement ring below. 

 

 

View this ring here.

 

Classic Round Brilliant Engagement Rings with Flair

Emmy Rossum's vintage round-cut engagement ring was inspired by 1920’s Paris, and we agree that this 21st century take on a classic is roaring! 

 

View this ring here.

 

Geometric Shaped Engagement Rings

Even though things ended up not working out between the two of them, there is something so playful, sentimental and fun about Lady Gaga’s heart shaped engagement ring. Check out our take on a geometric shaped engagement ring below.

 

View this ring here.

 

Emerald Cut Diamond Band

Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias may be considered a power couple for almost two decades, but her Emerald Cut wedding band and engagement ring combo is the real dynamic duo! 

 

View this ring here.

 

For more engagement ring inspiration, check out our full Instagram page here. Ready to design your own celebrity worthy ring? Book a no stress appointment with us today!

Always at your service,

Set F.

Financing provided by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. with approved credit

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