Peggy Woon is a GIA-accredited jeweler; now a retiree, she was in the jewelry industry for more than 30 years. For 28 years, she and her business partner co-owned the Silver Lining Jewelry store in Oakland, Calif. Today, she spends her time spoiling 3 grandchildren and 2 German Shepherds, as well as volunteering with local non-profits. Unable to stay away from her first passion, she can also be found working the jewelry counter at the Oakland Museum of California’s White Elephant Sale and occasionally at Given Gold Jewelers on Piedmont Avenue.
What’s the most popular metal for wedding rings?
For men, I see a trend toward more affordable metals like titanium, carbon fiber and tungsten; these bands are somewhere in the $200 to $300 range. They’re all alternative metals, used for cool applications like spaceships because they’re heat resistant or used to formulate new prosthetic pieces because they’re non-allergenic. These days, jewelers can do a lot of different styles for men’s bands by mixing in different metals to make the bands look fancier.
For women, for the past 10 years white gold -not so much platinum- has been more popular than yellow gold. I don’t think it will change any time soon. I don’t see yellow gold making a huge comeback, but lately people have been going for more rose gold. People think it looks warmer because of its pinky copper tone, but it’s harder to match other jewelry to it. If people do pair jewelry with rose gold, I typically see it paired with silver or white gold, rather than yellow gold.
What other wedding-related trends are you seeing?
You’ll always have some people looking for a big solitaire bling with a band against it, but in the last 4-5 years, the trend in wedding rings has moved toward something a little different – not necessarily a large solitaire diamond. Rather than a solitaire with a band against it, some are opting for a single band with diamonds all around it. Also, rings with color stones are becoming increasingly popular, such as emerald and sapphire.
Where should people store their most precious jewelry at home?
Being in the jewelry business, we have heard many stories of jewelry theft. If you wear pieces often that are very valuable to you, please don’t store it in a jewelry box or an open container on your dresser or nightstand. That’s the first place robbers will look for valuables. It’s best to regularly put things in a very safe, but not obvious place. Just don’t forget where you hide your jewelry!
When it comes to the five C’s (cut, color, clarity, certification, carat), are there areas people can compromise on, yet still get a beautiful-looking diamond?
- For cut, you can compromise. It’s rather hard for the untrained eye to tell if a cut is good or bad. It’s about the precision of the cut; professionals often check the cuts by holding stones side by side and looking for how the stones reflect the light. When it comes to cut, its more about your preference. If it looks appealing to you, that is what matters. See if it sparkles in a way that you like and if it’s cut in a shape that you like.
- For color, if you have a yellow-gold setting you can compromise on getting a diamond that’s more yellow-tone on the color scale; it won’t show as much due to the yellow-gold setting.”D” is a colorless diamond, but H, I and J are more yellow.
- For clarity, try not to compromise on this. The inclusions – such as carbon – in the diamond will darken the look of the stone.
- For certifications: if you’re getting a diamond over 1 carat, try to get one that is certified; this is just for peace-of-mind. If you change insurance, certificates will stand over time. Whereas, if you get a diamond that isn’t certified, you may have to do reappraisals.
- For carat, this is an area you can compromise on. Let’s say you are looking for a 2 carat diamond. Consider buying one that is just under 2 carats, such as 1.95 carats; it can lower the cost by 10-15% , but to the human eye, no one will be able to tell that it’s not 2 carats.
What are your recommendations when it comes to buying diamonds online?
Every retailer, whether online or not, will have good and bad customer reviews. I personally would prefer to go to a store and find a reputable person who has been dealing in diamonds for a long time so that I could see and touch the product. One online option to consider is Blue Nile; they specialize in diamonds and have a wide selection. One other uncommon brick and mortar option to consider: Costco. It’s one of the best buys around; they often have certified diamonds. People might feel funny saying their diamond came from Costco due to social stigma or pride, but the Costco jewelry selection is good and so are the prices.
This is part of an ongoing series of blog posts featuring experts.