Well, it has been an interesting week here at Diamonds Direct. Interesting in a good way! We started the week with the 50th & France Pumpkin Festival. It is so much fun for us to see all the kids in their costumes. We continued our tradition of handing out ‘diamonds’ to the kids. Every trick or treater is asked, “Would you like candy or a diamond?” Needless to say, we ran out of diamonds before we ran out of candy.
My job is fun. I get so excited when I meet a new client. This week, I have been working with three very different gentlemen on getting engagement rings. Each of them discovered our store in a different way and each of them had a very different way of handling the process.
The first client, ‘Charlie’ found us on Google while doing engagement ring research. He called here to talk about diamond pricing and when I answered the phone, I accidentally fell off of my chair…which resulted in a lot of crashing, laughing and eventually “Sorry about that. Diamonds Direct at your service.” We laughed for a minute about it and eventually started discussing what he was looking for. Charlie’s girlfriend is a big fan of emerald cut diamonds. While we were on the phone, I looked through our inventory and found a couple emerald cuts that suited his budget and quality requirements. He wanted to stay under $7,000 for a 1.00 carat, colorless (D-F), eye clean (SI-2 or better) diamond. Since emerald cuts are step cut, it is easier to see imperfections within them so I recommended we looked above a VS-2 clarity. I plan on showing him the two options we had in stock, as well as one additional option I had brought in to show some variety on faceting and measurements. We will be meeting this afternoon and I am eager to see which one he chooses! He plans to set it in a very sleek, modern solitaire ring, which will go great with the classic straight facets that emeralds are known for. Stay tuned for an update!
On Saturday, we had a client come in during the Halloween event here at 50th & France. Bless his heart for braving the crowd of 2000+ kids and their parents in the name of love! He came in with a setting he had purchased elsewhere. His girlfriend had fallen in love with this particular setting, but he had not been impressed by the diamonds the jeweler had to offer. The first diamond I pulled was a round .92 carat, H color, VS-1 clarity. As soon as I took it out and told him the price, he said, “I’ll take it!” We just got the ring back in with the diamond set this morning and it looks great. He plans on proposing this weekend and I cannot wait to hear how it goes!
The third diamond client is kind of a fun story. He was sitting across the street at Barrio having a drink after work with a friend. They were talking about relationships and what is important in life. Out of the blue, ‘Tom’ decided that it was time to propose to his girlfriend of 8 years. As he made this decision in his head, he looked up and saw the words “Diamonds Direct” outside of the window on our awning. His friend said he stood up, finished his beer and walked out the door without a word. His friend had to watch him to see where he was going! When he got to our door, I let him in and he was right down to business. He described to me what he had always envisioned the engagement ring he bought to look like. What he described to me, mainly using his hands and a quick pencil sketch, was a bypass setting with a princess cut diamond. Or as he described it, “a square diamond that looks like it is floating between two straight pieces of metal”. I reached into the case, pulled out a ring and showed it to him. It was exactly what he had drawn a picture of! The cool part about this story is we generally set rings after they have been purchased (ex: the customer picks out a diamond and then we set it into their ring of choice). This engagement ring just happened to be one of the five or six rings we have set up as a completed piece! So Tom is standing there with his mouth hanging open. Then he started laughing. He decided it was fate and this ring was obviously sitting here waiting for him to buy it. So he pulled out his credit card before I even gave him a price on it. When I did tell him the price, he laughed again and told me it was about $4000 less than he had expected to spend. Of course, I offered to charge him more, but he assured me the original price was just fine. We finished the transaction and away he went. The next day, his fiancé came into the store to get her ring sized. She was over the moon with happiness. Tom had proposed the evening before. They were lying in bed, reading their books before bed as they do every night. She put away her book and lay down facing him. He put his book down and she thought he was going to turn out the light. Instead, he opened a ring box in front of her face and asked her to be his wife. Simple, but perfect.
These stories are why I love my job! Love is such a basic human emotion and it is something we all want. It is so fun for me to get to hear these stories and actually have a small role in them. And let me tell you, the best proposals are the simple ones. Get to the root of who you are. Choose a moment that is precious, but unexpected. Make it a memorable one.
Mixing old world class with new age technology
***Please note: There is a Halloween event at 50th & France this Saturday, October 29th, from 10am-4pm. If you are considering coming in to visit us, keep this in mind and call ahead! We want to see everyone, but we also don’t want you to waste an hour trying to park and maneuver around kids. On the flip side, if you have kids and they like candy, come out to 50th & France this Saturday! Diamonds Direct will be open until we run out of candy (probably sometime between 2pm and 4pm)***
In the grand scheme of things, I am a newbie to being a jeweler. I am not sure that everyone joining the industry attacks the learning process with as much determination as I have though. No one can ever say I am not enthusiastic! It seems to me that when you are doing something that you are meant to do, you can never learn enough or feel like you’ve accomplished enough in a day. When I get home every evening, I find myself thinking about my recently engaged couples or a client with a new jewelry design. This new piece means so many different things to these people, but, in most cases, it symbolizes a stage in their life. What a great feeling to know I am a part of something like that!
One thing I have been learning a lot about lately is technology in our industry. If we are being honest, Diamonds Direct is not leading the pack when it comes to fancy computer technology. Many jewelers have invested in CAD computer programs and other technological wonders that make custom design and casting much easier. Am I jealous? Yes, absolutely! Does it mean the quality of the work we are doing here is inferior? No way.
I like to say that we do things ‘old school’ here at Diamonds Direct. We are creating hand sketches and our goldsmith is hand carving wax models. The process is interesting, personal and results in amazing handmade jewelry. This is particularly fun for me because I am bringing new designs and ideas to the store with a younger perspective on style. I am lucky to work with a goldsmith who is patient with me and is willing to discuss every aspect of every design.
It is also exciting because as we begin to integrate new technologies and techniques to our store, I will be here sharing it with you. Maybe we will try designing on a computer and find that it doesn’t suit us or our clientele. Maybe we will begin using new equipment for photographing jewelry and our Facebook fans will hate how it translates to the screen. Maybe we will try new lighting in the showroom and it will create too much of a glare. Maybe we will make all of these changes and you will all LOVE it and the line of customers will be out the door!
The point is things are happening here at Diamonds Direct. We are on the brink of change, but still embracing the beauty of how it has been done for years. It is comforting to know that Diamonds Direct has made it through one of the hardest economical times in our countries history. This is a credit to our wonderfully loyal (and constantly referring) clientele.
Can you tell I am feeling thankful and reflective today?
Now…first step on the path to change….paint the walls! Who’s coming to help me?!
Redesigning my own engagement ring
I’ve been a very bad blogger! A handful of you have noticed that I missed my blogs last week. I apologize. I know how life altering the information I share is and I know you have been desperately awaiting the next post…Just kidding! But I seriously appreciate the fact that you are reading and interested in what I have to say. I enjoy sharing my input.
As I have mentioned before, I am recently engaged. My fiancé, James, asked me to marry him in December of last year. He is a seriously awesome dude. We are the best of friends and have a blast being together. We are planning a June wedding in Minneapolis. We are also house hunting right now…so cue the high anxiety, super stressed time of wedding planning compounded with buying a home. Yikes!
Many of you probably think he is quite lucky to have someone like me. And I tend to agree. There is one major downside to dating me though. I am a jeweler. I am not only a jeweler, but I am a picky, indecisive jeweler. To be fair, James knew what he was getting himself into. J
Original Ring Design
James proposed to me with a gorgeous ring made with a perfect oval shaped yellow sapphire, two half moon diamonds and a bunch of little round diamonds. I had been lusting after the ring for months and months. Sapphires are my favorite stone to work with so he did a fabulous job choosing one for my center stone. Sapphires come in every color of the rainbow, but I was happy to have a yellow one to wear with both yellow and white gold jewelry. The ring was made by a designer we work with a lot based out of Chicago so it was nice knowing the person who put it together.
A few months into wearing my ring, I started to notice a few things I would like to change about it. Yes, I know, I am awful. James chose this beautiful ring for me and I wanted to change it! The problems I was having with the ring were the number of prongs and how thin the band was. I am an active person and I am very hard on my jewelry. This setting was not going to last more than a few years with the way I was wearing it down. I also felt like the center stone should be set higher to make it look more like an engagement ring. I spoke to James about the changes I wanted to make and he agreed. A good man just wants to keep his lady happy, right?
On August 12th, I dropped my engagement ring off with my goldsmith with several sketches of what I wanted. We discussed millimeter measurements, type of metal, thickness of the band, prongs and other details. We also decide to incorporate both white and yellow gold. He got to work.
A week later, I got to see the wax of my ring. A wax is basically a carving of the ring with no stones, prongs or detailing. It gives the customer an idea of how the ring will sit on their finger, the overall shape and layout of the stones. It was a little sad to see my ring with no stones in it, but it was very exciting to see this purple wax ring. I gave the go ahead to make the ring. It was a very unique experience for me to be on this side of the designing. I am always telling my clients to trust in the process and keep in mind that we are sharing their vision. I could not stop second guessing different things about the ring and hoping it turned out as I expected.
Two weeks later, my ring was done! It turned out even better than I imagined. With the changes we made, I feel as though it looks very custom (which it is), more sturdy, more expensive and just overall more amazing. I find myself just staring at it on my finger because I cannot believe it is mine! I have yet to get a chance to photograph it well, but hopefully you get the idea.
Newly Designed Ring- Now two-tone!
My inspiration for the change is all of the rings we have been remodeling in the past couple of years. I took the stones that I already had, took a gold credit and rearranged them to be something that fits my style better than what I had. The investment is not too crazy for what you end up with…especially if we are talking about an older piece of jewelry that isn’t being worn. Might as well use what you’ve got to make something you’ll wear, right?
To check out a small sampling of some of our custom jobs, check out our custom page on the website at http://www.diamondsdirectmn.com/custom-design.
Buying an engagement ring shouldn't be difficult.
Greeting friends! It is a beautiful Wednesday afternoon. We can always count on it being a little slower at the store when the weather is like this outside. People want to spend their free time basking in the sun, talking with friends on a walk, doing end of summer yard work or reading a book while getting a tan.
Lucky for me, it has been pretty busy the last couple weeks. I am currently working on four custom engagement rings. The energy behind all of these projects has been great so it makes the wait to see the final product even more exciting.
Today I wanted to talk about something that’s come up with a few clients. Getting engaged is a big deal. I think we can all agree on that. Buying an engagement ring should not be difficult. In fact, if your jeweler is listening to your needs, budget and vision, it should be easy as pie. My job is to hear you out regarding the ring. As I am sitting there listening to you, I should be envisioning the setting that goes well with the style you’ve described and thinking about which diamonds in my inventory will satisfy your quality requirements. I should also be figuring out what will work best with the budget you have laid out for me.
My newest client, Jack, came in yesterday looking extremely nervous and wary of being in a jewelry store. We started discussing his likes and dislikes. I asked him how he met his girlfriend and what she was like. These aren’t questions that I ask just to make small talk. I want to know about this girl. What is her style? Does she live a pretty active lifestyle? Would she prefer a bigger diamond or a more intricate setting? I asked Jack about himself. What does he do for work? What is important to him when it comes to this ring and proposing? As we are talking, I begin pulling different styles out of the case to show him. Yes. No. Maybe. Too big. Too dainty. This is how we get to know each other. His girlfriend had not dropped him any hints or sent any pictures so we were free to choose what he thought represented her the most.
Within half an hour, we had the perfect setting and diamond picked out for him. As we were standing there staring at the setting (14 karat white gold mounting with .50 carats total weight, shared prong set, round brilliant diamonds and one round brilliant diamond weighing 1.30 carats in the center), Jack started to freak out.
“I thought this was going to take hours and that I would have to spend days finding the right diamond and setting. Should I be worried about how quickly I made this decision?”
It was an interesting question. The thought of ring shopping can be scary and intimidating! How do you know if it is the right ring? Should you look at more diamonds? What if she doesn’t like it? These are all valid concerns.
My answer to Jack was pretty to the point- sometimes I can be a little straightforward. I find that people usually appreciate honesty as opposed to sugar coating things.
“Jack, you have to make that decision for yourself. While we were getting to know each other, I was figuring out what would give you the most bang for your buck. I want to respect your budget and this process. I can show you some lower quality diamonds to help you see how beautiful this diamond is…I can also show you some larger diamonds that are outside of your budget…but that is not in your best interest. If you are not confident in this store, the diamond or the setting, then you should definitely keep looking. I want you to feel good about this experience.”
I could see he was still a little uneasy. I went over to the cash drawer, pulled out a $20 bill and told him to go across the street and have a beer on us. Unorthodox? Yes, but I could tell he needed some time to think, call his sister and feel good about the decision. I also knew he was a big fan of Surly…which they have on tap at the Edina Grill. J Do I give every client $20 and tell them to go get a cocktail? No.
An hour later, Jack came back and bought the ring. He will be proposing to his girlfriend this weekend.
Today’s lesson is a little muddled up in my rambling story, but you should feel confident in the place you are purchasing your ring or jewelry. Do some research, get to know your jeweler, know what you want. When you are educated and ready to move forward, it should not be a difficult process. We are professionals. We want to make this the easy part so you can concentrate on the important part…which is what getting engaged symbolizes and celebrating that step in your life.
All You Need Is Love
Have you ever met a couple that seems shine when they are together? They make each other so happy that they glow? Simple glances, flirty smiles, pure devotion and lots of laughing. Luke and Angela obviously love each other and it was my pleasure to help them on their way to getting married.
Angela and I have been friends since middle school. We had stayed in touch via the internet while I lived in Des Moines, but had been spending more time together. She met Luke when they were both in the wedding of some mutual friends. As they got to know each other, it was impossible to deny there was something special going on.
Luke and Angela came in to see me in early December of last year. Angela was nervous and excited about looking at engagement rings. I could tell Luke was focused on getting her exactly what she wanted. They brought Angela’s grandmother’s diamond in to show me. They were unsure whether it would work for an engagement ring. After taking a close look at the diamond, we determined that it was indeed a very beautiful diamond that we could use in many different designs. Angela wanted something unique, not too “crazy”. After trying on rings for a bit, she fell in love with a style we had in stock. A simple, but interesting, half bezel setting with 12 smaller bead-set side diamonds.
Of course, Luke and I were in communication almost immediately after the visit. His excitement to propose to Angela was contagious. It’s this type of excitement that makes me love my job. We decided to take the style that she loved in the store and pump up the carat weight a bit as a surprise for Angela. We got to work on the design immediately and had it ready within 9 days.
Luke proposed to Angela on December 23rd, 2010, just a few hours after he picked up the ring from Diamonds Direct. They decided to go on a nice date (hot outfits and all!) at Pracna on Main. After dinner they were standing outside of the restaurant with snow falling around them as Luke got down on one knee. He asked Angela if she would be his wife. Of course, she said yes! They celebrated their new engagement with a snowy carriage ride along the river.
I am happy to report that they lived happily ever after. Luke and Angela got married a couple weeks ago on September 10th. The wedding was held at Luke’s family vineyard in Darwin, MN- Jomas Hill Vineyard. It was a beautiful wedding filled with lots of personal touches and oozing with gooey love.
Today’s lesson? Love is awesome. If you find the right person, you will know. It will be easy to love that person and people will be able to see that love between you. The jewelry lesson? If you have a family diamond, be open to using it in an engagement ring. Not only does it save you money, but it has a tie to your history that can never be replicated. If you have a diamond that you are interested in working with in a project, let me know!
Love you, Luke and Angela. Congrats times a million. Xxx