There have been several important research studies recently that people in the trade should know about.
One of the studies, conducted by National Jeweler, found that:
* 90% of consumers surveyed rated quality as the most important factor in determining where they buy their bridal jewelry. Price was a close second, followed by selection.
* More than 40 percent of engagement ring shoppers plan to buy a diamond of one carat or larger.
* 60% of engagement ring shoppers are willing to spend more than $1,500 on a diamond, and some 24% — one out of four— are willing to spend more than $5,000.
* More than half favor engagement rings with accent side stones.
* Round is the most popular shape, but demand for princesses is growing.
* A fair amount of brides are willing to experiment with colored diamond and colored side stones — some 28%, according to the survey, especially now that their profile is higher, with both Jennifer Lopez and Kobe Bryant’s wife receiving colored diamonds.
* 78% said they would not buy a diamond that was not accompanied by a lab grading report, compared to 22% that would.
* 53% of engagement ring shoppers said they were planning to buy wedding bands with diamonds, versus 47% who said no.
* So far, only 4% of customers surveyed said they plan to buy bridal jewelry on the Internet — which is still significant considering the numbers are going up.
Most consumers (44%) plan to buy their bridal jewelry at an independent jewelry, 27% at a mall jeweler, 8% at a department store, and 4% at a discount store.