Today’s episode of Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Is a dazzling one because we’re talking to Janina from Baxter’s Fine Jewelry! We’re driving into all things wedding jewelry – trends, ideas, and information all based on questions our listeners sent in! But, our podcast today isn’t just about your wedding day. We’ll also be diving into ideas for engagements and anniversaries to come! So let’s talk all about diamonds, diamonds, diamonds (and other wedding jewelry!)!
My family owns Baxter’s Fine Jewelry! In 1960, my grandparents Bob and Gloria, started the business as a factory. They started making different gold hoops, parts and it expanded into a full warehouse. As manufacturing went overseas, my father Paul became the owner of the business and we moved into the retail business. So now, we sell jewelry like engagement rings, wedding bands, watches, and so much more. Our motto has always been “If you can dream it, we can make it.” We love serving Rhode Island when it comes to jewelry! Honestly, we take so many designs from start to finish and we’re able to serve some amazing people because of it.
That’s amazing. Obviously you all handle wedding bands, diamonds, and all sorts of fine jewelry. Is there a time of year that’s really busy for you – focusing on weddings?
March is definitely bridal month for us! We focus on a lot of things that month including a variety of trunk shows, raffles, discounted pricing, and so much more. It’s the perfect time to come try on jewelry and rings to see what you might like! Plus, it’s truly the best pricing all year long on wedding bands. While we offer great pricing all the time, we know weddings get expensive and we wanted to be able to offer another chance for couples to save money.
Can you talk about the “Four C’s” of rings for those who are thinking about getting engaged?
So the four C’s are for loose diamonds but do kind of apply to jewelry too! You have your cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Most of the time people think of carat first because they think they want a certain number but there really is a huge range. Color refers to the presence or absence of yellow in your stone (this ranges from D to Z) and as you get lower in the alphabet, the lighter your ring is. A ring that’s rated “D” will be colorless. For most engagement rings, you’ll be in the G, H, I range.
Clarity is the presence or absence of inclusions which occur naturally in the stone. Think of them as birthmarks, almost. They’re usually pretty hard to see with a naked eye. Finally, there’s the cut. This is what really makes a diamond sparkle! Honestly though the difference between a “very good” cut and “excellent” cut is minimal, so just come into the shop and take a look. That’s the best way to know if a ring is meant for you. Don’t get too hung up on any of the “C”’s… just come look in person!
How often do you see a partner involved in picking out the diamond for their engagement ring?
I would say that if they’re there picking out a setting, they’re picking out their diamond as well. Many times their partners will bring their soon-to-be fiancee because they want to get it right! There’s always ways to still make it a surprise, though. Maybe bring your partner in and let them select a few things they like and then you can make the final decision. We work with couples all the time and we’ll help you make sure it’s what you and your partner want! I always remind people that the proposal is more of the surprise than the ring, too!
One of the questions we got from our listeners was about current trends! What have you seen becoming popular – or maybe becoming less popular?
Of course! It’s important to remember that even though we do see trends in our industry, people will still definitely go pick what they want – as they should. Lately, I’ve seen more requests for Princess cuts than I have in previous years, so that’s definitely coming back. Irregular shapes are also becoming pretty popular. It used to be that everyone wanted the classic round shape but now we’re getting more requests for long shapes, too. Shapes that used to be popular probably 20 years ago – like the marquee diamond – are coming back and so is yellow gold. And then probably the biggest trends I’ve seen in engagement rings lately is a very thin band. Everyone wants to make their diamond look as big as they can.
Again, I want to reiterate: the best thing you can do is come in and TRY on a ring to decide if that shape will work for your finger.
Can you talk about the difference between band options like gold, platinum, rose gold, yellow gold, and so on?
When it comes to gold options, you’ve got yellow, white, and rose. Both yellow and rose both require very little maintenance. Yellow gold is how it comes out of the ground naturally. Rose gold tends to have a wide variety in tones because everyone makes it differently. This really only matters when you go to make a wedding band that matches. A side note here: if you have something custom designed by us, we’ll make sure we cast both rings out of the same metal so it matches. White gold is also very popular and it comes at a great price point. Over time, however, it will turn yellow. With COVID-19, a lot of people have noticed their rings are turning yellow faster and it’s because of the rhodium. Everyone’s gold rings will change color over time – it’s just a matter of how fast.
Then, you’ve got platinum. Platinum is a bit more expensive depending on what you’re looking for because it’s a hypoallergenic metal. That means it will stay white, too. And with simple polishing regularly, you can keep scratches out of it and won’t turn yellow over time. It’s a bit more durable in some ways.
Do you have any recommendations about how to clean their rings at home?
They can always bring their jewelry to us but it’s super easy to clean rings at home! The hardest thing to have at home is the steam cleaner we use. That’s what gives your rings that really sparkly shine. But, if you get a soft bristle toothbrush, and then get some warm soapy water to gently brush your ing, that will get rid of things like lotion, shampoo and other messes that make your jewelry look a little dull.
Let’s talk about men’s bands! Tell us about some trends you’ve seen, common materials… anything you’ve got!
For men’s bands, I would say they definitely lean towards darker colors like black and grey. These aren’t what we call precious metals. The darker colors you see are often carbon fiber, tungsten, tantalum, things like that which are alternative metals. They’re great for the color and price points. But the downside is that they can’t be resized. So, if you want something with more flexibility you’ll want to go towards gold or platinum. Sterling silver often tarnishes so we don’t recommend that usually!
Taking a quick jump back to women’s bands… How often should they check for loose diamonds?
We recommend every six months that they check for loose bands. Just try to come in when seasons change or you change out your wardrobe. We can do a quick inspection and clean it while you’re there.
A quick note about spacers here: a lot of people think that putting a spacer between your bands will help reduce the chance of something loosening by rubbing against the other ring. But, the reality is that the spacer is still just another ring to be rubbed against. Honestly if you need a spacer truly depends on the rings you have. So, just ask your jeweler what they recommend!
Let’s talk about wedding and anniversary gifts! What have you seen as a trend in your shop or in general for these gifts?
Honestly, some people don’t even realize that gifting your almost spouse on your wedding day is a thing. But it’s such a nice gesture to have something to look back on that important day from each other. For guys, it’s usually a watch that we see. Many times they’re engraved on the back, so that’s really nice. I’ve also seen personalized cufflinks or tie clips. They don’t wear those as often as a watch so that’s why I think a watch is a great option!
For the bride, there’s always other jewelry: like diamond studs or a tennis bracelet. No matter what kind of dress she’s wearing, both of those options will look wonderful! Necklaces can get tricky because you may not know the dress neckline. So we always recommend earrings or bracelets. For anniversaries, there’s always the options for additional stackable bands – especially for women. We often see them for 5 or 10 year anniversaries.
What are some key points that our listeners should know, to be sure that they are buying and working with the right place for them and a quality jeweler?
Being comfortable! This comes down to: are you happy with the idea of purchasing there? Does this place feel like somewhere you’re going to want to send business for years? Every person and ring is different and you should feel like that matters where you’re shopping.
Make sure that you’re seeing the value in what you’re purchasing. Even if you don’t buy something from us, we want you to know that we’re there for you. The value of your purchase goes beyond the item you bought. It should also feel like you’re valued and what you need matters.
Ensure that your sales associate is trying to educate you. There’s so many options out there. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and let them teach you what you need.
Links Mentioned in the Episode
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