You may wear your engagement ring forever, but engagement ring trends come and go with the seasons.
Right now – like everything else that’s back from the 80s – yellow gold is making a huge comeback, said Jose Torres, owner of Torres Omar Jewelry in Logan Square.
“We’ve been here for 33 years, so we remember when it was popular in the 80s – and now it’s picking up,” Torres said. Also popular now?
The hottest rings are still the princess cut diamonds, but non-traditional double-halo settings are becoming more popular, said Garry Zimmerman, co-owner of Windy City Diamonds, a family-run jewelry story that’s been in business in Chicago for nearly 90 years.
The double-halo rings are two rows of diamonds wrapped around a center diamond in a cushion-style.
“The center can be anything,” Zimmerman said. “It gives a bigger, fuller look. You can take a 1-carat, and make it look a lot bigger because it’s got two rows of diamonds around it.”
The classic round diamonds are still the most popular – but cushions have overtaken princess cuts in terms of fancy-shaped diamonds (anything that’s not round is considered to be a fancy-shaped diamond), said Larry Zimont, president of Ethan Lord Jewelers on Jewelers Row.
And while consumers are splurging on larger diamonds, Zimont said, they’re willing to sacrifice a little on clarity.
“Consumers have been more conscious about specifications, and they’re doing more research,” he said. “They’re saying, ‘If this doesn’t make a difference to the naked eye, it’s okay.’”
Chicago’s got dozens of jewelry stores that specialize in helping couples find their perfect engagement ring.
Windy City Diamonds
Diamond engagement rings are their specialty, and they understand that shopping for one can be a very overwhelming experience. So the employees here are happy to sit down with their customers and explain everything there is to know about diamonds before they lead you toward a purchase. They will work with you for as long as it takes (weeks or even months) to help you choose a diamond and a setting that works for you. They will customize a ring and custom-make it – and will keep you updated to its progress regularly. You may also come in to try on or check out a plastic mold rendering the ring before the casting begins to make sure that everything looks the way you anticipated it looking.
1 S Wabash Ave., 312-327-9463, Windycitydiamonds.com
Dimend SCASSI Jewelers
While they sell all types of diamonds, this retailer recently started offering lab diamonds, which take a little longer than a month to be made in an American lab. They cost between $500-$10,000 for a diamond which can be up to 1 ½ carats, and the price varies depending on cut and clarity – just like a traditional diamond. These diamonds also look exactly like traditional diamonds – and are expected to grow in popularity in the upcoming years.
5 S Wabash Ave., 17th Fl, 312-857-1700, dimendscassi.com
Torres Omar Jewelry
They specialize in custom-made engagement rings, and they do everything in-house, saving their couples time and money. Most couples come into the store with an idea of what they want, and they bring in pictures. Then, they work with the designers to figure out how to make their vision come to fruition on the ring. Sometimes, they combine different looks and even make a vintage-modern combination. “We’ll sit down with them and customize it,” said Jose Torres, the store owner. They also do jewelry repair work on-site, and aim to do all repairs in 45 minutes so that customers can wait in the store for their jewelry if desired.
2624 N Milwaukee Ave., 773-342-1227, Torresomarjewelry.com
Christopher Duquet Fine Jewelry
They don’t mind at all if you have no idea of what you’re looking for before you come in for your engagement ring. They’ve got tons of ideas for you, and they’ll do everything from diamonds to pearls to anything else you can dream of (maybe a birthstone engagement ring if you are getting married to someone with whom you already have a child?) – and they’re there to help. If you give Duquet a few ideas, he will come up with a design that you may never have thought of in the first place. They also specialize in heirloom-inspired rings, which are engagement rings that look as if they’ve been in your family for years. If you are looking to purchase something immediately and don’t want to wait for a custom-look, you can always browse through the selection in-store and grab a ring there.
1224 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847-733-0656, Christopherduquet.com
Merry Richards Jewelers
If you’re looking for an extensive selection of rings in all shapes, sizes and stones, you’ll be able to find it here. From sapphires to classic princess cuts to everything in between from a variety of designers – they’ll have them on display or they’ll be able to make it for you. They also have other types of jewelry – you can get everything from necklaces to watches here.
17w300 22nd St., Oakbrook Terrace, 630-516-8000, Merryrichardsjewelers.com
Stanley Brown Jewelist
This is a smaller neighborhood jewelry store where it’s all about the service (and the super-friendly German Shepherds who will greet you at the door). The people who work here are incredibly patient, and they’re very knowledgeable when it comes to diamonds and engagement rings – and – most importantly, they’re honest. They’ll tell you everything you need to know about your purchase so that you’re making the best decision for you (and your fiancé) so that you feel comfortable and will come back and use them again for all your other jewelry purchases. They also do other custom jewelry, such as custom necklaces (to match the engagement ring?) and bracelets, ect.
4751 N Lincoln Ave., 773-561-7229, Jewelist.com