Wedding & Engagement
Engagements rings are one of the most important jewelry purchases in a couple's life together, which means choosing the perfect ring can be a nerve-wracking experience! With such a meaningful purchase, there are so many things to consider: shape, size, style, metal color and type, side diamonds and halos, colored stones or diamonds… the list is long!
At Continental, we love to educate and guide clients through those details in order to create the dream ring for them and their loved one. We take extra time explaining and showing different stone qualities so our clients can determine what’s important to them, as well as going over the many available mounting styles, explaining the pros and cons of various designs.
How do we help you find the perfect engagement ring?
Step 1: An engagement ring is an important purchase, one that will be loved and admired daily for years to come. We want our clients to be involved in as many choices as possible during this exciting process, so rather than offering a limited selection of finished rings, we keep our loose diamonds and our mountings separate. This allows us to offer significant flexibility as we help clients understand their options; our custom creation process helps ensure the perfect, one-of-a-kind ring for each couple!
Step 2: We like to actually show the differences in the Four C’s! Although you can read about diamond qualities online or in pamphlets, seeing them in person is quite different. The qualities can sometimes be quite subtle, so we spend extra time ensuring that our clients understand what they’re seeing and can make an informed choice.
Once clients have seen examples of internal characteristics under a microscope and observed the differences in color grades under several types of light (we often walk outside so that you can see the colors in natural light!), we discuss which qualities appeal to them, which helps guide us in the next step of the process.
Step 3: Once we determine all the preferences (shape, size, color, clarity, cut, and budget), we source diamonds that meet those criteria. This usually takes just a few days to a week; we may have the perfect diamonds in stock, or we may bring in a selection that meets the standards of our very particular diamond buyer.
Our prices are quite competitive; brick and mortar doesn't mean more expensive at Continental Jewelers! We look for the best value for the quality desired, which takes experience and knowledge. Prices online vary significantly; look below for a great example of Let The Buyer Beware. Just another reason to come to the professionals!
We carefully screen every diamond we sell at Continental Jewelers! Here’s a 1.20ct H/VS2 that we will NOT sell. Why? The small feather, on the inside of the diamond, opens to the surface. It’s right on the edge (called the girdle). This is a chip waiting to happen! Yes! Diamonds can chip. But if a shopper was just looking at the grading report, they might not understand this. It’s so important to view diamonds in person and from a source you trust!
All natural gemstones are unique, and our process means that our clients get to experience the excitement and pride of choosing and presenting their diamond!
With our curated selection of diamonds and mountings, we’ll meet again to create the dream ring. We love to meet in person for this, but with the gift of technology, we can also create your perfect ring through email, text, FaceTime, or Zoom (yes, we’ve sold engagement rings through all of those methods!). Our goal is to bring flexibility, comfort, and confidence to one of the most important purchases a client can make with us!
Want some ideas? Here are a few recently purchased engagement rings:
Your Family JewelryWe love when a client brings in family jewelry to use as part of their wedding jewelry! We can give a diamond or gemstone new life with a new mounting. We can use all or parts of a family mounting in an engagement ring or wedding bands. There are many choices to redesign jewelry to keep the sentiment and provide years of enjoyment to you.
Vintage Engagement Rings
Today's new engagement styles are a beautiful reflection of design elements from the early 1900's to the 1940's. There's also the availability of actual vintage engagement rings, lovingly given many years ago. If a new engagement ring and wedding band doesn't fit your budget or your style, treasure hunt in ourMiriam's Attic collection of previously enjoyed jewelry!
Ring Registry at Continental Jewelers
Do you know about our ring registry? No, it's not for towels or cookware! It's for the most important purchase… the engagement ring! Purchasing an engagement ring can be so scary for the giver, but we can help! Send your intended into the store to play. Trying on different shapes and styles is so helpful in narrowing the options. We'll keep track of favorites for when the time comes. It will still be a surprise, but with less angst!
Men's: We carry all the most popular styles and metal choices. Platinum, Gold, Palladium, Tungsten Carbide, Titanium, Sterling. We'll explain the differences in wearability and cost.
Women's: Diamond or no diamonds, engraved or textured, contoured or straight. We have a wide selection of styles and can help you choose what will accentuate your engagement ring beautifully. We have many ways to customize wedding bands as well.
Q&A On Lab-Grown Diamonds:
I've been asked many questions recently about lab grown (synthetic) diamonds. There are many aspects to this newer technology. The Gemological Institute of America provides a great summary of the differences between lab-grown and natural diamonds at this page. For a deeper dive into the subject of lab-grown diamonds, this GIA article is also a great resource. Below are some of the opinions I share most often with our customers. I hope you find them helpful and interesting! There is always something new to learn!
Q: Does Continental Jewelers sell lab grown diamonds?
A: We do, but it's important to us that clients understand all the nuances surrounding lab grown diamonds. They are less expensive than natural diamonds, and the prices continue to drop as more manufacturers enter the market and the technology evolves. Just a few years ago, lab grown diamonds were only 20% less than the same quality natural diamonds; today they are 40-50% less. So what is bought today may be just a fraction of the price a few years from now.
An interesting analogy-when synthetic sapphire was first manufactured about 100 years ago, it's discovery was heralded as an amazing accomplishment. Cartier designed gorgeous natural diamond and platinum jewelry with synthetic sapphires, many diamond dress rings from that era contain synthetic sapphire accents. Though industry changed much slower then, the cost to make synthetic sapphire has dropped in comparison to the naturally mined gem significantly. A client recently inquired about sapphires, and in the size and quality requested, a natural sapphire would have been around $15,000, and the synthetic sapphire as inexpensive as $175. Technology moves much faster today, so I wouldn't be surprised if we see the price of lab grown diamonds drop exponentially fast.
Q: Aren't lab grown diamonds better for the environment?
A: Lab grown diamonds are manufactured in facilities that use electricity and other forms of energy for their production. Natural diamond mining also uses energy, and provides employment in areas of the world where opportunities are limited. Having been to East Africa, I appreciate the positive economic impact mining can have on individuals, families and communities. The same cannot be said for manufacturing plants.
Q: But aren't all diamonds blood diamonds like that movie said?
A: In 2006, there was a movie that depicted a civil war in Sierra Leone in the 1990's partially funded by the sale of diamonds. This was not news to our industry, there was already steps taken to control how diamonds enter the market prior to the movie. In 2000, the many facets of the diamond industry came together to create The Kimberley Process, by which diamonds can be traced from the source to have followed an ethical path. You can read more about the Kimberley Process here. Over 99% of all diamonds mined follow this path. The process continues to evolve as technology improves...it's possible in the future all diamonds will be identified using blockchain like tracing.
Q: Isn't a lab grown diamond exactly the same as a mined diamond?
A: Chemically, a lab grown diamond is the same as a mined diamond. The internal characteristics can be a little different. I do worry that sentimentally, a lab grown diamond may not be the same. There is something special about a diamond made billions of years ago by incredible conditions deep in the earth symbolizing an amazing love story. Can a mass produced lab grown diamond have the same emotional value? I have seen the disappointment in clients who discover their family heirlooms are not what they thought. Will it be an issue for the next generation? Time will tell.
We've sold lab grown diamonds to chemists who were just fascinated by the technology. We've sold them for clients who want the largest diamond look they can afford and like that a lab grown diamond will wear like a mined diamond (even though I warn them that in a few years the replacement price will probably be 10% of what they are paying now). We also sell synthetic moissanite and white sapphire as gemstones that look like diamonds. We're happy to fulfill most requests, as long as our clients understand what they are buying!
On A Side Note:
Synthetic Diamonds and Diamond Simulants - What are these? Simply put, a synthetic diamond is grown in a lab but has the same chemical composition as a natural diamond. Synthetic diamonds have only been commercially available for a few years. It is still an expensive process, though less expensive than mining natural diamonds. A diamond simulant is anything that “simulates” the look of a diamond, from a rhinestone to synthetic cubic zirconia to synthetic moissanite, a relatively new gem material that is close in hardness and brightness to a natural diamond.
There are many reasons why someone would choose a synthetic or simulated diamond over a natural diamond. Cost is one reason. Synthetics and simulants are less expensive than natural diamonds, but they do not hold up to everyday wear as well as a natural diamond would. Some are concerned about the origin of natural diamonds after the negative press quite a few years back. Great strides have been made by the diamond industry to track and monitor how diamonds get to the market. Others feel it is detrimental to the earth to mine for diamonds, though many in third world countries depend on this for sustenance. All are valid reasons to look at alternatives. Our opinion is that we are happy to find the best option to fit with your personal needs and beliefs, and we’ll go over the pros and cons of each option.
Our One Price Philosophy
At Continental Jewelers, we don’t inflate prices in order to offer a discount. Ever. We price our beautiful jewelry competitively. We don’t use a false high price to negotiate with our clients. We believe in being fair and honest, and telling you a phony price just to give you a discount isn’t honest.