Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The millennial wedding economy: how a growing recycled trend is the next true love story

Thanks to clever marketing by DeBeers, purchasing a diamond engagement ring has become a cultural norm.  Indeed, American couples spend billions each year on engagement jewelry.  With millennials looking to make eco-friendly choices, more of this generation is turning to recycled engagement rings, and the broader pre-owned wedding economy, as the best way to limit environmental impact and maximize value.

Movies like "Blood Diamond" have helped shed light on the humanitarian aspects of diamond mining, yet little has been publicized regarding the significant environmental impacts of diamond and precious metal mining.  For diamonds, open-pit mining can lead to the disturbance of vast, complex ecosystems and the loss of surface and ground water. Alluvial mining, which takes place in waterways, contributes to wide-ranging marine ecosystem destruction. 

The mining of precious metals, including gold, can have an even greater environmental impact.  Gold is often found in rock characterized by acid-generating sulfides.  When disturbed, this rock experiences a chemical reaction that produces acid and toxins.  These toxins often run into lakes, rivers, and streams, where they pose serious dangers to aquatic ecosystems.

Many buyers hoping to purchase the same diamond and gold jewelry with significantly less environmental impact have turned to pre-owned engagement rings.  These rings may have been worn for a year, a month, or not at all, and offer a compelling value proposition.  The emergence of specialty pre-owned ring retailers has added additional safety measures including gemologists who verify every item sold.  These forums ensure that buyers will receive an authentic diamond and that the color, clarity, and carat of the ring will match the seller's representations, all while saving up to 50 percent off retail.

As more millennials embrace an environmental and budget-friendly ring option, specialty pre-owned retailers have experienced a surge in growth.  CEO Philip Johnson credits this growth to a broader awareness of the value of pre-owned rings, and an increased interest in peer-to-peer economies.   Johnson estimates that purchases of recycled rings on his site in 2014 alone will save over 5,000 tons of ore and waste rock that would have been produced to create new rings (Source: http://www.earthworksaction.org/files/publications/20TonsMemo_FINAL.pdf).

The growing trend in recycled weddings is mirrored in the pre-owned wedding dress market.  Leading pre-owned dress marketplace, PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com, has experienced at least double digit growth every year since its 2004 inception, including triple digit growth in 2008 and 2009.  Founder Josie Daga states that "buying a pre-owned wedding dress is a smart way to afford the wedding dress you really want."  Daga's site helps brides save hundreds or more on luxury brand dresses that were only worn for a few hours, and offers an eco-friendly way to recycle the perfect dress, rather than leaving it to sit in a box.

Monday, June 16, 2014

SimplyBridal's Cohesive Themed Wedding Infographic

Are you considering a 'Cohesive Themed Wedding'? 

Take a quick look at 'Simply Bridals' fun infographic.

For more wedding advice see http://www.simplybridal.com/blog/

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

HYSTR Featured on Fox News

Check out the article!!


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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Don't judge a diamond by its certificate cover - why thousands of buyers are overpaying for poor quality stones

Most experts recommend purchasing a certified diamond, particularly when buying online, as the best way to ensure value for money.    As a result of strong demand for diamond certifications, many diamond certification labs including GIA, AGS, EGL USA, EGL International, IGI, and others operate worldwide.  The GIA, universally respected as the foremost authority in diamond certification, established a scale of diamond color (D - Z) and clarity (IF - I3) that can help buyers compare diamonds.  All diamond certifications provide grades according to the a similar alpha-numerical scale, but are all diamond certificates the same? 

A recent study by industry expert, Have You Seen the Ring, demonstrates a disturbing trend.   The business reviewed 100 diamonds certified by 5 different labs over a period of 12 months and concluded that the grading scales of the stones varied dramatically.  For example, when an EGL International stone that was a color G and SI2 clarity was viewed next to an EGL USA stone of the same specifications, the former had significantly more yellow color and eye-visible, black inclusions.  While according to the GIA scale, both of these diamonds should be eye-clean and near-colorless, the EGL International G, SI2 looked similar to a GIA J, I1.  The EGL USA stone came closer to GIA specifications at a GIA H, SI2.

When surveyed, nearly 2 out of 5 buyers stated that they were unaware of the differences in certificate standards and that they assumed that color and clarity grades were standardized across all grading labs.   Alarmingly, many buyers of the lower quality stones were not informed of the differences in grading scales when they purchased the diamonds.

So does this mean that buyers should only look at GIA certified stones?  Not necessarily.  Stones from many other labs have a good combination of the 4Cs (color, clarity, cut and carat) and may represent better value for money.  Buyers should beware of diamond prices that are 'too good to be true' and should insist on seeing a copy of a certificate before making a purchase.  The key is to speak with reputable jewelry retailers, who will explain the differences in diamond certifications, and will help choose best stone.  

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tips for Saving Money on Engagement Rings

If you're thinking about tying the knot soon, you're going to have to save up a lot of money if you want to have a traditional wedding. It isn't a secret that weddings can be expensive, but some people can really underestimate just how much everything costs. The Association of Bridal Consultants did a survey about the average costs of a wedding, and your ceremony can cost you a little more than $28,000 – and that's the average!

The vast majority of the price is made up of venue costs, catering, clothing, and other essentials, but a surprisingly large part of it can be the engagement ring. The study found that the engagement ring often costs significantly more than the actual wedding band. On average, people would spend $1,862 on the wedding bands, but $3,995 on their engagement ring. The high price is probably due to the fact that people want to make a statement, but you don't have to break the bank to propose with a beautiful and memorable ring. If you want to wow the love of your life without going into crippling debt forever, follow these tips when you look for an engagement ring.

Look at it as a major purchase

An engagement ring is one of the most important items you'll ever buy, but not for the reasons that most people think. You obviously want the person you're planning to marry to like the ring, but this is something that they will have for the rest of their lives. That ring is more than just a symbol of your love; it's a ring that could be passed down to your children and to your children's children. Your engagement ring will outlast any major appliance, car, or computer you'll have, so you should treat this engagement ring like any other major purchase you'd make. Do your research, don't be afraid to be very specific about what you want, and you'll be happy with what you have.

Know your four Cs (with a focus on color)

If you're thinking about buying a diamond engagement ring, keep the four Cs of diamond buying in mind: carat, color, clarity, and cut. Now, if you really want to save money without having to sacrifice the beauty of your ring, focus on diamonds that strike the right balance of the four Cs within your budget. Diamonds graded to a GIA standard "SI2 clarity" will be eye clean (i.e. no dark spots visible to the naked eye). Diamonds graded to a GIA standard "I color" are still in the sweet spot of near colorless, while a diamond with a "very good" cut GIA grading will still have substantial fire and brilliance. If you then work backward, you can figure out pretty quickly what size of diamond will work best for you without breaking the bank.

While we're on the topic of diamonds, we should mention that you don't have to get the traditional big diamond to have a beautiful ring. In fact, if you really want to save money on your engagement ring you should…

Go the non-traditional route

If you want a statement-making ring that doesn't cost a lot of money, take a trip down the off-beat engagement ring path and find something different. Instead of spending money on one large diamond, get a ring with a few small diamonds that will look just as striking. There are many unique styles that will stand out among traditional diamond rings. If you want a non-traditional piece, look for used engagement rings. You can find a variety of previously-owned diamond rings, but there are also many that feature rubies, sapphires, and other gems as their primary stone.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why You Should Consider a Used Engagement Ring

You’ve made the decision. You’re ready (or as ready as you’ll ever be) to pop the big question. The time has come to make an investment in a beautiful engagement ring to mark the occasion and seal the deal. Some couples will decide to secure a loan in order to afford a particular ring, while others will decide that they don’t want to immediately take on debt as part of their new life together. Some of these couples will choose to look into used engagement rings.

These rings are just as beautiful and express just as much sentiment as new rings, but often come with much smaller price tags. And, unlike other merchandise that can be bought used, diamonds are almost impervious to being chipped or scratched. So a diamond that was cut, set, and sold a hundred years ago will look just as beautiful as one that was cut yesterday. 

Some families will keep a lovely ring or two as heirlooms to pass down to new generations. A legacy gem with this kind of history behind it is absolutely priceless, and many couples are delighted by the prospect of using a ring that already has years of experience as a symbol of lasting love between those close to them.

If you don’t have a ring like this in your family, remember that when shopping for a pre-owned engagement ring, you won’t necessarily know why the pieces are on the market. It’s always best to take your business to a reputable vendor who will offer authenticated merchandise. How awful would it be to purchase a diamond ring from a shady merchant, only to have it appraised later and learn that the ring was misrepresented? It may not be a real diamond, or be made using a real precious metal. If you always work with vendors who authenticate their jewelry, you will always know exactly what you’re getting.

Saving money and getting a top-quality ring for a small price are not the only reasons to choose a pre-owned ring. Used engagement rings are a better choice for the environment than new rings, since their gems have already been mined. Many women (and men) favor vintage styles over new ones, and pre-owned rings can be a great way to express that every day.

Pre-owned rings offer many advantages, and no disadvantages. They are an ideal option when you’re choosing something as important as a symbol of love to be worn every day.


Friday, March 28, 2014

How to Effectively Sell Your Diamond Jewelry

It's sad to think that some people have to sell their engagement rings and other sentimental jewelry. Some people choose to sell because their marriage has ended, while others are forced to sell because they need money to save their home from foreclosure or pay off mounting medical bills and other expenses. Regardless of why you have to part with these items, it's important to know how to effectively sell the jewelry so you are getting the most for your precious items.

Know What You Have 

Although you might think you know what you have, you could be wrong and the piece might be worth much more or less than you thought. To find out, you should take the jewelry to be appraised. To get the best value for the piece, bring it to an appraiser that doesn't sell or buy diamonds because they will be giving you their honest opinion. Further, don't assume that you have to pay to have the piece appraised. You can visit diamond buyers or pawn shops to see what they value the piece at. If going this route, it's important to visit several so that you're getting a range of opinions.

Price the Piece Realistically

When selling something sentimental, many people set unrealistic prices because their emotions are invested. It's important, although somewhat impossible, to take the emotion out of it and price the jewelry rationally. To make sure that a piece is priced right, use eBay to search for other similar items that have sold. This will give you a good idea of what pieces similar to yours are selling for.
Consider Your Options

When people have to sell engagement rings and other jewelry, they should look into where and how they can sell the pieces. At Have You Seen the Ring, we make it very easy for sellers to list their jewelry and find a buyer. One of the best things about our service is that people are selling their jewelry on their terms and not someone else's. 
Make Sure You're Ready

As mentioned earlier, people can become very attached to their jewelry and emotions often run high. To make a successful sale, it's important to ensure that you’re actually ready to part with the piece -- usually once you sell, there's no getting it back.