“A Diamond Is Forever” was the slogan copywriter Frances Gerety created for De Beers in 1948. Seventy years later, many still credit him for the longstanding success of the diamond engagement ring tradition in the United States and overseas. This piece of jewelry remains a defining attribute of the marriage institution as we know it today.
Image credit: De Beers
Traditionally, a man who was about to pop the question was expected to choose the diamond on his own and surprise his girlfriend with a ring she would then wear for the rest of her life. An engagement ring represents one of the most significant purchases a man is likely to make as a young adult (on average he will spend two months-worth of his salary on it).
Since its inception, the diamond trade has been almost completely managed by men who learned the business from their fathers and who would then teach it to their sons. It was an exclusive network operating on trust and personal references; a business that ironically didn’t involve many women. Today, the way millennials are purchasing engagement rings is drastically changing. Word of mouth is coming directly from the girlfriends themselves, who research engagement rings on social media and do not hesitate to share their favorite styles with their friends and family and in against all odds, even with their boyfriends.
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Private Jeweler, Stephanie Gottlieb, has one of the most sought-after Instagram accounts when it comes to engagement rings (190K followers). She confirms that most of her engagement ring customers found her on Instagram: “Instagram has been helpful in that a lot of my female followers will save our pictures and show them to their boyfriends, or tag their boyfriends directly on our feed. This gives the men the opportunity to see what their girlfriends like, and gives them a direct link to find us.”
Image credit: Stephanie Gottlieb
As couples more openly discuss their future together, the topic of marriage becomes inevitable and naturally leads to talking about the engagement ring. As quoted by the Daily Mail, “one in three women now participate in the choice of their engagement ring." In fact, couples are starting to research rings together and will start (if not complete) their search online.
“Women are becoming very involved in their engagement ring choices,” confirms Gottlieb. “We see a lot of women coming to do their research ahead of time so that we can build a customer profile on them and save their ‘wants’ for when their boyfriend is ready to purchase,” she continues. “It takes away a lot of the guessing on the guy's part, and it really does make our job easier as a jeweler. We know we're going to get it right!”
By allowing women to create a customer profile ahead of their boyfriend’s visit, Gottlieb keeps an element of surprise for the proposal, while ensuring both parties will be very happy with the outcome of the ring. Furthermore, it is a concept that is likely to drive couples to work with her for wedding bands and anniversary gifts as well.
Image credit: LaurenBJewelry
Other private jewelers, such as Nicole Wegman of the Ring Concierge (135K followers) and Lauren B (360K followers) have also been cited by the likes of Bride and the Knot as must-follow Instagram accounts for engagement rings.
According to Instagram’s latest numbers released, “68% of its users are women" and women have shown to engage the most with content they can relate to. These private jewelers, turned Instagram influencers, seem to be well on their way to changing the way couples purchase engagement rings, by remaining relatable and credible all at once.