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A guided tour of some great local jewelry options for couples about to say “I do”

 Just as surprising as the clever and inventive ways people have devised to “pop the question” over the years, is the history of how engagement rings — now a multi-billion dollar industry — had a humble, if not unremarkable start. 

In ancient Rome women wore rings of ivory, flint, bone, copper and iron “to signify a business contract or to affirm mutual love and obedience,” according to the Gemological Institute of America.

Precious metals have long been part of bridal jewelry, but most people throughout history have not been able to afford precious stones as part of their symbolic accessories. As Brides.com noted in an article earlier this year, the diamond craze has not actually been “forever” — in fact its roots are tied to a 1947 advertising campaign by British company De Beers.

Today, engagement rings are a massive part of the marriage tradition in the United State alone, and for some people finding the right ring can seem like a labyrinth of advertising, options, materials and colors.

Buyers need to inform themselves about the differences between lab-made and natural diamonds (and other stones), coloring, grading, cuts, settings and more. All of those factors account for the massive range of prices for engagement and wedding bands, sometimes for rings that at first glance might look quite similar aside from the price.

To help you navigate the expansive market and world of rings and bridal jewelry, we have curated a distinctive and beautiful selection of pieces from a trio of jewelers who have strong reputations for being a go-to source from many couples in Central Florida. 

Following the photos, check out a Q&A with the jewelers about trends and wisdom for buyers.


Jewelry Specs

Flexible bracelet entirely made of 18 carat gold with yellow gold and 2.8 ctw diamond rondels.
Price upon request. 

Flexible bracelet with diamond pave entirely made of 18 carat white gold
2.51 ctw diamond pave.
Price upon request.

1.29 carat oval cut center stone with halo and diamond band, 18k white gold, 1.86 ctw

3.02 carat Emerald cut center stone with emerald cut side stones, platinum, 4.82 ctw

4.14 carat radiant cut Blue sapphire with trillion diamond side stones, 4.79 ctw

Marquise eternity band, 18k white gold
Price upon request

VII – Max Jewelers
18k white gold, .48 ctw round diamonds

Rolex with diamond bezel & Mother of Pearl face
Price upon request

Jewelry Specs

I – Gaines Jewelers
18k white gold ring, 11mm South Sea pearl, flanked on each side with two marquise cut diamonds followed by diamond pave’ shank, diamonds .70 ctw 

II – Max Jewelers
14k polished white gold, 1.38 ctw round diamonds

III – Gaines Jewelers
14k white gold ring, 9mm cultured pearl w/saddle-like halo of full cut diamonds, .84 ctw

IV – Gaines Jewelers
14k yellow gold ring, 7mm cultured pearl in a floral halo of full cut diamonds in assorted sizes

Jewelry Specs

I – Gaines Jewelers
14k yellow gold turquoise and pearl Etruscan style bracelet, accented with sliced pearls, finished with beaded coin edging

II  Gaines Jewelers
14k yellow gold band, eternity style set with round, cabochon cut precious Persian turquoise in plain bezels

III  Gaines Jewelers
14k yellow gold band, eternity style set with round, cabochon cut precious Persian turquoise alternating with tiny clusters of full cut diamonds, each cluster is set with four diamonds, all stones are set in coin edge bezels

IV  Gaines Jewelers
14k yellow gold ring, cabochon cut precious Persian turquoise, surrounded by 11 old rose cut diamonds, approximately 2.0 ctw

V  Gaines Jewelers
14k yellow gold ring, cabochon cut precious Persian turquoise, 12x7mm, surrounded by a halo of bezel set full cut diamonds, beaded shank

Jewelry Specs

5.4 ctw diamond link bracelet in 14k yellow gold

13 ctw tennis bracelet set in platinum
Price upon request.

Jewelry Specs

I – Gaines Jewelers
14k yellow gold ring, round emerald, 5mm, set in a diamond halo with a diamond shank

II – Gaines Jewelers
14k yellow gold ring, three-stone style, set with 1.5 ct emerald cut Colombian, flanked by two triangular cut diamonds

III – Gaines Jewelers
14k yellow gold bracelet, semi flexible bangle style set on top with graduating sizes of full cut diamonds, nineteen diamonds, .94 ctw

IV – Gaines Jewelers
18k yellow gold ring, 10mm wide with flat, uniform width shank set with nine emerald cut emeralds, 5x3mm and bordered top and bottom with a row of tiny, full cut diamonds

V – Gaines Jewelers
18k yellow gold ring, semi-rectangular, cabochon cut green tourmaline, 15x10mm; surrounded by a diamond halo, with a double row beaded shank

VI – Gaines Jewelers
14k yellow gold ring, semi square cut chrome diopside, set in a quatrefoil halo of diamonds with a diamond shank

VII  Gaines Jewelers
14k white gold bracelet, bangle style with top being stone set, alternately set with one round emerald and two diamonds, all stones set in clown edge bezels

Q&A with the jewelers

RJ Asks…

What trends are you seeing most prominently with engagement rings?

“I feel like for the most part, when they walk into our doors….they aren’t looking exactly for what their mother wears, but they are looking for maybe something more contemporary…but they are investing more in the stone than they are the band.” – Helen, IDC

“The strongest trend right now is lab-created diamonds, and that’s because of the price point. If you showed me two loose stones – one lab created and one earth mined – I cannot tell the difference…there is some very special equipment that can separate lab-created from earth mined. It used to be that all pearls were natural until the 19th century…and now natural pearls and cultured pearls are both accepted.” – Suzanne, Gaines Jewelers

“We are seeing a desire for more classic and simple designs. Solitaire rings with diamonds on the side are very popular, and vintage styles and designs like the Victorian look are coming back.” – Madi, Max Jewelers

RJ Asks…

What advice do you give individuals who are starting their search for an engagement ring?

“Make sure you know what your budget is. There is always something beautiful to fit within it.” – Helen, IDC

“You need to know what you can afford. Then we can talk about style and then look at the center stone that works well within that style.” – Suzanne, Gaines Jewelers

“Shop for quality!  Know your budget and find you “sweet Spot” with the 4 C’s: Carat, Clarity, Color and Cut.” – Madi, Max Jewelers