Tips from the Pros
Before you even yell that resounding, “Yes!” - it all starts with the ring. Maybe you came to start your wedding planning in a unique way, or maybe it all started with the convential popping-of-the-question, but either way, weddings usually involve jewelry - of some sort - and we have asked the pros at Calvin Broyles Jewelers a few questions about wedding jewelry and we think you’ll want to hear the answers!
Rock Paper Sisters: Tell us a little bit about you. How did you get started as a jeweler, and what do you love most about your job?
Mark Broyles of Calvin Broyles Jewelers: My name is Mark Broyles and I am a 4th generation jeweler from South Charleston, WV. I have been around the business my whole life and started at the bottom in my family’s shop by cleaning cases, running the sweeper, taking out the trash, and putting jewelry out the case and into the safes at night. I then started to train on our hand engraving machine in our old store across the street. I continued to work part time in high school and in college where I played soccer on scholarship at University of Charleston. After college I went to study gemstones and become a Graduate Gemologist through G.I.A. (Gemological Institute of America) in California for 8 months. Before coming back to WV and joining the family firm, I worked at Tysons Galleria in just outside of Washington D.C. for DeBeers Diamond Jewellers for 2 years to develop outside of my family store, do more based on my own merit, learn more about higher end sales and corporate environment vs. independently owned.
One of the things I love most about my job in jewelry is being able to serve generations of families and friends that I have made over the years.
RPS: How long did it take you to perfect your craft as a jeweler? Did you attend trainings and workshops to hone your skills?
MB: I have been in the business my whole career and I would say that the 10,000 hour rule holds pretty true but it doesn’t stop there. This craft, just like sports, you have to continue to find ways to improve every year and this is something I work on this daily and have a passion for continued learning. Growing up in this business I have had a huge privilege and opportunity to learn from my Dad & Uncle and all of the experienced staff here at Calvin Broyles Jewelers. There are so many facets to the industry and trends that change and technology that updates so quickly. I attend jewelry expos typically every quarter and we are a part of different national buying groups to help keep are pricing the best for all of our clients and keep the most sought after bridal engagement rings in our 3 locations. Not just myself but many of our staff has opportunities for off site training and we have different vendors and in-store trainings throughout the year.
RPS: With engagement season upon us, what are some of the trends you're seeing in engagement rings in fall 2018? Anything different or outside the box this year?
MB: Right now the halo style is still very, very popular. With the halo, people like the cushion-shape with the round brilliant cut centre diamond. Also the oval diamond is very much in demand right now.
The classic single row of diamonds going down the shoulders are pretty popular with us today too.
White gold is probably still the most popular metal, but we’re seeing people start to like the two-tone with the rose gold and white gold, and yellow gold is coming back into favour as well.
We’re also selling more platinum today than we did five years ago. We also stock coloured gemstone engagement rings like morganite and sapphires are very unique.
RPS: There are varying opinions on what a groom should spend for an engagement ring, but as the professional, what are your thoughts on how a groom should budget for an engagement ring?
MB: It is truly all about comfort level for each individual. At Calvin Broyles Jewelers we strive to make sure that we can offer engagement rings to our shoppers as low as a few hundred dollars and also sell rings in the six-figure range. We always want to treat each individual no matter what the budget with utmost care and attention to make sure they will receive the most beautiful ring, no matter what the style, for their hard earned money. Sometime ago DeBeers suggested 2 months salary but I have seen much more investment spent to obtain the quality they want to give and perhaps pass down to future generation and also much less. In my experience, it is not the solely the price but seeing as many options to feel comfortable in his or her choice. Ultimately the person presenting the ring wants to make sure he or she is proud to wear and I feel we do a really great job of carry the right ring selections to be confident in any choice made.
“ The Knot produces an annual survey and in 2017 the national average engagement ring spend last year was $6,351 (up from $5,095 in 2011) “
RPS: Once we're past the engagement and shopping for wedding bands, what type of budget should couples set for these rings? Along those same lines, are there any trends for weddings sets this year - matching his and hers bands or totally different?
MB: Trends that I have seen include “stack back” (pictured to the right) alternative shapes and mixing metals for her.
In terms of matching bands for each other, it is pretty wide open to be honest. For gents, we do carry a large selection of alternative metals such as titanium, tungsten and cobalt which can range in color of white, grey, black or even a mixture. These “alternative metals” usually start in price range of $150-$399. White/Yellow/Rose gold bands start as low as $499 from us in a 6mm width. There are almost as many options for men’s bands now as ladies and we can also custom make anything we cannot find.
RPS: Besides rings, what other jewelry do you find couples most incorporating into their weddings?
MB: For him -Engraved cuff links or the back of a watch for him with the wedding date and possibly a small message.
For her – Find out from family or friend what accessories or jewelry she plans on wearing the wedding day. If you find out she doesn’t have earrings or necklace covered yet but plans to, this is a great opportunity to make a memory and you can do this without seeing her dress but you may need help from those that know what it looks like and can be even more of a hero of the day! If she will be taking your last name, what if you presented her with a custom initial pendant to represent give her your last name.
RPS: What are one or two pro tips that you want every couple to know when it comes to jewelry for their wedding day?
MB: It will be one of the greatest days of each other’s lives. I don’t advise or see any reason to over accessorize but my recommendation would be to allow the jewelry to compliment the dress or the suit. He may not wear a watch every day for work but there will be times that he will and wearing that watch will bring back those memories instantly. The same thing with earrings, bracelet, necklace for her and both of you will enjoy sharing this for years to come.
Make it meaningful, a great gift idea is for the bride and groom to consider giving a piece of jewelry to the mothers, fathers, grandparents or whoever has supported them the most, to celebrate and show your appreciation for raising each other to the in the position that you are on the “big day.”
RPS: Where can couples get more information about you and Calvin Broyles Jewelers?