ZELIENOPLE — Valentine's Day is meant to show your significant other how much you care. Some people show that through a lifelong commitment.
The Hallmark holiday for romance is the second most popular holiday — right behind Christmas — to pop the question, according to a Wedding Wire article.
Shopping for the perfect ring is a large part of that tradition, but it can be difficult to find the perfect fit.
Spencer Mathew, assistant manager at Mathew Jewelers in Zelienople, said ring trends have been fairly consistent over the past few years.
“The most popular look is still the halo trend,” he said. “Round, brilliant cut.”
Shelly Mathew, Mathew Jewelers' owner, agreed that the timeless look is still a popular pick.
“Although, now people are leaning toward a thinner band,” she added.
Spencer Mathew, who is also recently engaged, said the most frequent thing he sees from first-time engagement ring shoppers is pictures from Pinterest.
Some men also will bring their significant other's friends or female relatives to help in the shopping process.
Spencer said he advises men who might be a little lost or overwhelmed by the shopping process not to “get hung up 100 percent on Pinterest pictures.”
He said that, sometimes, the pictures people pin are just representative of one aspect of the ring someone likes, such as the band or the cut, while the whole ring itself might not be ideal.
Investigate their loved one's personal style, Spencer said. Men should pay attention to the jewelry their girlfriends wear, so the engagement rings complement their style. Some women love modern jewelry, while others gravitate toward vintage pieces.
Another question he frequently hears is about which styles will stand the test of time, rather than just be a fashion statement for a year or two. In other words, shoppers look for a ring that will reflect the durability of marriage.
Durability also comes into play when discussing which stones to put into the ring. While colored stones are becoming more popular — particularly for their cost as well as to add a unique look to a ring — diamonds have been the go-to for so long because they are the most durable stones, Spencer said.
Although yellow gold is making a comeback, Spencer said, white gold is still the preferred choice, with rose gold hanging still requested as well.
Platinum, which is longer-lasting than some metals, is also a popular choice, but it costs considerably more than gold or silver. Couples should weigh the cost versus benefit of splurging on a more expensive metal, or speak with a jeweler about a suitable substitute.
Jewelry stores are in the business of developing relationships with their customers, and couples have the opportunity to discuss their desires — as well as their budgets — with jewelers.
A recent survey from the wedding resource The Knot, in which 12,000 brides and 1,200 bridegrooms in the United States were asked about their rings, found that people spend an average of $5,978 on engagement rings.
While some people go into the store and say they will make the price work for whatever the desired ring is, others are more budget-conscious. But price doesn't need to be an issue, Spencer said.
“We can accommodate any budget,” he said.
For people who like to focus on size and sparkle, how the diamond is framed can affect how big it looks and even how much it shines without needing to break the bank. Gems framed with a bezel, a type of rim wrapping, can give the illusion of a larger stone.
Buying the engagement ring at a different time than wedding bands can also help customers' wallets take less of a hit.
Spencer said by not buying the rings in a set, engaged couples have “time to recoup some money” before spending on the wedding bands.
Mathew Jewelers typically doesn't sell rings as sets, but Shelly said all the rings can come with a pairing.
“We'll have a matching band,” she said, “but sometimes the desired look changes.”
That change in direction might have something to do with the betrothed's influence.
Spencer said that the second partner is typically more involved in the process of picking out a wedding band. Sometimes, he said, that could mean more diamonds or a simpler band — maybe even to wear without that tenderly chosen engagement ring.