When people wish you "Season's Greetings" over the next month, most likely they're talking about Christmas, Hanukkah or any number of other holidays that happen in December. But this is definitely also engagement season. According to a survey from Wedding Wire, 40 percent of all engagements happen from December to February. According to another site, womangettingmarried.com, these 10 dates are the most popular to pop the question:
Top 10 Most Popular Dates to Get Engaged:
1. Christmas Day (12/25)
2. Valentine’s Day (2/14)
3. Christmas Eve (12/24)
4. New Year’s Day (1/1)
5. New Year’s Eve (12/31)
6. Day before Valentine’s Day (2/13)
7. Dec. 17 (Saturday before Christmas Eve)
8. Dec. 10 (2 Saturdays before Christmas Eve)
9. Dec. 23
10. Independence Day (7/4)
This list very likely could cause soon-to-be brides and grooms to break out in a cold sweat. How do you know what to look for in a diamond? How much should we spend? What cut is best? All great questions. Who better to ask than a man whose family has been in the jewelry business for 100 years. In 1919, Brad Wimmer's grandfather, Fred Wimmer, founded Fargo Jewelry Manufacturing (later Wimmer's Jewelry and Wimmer's Diamonds).
The store has been a staple in downtown Fargo, now located at 602 Main Ave. (and in West Acres Mall). Brad's brother, Randy, worked in the business before retiring six years ago. Brad's son, Aaron, currently works in the business as a fourth generation jeweler.
Brad Wimmer recently returned from a diamond buying trip to Antwerp, Belgium — the diamond capital of the world — where he saw some of the most beautiful (and expensive) diamonds in the world. But he says you don't need to spend an arm and leg to get a quality diamond for your loved one. Watch as he walks us through a little "Diamond 101".
Five things to know before you buy a diamond engagement ring
No appointment necessary
At most jewelry stores in town, you do not need to make an appointment to look at diamond rings. Just walk in and you'll be matched with someone to walk you through the process. Wimmer says their staff has gone through years of training to be gemologists, goldsmiths or registered jewelers, and they're not alone.
"We're one of many stores in town, and of course, we appreciate when you come here, but there are many good options in the Fargo-Moorhead area," Wimmer says. "We're blessed with very ethical, upstanding people in our industry. It's a good industry."
Think style and color
Think about what shape diamond you'd like. Wimmer says round, brilliant or ideal cut diamonds are probably the most popular, along with halo-style, which is a single diamond surrounded by a halo of smaller diamonds. Princess cuts (which are square) and marquise cut are not as popular as they once were. Wimmer also says to think about your skin tone while deciding between white or yellow gold or platinum. This is also where a trained jeweler can be of assistance. They can assist in examining the four C's of diamonds — cut, color, clarity and carat, but it really comes down to what the bride likes.
When Wimmer goes to Antwerp to bring diamonds home to clients, he sees some of the most beautiful, brilliant diamonds in the world.
"That one is probably $200,000," Wimmer says pointing to a picture of him holding a large diamond.
But he says any good jeweler won't hesitate to work with you on your budget, no matter the size.
"You can easily get a nice ring for $1,000 or up to 5, 10 or $15,000," Wimmer says. "We don't want to oversell or undersell. We want to keep you in your comfort zone."
Take care of your ring
You've heard the saying "a diamond is forever", but that doesn't mean once you fork over money for the ring, that you can forget about it. Diamonds, because they are so hard, do resist scratches and damage, but pay careful attention to prongs, crowns and even the band. A couple of times a year, take your newly purchased ring into the jewelry store where you bought it. Many stores, like Wimmer's, will clean and examine it free of charge.
You can always trade up
Since many newly engaged couples are just starting their lives together, they might not be able to afford the ring they really want. Wimmer says they very often will see couples on 10th, 20th or 50th anniversaries trading up, taking the original smaller diamond out of a ring and replacing it with a bigger one, all while keeping the ring looking pretty much the same.
"Our jewelers will work magic on the bands. They can change the tops. They can change the crowns. They can make it look like you just bought it yesterday," he said.
More than anything, Wimmer advises you not to be intimated or nervous about the diamond-buying process.
"Don't be scared! You should be giddy," he says. "What could be better? You're young and you're in love!"