The RealReal on engagement and wedding ring trends – JCK

For couples looking to get engaged, there are more ways to purchase these all-important rings than ever before, whether in-store, via virtual date, or by looking online at websites such as The RealReal, who says he sees buyers looking for their wedding jewelry in different ways.

As couples walk down the aisle in record numbers in 2022 – wedding website The Knot predicts 2.6 million weddings will take place this year compared to 2.2 million in 2019 – The RealReal is seeing trends towards style vintage, simple designs and an ongoing interest in fine jewelry and big brands, says Steffi Lee, editorial manager of fine jewelry and watches for the San Francisco-based brand.

Lee gave an overview of what he sees in terms of engagement and bridal jewelry trends.

What are the overall trends you see with engagement rings and wedding bands so far in 2022?

With this new era of fashion, people are more willing to ditch traditional styles and opt for what feels more personal to them. It’s less about solitaire and simple stones and more about functional luxury. We see simpler, streamlined designs gaining popularity and designs that retain an inherently modern look. Search demand for eternity rings, for example, increased by 46% and [they] are now purchased as standalone pieces [comparing the fourth quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022].

Antique emerald diamond cocktail ring
Engagement rings are trending toward vintage pieces, like this antique emerald and diamond cocktail ring, says The RealReal.

Is the sales volume increasing or the value of the rings increasing for 2022 to make up for lost time, perhaps?

Rings and wedding bands are a priority for our shoppers, which is no surprise as everyone can’t wait to start celebrating again. What’s been really great to see is not only that these celebratory pieces are getting more attention, but that the general appetite for fine jewelry has also remained unwavering. Brands like Chanel and Van Cleef & Arpels retain a large majority of their retail value – 90% and 87%, respectively – even in the second-hand market, which tells us that jewelry continues to be a priority for our buyers.

What kind of unique items do couples buy?

Eternity bands. Wedding bands. Brooches.

David Webb brooch with enamel bow and diamonds
Couples who want to create their own engagement tradition pull out engagement rings and bands to watch brooches, like this one by David Webb, as an option, says Steffi Lee of The RealReal ($12,950).

How has unconventional style taken over The RealReal when it comes to engagement and wedding bands?

There is no longer a clear definition of conventional and unconventional. Self-expression is at the forefront of style and jewelry has now become an anchor for a look rather than just an accessory. While our customers still gravitate towards the tried and tested brands, we are also seeing an interest in colored gemstones, multi-stone rings and modern, clear designs. If you shop with The RealReal, you already have a unique style, because our inventory is one of a kind, especially our featured unbranded pieces, which include so many rare treasures and vintage finds.

What else can I share that might be helpful about your wedding bands and engagement rings?

Wedding rings and jewelry don’t have to be limited to engagements and ceremonies. With birthdays or other special occasions, this can provide an opportunity to think of new additions to pair with their ring, such as a diamond band or a striking vintage ring. Alternatively, if you have a piece that no longer matches your style or doesn’t match what you want, you always have the option of taking it to us and swapping it for a style that suits you better.

Top: The RealReal says that with the boom in engagements and weddings, the website is seeing more and more couples shopping for fine jewelry online, including vintage pieces like this Cartier 1 gold eternity band .54 cts. two diamonds (photos courtesy of The RealReal).

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James B. Helms