Category : Austin jeweler Blog

Millennial Women Want These 2 Qualities in Their Diamonds


A good deal of our clients are millennials. I came across this article today and thought it was spot on. What do you think?



DPA (Diamond Producers Association) released a new poll.

When buying luxury goods such as diamonds, millennial women are looking for authenticity and long-term value, according to a new study commissioned by the Diamond Producers Association.

The poll of nearly 1,000 millennial women found that nearly 9 in 10 (89 percent) look for authenticity in such items. This tendency was even greater among high-earning millennials, with 85 percent saying they would be embarrassed knowing that they owned a knock-off, especially for luxury items.

Millennial women seek long-term value – emotionally and financially – from such purchases. Seventy-five percent saw diamond jewelry as an investment in themselves and 82 percent saw it as a long-term investment. Among the highest-earning millennials ($150,000+) these numbers these numbers were higher, at 94 percent and 91 percent, respectively.

The DPA said these statistics help explain why millennial self-purchase of diamonds continues to grow. A recent De Beers report stated that self-purchase by U.S. millennials accounted for 31 percent of all non-bridal diamond sales in 2015, compared with 25 percent in 2013.

“Millennial consumers in particular are defining luxury beyond price,” said Deborah Marquardt, chief marketing officer for the DPA. “When evaluating luxury purchases, they seek items that are genuine, unique and not mass-produced, and have inherent meaning and value. This preference speaks directly to the diamond promise – in an increasingly artificial world diamonds remain authentic, rare and precious.”

Luxury goods offer modern women a way to visually express their self-confidence, with 66 percent of millennial women saying they feel more confident in themselves when wearing diamond jewelry, according to DPA.

On behalf of DPA’s “Real is a Diamond,” the survey was conducted online by KRC Research from July 10 to July 14 among 995 millennial women between the ages of 18-34 in the U.S. with a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.


Joseph R. Villarreal, G. G. (GIA)

Villarreal Fine Jewelers – Austin’s Custom Jeweler,  Austin, TX
 “Your custom diamond engagement ring specialist”  



What should I know before buying a diamond?

We are frequently asked this question – “What should I know before buying a diamond?”


First and foremost I would get an idea of what diamond shape your future fiance prefers. For instance, is it the traditional Round Brilliant shape? Or perhaps a fancy shape like the Princess-cut, Oval, Cushion or Asscher?

Why is it important to ask your future fiance? Because you want to get it right the first time! You certainly do not want to have to return the diamond and have your feeling hurt. And all because you didn’t get her input. Get use to it. Your future spouse will appreciate you asking for her input on many other decisions. You know the old cliche’ “Happy Wife – Happy Life.” It’s true!

The next thing you should do is educate yourself on the proverbial 4C’s of Diamond quality. The Four C’s are diamond grading characteristic created in the middle of the twentieth century by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The GIA is known as “the worlds foremost authority on gemology.”

Once you have read up on the 4C’s you will need to determine which of the 4C’s is most important to you. Is it Color, Cut, Clarity or Carat Weight? Once you have decided which is most important to you, then begin your loose diamond search. Notice that I stated “loose” diamond search. In my opinion, a diamond should be viewed out of its ring mounting where you are able to see the diamond in its full beauty and unobstructed.

Lastly, you should shop with a trusted local jewelry professional. You will know the jeweler you have chosen is “trusted” because of their reviews and testimonials. Also, look for a qualified jeweler with credentials such as a “Graduate Gemologist.” A Graduate Gemologist is an expert in the field of gemstones – this includes diamonds and colored gemstones. Think about it. When your sick and go the doctors office you want to see the doctor. Right? The doctor is a trained professional and knows what he or she is doing. So, why should seeking out a jewelry professional be any different?

Now I know that some jewelry retailers out there may disagree with me on this and say something like “ I have been in business for many, many years, you can trust me.” However, to that I say, just because someone has been in business for years doesn’t necessarily mean they have been doing things the right way. After all, your diamond engagement ring purchase is usually a costly purchase. You work hard for your money. The bottom line is, use good judgement, ask allot of questions and do some research. In the end you will be much more confident with your purchase.


Joseph R. Villarreal, G. G. (GIA)

Villarreal Fine Jewelers – Austin’s Custom Jeweler,  Austin, TX
 “Your custom diamond engagement ring specialist”  



How many tons of earth does it take to yield 1 carats worth of diamond?


The following is a question we are asked from time to time.

How many tons of land needs to be mined for a 1 carat diamond?

There is no other gemstone quite like a diamond. It is found in the most remote places on earth, and the fact that it forms at all is something of miracle. It takes about one ton of rock to recover less than half a carat of rough, making diamond one of the rarest and most desired gemstones in the world. A diamond is a testament of endurance and strength- and not surprisingly, the ultimate symbol of love.

Every diamond is unique. Each reflects the story of its arduous journey from deep inside the earth to a cherished object of adornment. Yet all diamonds share certain features that allow us to compare and evaluate them. These features are called The 4 C’s.


Joseph R. Villarreal, G. G. (GIA)

Villarreal Fine Jewelers – Austin’s Custom Jeweler,  Austin, TX
 “Your custom diamond engagement ring specialist”  



Custom Engagement Ring by Malcom at Villarreal Fine Jewelers

When Is The Best Time To Buy an Engagement Ring?


Recently, I was asked to provide an expert opinion for an interview with Beyond4Cs; a website dedicated to consumer education. Over 100 industry experts were interviewed including appraisers, wholesalers and retailers.

The following is an excerpt with my response –

“While we are busy through-out the year with our custom engagement ring designs, I communicate to our clients that the best time to buy a diamond for their engagement ring is after the holidays (January) through August.

Why? Having spent 10 years in the wholesale diamond industry, this is the time when loose diamond pricing seems to start creeping up – August to December. Although the buying season seems to begin later with each passing year, this is typically when retail store merchants begin buying for the Holiday season. The wholesale diamond trade knows this and therefore pricing edges up accordingly.”

Read the entire article.  


Joseph R. Villarreal, G. G. (GIA)
Villarreal Fine Jewelers – Austin’s Custom Jeweler,  Austin, TX
 “Your custom diamond engagement ring specialist”  



engagement ring cost | Villarreal Fine Jewelers – Austin’s Custom Jeweler, Austin, TX “Your diamond engagement ring specialist”

Here’s How Much People Are Spending on Their Engagement Rings

What are people spending on engagement rings?

The average price is rising.

The average spend for engagement rings in the U.S. was $6,163, according to a newly released study by The Knot.

That was up from $5,871 in 2015, according to the site, which bills itself as the leading wedding brand and marketplace.

Figures from the 2016 Real Weddings Study are based on respondents who hired a professional vendor for the service. According to The Knot: “The 10th annual comprehensive report, the largest of its kind, surveyed nearly 13,000 US brides and grooms married in 2016 to uncover the financial spending habits and trends of real weddings in America.”

The average cost of a wedding reached an all-time high of $35,329. the average number of guests was 141.

A study by the Wedding Report found a substantially lower figure for the average cost of an engagement ring among U.S. couples. The typical ring cost $3,407 in 2016, up from $3,386 in 2015, according to the research firm.

Read the full press release

jewelers news, wedding bands, weddings cost

Villarreal Fine Jewelers – Austin’s Custom Jeweler,  Austin, TX
 “Your diamond engagement ring specialist”  
engagement rings cost | Villarreal Fine Jewelers – Austin’s Custom Jeweler, Austin, TX “Your diamond engagement ring specialist”
jewelers news, wedding cost

2016 Average Cost of Wedding in the U.S. up 3/10ths of a percent to $26,720

The average amount U.S. couples spent on their wedding in 2016 was up slightly to $26,720 from $26,645 in 2015. The latest average wedding cost data is based on 9,298 survey samples collected from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016. The average number of guests for 2016 was 125, down by 1 guest from 2015’s 126 number.

The Invitation and Flower category saw the biggest increase in spending, 3.3% to 5.2%, while Photography, Video and Planning saw the biggest decrease in spending, -2.0% to -3.9%.

Read More

Austin jewelers news, average wedding spend

Joseph R. Villarreal, G. G. (GIA)
Villarreal Fine Jewelers – Austin’s Custom Jeweler,  Austin, TX
 “Your custom diamond engagement ring specialist”  



generation Z shoppers prefer shopping in store, villarreal fine jewelers | Villarreal Fine Jewelers - Austin's Custom Jeweler, Austin, TX “Your diamond engagement ring specialist”

Study finds 98 percent of Generation Z prefer to shop in-store

Despite expectations that the first “digitally native” generation would want to shop online, a new study released by IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the National Retail Federation found that almost all members of Generation Z prefer to shop in bricks-and-mortar stores.

With the global Gen Z population set to reach 2.6 billion by 2020, retailers need to create more interactive engagement around their brands to serve the “always on,” mobile-focused, high-spending demographic, according to the study.

“Generation Z expects technology to be intuitive, relevant and engaging – their last great experience is their new expectation,” IBM General Manager of Global Consumer Industries Steve Laughlin said. “This presents a significant challenge for retailers and brands to create a personalized, interactive experience with the latest digital advances or risk falling behind. This kind of innovation is not linear or a one-time project – it is a new way of thinking, operating and behaving.”

“Just as Millennials overtook Gen X, there’s another big buying group retailers need to plan for, and it’s even larger: Generation Z,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “They appreciate the hands-on experience of shopping in a store. With technology constantly evolving but some shopping habits remaining the same, retailers need to be agile enough to serve both needs. Retailers are constantly focused on experimenting with new innovations both online and in-store to remain relevant to evolving consumer demand.”

The “Uniquely Gen Z” study conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value is based on findings from more than 15,000 consumers aged 13-21 from 16 countries.

Born after the mid-1990s till early 2000s, Generation Z is the first “digitally native” group to grow up not knowing a world before cellular phones, smartphones and other digital devices. But the study found that 67 percent of Generation Z shop in a bricks-and-mortar store most of the time, with another 31 percent shopping in-store sometimes, indicating that 98 percent of Gen Z shop in store.

The new generation is important to retailers because it has access to $44 billion in buying power, with 75 percent saying they spend more than half of the money that is available to them each month, according to the study. And the generation is demanding: the study found 52 percent of Gen Z consumers will transfer loyalty from one brand to another if the brand’s quality is not up to par. They care the most about retailers getting the basics right, with 66 percent saying product quality and availability are the most important factors when choosing one brand over another; 65 percent focus on value.

The study found 74 percent of respondents spend their free time online, with 25 percent online five hours or more each day. The degree to which in-store sales are influenced by digital is inevitable in today’s shopping journey – and continues to grow. The study discovered a number of insights into Gen Z’s digital habits and preferences brands can leverage to reach them:

  • 73 percent of Gen Z use their phones primarily to text and chat socially with family and friends, but members are willing to extend their conversations to brand relationships.
  • 36 percent would create digital content for a brand, 42 percent would participate in an online game for a campaign and 43 percent would participate in a product review.
  • They have no patience for hard-to-use technology and demand a seamless mobile/digital experience.
  • 62 percent will not use apps or websites that are difficult to navigate and 60 percent will not use apps or websites that are slow to load.
  • Gen Z knows personal information is valuable to retailers, so members want to know how brands are using it and how the information will be protected.
  • Less than 30 percent are willing to share health and wellness, location, personal life or payment information; 61 percent would feel better sharing personal information if they knew it would be securely stored and protected.

The study found that Generation Z consumers like to engage with brands online, especially with those that create an interactive environment where customers can shape their own experience. As retailers develop and engage in such practices, they will be able to capture Gen Z ideas for new products, services, engagement and shopping experiences, the study said. The generation is known to be brand champions both online and offline, especially when brands acknowledge and value their opinions.

Source – Mid America Jewelry News – Published: 31 January 2017
Joseph R. Villarreal, G. G. (GIA)
Villarreal Fine Jewelers – Austin’s Custom Jeweler,  Austin, TX
 “Your custom diamond engagement ring specialist”  


custom design, antique diamond ring, Villarreal fine jewelers | Villarreal Fine Jewelers - Austin's Custom Jeweler, Austin, TX “Your diamond engagement ring specialist”

A Diamond Ring with a Place In History

Recently a client showed us a platinum and Old European-cut Diamond ring with a possibly unique family history. Our challenge was to create a wedding band to compliment the style of a ring that is almost 100 years old.

The diamond ring originally belonged to our client’s great-great-aunt, hereafter “Mrs. L ”. At the outbreak of World War II, she was living in the Philippines with her husband, one of the founders of the Manila Stock Exchange. An illness that prevented them from being evacuated with other U.S. citizens had a frightening consequence: when the Japanese invaded​​​ the Philippines they were sent to an internment camp.

At the outset of their imprisonment, Mrs. L. realized that she and her husband would be stripped of all possessions. Fearful of losing the diamond ring that her husband had proposed with in the 1920’s, she hid the cherished ring inside the drain pipe of a building within the camp, in the hope that it would not fall into enemy hands and be lost forever.

Although in poor health, both Mrs. L. and her husband managed to survive their ordeal in the Japanese internment camp. When finally liberated in 1945, Mrs. L. retrieved her diamond ring, untouched in its astutely chosen hiding place.

Some years later, the ring passed from Mrs. L. to her sister, our client’s great-grandmother and in time, down through the generations to the present day when the much-loved ring has just become an engagement ring once again.

After almost a century of wear, this noteworthy diamond ring is in good but not robust condition. Since the need for restoration work would inevitably arise in the near future, we felt it preferable to preserve the integrity of the ring as it is now. Placing a single wedding band alongside would create friction, further wearing the sides of the ring. To prevent this, we designed a pair of wedding bands, contoured for a snug “glove fit” on either side. The antique ring nestles, perfectly aligned, between the connected bands that will fend off much of the normal wear and tear of daily use.

We wanted to ensure that the antique diamond ring and the new bands looked as if they had always belonged together. To complete the impression, the bands were hand-engraved with “bright-cut” decoration in a style appropriate to the date of the diamond ring.

We are honored to have been chosen for such a sensitive and meaningful project, and proud of the trust placed in Villarreal Fine Jewelers by the great-great-grand-niece of Mrs. L.  If the late Mrs. L. is looking down from above, we do hope that she is pleased with the finished results!

Designer- Malcolm Brown
Joseph R. Villarreal, G. G. (GIA)
Villarreal Fine Jewelers – Austin’s Custom Jeweler,  Austin, TX
 “Your custom diamond engagement ring specialist”  


custom sapphire and diamond engagement ring, Villarreal fine jewelers, Austin, TX | Villarreal Fine Jewelers - Austin's Custom Jeweler, Austin, TX “Your diamond engagement ring specialist”


Diamond gemstones not just for engagements anymore. Colored gemstones are making a comeback with all their magnificent color and beauty. “At Villarreal Fine Jewelers we love working with colored gemstones.”- designer Malcolm Brown.

There was a time in this great land, not too long ago, when a great behemoth of a company ruled the airwaves with a constant barrage of commercials stating that “A Diamond is Forever”. One would have been considered weird or rebellious to get engaged with anything other than a diamond. Well, things have changed here in the 21st century with a renaissance of color emerging in engagement rings. Women and men are choosing gemstones for their most important and symbolic piece of jewelry that better reflect them as individuals. It is a new age, free of any pressure or traditional bonds to choose fabulous color over the monotony of the colorless.
champagne diamond engagement ring

Custom Designed Fancy Orangy-Brown Diamond Engagement Ring – Villarreal Fine Jewelers

Prior to the days of mass marketing’s influence on the population, colored gemstones were far more popular as a symbol of one’s love for another. In fact, sapphires were the gemstone of choice in early engagement rings, not only for their beauty, value and symbolism of love, but they were also believed to reveal any infidelity of the wearer. In the 18th and 19th century, colored gemstones were valued higher than diamonds, so it was more special for a bride to receive a rarer, more valuable colored gemstone than a more run-of-the-mill diamond. 
Today’s brides-to-be can choose from an incredible array of gemstones and hues. There are so many reasons that a person may connect with a particular type of gemstone. It could be as simple as a favorite color. It could be the origin of the gemstone. It could be a special cosmic trait that a gemstone possesses and creates a bond with the wearer. Whatever the reason, there is a universe of options available to the newly unshackled engagement ring shopper.
pear shape emerald and diamond ring

Custom Designed Pear Shaped Emerald and Diamond Engagement Ring- Villarreal Fine Jewelers

There are some practical considerations that should come into the decision-making process when choosing a colored gemstone engagement ring. One of the most important factors is durability. You will wear your engagement ring for a long time, so it is imperative to select a gemstone that will stand up to the daily grind of life. Really durable gemstones include sapphires, rubies, chrysoberyl (alexandrite), topaz and spinel. Within this list, you will find every color in the rainbow to select from.  Your choices are endless and it is entirely up to the wearer as to which gemstone speaks to him or her.
ruby diamond engagement ring

Custom Designed Round Brilliant Ruby and Diamond Engagement Ring – Villarreal Fine Jewelers

Colored gemstones are returning as the symbol of love and romance as they have been throughout history.  The few decades-long blip on the radar of mass marketed colorless stones is being replaced by a new era of freedom of choice and personal expression.  We are honored and proud to be able to play a role in so many new special moments involving our beautiful colored gemstones and award-winning jewelry designs, and look forward to many more as color returns to its rightful place in the realm of romance.

Posted by Omi Prive & filed under Alexandrite, Aquamarine, Award Winning, Bridal, Color, Doré Collection, Fancy Sapphire, Gem History, Gem Knowledge, Kashmiri Sapphire, Omi Privé, Padparadscha Sapphire, Pink Sapphire, Sapphire, Trends.

Designer- Malcolm Brown
Joseph R. Villarreal, G. G. (GIA)
Villarreal Fine Jewelers – Austin’s Custom Jeweler,  Austin, TX
 “Your custom diamond engagement ring specialist”  

diamond engagement rings

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