The exquisite offerings of engagement rings and wedding bands at Tiffany & Co. at SouthPark mall are a must-see for brides and grooms no matter their age. Right now there's an extra incentive to peruse the store: The Tiffany Bridal Jewelry Traveling Collection, on view through Feb. 5, is a chance to see even more brilliant creations and craftsmanship from the House of Tiffany.
During a special opening event for the collection on Jan. 27, guests sipped champagne and delighted in treats from Reid's Fine Foods including adorable petit fours that resembled the iconic Tiffany Blue Box.
Lisa Bowers, a Tiffany sales professional, showed The O Report some breathtaking pieces, shared what makes a wedding ring from Tiffany so special, and filled us in on the trends among 50 and up brides and grooms.
Here are some of the fascinating facts we learned - and a few of our favorite rings. We were particularly smitten with masterpieces from the legendary designer Jean Schlumberger.
Extraordinary stones: There's a reason why Tiffany has been in business for 180 years and become an icon synonymous with the world's finest gemstones. An astonishing 99.96 of the world's gem-grade diamonds fall short of Tiffany's standards. That means only half of the top one percent of diamonds in the world qualify to become a Tiffany diamond. Tiffany cuts and polishes all its diamonds by hand and all its settings are made in-house by craftsmen, many of whom have worked there for decades. That process ensures that Tiffany has control over where its diamonds come from, a reason why it's a leader in the jewelry industry for going above and beyond conflict-free standards for the environment and human rights.
Love knows no age: Most customers 50 and up are either remarrying or they're upgrading their original wedding rings. Yellow diamonds are popular because it's something different, yet it's still a diamond so it's very strong. Often those marrying again skip the engagement ring and do a band-style ring instead.
Where it all began: The classic Tiffany Setting is engineered to allow the diamond to float above a six-prong setting. It's the most famous, and the most copied, engagement ring in the world. Like all Tiffany rings, it's designed to be just as beautiful underneath as it is on top. They start at $1,500 and go up from there. We fell in love with stunner with diamonds on the band that's 3 carats all together.
An heirloom for generations: Recently, a young man came in the SouthPark store with the wedding ring his grandfather bought his grandmother at Tiffany in the 1940s. He had the original box and handwritten receipt for $1,200. He was getting ready to propose to his girlfriend so he had it reset into a new setting.
For men: Usually most grooms are low maintenance and just want a simple band in platinum, yellow gold or rose gold. Silver is also a popular option, especially among men who use their hands a lot outdoors. Mixing metals is a new trend that's also popular. Men's wedding bands start at $150.