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Southerners Prefer Diamonds, Not Sapphires

2/20/2011 3:25:33 AM  Simona Kogan

Prince William's engagement may have caused a surge in sapphires, but diamonds are still a girl's best friend—in Tennessee, that is.

Prince William gave his bride-to-be Kate Middleton the same 18-carat blue sapphire engagement ring that his late mother Princess Diana wore in 1981 when she got engaged to Prince Charles. At the time, the ring was thought to be a "commoner's ring" by the royal family because it was picked out of a catalogue and not personally made for Princess Diana.  But the public fell in love with it—and her and now the engagement ring is thought to be the most famous one in the world.

Now worth about $500,000, the Memphis Tennessee news website The Commercial Appeal reports that the ring has caused an increase in business for the Natural Sapphire Co. in New York, but Memphis residents are not so interested.

Doron Diamond Merchant Co. president Doron Rozen says that despite it being a rare royal blue sapphire, he has not seen the ring mentioned in any publications.  Mednikow Jewelers president Jay A. Mednikow says despite a few requests for sapphire and gemstones, most people in the South want diamonds. 

So now we know that people in the South want diamonds. What else do they say about engagement ring shopping?  Not surprisingly, more Southerners are going online for their diamond engagement rings.

"Online couples can see tens of thousands of designs," Mednikow says and now he has had to create a much broader range of styles at lower prices simply to compete with the vast selection that can be found at places online like James Allen.

Another trend? Vintage diamond jewelry, of course. Celebrities like Reese Witherspoon, Megan Fox, and Anna Paquin are asking for vintage engagement rings, so why wouldn't the rest of the world follow suit. 

Details they prefer include a "halo" style from the 1920s, where the center diamond is surrounded by smaller diamonds.  The public also asks for Art Deco, Edwardian and Victorian styles alongside antique diamonds that are round or cushion cut.  Popular settings include miligrain details and hand piercing.

Mednikow says that antique diamonds have a soft elegance, despite an appearance that is similar to rough crystal.