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If your Instagram feed is filled with excited selfies and elaborate proposals right now, know that you’re not alone. As we approach the end of the year, we can expect to see even more engagement announcements on social media, since according to the Brides 2018 American Wedding Study, December is the most popular month of the year to get engaged.
There’s no denying the appeal of a diamond ring to mark an engagement, since the precious stone symbolizes commitment, faithfulness and love. However, in light of growing ethical and environmental concerns, the gemstone’s appeal seems to have tarnished lately, and consumers are opting for alternatives that are not only fairly-traded, but also more cost-effective.
While stones like Moissanite and cubic-zirconia are well-known alternatives to traditional mined diamonds, there’s also another cost-effective and ethical choice that still guarantees the same quality and shine - lab-grown diamonds.
What many people don’t realize is that unlike faux stones like cubic zirconia, lab-grown diamonds are every bit as precious and durable as mined diamonds. In fact, if you were to give a jeweler a microscope to inspect a diamond that was grown in a lab next to one that was mined, they’d be indistinguishable.
"It's like getting ice from your freezer versus getting it from a glacier," explains Anna-Mieke Anderson, founder of lab-grown diamond company MiaDonna.
Along with MiaDonna, brands like Couple are helping to change the conversation around lab-grown diamonds and are making it easy to find alternatives to mined stones with their selection of engagement rings that would make any jewelry-lover swoon.
Their chic and timeless designs take the guesswork out of choosing an engagement ring for a partner, while also offering the option to customize a design for a personalized touch.
If you’re part of the majority and are planning to pop the question this holiday season and have yet to start shopping, it may be a little late to start according to Couple’s cofounder Jeff Brenner.
“I usually recommend shopping for a ring six months ahead of time to be safe, but at least three.” Brenner said. “It really depends on how confident you are in what your partner wants and how much advance research you’ve done.”
Though last minute rings can almost always be sourced, an engagement ring is definitely a purchase you shouldn’t rush. Before buying, you should take your time to shop around and compare designs from multiple retailers, and make sure that you aren’t pressured into buying something you don’t love.
Ahead of making an important jewelry purchase, whether it’s an engagement ring, a push present, or a gift for any other special occasion, Brenner shared his top tips that every shopper should consider:
Listen, observe and pay close attention. You have no idea how many people make the wrong call because they are just not listening and picking up on hints like open magazines left on the coffee table!
Set a budget, learn about the options that fall within it and take time to consider [your choices].
Finally, if you can’t make a decision, opt for a timeless design vs. trying to create something unique.
If you’re ready to take the plunge, shop some of our favourite lab-grown diamonds that are sure to be a hit this holiday season.
SHOP IT: Couple, from $4,499
SHOP IT: Vrai, from $1,657
SHOP IT: Etsy, $2,448
SHOP IT: Hudson’s Bay, $1,626
SHOP IT: Walmart, $700