Specializing in custom pieces you won’t find anywhere else, Rae High and her team want to first educate their customers on diamonds and all the decisions that go with buying one and then do anything it takes to put them at ease.
Upon arrival, you might spot the brightly colored gemstones in the front case, but brides and grooms should veer over to the right and get lost in Dianna Rae’s “jewelry playground.” “All of the designs here are in CZ and silver so that customers can try them out,” explains Rae High. “It’s sort of like the Apple store concept.”
Made possible by Stuller Settings, this display of prototypes gives brides the chance to slip as many ring designs as they want on their finger. Leaning toward a round diamond but curious how an emerald-cut would look on your hand? No problem. Just try it on.
For brides looking to add a bit of whimsy to their wedding jewelry, Dianna Rae also offers a rotating vignette of signature pieces. Currently, a floral collection is on display for spring with diamonds set like tulips, pink accent stones and plenty of petals.
Once a customer has an idea of what they want, Rae High will take them a few steps over to the 3D design studio and pull up the ring on a computer screen. From there, you can add and remove diamonds, change the finish and virtually customize the ring to achieve a price point that fits your budget. Rae High, a diamond and gem specialist, stresses that her connections with diamond purveyors allow her to acquire the stones affordably so that “the diamond is not a barrier to the design.”
In fact, for those looking for a completely custom experience, Rae High will introduce you to jewelry designer Patrick Dobbs. He recently designed a ring for a groom who hacked into his girlfriend’s Pinterest account and can give a couple exactly what they want — whether it’s handcrafted details or a romantic vintage-inspired look — through 3D computerized design.
Dianna Rae’s Director of Customer Engagement & Experience Ryan Koning describes the process as the “perfect marriage of design and technology.”
Once your ring is designed at Dianna Rae, you’ll have several more chances to bring it to life and ultimately make sure it’s the exact one you want on your finger. A 3D printer can even provide you with a physical ring to try on, complete with painted finish and the insertion of stones.
“Your wedding dress will end up in a box in the closet, but you’ll see your wedding ring every day,” says Koning. “It’s important to get it right. There’s no reason not to love it.”
Just For Grooms
Often, the bride isn’t involved in choosing her ring and this important decision is left solely up to the groom. Dianna Rae Jewelry encourages grooms to pay attention to photos their fiances may have shown them — hint, hint — and feel free to bring those in when shopping. “A bride often will choose her top two or three choices and then the groom will decide on the final design and talk budget,” Rae High says. Three months salary is still the going rate for an engagement ring, but these days the opportunities to customize a ring to fit any budget are endless. Yellow gold and gemstones can be more affordable, and it’s important to keep in mind that existing pieces like family heirlooms can be incorporated into the design without driving up cost.
Dianna Rae also pays just as much attention to the groom’s wedding band as they do the engagement ring. Thumbprint designs, wood finishes, camouflage and alternative metals are just some of the options available today, with Tungsten, titanium and cobalt versions priced as low as $100.
Who Says You have to Get a Diamond?
More than a decade ago, Stuller Settings expanded its business into bridal and fashion jewelry lines and hasn’t looked back. More recently, the company has revamped its bridal department at the helm of VP of Merchandising Maren Rosen to make a bigger impact in the industry. “We’ve come out with fresh new bridal styles that are right in line with the big brands,” she says. “Jewelry stores can send customer requests to Stuller, and we’ll manufacture and deliver the ring of a bride’s dreams.”
Rosen says that all of today’s brides are going to start their search for a ring online before visiting a local jeweler. With Stuller’s online technology, brides and grooms can design their ring at stuller.com and then locate a jeweler, like Dianna Rae, that can create it for them. Rosen’s team is made up of 15 other women, many who have moved back home to Louisiana after working for such names as Alexis Bittar, Nordstrom and J.C. Penney. She assures they are on point with the latest fashions and offers five trends for today’s brides to consider, because “no one says you have to have a white diamond when you’re getting engaged.”
1. Color in metal and stones
2. Yellow and rose gold instead of platinum
3. Incorporation of heirloom pieces
4. Personalization, especially for wedding bands and wedding party gifts
5. Creativity and personal expression