Area jewelry businesses have been offering their expertise for decades to grooms and brides with selections to meet most any style.
Jean's Jewelers is a Front Royal tradition for engagement and wedding rings.
Jean Plauger has operated Jean’s Jewelers for 22 years, always on Front Royal’s Main Street. The business has been located at 407 E. Main St. for 16 of those years, moving there from another location on Main Street.
She has a total of 35 years of experience selling jewelry on Main Street in Front Royal, working in her younger days for another jeweler until that owner retired.
“It's fun. I love people. We get people at their happiest time,” Plauger said. “I am now selling to great-grandchildren of people I sold to.”
She said longevity in the jewelry business means a lot.
“It's a trust issue. They have to rely on me. They want to know what they are buying and how we will take care of it,” Plauger said.
Clients can also trust her to be aware of the trends and to guide them on how to make the most of their money.
She said that white gold sales are at their strongest in years but there is a trend, as younger people are getting engaged, that they are going more to the traditional yellow gold.
They are also more often selecting rings with a single stone, which is a change from the multi-stone design.
“A round, simple diamond will outweigh all others,” Plauger said.
Men coming in alone to shop is another new trend.
“It used to be always the man had the woman with him to help pick it. I am really glad to see this,” she said.
She can also help the budget-conscious save money. One way to do that is to re-use pieces of jewelry passed down from other family members.
“We can redesign. That’s my passion,” Plauger said.
Cooper’s Jewelers in Winchester is also a long-established local jeweler.
Owner Mark Cooper said his father opened Cooper’s Jewelers 61 years ago. They could be found for 56 years at the Ward Shopping Plaza until they moved to their location on Jubal Early Drive five years ago.
Cooper said they have hundreds of engagement and wedding rings for people to select from.
Some of those rings are from commercial manufacturers and some are rings that Cooper’s Jewelers has purchased from families or estates, avoiding wholesale costs.
“When we buy from people, it is cheaper than from a manufacturer,” Cooper said.
Big box stores mark up their rings to offset the high wholesale prices they pay, he added. “We are competitively priced.”
Cooper’s Jewelers can also take a stone and put it into a new setting to save money for the customer.
An engagement ring is one of the more important rings in people’s lives, Cooper said. A ring with a halo of diamonds around a center stone, sometimes even with stones on the band, is still one of the biggest sellers.
One trend he said he has noticed is that people are buying antique rings.
“This is owning a piece of Americana, a piece of history,” Cooper said. “This is so popular that manufacturers are copying antique styles in new rings for a retro look.”
Other trends include using rose gold for women's rings and a color stone instead of a diamond in engagement rings.
“People are looking for something different,” Cooper said.
He noted that men’s wedding bands are moving away from solid bands to bands with diamonds.
They are also selling more men’s rings made of alternative metals, such as tungsten, titanium or even rubber (for men who work with their hands).
He said 80 percent of sales, however, are still the traditional metal of white gold.
Cooper said his store and its employees strive to ensure customer satisfaction.
“In my line of work, you want the customer to walk away knowing that they bought something of quality, in the style they wanted that is of good value,” Cooper said, adding customers can also be reassured knowing the shop can help them after the sale as well with maintenance and repairs.
If You Go
407 E. Main St., Front Royal
11 W. Jubal Early Drive, Winchester