Panel Title: Engaged--Trend Talk on All Things Engagement and Bridal Style

Current bridal trends:

People want something unique, different, one-of-a-kind, custom.  Those are keywords that I keep hearing over and over amongst brides. Antique jewelry caters to all those wishes by being something that not everyone has. One trend that I see more and more of is alternative bridal--rings that don't fit the mold of a typical engagement ring...not a solitaire, a three-stone or a halo ring. Alternative gemstones is another current bridal trend--something besides a diamond. Lots of sapphires and rubies, even black and grey diamonds are trending as popular engagement ring alternatives. The third trend I'm seeing is sustainable engagement rings and bands. Pieces made from recycled gold or stones passed down through the family. There are stores and designers that specialize in this type of jewelry popping up more and more.

How are soon to be engaged couples shopping for rings? 

Girls are making Pinterest boards, sending screenshots of rings, and tagging on Instagram. I like to coin this term PRE-SHOPPING! So get your products out there on social media--it may end up on someone's wedding wish list!

What trends are happening on social media that jewelers can capitalize on?

Jewelers have some great hashtags to work with on Instagram to reach future brides-- #WeddingWednesday is a big one ... #showmeyourrings is one I created and its a huge source for inspiration with over 100,000 photos. I did a project called 30 Days of Engagement Rings prior to my wedding last October that was really successful--it was a month-long project that kicked off with a special "Jewels at my Doorstep" feature using five antique engagement rings from a store in West Hollywood. Reaching out to bloggers to see if they are doing any special bridal projects is important!

How can jewelers utilize social media to leverage their exposure?

Contests are great ways to get people excited about their product and to gain followers that may not necessarily be in your target audience. A great example of a very successful social media campaign is Levy's Fine Jewelry Facebook contests--five couples are posted on Facebook from all their submissions...whoever gets the most "Likes" gets a gift certificate and their photo up on their billboard for the weekend. This drives lots of excitement including getting friends and family to "vote" and reaches such a large audience by people continually "sharing" the posts.

What are interesting things retailers are doing to connect with the younger generation?

Partnering with popular bloggers or influencers to do in-store appearances or pop-up shops. Events like that get people excited and pulls their fans and followers into your crowd and you can gain lots of new customers that way.