There are 2 things to know about me when it comes to jewelry. One, I’m like a squirrel. I’m easily distracted by, and love anything big & sparkly. Two – if someone says “that diamond is way too big for your hand”… I say, “Perfect. I’ll take it.”
Finally – I never pay retail for high-end jewelry. I just don’t. It would make me breakout in hives. The mark-up is ridiculous and anyone in the know, understands that there are smarter, savvier options and……. I’m going to share one of them with you right now!
Meet my Jeweler
Meet my jeweler, Ariel Berko – owner of Brilliant Diamonds in San Diego. I first met Ariel when I was in the market to upgrade both my wedding ring and my jeweler, lol.
A little known secret in San Diego, is the existence of an older building downtown where a handful of independent gemologists sell jewelry & loose stones at close-to-wholesale pricing. It isn’t advertised, you just have to know. That is how I met Ariel.
What I LOVE about Ariel, and why I’ve chosen to share him with you is multi-faceted. First, he’s an incredibly knowledgeable, experienced & trained GIA gemologist.
Second, I found him to be straight-forward, grounded, patient and honest. That’s huge – especially when it comes to large purchases, right?!
Ariel Berko is my personal jeweler and I LOVE him! GIA educated, knowledgeable & no bull-sh*t – we collabed to upgrade my center stone plus redesign the setting to compliment the new look. It’s gorgeous & I couldn’t be happier!
Ugrade or Treat yourself to something pretty
Whether you’re interested in upgrading your wedding ring, getting engaged – OR just want to treat yourself to something pretty – it’s important to have a baseline of knowledge to empower yourself to make smart purchasing decisions.
I sat down with Ariel, to pick his brain on What to Look For, Hot Trends, and Gorgeous Timeless Pieces We Need NOW.
Here’s what he had to say:
The 411 with Jeweler, Ariel Berko
Introduce yourself & tell us about your experience in the jewelry industry. We need your life story!
“I am a GIA trained & certified gemologist and have been in the diamond industry since 1999 – when I helped to build another very successful local jewelry store. In 2012 myself and two former coworkers created Brilliant Diamonds and now have 2 locations in San Diego – downtown & Carmel Valley. “
What is the single biggest mistake you see people make, when it comes to purchasing fine jewelry?
“Not doing enough independent research. For me, an educated client is a good client. Jewelry is a foreign subject to a lot of people, and there are so many variables that go into pricing jewelry – that it’s easy to be taken advantage of if you don’t understand your purchase.
You want to work with an experienced, trustworthy professional who has longevity in his or her market. They should spend the time to help educate you and guarantee their work with a focus on creating relationships – not just sales. “
Pls excuse my pudgy lil’ fingers……
Because I wanted a “show-stopper” center stone, we kept the bands simple & elegant (set in platinum) so as not to compete. To steer clear of being too “match-y watchy”, Ariel suggested using round stones in the engagement band, princess cut stones in the wedding band.
What are the biggest Trends & Hottest Styles you see for 2021 & 2022?
“Pear shape stones are HOT! Emerald cuts and ovals are close behind. There has been a revival of yellow gold and funkier wide and chunky pieces. The stunning vintage look and forever classic solitaires will always be a staple.
The trend is to take these beautiful designs and add your own personal touch. Use a colored stone highlight, mix and match yellow, rose or white gold stacks of bands. The sky is the limit. Make your piece as special and as unique as you are!
People are looking for unique designs. They love to create one of a kind items that incorporate some traditional design while making it their own.”
What are the most popular rings & settings right now?
“The most popular ring settings are halo settings, and our Tacori line which is a stunning combination of vintage and modern aesthetics
Pear shaped stones are HOT right now, followed closely by Emerald & Oval. Add your own touch with colored stones, mix and match your metals – stack multiple bands of varying stone shapes.
For Singles, or those not interested in wedding or engagement rings – what are some timeless “Just Because” pieces people may love?
“Great question. We have quite a large clientele of people who fall into the category of buying “just because” pieces for themselves. People are no longer waiting for spouses to buy them a keepsake piece.
There are gorgeous rings with birthstones, stunning earrings, delicate stackable bands that go on any finger, big chunky wide diamond bands to make a statement, elegant bracelets and necklaces, to fit any celebration and everyone’s taste.
Everyone has their own style, there are no limits or rules. “
Treat yourself to a “just because” piece.
The days of waiting for a special occasion, or for a spouse to make the purchase are SO 1950’s!! Get yo’self something purrrr-dy. An amazing Statement Cocktail ring is my personal “just because” piece.
I know what I want!! Can I work with you on a custom designed piece? What’s the process?
“We love when you know what you want! Yes – I work with clients on custom-designed pieces all the time. Send us pictures, bring them in with you, show us an old item that you would love to replicate or take design ideas from.
We’ll schedule an appointment and work with you on the design. Next, we’ll walk you through sketches or 3D renderings of your ideas so that you have a clear visual – plus help you select the perfect diamonds and/or gemstones for the design. “
Next your item starts to come to life with an actual wax model. Casting into the precious metal of your choice follows and then the stones are set. Lastly, final polishing, finish and detailing are completed and your gorgeous custom-design is ready for you to wear!“
Lastly – How can people CONNECT with you? What if they don’t live in San Diego – can they still work with you?
“Yes, of course. We work with clients world wide. Designing, choosing diamonds and gems and even repairs can be handled quickly and easily through video calls, email and overnight insured shipping services.”
Connect with us:
Visit us online: brilliandiamonds.us
Happy shopping everyone – Enjoy!
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