asbury
asbury

As engagements rise, Herrin jeweler offers advice on ring selection

HERRIN — As people gradually return to pre-pandemic lifestyles, jewelry experts predict an increase engagements in 2024. Amid the projected increase, a Herrin jeweler is offering advice for couples looking to purchase diamond engagement rings.

Don Asbury has been making jewelry for 50 years. He owns Asbury Custom Jewelry & Repair with his son.

Asbury said the store gets more calls for engagement rings now than in recent years, and more often people are choosing alternate stones.

With diamonds, however, he advises buyers to keep two things in mind — whether the ring is hand-made or lab-made, and whether it is sold by an independent jeweler or not.

Asbury said while lab-made diamonds have been around for a long time, they have become much more prominent recently. He thinks 2024 will be the first big year for lab grown diamonds, especially because of the price difference.

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Asbury said he could sell a man-made three-carat diamond for around $10,000, and a natural diamond for $85,000. “There’s no way you would know [the difference],” he explained.

Asbury said he believes people should be cautious when purchasing lab-grown, because, according to him, there is more room for error when assembling small stones and delicate designs.

“All you have to do is polish it and it’s ready to go ” He said about lab-made diamond sellers. “They don’t have to sit there and set the stones. It takes hours to do this.”

Oftentimes, lab-made diamonds fall out after a few years, he said, and depending on the design and assembly, he can’t always fix rings when that happens.

“I have to turn people away and say ‘sorry, nothing I can do,’ ” he explained.

He also said buying independently can help ensure a knowledgeable, honest

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