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A diamond isn’t just a diamond anymore. As wedding season is around the corner, couples are discovering there are many options for unique displays of their love.

The wedding jewelry industry is constantly evolving, and local jewelers are working to stay ahead of trends. Whether it’s the type of jewel or the cut of the piece, engagement and wedding jewelry has a lot of different options to meet the unique individual tastes of the buyer.

At Albert’s Diamond Jewelers in Schererville, even how diamonds are created is increasing buzz in the wedding industry. The store now sells a selection of diamonds that are grown in a lab rather than acquired through mining. Though the technology to create diamonds has existed for decades, the practice is now making its way into the jewelry industry due to the desire among consumers to purchase more environmentally friendly options. “Any of these diamonds we sell are set in recycled gold,” says Joshua Halpern, owner of Albert's. “Not only do we have a diamond that caused no destruction to the planet, we’re also using recycled gold to create jewelry we place the diamonds in.”

Only a handful of manufacturers worldwide are able to create the Type IIa diamonds, which are extremely rare in nature and allow the highest amount of light to pass through the stone, making them more brilliant and valuable. Lab-created diamonds, also known as engineered diamonds, are made using technology that mimics the conditions in which diamonds naturally develop beneath the Earth’s crust using extreme pressure and heat.

“Every one has been tested for light performance,” Halpern says. “Though it’s a very small segment of our product assortment right now, as it gets more popular, we might increase our assortment.” Currently, Albert’s features lab-created diamonds in a variety of pieces, from earrings to bracelets and as loose diamonds.

Markie White, marketing and merchandising manager at Martin Binder Jeweler in Valparaiso, says fancy cuts, such as pear shapes and ovals, have increasingly become more popular. “For those who are looking to go more nontraditional, colored stones are popular, particularly sapphires and most currently, morganite,” White says. “Rose gold has been more popular lately as well.”

Jewelers also are seeing a trend in the setting of the ring, with brides-to-be opting for a large stone on a very thin diamond band. “And as always, diamond halo engagement rings are still among the top sellers,” White says.

Engagement and wedding rings aren’t the only pieces of wedding jewelry attracting attention. Courtney Buechele, advertising assistant with James & Sons Fine Jewelers in Schererville, says cufflinks, money clips, tie bars and watches are popular gifts for groomsmen.

For the bridal party, White says brides are looking for jewelry for the wedding day that also can be worn afterward. “We have a big selection of pearls in various colors to match bridesmaid dresses,” she says. “Diamond jewelry is also common, and personalized gifts for the bridal party such as initial necklaces.”

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