A lot has changed since our grandmother's and our mother's generations. These days, not everyone wants to spend a small fortune on an engagement ring. Blame it on fast fashion or a general shift toward more unexpected rings and nontraditional wedding culture, it's not the same engagement ring market it once was. So, a new brand by two indie-jewelry veterans is aiming to fill the gap in the market for unique, affordable engagement rings.
Founded by friends and business partners Alexis Nido-Russo and Cindy Kaiser, who own Local Eclectic (an online destination for indie jewelry brands) and La Kaiser (a Chicago-based handmade jewelry line), Carried Jewels is a direct-to-consumer company — think of it as the Everlane for ring shopping — and all pieces are priced under $1,000.
"With each of our other companies, we were seeing our customers looking for more affordable and unique engagement ring options. Ladies were gravitating towards our fashion jewelry offerings because they are so much more unique and different than traditional engagement rings — not to mention attainable price points," Nido-Russo tells Refinery29.
"We always advise our customers to purchase only solid gold jewelry with natural gemstones for engagement rings because these pieces are meant to be worn 24/7; the problem with most fine jewelry is that it tends to carry a much higher price tag.... This is where the conversation for an affordable and alternative bridal line came from," she explains. And of course, it made sense to execute this online with a direct-to-consumer model to cut down on excessive retail markups. This allows Carried Jewels to create a really high-quality product with price points that are still attainable.
Of course, the price is a major factor, but this line isn't just for penny-pinching brides on tight budgets. The founders see their customer as being fashion forward yet practical, looking for a ring that truly reflects their personality; "The girl who doesn't feel the need to conform to conventional norms & who seeks out originality and practicality in her day to day life," as Kaiser puts it. "Women are shopping for engagement rings differently today than they were 5 and 10 years ago. It's no longer just about the 4 C's. And the idea that an engagement ring should cost 3 months salary is unrealistic for most of us," she continues. Can we get an amen to that?