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John Atencio Engagement Main

10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Engagement Rings

Maybe it’s the shiny snowflakes. Maybe spending time around family makes people think about their own future. Maybe it’s the warmth and love of the holidays. Whatever the reason, it’s engagement ring season.

John Atencio Engagement Couple

While people buy rings year-round, November and December are two of the most popular months of the year.

“People don’t necessarily get married at Christmas, but many tie the emotional knot at Christmas,” says John Atencio, a Colorado-based jeweler known for his iconic bridal designs.


Atencio began his career with a proposal. He couldn’t find the perfect ring for his college sweetheart, so he designed it himself; she said yes. More than four decades later, award-winning Atencio has seven jewelry boutiques across the state and is internationally known for his design aesthetic and superb craftsmanship.

With a full Diamond Ring Collection and countless love stories that started in his stores, Atencio knows engagements. Just in time for the holiday rush, we got him to share a few secrets of the trade — things you probably don’t know about engagement rings:

1. You can exchange the ring if she doesn’t like it.

There’s immense pressure on the proposing partner to pick out the perfect ring. Yet there’s also pressure to surprise her. Sometimes things don’t line up. That’s OK, Atencio says. You have about 30 days to decide. If she wants something different, Atencio says he’s happy to exchange the ring for the one she wants to wear for the rest of her life.

2. A quality ring may not be out of your price range.

The average price for a ring can top out at more than $6,300, according to The Knot. While John Atencio rings are known for their artistry and quality, there are rings below $2,500. These rings from the Luminaire collection, are typically ready to go out of the case pre-set with a diamond. Atencio says he realizes many people getting married are also starting their careers.

3. You can always change it.

It’s common to buy a simple ring now and either decide to change it or upgrade it over the years: Add stones, change the setting, you name it. Many of Atencio’s customers return every five or 10 years to choose a new look and updates.

4. A diamond ring is not just for engagements.

Diamond rings represent all kinds of celebrations and milestones. You can find a wide range of designs that don’t look like a traditional engagement ring.

5. You can request an responsibly-mined diamond.

Atencio works with international diamond companies that keep close tabs on where their stones come from. Atencio can confirm your diamond did not have roots in conflict.

6. A diamond doesn’t have to be clear.

Colored diamonds continue to grow in popularity — and they can even save you money.
Diamonds range from clear to intensely colorful and an array of shades in between. The priciest are colorless and flawless with no blemishes using high magnification, as well as the most brilliant colors, especially pink, blue and green. But other shades, such as orange, fancy yellow, champagne, and light brown, can be less expensive. For a fall wedding, consider a grouping of fall-colored diamonds or one unique shade surrounded by a halo of smaller white stones to make it pop.

7. You can make your ring appear more impressive without spending a ton more.

At John Atencio, you can take an existing ring design and customize it. Mix metals (use one color around the stone and another around the shank), add side stones (white or colored) or add a halo of stones around the center stone.

8. Diamonds aren’t required.

A growing trend is to skip the diamond entirely. Atencio says he makes engagement rings with about every stone, especially colored gemstones.

“What’s really trending is people want to be creative. There’s no norm anymore,” he says. “People are becoming more and more comfortable thinking outside the box. They want to make it their own, just for them.”

9. A ring isn’t required.

White the traditional engagement ring remains the norm, some people propose with a special bracelet or pendant, Atencio says.

10. It’s quick and easy to design a custom ring.

While Atencio’s line of diamond rings has some classic looks (like the Apropos ring), you can typically design or redesign a ring in about a month. In some cases (like swapping out for a different color or shape of stone, changing the metal, or adding an inscription) jewelers can transform a ring in a few days.

“What we show you is just the beginning of the possibilities,” Atencio says.

John Atencio – Making art his business
John Atencio sketches up new jewelry ideas in his unique studio, where colorful paintings by John Atencio line black walls. Photo by Mark Leffingwell