When Cupid takes aim, is he more likely to hit grandma and grandpa or a couple of Generation Z lovebirds? It’s a conundrum Lorin Jones faces almost daily, and whatever the answer, it’s likely to have lifelong implications.
Jones, newly installed owner of one of the East Valley’s oldest jewelry-crafting establishments, says this year’s occurrence of Valentine’s Day has again reminded him—he’s been making rings for more than three decades—that couples 50 and up tend to look at engagement and wedding rings with an altogether different perspective than those inhabiting the younger generations.
This means, of course, that Jones has got to be ready for almost any creative challenge, whether it involves coming up with a 21st century design or one evoking the feel-good sentiments of times past—like a previous generation’s white or yellow gold or the tech era, where a newly-in-love couple see their future being locked in immortality by the ring-finger bounds of tungsten, black cobalt or titanium, previously found only in aerospace applications.
And then there’s the matter of what stone to use and what shape to cut it.
These kinds of decisions seem to confront loving couples ever more frequently, Jones says, effectively changing the traditions that most jewelers have followed for years.
“So I try to pull the ideas of all the generations together: Things that the millennials like as well as what the people of my generation like,” says Jones. “My generation was into the look of richness; millennials are more minimalist. Like it used to be a diamond they wanted for the centerpiece. Now it’s a colored stone.”
The dilemma of selection doesn’t end that simply, though. “The most unique ring I was ever asked for was a peridot that was meteorite based with a lot of different colors but more resilient. Very unique.”
That kind of modernization in jewelry design is one of the elements that keeps Jones constantly renewing his interest in—and excitement for—his craft. “The message in all this is that change is good. With each new generation, their desires illustrate how they want to be different from the generations before them.”
As to what’s on the horizon jewelry-wise, Jones says changes happening now provide an intriguing roadmap for what’s coming next. “Right now, alternative metals are much more popular,” Jones said. “Companies are introducing metals like stainless steel or those that can be treated so the texture will be black when (the ring) is worn.”
Now, with Valentine’s Day upon us, Jones says he expects even more requests for nuanced jewelry design. And rather than worry about his ability to provide the customer with a suitable answer, he looks forward to both the challenge and the opportunity.
“Somebody comes in and wants a meteorite in the center of their ring, you gotta be ready for anything and everything. It’s what makes this such a great job.”
Jones and his wife Ginger are the new owners of Day’s Fine Jewelry, a landmark among stores featuring creative, handmade design and, not to be overlooked at this special time of year, an unwavering passion for their craft.
Day’s Fine Jewelry is at 1849 E. Guadalupe Road, Suite 103, Tempe, in the Fry’s Shopping Center. Information: 480-831-6086.