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Jewelry leaves lasting impressions on Valentine's Day

February 13, 2012|By C.J. LOVELACE |
  • Peg Barnhart, left, a sales associate with R. Bruce Carson Jewelers in Hagerstown, shows Mike Duncan of Keedysville a set of Pandora earrings and a charm Monday afternoon. Duncan was shopping for a Valentine's Day gift for his wife, Beth.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

For Danielle Hose, Aug. 4, 2010, was a memorable day.

In a boat on a lake near Big Pool, the 22-year-old Williamsport native was fishing with Joseph Siler Jr., her boyfriend of about three years, something they had done many times before.

But this time was different. Instead of hooking a largemouth bass or bluegill from the waters below, Siler, 23, reeled in his future wife.

“I stood up (in the boat) to get something and he turned around in his seat with the ring box,” Hose said. “I was very excited and very shocked and very happy.”

The couple, whose engagement announcement appeared Feb. 5 in The Herald-Mail, rushed home to tell their parents, who weren’t all that surprised.

“They just didn’t know when he was going to do it,” Hose said.

Hose said they talked about marriage and went out to look at rings together about two months before, “and then he surprised me with one.”

They are planning a Sept. 22 wedding.

Tuesday is Valentine’s Day and, like Hose, some women will be receiving engagement rings or other jewelry. Despite the sluggish economy, husbands-to-be still buy diamonds, according to several area jewelers.

“People are still getting engaged,” said Andy Gartenberg, owner of Gartenberg Jewelry in Chambersburg, Pa. “There’s a lot of styles out there.”

Gartenberg said Valentine’s Day is the “second- or third-most important holiday of the year.”

“Mother’s Day is always very good, but Valentine’s Day is the holiday of love. That’s why it was invented,” he said. “And we’ve been busy.”

Debbie Giles, manager of R. Bruce Carson Jewelers in Hagerstown, said she sold a few diamond engagement rings to men planning to propose Tuesday, but a variety of gifts have been flying out of showcases since the beginning of the month.

“We were swamped,” Giles said Thursday, anticipating the biggest crowds would come in over the weekend because people don’t shop six weeks in advance for Valentine’s Day like they do for Christmas.

Popular gifts for Feb. 14 include diamond hearts, diamond earrings and the Pandora line of charm bracelets, which has been growing in popularity because of the custom and unique designs of the bracelets, according to David Ettinger, manager of Bechdel Jewelers in Inwood, W.Va.

“No two (Pandora) bracelets come out the same,” Ettinger said. “Everybody designs it to their personal taste.”
The urge for something unique doesn’t end there, he said, but extends “even with engagement rings. Most folks want to have some input into the design, to be able to create something unique to them.”

Sterling-silver items, which are less expensive than gold or platinum, also have been big sellers, Gartenberg said.

“Gold now is $1,700 an ounce. Thank goodness for sterling, because I don’t know what we’d be selling if sterling wasn’t around,” Gartenberg said. “We have a lot of fashion stuff in sterling. We sell it every single day.”

Ettinger said business was good in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. If the economy has affected business at all, it’s just making people buy smaller-ticket items, but more of them, he said.

“People want lots of diamonds for engagements, but also just as gifts — diamond pendants and diamond earrings, those kinds of things,” he said. “Women love jewelry. It’s a great gift, a personalized gift. I think it requires a little more thought than some of the other things, like candy or flowers.”

While jewelry stores have been busy, some people turn to online sources to purchase high-dollar items such as diamond engagement rings.

Brian Lumm, 31, of Hagerstown, who recently got engaged, said he shopped around with his fiancée, Kristin Marie Hutchinson, 27, to find a ring before purchasing through online retailer

“I’ve heard a lot of other people say that they were really happy with buying off Blue Nile,” Lumm said. “I checked it out and liked it, so I ended up getting (the ring) from them.”

However people choose to buy, jewelry remains a great gift for Valentine’s Day because it creates memories and stands as a reminder of love, Giles said.

“It lasts a lifetime,” she said.

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