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Diamonds for everyone

What does a jeweler have to say about the viral P299 engagement ring? During the sparkling Karat World flagship store launch, I couldn’t help but ask Karat World president Felix Gorriceta III.

“I’m a hopeless romantic. For me, it doesn’t matter,” he says. “It can be a soda can tab and that would be your symbol of love or it can be a one-carat ring that costs hundreds of thousands. If, for the guy, the P299 ring is his symbol of love, let it be.”

But whether or not you think she deserves it is a different question. Gorriceta, whose family has been in the jewelry business since 1974 from Iloilo City, can’t help but reminisce about when he bought his wife Marissa’s engagement ring. She, too, hails from a family of jewelers — a competitor brand, at that. Suffice to say, he knew it had to be a real diamond ring.

“I had to save up for my engagement ring for my wife. It wasn’t even one carat. But later on, life got better. I got a bigger stone,” he shares. Whether it’s an engagement ring — or even your child’s first piercing, your teenager’s first piece of jewelry, your wedding bands, or your parents’ retirement gift — he says, “You can save up for it and give them something they deserve.”

Happy Ongpauco-Tiu wears one of the year’s jewelry trends, the cuff.

His engagement ring story is immortalized in Marise, one of their seven engagement ring designs, all named after the women in his family. Marise starts at P24,755 for a .15 carat round diamond in 14 karat gold classic prong setting. Impulsive men will be delighted to know that they carry every size in-store. He says, “You can come in now and propose later.” While Karat World carries exquisite pieces that go for a million pesos, they also carry 18k gold bracelets for less than P3,000.

Gorriceta is literally opening doors for every Filipino to own a piece of fine jewelry. “The store doesn’t have doors to separate the consumer from the store. We want it to be welcoming,” he points out.

He’s made fine jewelry so accessible, they had pop-ups in S&R during the lockdown in 2020. Diamonds with eggs, anyone?

Sam Lewis tries on Karat World’s multiway piece Versa as a drop earring.

But for the sustainable-minded who say neither, they carry their brand of lab-grown diamonds, H?b?, named after the goddess of youth in collaboration with his Gen Z daughter, Betina. The difference between H?b? and natural diamonds? “There’s no difference,” he says of their look and sparkle. “The difference is its price and how it’s made. It’s not mined unlike natural diamonds, so it produces less pollution.” For reference, one carat of a sustainable diamond goes for around P30,000.

Gorriceta advises, “If you buy it for investment, buy natural. If it’s for aesthetics, go for sustainable diamonds.” The H?b?s, just like natural diamonds, come with their own certification.

Issa Pressman makes a case for cocktail rings.

Then there are those who value a piece’s design as much as its composition. At the counter, women are buying men’s signet rings for themselves. Children’s earrings are bought for stylized ear stacks while the men are trying on pearls. The Versa Paperclip, a chain and link piece in 14k solid gold and natural diamonds, is a progression in this fashion-focused direction. Each link can be detached and attached so you can turn it into a collar necklace, a lariat, or even matching earrings and a bracelet. Karat World offers flexible payment options, and if you girl-math the Versa, it’s practically free.

Gorriceta assures, “If you don’t think you can afford fine jewelry, here, you can.”


The Karat World flagship store is in One Ayala, Ayala Center, Makati.

Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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