• In 1948, the Ayers advertising agency created the 'A Diamond Is Forever' campaign for De Beers, the cartel that controls most of the world's diamond market. In what's now considered one of the world's greatest ad campaigns, Ayers pitched the readily available stone as a rare, sentimental object that also reflected a man's success. Before that time, opals, rubies, sapphires and turquoise were seen as better representations of one's love.

• The campaign worked: The Diamond Information Center says that 84 percent of U.S. brides acquire a diamond engagement ring; a purchase that the diamond marketer describes as a 'cultural imperative.'

• For the past decade, platinum has been the preferred metal used in wedding jewelry, edging out the 1980s' choice, yellow gold. 'Northwest women want to wear jewelry casually yet fashionably, and platinum does that perfectly,' jeweler Tim Greve says.

• Why settle for one stone? The three-stone 'past, present, future' ring is an increasingly popular choice for brides-to-be. Sales of the style (typically a larger diamond flanked by slightly smaller ones), now account for two of every 10 diamond rings sold.

• Greve says that although 60 percent of his clients want one ring that serves as both an engagement and a wedding ring now, the industry is 'trending back' to two-ring sets.

• Colored diamonds especially yellow and pink are enjoying a newfound popularity, despite the fact that they're more expensive (roughly 30 percent) and not as sturdy as their colorless counterparts.

• Sisters are doing it for themselves: An increasing number of women are buying diamonds for themselves, 'just because.' According to the Diamond Information Center, 31 percent of all $1,000-plus diamond purchases are made by single women, and 21 percent by married women.

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