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Make Valentine's Day sparkle
By Lori Harlan

Maybe they got cold feet at Christmas. Perhaps they needed to get parental approval. Whatever the motivation, Shane Luttrell says Valentine's Day seems to give guys the "nudge they need" to propose.

Luttrell Jewelers, located in Springfield's Piper Glen Plaza, offers custom-made jewelry, so the engagement ring can be as unique as the bride-to-be.

"We don't replicate engagement rings," Shane said. "Every one we sell is at least a little bit different. No two are identical."

Shane is a bench jeweler, an artist trained to make and repair jewelry. For custom designs - the most popular service offered at Luttrell Jewelers - he works one-on-one with customers to create any piece they can come up with, telling them if they can draw it, dream it or think it, he can make it.

When he opened Luttrell Jewelers with his wife, Beth, three years ago, Shane made good on a personal goal and continued a family tradition that began with his grandfather and father, who both owned jewelry stores in Decatur.

"When Stout and Lauer (the store where Shane worked) closed for good, it gave me the push I needed. I took a chance and love having my own store," he said.

Because of the size of the store and his extensive experience, Shane is able to help customers himself, and that's important to him as a business owner.

"I strive for one-on-one service. We have a small staff, and I try to work with every customer myself - at least on some level," he said.

Most guys come in with at least an idea of their budget, and the Luttrells work with them to find something in their price range. The store has jewelry ranging from $59 to $25,000. The average Valentine's purchase generally ranges from $200 to $500, Shane said.

In addition to engagement rings, Beth said men often select pink sapphires, rubies and anything with hearts for Valentine's gifts. Sweetheart rings and promise rings are also popular. Watches are great gifts for men, she added.

Consumers are inundated with jewelry ads at Christmastime, and Shane said that spills over to Valentine's Day, when women often ask for what they didn't get under the tree.

"Trust me, by Valentine's Day, husbands know if they didn't get it right at Christmas," Shane said with a laugh.

If a customer doesn't have a specific idea in mind, the Luttrells ask a series of questions to help identify the right piece. Most shoppers prefer trendy over timeless jewelry, and white gold and platinum are all the rage right now.

"Our job isn't to tell them what to buy, just to steer them in the right direction," Shane said. "Ours is a small store with a lot of repeat customers, so I have a good idea of what pieces they already have, because I sold them."

The couple describes the store as unique and very contemporary, but definitely family friendly. Their two children are often present, and they want other kids to be comfortable there as well.

"This is a relaxed atmosphere. We're not uptight. We've put $10,000 engagement rings on little girls' fingers just to see their faces," Shane said.

 

Story published Friday, January 7, 2011 ( Volume 5, Number 8 )

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