This Valentine's day, all that glitters is not necessarily gold. Shoppers on recession budgets are still buying baubles for their sweethearts. But, Cupid's got a brand new bag.
Jewelry stores know better than anyone, Americans are resisting the urge to splurge, and that means shoppers are thinking outside the box.
"The economy is really tough," Shopper Emily Higgins said. "I need a cheaper route."
A cheaper route leads away from gold, which is creeping towards a thousand dollars an ounce. That's turned silver into a hot seller at Zales, and metals better known for airplanes and kitchen appliances are catching on.
"The stainless has been really good for us, Titanium. We have a broad range of metals," Shannon Gallagher with Zale Corporation said.
For about a third of the price of a comparable gold band, these wedding rings are made of Titanium and Tungsten. This one is stainless steel, and so is this whole collection from rap mogul Russell Simmons.
Stainless steel has been gathering luster as jewelry for a few years. It's sturdy and hypoallergenic, and many now see it as a treasure that will stand the test of time.
The Teno jewelry store specializes in stainless, and says even through the recession, people are buying, especially when they see the price.
Luxury jewelers like Tiffany are trying to stop the migration by cutting prices on their diamond rings, but romantics know, it's about more than the price tag.
"If I can just present it in a very romantic and glamorous way then i know she'll appreciate it," one shopper said.
This year more than ever, it's the thought that counts, and as long as gold glitters just out of reach, this could be the year heavy metal goes mainstream