The big, overarching trend in jewelry today is the undeniable drive toward personalization. This comes in many forms from iconic symbols and engravings to personalized options and complete custom design work. It also translates in how consumers style their jewelry with stacking and layering the leading trend.
Jewelry styles that tell a story about a person are bestsellers as both gifts and self purchase, including charm bracelets and rings; popular symbols like crosses, hearts and iconic talisman; initials, numbers and message jewelry; and birthstones, cites Andrea Maine, co-founder and director of Chrysalis, a Richline expandable bangle charm brand. “Jewelry that has some element of customization to it offers tremendous added value for customers.”
Maine notes that Chrysalis creates collections inspired by themes like love, friendship, nature, and travel to make it easy for customers to gift others or themselves with a meaningful piece.
Sometimes the message is obvious, other times it’s more covert like Alison and Ivy’s popular Morse Code and Roman Numeral jewelry, and lockets that hold tiny charms inside, says Renee Miller, director of sales and merchandising for the Chicago-based brand. She cites monograms as the ultimate logo in the trend for personal branding. “It’s about visually posting what’s going on with you.”
Among the jewelry styles that lend themselves well to this trend are stackable birthstone bands and bezel rings, says Maren Spence, merchandise manager for Ostbye, Minneapolis, Minnesota. She describes these bestsellers as not only ideal to represent the wearer’s birthstone, but also those of loved ones, a popular choice as an updated mother’s ring look or to celebrate special anniversaries.
Alisa Bunger, director of sales, B88 Division of the Dallas-based Prime Art & Jewel, Elle Jewelry also includes convertible jewelry like adjustable bolo-style necklaces and bracelets and ear studs with interchangeable jackets and drops among the gift favorites that speak to this design direction.
Fine jewelers looking for ideal gift jewelry in popular price points that get consumers in the door should consider a quality sterling silver line, advocates marketing consultant Andrea Hill, president of the Chicago-based Hill Management Group. “Many fine jewelers still shy away from sterling silver or put it in the back corner. But those who market and display it proudly reap the benefits.” She says consumers recognize silver’s value as a precious metal and also see it as closer to the trends in style, and more youthful in design.”
Miller says the desire for personalization is just as strong for men as it is for women, citing styles like engraved collar stays and bars, and name and initial jewelry trending. “Monograms, cut and intertwined, or engraved relief are worn as a personal logo that shares something about the wearer.” Layering is a key trend for men too, says Bunger, especially in wrist-wear with gem bead bracelets popular for their good energy and earthy quality. Top trends reported for men include personalized signet rings, engraved cufflinks, and symbolic pendants.
Kate Peterson, retail consultant and president of Performance Concepts, Montgomery Village, Maryland finds it interesting many jewelers still focus on product and selling using the old “feature-benefit” approach, rather than promoting jewelry as an expression of personal style and statement and selling to unique, individual needs and interests.
If you want the “any time, for any reason” gifting concept to hold Peterson advocates presenting a broad range in style and price that stays true to your brand identity. “A store known for edgy, contemporary style might carry pieces made from platinum and diamonds alongside pieces made of stainless steel and granite in prices from $50 to $50,000. The common denominator is the look and style. A woman who loves her 2-carat, tension set, wide band engagement ring might very well love a steel-coil necklace with blue druzy pendant because she loves blue and it works for casual wear.”