Perhaps the best incubator to study fine jewelry market trends can be found in The Plumb Club Pavilion at JCK Las Vegas in June. A destination in a destination, The Plumb Club at JCK includes 45 vendors spanning all facets of the jewelry, diamond, and watch industries—representing a big percentage of the domestic fine jewelry market. Comfortable and easy-to-navigate, this shopping oasis amid the miles-deep show floor is a microcosm of the industry.
The pavilion was bustling with steady traffic and a positive energy. Many brands in The Plumb Club report the buzz as “solution driven”, with jewelers looking for the right products, programs and platforms to help them move their business forward and develop their jewelry store of the future.
“I don’t know if it was the show, the pavilion, or us in particular, but I was impressed with the quality of accounts I saw—flagship stores we’d consider key in any territory,” describes Neil Shah of Shah Luxury, New York City. “Jewelers were not just looking, they were getting into programs, spending more, and looking for tools they could use to create experiences that drive sales.” He cites a lot of buzz for technology like augmented reality and omni-channel solutions.
The answers lie in really knowing your customers—what they want and need, and where and how to reach them, says Adam Gerber, executive vice president sales for Goldstar Jewellery, New York City, who reports an upbeat show. He notes that jewelers have limited retail space, so they must be focused.
What remains a priority is finding great value. Gerber describes of Goldstar the ability to invest in technology to provide more bang for the buck in precise, calibrated products that elevate the look, beauty and perceived value of the diamond jewelry. Among its bestsellers, he cites Starra, a beveled-edged bezel-set technique and Love Cuts, composite settings in round, oval, cushion, pear, and emerald shapes that more than double the diamond look.
Shah concurs that its Carizza and Promezza bridal collections, launched three years ago, are among its top sellers for their beautiful mountings with composite and multi-halo designs, and diamond encrusted inserts and stackable bands that beef up the bling without breaking the bank. He also cites classic with a twist and innovation by simple design as important jewelry directions.
Also trending are hoops with elevated looks and studs that layer up the ear very popular, especially in combination with ear cuffs, reports Kathy Schroeder, director of sales for the Dallas-based Prime Art & Jewel (PAJ). For the holidays, she sees adjustable bolo bracelets and necklaces among the must haves, as well stretchy beaded gem bracelets (agate, hematite) with lore messaging.
Along the same lines, Allison Peck of Color Merchants, New York City did very well with its latest Spryngs collection, including stretchy eternity and half eternity band rings in small, medium and large sizes, with total carat weight from .50 to 4 carats, (in diamond, sapphire, ruby and emerald), 14K gold. Also popular for PAJ are styles featuring its dashing diamonds by the yard chain necklaces that can be wrapped, layered, and styled in multiple ways.
Customization is the biggest value-added service Shah says his company offers retail clients, with 10-day turnaround time. “We give jewelers the ability to say yes. Taking a ring and modifying it, this head with that shank, or coming up with a new design is liberating for retailers.”
Personalization is key, cites Renee Miller of Alison and Ivy, a Fantasy Diamond brand. With three generations under its belt, the company touts monograms and name and family jewelry leading this trend. She cites retailer feedback for its new personalized diamond collection, as having just the right amount of sparkle!
Confirming the strong emotional attachment to jewelry is the robust business Chrysalis is experiencing for its expandable bangle and band charm collections. Andrea Maine co-founder and director for the London-based brand, a part of the Richline Group, New York, cites the popularity of its new Cherished line that takes sentiments from its bestselling Friends & Family series (Mum, Daughter and Love); Mythos collection inspired by Greek goddesses (think cool cuffs); and delicate silver styles with iconic symbols of luck (lotus, dragon, tiger) in Bodhi.
Schroeder touts whimsical motifs popular, like elephants, owls and hummingbirds in dainty gold designs with diamond and gemstone accents. She also cites greater use of opaque and luminescent gems such as opals and pearls, as well as more demand for precious stone (sapphire, ruby, and emerald) jewelry.