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Pitching Your Best Sellers

December 14, 2018 | Posted in: Strategy, Trends

In the fine jewelry category there were no clear winners in product this year, but rather a potpourri of items attracting attention.

“I don’t see any category blowing out sales—it’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but nothing like the major campaigns for two- and three-stone jewelry, which we’ve seen in the past,” describes Michael Lerche, COO, Goldstar Jewellery, New York City. “There is no real OMG, must-have item this year.”

This year the trends were a bit harder to detect, concurs Theresa Namie, Ostbye, Merchandise Manager for the Minneapolis Minnesota-based manufacturer. “This has both pros and cons. The pro is that it lets us be very diverse in our offerings and not so focused on one direction. The con is that it’s easy to design when there’s a specific trend that we put our own spin on.”

Bridal remains a strong category for the industry, with collections like Ostbye’s Forever Elegant Bridal and Celebration Bridal designs that offer vintage and modern flair. “Our layered pendants, stackable rings, and traditional 10-stone diamond anniversary bands were all hits as well,” Namie cites. She sees many young shoppers drawn to diamond basics that they layer and style their own way. She advocates jewelers always have classic designs available in a variety of carat weights. “These are easy sales that can continually be added to as gifts or self-purchases.”

Jeffrey Cohen of KGS Jewels, New York City concurs that next to diamond bridal, classic diamond fashion jewelry never goes out of style. Namie says the trends are in the twists in design, citing bezel settings popular in all genres; and halos a continuing favorite, but in more unique designs, with floral and vintage patterns prevailing, and less diamonds on the shank.

 

This year the trends were a bit harder to detect, concurs Theresa Namie, Ostbye, Merchandise Manager for the Minneapolis Minnesota-based manufacturer. “This has both pros and cons. The pro is that it lets us be very diverse in our offerings and not so focused on one direction. The con is that it’s easy to design when there’s a specific trend that we put our own spin on.”

There also has been greater interest in rose cuts, and not just in diamonds, cites Kevin Whitmore, product manager for Rio Grande, a Richline jewelry supply house. He says the Albuquerque, New Mexico manufacturer and supplier is expanding that category to include all gemstones, semi-precious, and even moissanite. He adds that interest across the gem spectrum is up for fancy shapes, especially pear and marquise.

Whitmore describes the diamond category to be at an interesting moment. “DeBeers has launched Lightbox, its lab-created diamond brand. This has scrambled the other lab-diamond companies in the market, and adjusted the price point downwards for the entire lab-created diamond category. Natural diamonds continue to sell though, so perhaps the two markets will coexist.”

As for gemstones, Whitmore sees blue continuing to lead color in jewelry design, mainly in sapphire, but also a few other stone types, as well as pink in gems like morganite, sapphire and topaz. There are a lot of stories to be told regarding gemstones, which is why Rio’s family of American Mined gems is attracting so much attention for their interesting back-stories.

In a recent trend report, Rio Grande cites four popular design directions in pearls that mix colors (natural and dyed) to freshen up classic looks; incorporate fine details and filigree patterns on basic pearl cups and findings for contrast; serve as modern earring backs or redesigned studs with add-on jacket styles; and combine strands with mixed-metal chains for a chic layered look.

Fine jewelry, diamond jewelry is less important to younger consumers, who would rather spend their money on “experience” types of purchases, points out Cohen. “We, as an industry, must figure out a way to bring more excitement to our sector.”

Lerche notes that more brands are emerging to meet the demand for compelling stories and experiences at retail.

Namie advocates jewelers incorporating a few great statement pieces in their displays to initiate conversations. “Use the tools your vendors provide- ads, photos, top designs, lifetime trade-up programs, and social media,” she encourages.