The National Retail Federation (NRF) finds in its annual winter holiday forecast, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics that clothing and accessories are popular gifts for more than half of consumers, with about a quarter citing jewelry.
Individuality and self-expression are important to consumers and jewelry provides that opportunity, reminds Cynthia Speight, marketing manager for IBGoodman, Newport, Kentucky. She cites items like signet rings among the season’s bestsellers for both men and women, noting that men are following the trend among women to choose a color stone set in the style rather than initials.
Signet styles and color stones are opportunities for customization in jewelry, cheers Speight. Sentimental jewelry like the signet ring is timeless, and for good reason, as it makes the gift giving experience even more special for both giver and receiver. Jewelry represents positive experiences, she underscores, and so much of what jewelry is, is about delivering happiness.
“Sentimental jewelry is a trend we see not only during the holidays, but year-round,” says Dana Cali for the New York pearl house, Mastoloni. “With pearls, we’re seeing a lot of sentimental personalization in the number of pearls used in a strand or piece of jewelry, which can often represent the number of years together or children in a family.”
Cali says that for the winter holidays in particular snowflake, cross and key motifs with white pearls set in white gold are always bestsellers. “There’s something about the white on white that feels like the holidays!”
Layered & Colorful
Layers are still in for necklaces, with the look either achieved with many charms or drops off a single chain or several necklaces worn at once of different textures and lengths, and adornments hanging, describes Jennifer Phelps-Montgomery of the New York based MWI Eloquence. Again, jewelry styles that speak to individuality, personalization, and customization are popular.
Color remains a leading trend this year, points out Phelps-Montgomery. “Designer pieces are not afraid of color, not afraid to not overly match, single earrings, different shapes are all open season. In fact, traditional is boring for gifts.” Big for the holidays and into 2020 are multi-color, multi-stone looks that are asymmetrical and stackable. Moreover, natural fancy color diamonds, especially in the light champagne hues set in rose gold are must-haves.
As self-gifting is a big trend — women directing the sale if not making it themselves — it’s no surprise that beautifully engineered flexible diamond jewelry you can live in, as IBGoodman recently launched for women, is highly sought after. Color Merchants / Brevani of New York echoes this sentiment with the success of its flexible All Spryng rings in eternal and spiral styles, bezel or prong set. A small titanium spring running through the ring gives it its flexibility.
Other top sellers in diamond jewelry include big-bang-for-your-buck looks like composite top bridal, fancy center shape bridal, stud and stud-plus type product, and lab-grown diamond jewelry, cites Jeffrey Cohen, vice-president of sales, KGS Jewels, New York.
All resonating with Quality Gold, the Fairfield, Ohio manufacturer cites a variety of products as bestsellers, including charms in 14K and 10K gold; lab grown diamond jewelry; Italian 14K gold stretch jewelry; and a broad range of products that can be engraved with a fingerprint, signature or handwritten message.
Put in Context
Phelps-Montgomery believes a lot of these trends are driven by what women are seeing on Etsy and social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.
In fact, marketing consultant, Andrea Hill, of the Chicago-based Hill Management Group, in a recent Plumb Club webinar, underscored how “social proof” matters to women. “Even if they go alone, shopping is a team activity. Women want to know what their friends and family think, and to share their discoveries.” Hill says that jewelers who make their marketing linkable and shareable help women build confidence, making it easy for them to learn and solicit input from their circles.
Liz Chateain, president of the jewelry consumer market research firm, MVI Marketing, couldn’t agree more, citing that fine jewelers are increasingly embracing lab grown diamonds, as well as other products like gold and silver overlay on brass, aka “bridge jewelry”.
For most women, jewelry is about life, love, fashion, or personal accomplishment, says Hill. Successful jewelers are those who can show female shoppers how their jewelry offerings fit in with their customers’ lives. She encourages jewelers to stop judging the options. Sell to women according to their interests. “Women have their own reasons for buying fine jewelry, and are far less likely than men to consider jewelry for its monetary value. If a consumer is interested in a lab-grown diamond, show her a lab-grown diamond. Merchandise to your brand.”
Chatelain echoes what Hill expresses, and encourages jewelers advocate jewelry’s importance and meaning as a keepsake that has been part of humanity since the dawn of time. “Jewelry is one of the most important aspects of being human next to religion,” she preaches. “Jewelry is a natural form of adornment, found in every society, every culture throughout the ages. Jewelry has a place in this society, but it is our place to hold on to and grow or ours to lose.” She says those who are selling jewelry with this mindset are successful.