JCK Las Vegas is the place to discover top trending products, new technology and innovative ways of doing business. There’s a lot of buzz for products like lab-grown diamonds, color stones, and yellow gold to turn heads the annual trade fair at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, June 1-4.
An afternoon browsing The Plumb Club pavilion within will provide retailers of any size a nice overview of what’s trending in every major fine jewelry category. Here are a few of the top trends to keep on your radar, as revealed by some of the more than 40 exhibitors in this specially curated section.
The buzz continues for lab-grown diamonds, which many expect will be among the products retailers want to hear more about at JCK. “Multiple prints and broadcast news outlets have featured lab-grown diamonds in articles the last 12 to 18 months,” cites Cora-Lee Colaizzi, director of marketing and catalogs and senior merchandiser for Quality Gold, Fairfield, Ohio.
Consumers like new options and are drawn to the choice and price points lab-grown diamonds offer, says Colaizzi, citing heightened awareness fueling consumer curiosity. “As more consumers understand that the difference between a lab-grown and mined diamond is the origin they welcome the choice. Younger consumers and Millennials raised on the advancements in technology and choices afforded by them are approaching this category with an open mind.”
Colaizzi expects lab-grown diamonds to continue to increase in popularity, citing the company’s launch in Vegas of its own lab-grown diamond jewelry line, True Origin, in 14K gold. “While lab-grown diamonds have been around for some time, the technology is finally refined to consistently produce stones in larger sizes and better clarity.”
Jewelers who understand that lab-grown diamonds are there to compliment mined diamonds not replace them are doing well with this product, says Monica McDaniels, communications manager for the San Marcos, California-based lab-grown gem brand, Chatham. “In today’s market, the jewelers who understand that it’s essential to keep up with what consumers want rather than dictate to them what they should want are successful.”
McDaniels says there is an audience that finds created gems cool for lots of reasons including wanting a bigger, better quality stone for less and its ethical/sustainable appeal. She says the brand has been working to expand awareness online, including website renovations and bigger social media presence. Not only is interest and demand rising for lab-grown diamonds, but also created gems, including alexandrite and padparadscha sapphire.
Color in Gold & Gems
While white metals have captured the trends for many years, yellow, the true color of gold is preferred says Colaizzi, who notes that 14K yellow gold the metal of choice for popular designer styles and core classics.
Allison Peck for Color Merchants, New York, concurs that yellow gold is experiencing a resurgence in interest. We’ve seen a huge push towards yellow gold where a few years ago everything was in white gold,” she says, noting that the popularity of silver advanced that trend. “If the end consumer is spending real money on jewelry they want everyone to know their piece is real gold.”
Peck also reports a huge surge in interest for a variety of colored stones. “We’re selling more statement and interesting pieces, a large portion is due to social media,” she says. “Shoppers are more knowledgeable and they don’t want something typical or usual. They want something that makes them feel special and different.” She teases a new collection the company is launching in Vegas of gemstone briolette cluster drop earrings called Grapes. While she acknowledges that it has been the “year for the ear” since 2017, pendants and necklaces are making a comeback, particularly set with bold gems.
Maren Spence, merchandise manager for Ostbye, Minneapolis, Minnesota concurs that its latest gem and diamond fashion program—available in ruby, emerald and sapphire flower motifs—is tagged a fall/holiday favorite. She sees statement earrings remaining a bestseller, especially in drop and hoop styles that were popular on the runways for fall and easily translated to the mainstream.
A sure winner for the holidays, diamonds continue to dazzle, says Spence, particularly vintage-inspired designs and bezel settings in both fashion and bridal. The trend is for everyday essentials and stylish fashion pieces in diamonds set in gold and silver. She cites the company’s new iCherish® collection, from classic studs and elegant drop earrings to beautiful pendants and rings, as well as fresh Diva Diamonds® designs.
Diamonds in silver and gold, combined with shell and wood inlay, speaks to the trends for fine fashion jewelry you can live in, with the debut of a new women’s fashion collection by the men’s jewelry brand IB Goodman in Las Vegas. Laura Burton, business development for the Newport, Kentucky based manufacturer, says the collection, uses shapes in new ways. It’s very geometric with an emphasis on the inlay, and a focus on pendants. “We’re taking classic looks to see how we can do them differently,” she says, noting that “brand new” is the brand buzzword. The company also plans to launch modern takes on classic archival men’s styles, like its signet collection.
The Plumb Club pavilion represents a range of categories including diamonds, color stones, pearls, watches, and youth and men’s jewelry, as well as packaging, display, and jewelry cleaning supplies.
Colaizzi advises jewelers to not wait too long to verify they have enough custom packaging to support their fall/winter sales. “Lead times are eight to 12 weeks,” she reminds. Moreover, for jewelers considering a gift with purchase program, make decisions now to ensure delivery for fall implementation. She advocates jewelers review advertising and promotional plans leading up to the holidays.