Beyond Bridal Rings

Although wedding rings are paramount to the occasion, jewelry is an important aspect in many facets of the nuptials, which according to The Knot lasts three or more days for nearly half of couples, from rehearsal dinner through the morning after brunch. That’s a lot of parties to accessorize.

The average spend on jewelry, above the cost of wedding rings, is about $500, says The Knot, with the potential for much more, including special gifts for the bridal party. In fact, eight out of 10 brides buy jewelry to wear on their wedding day with earrings (67%), necklaces (40%), and bracelets (37%) top choices; one out of three buy hair jewelry and one in 10 a tiara. Nearly 60% wear fine jewelry. And one out of three grooms wear jewelry, most notably cufflinks.

The Knot also cites six in 10 brides give gifts to their bridesmaids with the most popular being earrings (62%), necklace (58%), and bracelet 34%. Favorite gifts include birthstone jewelry like studs or solitaires or gems that match the color of the bridesmaid dress.

Undoubtedly, diamond remains a hero for its ability to complement everything and never go out of style, says Rebecca Foerster, executive vice president, strategic planning and marketing for Schachter and Co., New York. “The same trend in engagement wedding rings is seen in diamond jewelry, a return to classic looks.” She cites diamond studs a favorite.

Classic with a twist, like shimmering diamonds are a popular choice for wedding day jewels, especially pendants in different designs, says Grant Mobley, vice president of sales, Simply Diamonds/Jewelmark, New York. Its Heartbeat Diamond Collection is among its bestsellers. The line also features dancing sapphire, ruby and emerald centers. And, the concept is extended in its Steal Her Heart collection of free form heart pendant designs.

Popping Color
What has become so inspiring and exciting with wedding day jewels is the true personalization and thinking outside of the box beyond traditional white diamond solitaires and studs. Color is such a personal thing that allows for more creativity. Brides can really show off their personality with a bold splash of color in gemmy solitaire, drop or chandelier style jewels.

Classic styles are timelessly on trend, reinventing simple, elegant studs or lever back earrings with sapphire, ruby or emerald, cites Amanda Gizzi, spokesperson for the Jewelers of America, who notes that brides are more often wearing jewelry that complements the color theme of their wedding.

Off the shoulder necklines and shoulder draping styles are popular bridal gown trends this season, cites Laura Gladfelter, Brand Manager, Alison and Ivy, division of Fantasy Diamond. “The style creates the perfect opportunity for a dazzling statement necklace moment! We’re seeing more brides searching for necklaces to match their rings and often times husbands come in searching for complementary pieces for anniversaries down the road. It’s always a great idea to find a collection that offers multiple pieces.”

Natural and dyed Chinese freshwater cultured pearls offer some amazing pop of color at affordable prices that have proven to be popular bridal party gifts. Joel Schechter, CEO for Honora, New York, cites the brand’s successful bridesmaid program that offers flexible box sets for earrings, necklace, bracelet that can be combined in any way customers want, retailing from $25 to $299. “Bridal is a big area for us, and these pearls make the perfect gift for bridesmaids.” He also cites Chinese freshwater “Ming” pearls in large sizes and romantic, soft natural colors like champagne and petal pink that make stunning wedding day jewels.

Pushing Pearls
Pearls remain the quintessential wedding accessory. “Rich with symbolism and tradition, they embody all that weddings represent,” hails Kathy Grenier, marketing director Imperial Pearl, Providence, Rhode Island. “The pureness of love with the promise of new beginnings enhances a bride’s radiance.”

There are collections that brides gravitate toward such as Imperial’s Brilliance Collection of freshwater pearls with brilliant-cut sterling silver beads that resemble white and black diamonds. “With so many dresses off the shoulder, larger earrings with volume and length are popular,” says Grenier, “as well as statement necklaces with gems and pearls.”

Raymond Mastoloni, partner in Mastoloni Pearls, New York, hails tremendous opportunity to push pearls in the bridal category, encouraging jewelers to position their pearls close to their diamond bridal department. “Pearls are a staple, a timeless gem that goes with everything and makes the ideal keepsake. There’s so much to explore, from basic to beyond!”

Dudes Do
Jewelry and accessory gifts for men are more exciting than ever in product categories, materials and price points, reports Jonathan Goodman Cohen, president of I.B. Goodman Co., Newport, Kentucky.

“Men highly value keepsakes as reminders of these notable life events especially when they’re gifts from family and good friends,” says Cohen. Among the timelessly on trend products jewelers should keep on their radar, he advocates stainless steel and silver cufflinks, money clips, fine cigar cutters, and lapel pins.