Color is an extremely powerful communication tool, which can affect us emotionally, psychologically, and even physically.
When it comes to the use of color in fine jewelry, there are rich storylines creative jewelers can develop on a spectrum of topics related to gemstones. From fashion and folklore to family and self-actualization, gemstones mean many things to many people.
Individual colors, specific stones, and bold combinations bring people to the gem category. There are many opportunities to merchandise and market color in fine jewelry design that will help jewelers stand out in the marketplace.
An easy way for jewelers to tap into fashion is through the seasonal color palettes promoted by Pantone, advocates Amanda Gizzi, director of public relations for Jewelers of America. “Speaking the Pantone language communicates color in a way that resonates with consumers by reinforcing popular hues seen in many other categories.”
For Spring, rejuvenating hues illustrative of nature topped Pantone’s coveted color list: an optimistic yellow called Illuminating, warm sunny Marigold, serene Cerulean blue, mentholated Green Ash, refreshing Mint, bright royal French Blue, luscious Raspberry Sorbet, perfect purple Amethyst Orchid, cordial Burnt Coral, and earthy Rust brown. Pantone also chose five core classic colors for the season, a smooth off-white Buttercream, sandy Desert Mist, Ultimate Gray, deep blackened blue Inkwell, and moss-colored Willow. Illuminating and Ultimate Gray were hailed by Pantone as Colors of the Year for 2021.
In our COVID-inspired Zoom era, people are seeking to brighten their on-camera look by adorning with splashes of color stones, finds Theresa Namie, merchandise manager for Ostbye, Minneapolis, Minnesota, especially earrings and necklaces. Among the most popular gemstones are aquamarine, amethyst and garnet, which she describes as colors that please the eye, work well together, and translate organically to the earth for deeper significance.
Malia Villanueva for Breuning USA in Lawrenceville, Georgia concurs, finding blue topaz and amethyst the most popular combination of the year. “We expect to see a lot of two-tone yellow and white with blue topaz in the coming season.”
Multicolored jewelry is a strong trend. “Combinations of blues, greens and purples, as well as broader combinations, referred to as ‘rainbow’ style are popular,” cites Cora Lee Colaizzi, marketing director and senior merchandiser for Quality Gold, Fairfield, Ohio.
The key to success with color is offering an assortment of gemstone jewelry in both trendy and timeless styles, underscores Allison Peck for Brevani, a Color Merchant brand based in New York City. You can’t sell what you don’t have.
Gizzi advocates jewelers create displays that showcase fashions, color swatches and jewelry together to help customers make the connection between a trend and its jewelry counterpart. She also encourages sales associates to wear jewelry from stock to illustrate how the designs that jewelers offer accessorize the fashions worn by those who live and work in their community. While many jewelers are training staff to conduct virtual appointments with couples getting engaged, why not offer the same for fashionistas looking for styling tips.
Consumers are familiar and comfortable with the tradition of birthstones and the meaning behind them. Already a bestseller, family jewelry in particular is seeing an uptick in demand since COVID, says Namie. Birthstones can tell a family story or mark an important date based on the gems associated with each month.
Birthstone jewelry is centered on color and it sells to all age levels and at all price points, finds Colaizzi. “Everyone has a favorite color and color helps provide personality to the showcases.” She advocates jewelers offer family jewelry or custom services in color.
There are not just the traditional birthstones to talk about, but also alternative gems to consider for every month. Moreover, many of the traditional birthstones, like sapphire come in a variety of shades, offering September babies more than just traditional blue sapphire to choose.
There is also a strong attraction to gemstones for their positive vibrations. Gems like chalcedony and rose quartz are popular in interchangeable bangle bracelet clasps for Marathon Company in Attleboro, Massachusetts. Although she can’t say for sure why someone buys any one gem, Barbara Barry for the company likens these trendy quartz to the “hot” stones used for healing, noting that people are looking for relief and hope of better things to come after a difficult 2020.
There are myriad angles to take when it comes to chatting up color stones. It’s not surprising that they continue to grow in demand in the bridal category as well. The latest survey by The Knot finds 70 percent of couples are opting for white diamond rings, a number that was more like 90 percent only a decade ago. Undoubtedly, color stones have been increasing in popularity as a choice in this category for center and accent stones. The Knot cites blue gems like sapphire and aquamarine, as well as emeralds among its top picks for brides in 2021.
Often times, a person’s connection to a gemstone has nothing to do with fashion or folk lore, but everything to do with their favorite color, character, and sentiment conveyed by the product, as Jewelmark has found in many of its Disney branded collections. The Enchanted line is filled with rich female characters, princesses and villains that have been extremely popular.
Roopam Jain, president of the branded division of Jewelmark, New York, reports bridal sales very strong. He cites morganite and tanzanite among the bridal favorites, even black and chocolate diamonds. It’s through color and iconography from the brand that the designs particularly resonate with consumers, who already have a relationship with Disney.
With color stones a top trend in bridal rings, they make an awesome draw to a jeweler’s bridal department by showcasing gem options and the opportunity to customize a piece with color. Jain underscores the importance of great brand stories, regular sales training, and partnering with your vendor for sales success.