Colorful Storytelling

A throwback to the hippie movement, Millennials and Gen Z look to certain gemstones for their healing connection.

When it comes to color, there are lots of stories to tell. There are fashion statements to be made; birthstones representing individuals personalities and points in time; and other attractions that draw us to color stones.

All of these connections provide rich fodder for creative jewelers to capitalize on color stones and the stories they tell — from fashion and folklore to family and self actualization — gemstones can represent so many things to so many people.

Individual colors, specific gemstones, and bold combinations bring people to the gemstone category. There are so many opportunities for jewelers to merchandise and market color in fine jewelry design.

Make the Fashion Connection
Amanda Gizzi, director of public relations for Jewelers of America, advocates jewelers use the fashion aspect of the Pantone story to help market and sell color stones to customers.

“The seasonal color palettes promoted by Pantone can help jewelers easily connect with fashion,” says Gizzi. “Speaking the Pantone language communicates color in a way that resonates with consumers by reinforcing popular hues seen in many other categories.”

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, sees great opportunity for jewelers to show and tell gemstones that can be found in a variety of colors by referencing Pantone. Take the 2021 Color of the Year, Illuminating, jewelers have a chance to say: “We know that citrine is a yellow gemstone, but did you know that sapphire, garnet and tourmaline can also come in yellow?”  It helps to educate customers and is interesting information to share.

Many people, Eiseman finds, think of matching their jewel tones to the colors they’re wearing, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t wear a yellow gem jewel with a purple outfit. “Yellow is complementary to purple, reaching across the color wheel to enhance each other. Purple never looks more purple than it does with yellow.”

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 staff 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 sales associates to conduct virtual appointments with couples getting engaged, why not offer the same for the fashionistas in your client base — fashion styling for the holidays, the latest Zoom accessories, how to layer necklaces to reflect your style.

Because trends are shared online via social media in a way that it doesn’t matter where someone lives, people are seeing trends in real time, reminds Allison Peck for Brevani, a Color Merchant brand based in New York City. To be successful, she advocates jewelers have in stock an assortment of color stone jewelry in both trendy and timeless styles

Birthstones Make It Personal
Consumers are giving and curating pieces that can be collected over time and layered into their signature wardrobe. Most of us wear the same pieces of jewelry for months on end; they become a part of our daily life. So, having a personalized element like a special gemstone makes it feel that much more mindful.

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 Theresa Namie, Merchandise Manager Ostbye in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Birthstones can tell a family story or mark an important date based on the gems associated with each month of the year.

Birthstone jewelry is centered on color and it sells to all age levels and at all price points, underscores Cora Lee Colaizzi, director of marketing and catalogs and senior merchandiser Quality Gold, Fairfield, Ohio. “Everyone has a favorite color and color helps provide personality to the showcases.”

She advocates jewelers offer family jewelry or custom services in color. “Quality Gold has a prototype kit to help retailers with family jewelry sales, and our entire bridal collection is available for custom design,” shares Colaizzi. “Every mounting can be designed with a color center or accent stones. We’ve seen an increase in demand for both the last six months.”

People are also drawn to gemstones for their positive vibrations. A throwback to the hippie movement, Millennials and Gen Z look to certain gemstones for their healing connection.

Barbara Barry with the Marathon Company in Attleboro, Massachusetts, finds its latest gem clasps — set with blue and green chalcedony, lavender and rose quartz, and adventurine — wildly popular in its Convertible Collection of bangle bracelets. Although she can’t be certain why customers are buying any one gem, she likens many of the trendy quartz gems to the “hot” stones used for healing. “People are looking for relief and hope of better things to come, as 2020 has been a hard year for so many.”

Color Adds Excitement
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 stones.

Roopam Jain, president of the branded division of Jewelmark, New York, shares the exciting level of interest in color stones in bridal, as he finds in the company’s branded Disney Enchanted line. He has seen interest for gems like morganite and tanzanite in bridal, and expects more exotic stones will be in demand, as alternatives to diamonds in 2021.

Jain underscores the importance of great brand stories. As with the Enchanted line, there are different gems paired with various female characters in Disney storylines, such as amethyst for Ariel, rhodolite garnet for Mulan, London Blue topaz for Cinderella, and aquamarine for Elsa. He’s especially moved by the diversity of gems customers want, even black diamonds in the bridal category.

Most important, Jain underscores, is sales training. Consumers want questions answered. They want to explore how jewelry and fashion work together. They want to hear stories about the gems you are showing. When selling color you have a lot to talk about.

Namie hails color a great way to stimulate the senses, especially online. “On social media people are drawn to bright colors. When posting a color design, you either want to enhance them with the actual gemstone, or you want to catch their eye with something bright and colorful that complements the gem.” She cites things like food, geodes, or nature-photos help capture the moment.

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