When we use social media, it’s not just who we share with, it’s more about ‘who we share as’. Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, along with other popular services such as Instagram, Foursquare, and Tumblr, are quite simply “self-expression engines.”
What does this have to do with jewelry design trends you’re probably asking by now? Quite a bit! There’s nothing more important to today’s logged in consumer (and by logged in we’re talking about anyone aged 13 – 75) than personal expression. We may all be herded together on Facebook – but each of us in the herd is demonstrating how different and creative we are.
Consumers want expression. Consumers want to show their creativity. Consumers want to wear something that is uniquely ‘them’. Most jewelry retailers already have a ‘customization’ type program in place, and those that don’t are quickly realizing the need to establish some form of ‘make-it-yourself’ initiative.
Design Your Own ♦ Charms ♦ Initials ♦ Engraved Jewelry ♦ Birthstone Families
Design Your Own
Probably the most ambitious of all customization programs is the ‘design your own piece’ program, where consumers can choose one of several, if not hundreds of design options, then select the gem/metal and setting of their choice. The piece is then made by a manufacturer working from the designer’s sketches and delivered after a few weeks. Several websites note huge success with this model. A great option for those with the capabilities, and certainly something you should be offering your customers where feasible.
If you’re not stocking charms or a similar collectable selection, then why not? Charms are one of the easiest ways for consumers to achieve self-expression and individuality on the spot. Affordable price points and an almost infinite number of arrangements – a fantastic way to engage the consumer and foster repeat business as consumers collect and re-evaluate their self-expression.
Not as creative perhaps as other options and the ‘X’ ‘Y’ and ‘Z’s are slow sellers, but initials are a staple of every jewelry box. Initials power through all price points, from crystals set in silver to diamonds in platinum.
Engraved jewelry has a trend dictate of its own. Several years ago jewel encrusted dog tags were flying off the shelves. Before that, there wasn’t a ‘mom’ or ‘nana’ that didn’t own or was gifted an engraved heart. The past few years has seen an upsurge in demand for ‘word’ jewelry. Hope / Love / Dream and other such generic encouragements. Today, it’s back to basics, names engraved on lockets and rings or ‘name’ jewelry are fighting for the title of 2012 trend of the year for engraved jewelry.
Another trend making a comeback is that of gemstone words. The Victorians would spell out a word or phrase using the initials of the gemstones. For example, a ring set with a Diamond, Emerald, Amethyst and Ruby would spell out “DEAR”, or Lapis, Opal, Vermeil (a Victorian name for hessonite garnet and other reddish-orange gems) and Emerald for “LOVE”. A simpler gemstone customization is that of featuring a grouping of gemstones, each stone the birthstone representative of a family member.
Next week: Summing up gemstone trends. From the colors and the cuts to the styles and the stand-outs, a comprehensive overview of the what’s, where’s and why’s that are making this a year, a colorful year.