Pedal to the Metal

Jewelers have many exciting opportunities to work in silver, gold and platinum in both wedding and fashion jewelry that can attract customers in meaningful and attainable ways, and increase a jeweler’s bottom line.

Silver is the No. 1 self purchase in fine fashion jewelry, and also presents great gifting opportunities, particularly for the wedding category. The Silver Promotion Service (SPS) is pushing silver in 2017 as gifts for the bridal party, between couples, and wedding day jewels.

Gold remains a timeless must have in any jewelry wardrobe from classic styles and sentimental keepsakes to iconic wedding rings. Take advantage of May is Gold Month to remind consumers that buying a piece of gold jewelry gives them the look while also owning something that’s a real store of value.

Pay attention to platinum. This premier protector of important stones will likely see a bump in bridal sales with the Platinum Guild International (PGI) USA promotes platinum heads, regardless if the ring is gold. With platinum prices so close to gold, it’s more accessible than ever.

Silver Trends
Nearly one half of silver sales are female self-purchase, cites the SPS. For 2017, the focus is on earrings, particularly new takes on hoops. “Hoops are important again, but in a fresh way—textured, sculpted, organic forms, and set with stones,” says Gloria Maccaroni, SPS director of brand development. Trends also continue to embrace silver ear climbers, threaders and front-back styles, cites Karen Crowe, merchandising and marketing for Quality Gold, Fairfield, Ohio.

Bold links are coming on strong in shorter length chain necklaces with pendants. In bracelets, brands are styling cuffs for stacking; and bolo is the new bangle. Crowe says silver chain is a top seller, especially anything adjustable. Crystal Oyler Slagle, marketing director for Alison & Ivy brand, Fantasy Diamond Corporation, Chicago says silver with yellow gold in Y-necklaces and lariats are popular.

Blackened silver, especially with brushed white silver; floral motifs; and texture are key designs directions. Eve Chiles for Breuning, Lawrenceville, Georgia describes two-tone and tri-color styles among the brand’s bestsellers—mixing silver with rose or yellow gold plating, and/or blackened. She says undulating designs, leaf inspirations, and geometric patterns are trending.

With more than one third of silver sales gift purchases, expect to hear more about silver for bridal party presents and wedding day jewels with the SPS’s latest campaign. Among the popular picks are birthstone, charm/tag/pendant, and pearl jewelry; cufflinks, tie tacks/lapel pins, and bracelets; and more intricate designs for the bride in floral and romantic motifs for ears, neck, wrist, and hair.

Gold Trends
The No. 1 wedding ring metal, gold is also a top choice for sentimental/symbolic jewelry and classic everyday styles. Gold jewelry sales were extremely robust this past holiday season, says Cora Lee Colaizzi director of marketing and catalogs and senior merchandiser for Quality Gold. She sees yellow gold gaining momentum, with chains and earrings bestsellers in designs that are more fluid, curved and asymmetric.

Moreover, two-tone styles are popular, says Allison Peck with Color Merchants, New York City. She cites nature motifs among the favorites, and adaptability key in jewelry that’s easy to get on and off and comfortable to wear.

A big trend for 2017 and MWI Eloquence is rose gold with natural color diamonds in shades of brown, cognac and champagne, says Jennifer Phelps-Montgomery for New York manufacturer. The company is launching new bridal and classic designs, with French pavé styles bestsellers. In fashion, rough diamond jewelry, especially long necklaces, is a draw, as well as bold gold bolo bracelets.

Big gold hoops reminiscent of the 1970s and hip-hop ‘90s are having a moment, as street style from eras past is mined for modern interpretations, cites branding consultant Emmy Kondo, partner in the Los Angeles-based Seven Rings. Crowe says gold ear climbers, threaders, and front-back styles remain important. And, Seven Rings partner, Jamie Cadwell Gage hails multiple piercings mainstream, as stylish women load their ears with tiny gold bars, hoops, and wishbones.

Kondon encourages jewelers to get in on the national attention gold receives in May. Launched a dozen years ago by the Word Gold Council, in collaboration with the Richline Group, New York and major jewelry retailers, May is Gold Month provides enormous opportunities to highlight trends and inspire ideas, particularly online and social media.

Platinum Trends
PGI is working with manufacturers and jewelers to push platinum heads. “We hope it will lead consumers to buy a platinum ring, but by starting the conversation in this way we’re educating them about platinum’s role in securing the stone, the most expensive component of the ring,” tells Kevin Reilly, PGI-USA vice president.” “If we concentrate on converting heads to platinum, we could significantly change the conversation.”

Research reveals that once consumers know the importance of the setting for the security of the stone, 94% are willing to go platinum, and pay nearly $500 more on average to do so. “There’s a huge opportunity for retailers to bump up profitability and present a point of differentiation.”

Drive by the possibilities, A. Jaffe, a PGI partner is launching new programs in all platinum and 18K gold with platinum heads, says Angelique Crown, director of sales west region for the New York brand. “The difference in price between 18K gold and platinum makes platinum an everyday elegance.” The brand has incorporated price adjustments that reflect a 30% decrease. “We’re offering unique opportunities to our retailers and their customers to indulge in platinum.”

Stackable rings are particularly strong in platinum, cites Jill Moynihan, PGI-USA manager of marketing and communications. “We’re seeing thinner, fashion-focused bands as wedding and right-hand rings.” Phyllis Bergman of Mercury Ring, a division of Interjewel Group, New York cites enormous opportunity in diamond bands as they appeal to multiple generations and occasions. Especially popular are petite platinum bands that mix diamond shapes.

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