Silver jewelry’s prominence on the fashion runways and style sites has accelerated the past few seasons. For Spring/Summer 2022, the looks were sleek and edgy. For Fall/Winter heavier-weight pieces stood out, including mixed-metal looks, shares The Zoe Report (TZR).
The trend in silver jewelry is versatile, elegant and easy to style with existing pieces, hails the fashion, beauty and lifestyle digital media platform. TZR describes the high-polish and mirror-like properties of silver as “an unfussiness that feels exceptionally modern and relevant.’ It predicts that silver will be around for a while, “[epitomizing] an emerging cool sensibility.”
Among the timeless classic styles — like stud earrings, stackable bands and bangles, and charm jewelry — one can find bolder, more playful accessories. “A shiny silver cuff or a piece that wraps around your wrist can feel edgy and classic at the same time. Mixing silver rings or opting for one look-at-me ring feels super current,” TZR shares. Popular designs include celestial and undersea motifs, as found in the collections of iStar and Prime Art & Jewel.
Link and fringe styles in chain, hoops in all sizes and adaptations, and choker and Y-style necklaces are among the bestsellers in silver and gold, says Cora Lee Colaizzi, marketing director and senior merchandiser for Quality Gold. She notes that each metal category provides a different price point and fan base. But they all have many of the latest jewelry trends in common. “Regardless of metal – big, bold and chunky styles are popular. People are either buying bolder jewelry designs or stacking individual pieces to create a bolder look.”
Naturally white, silver is a good match for colorless diamonds, natural and lab-grown, as well as the perfect backdrop to pop color stones and pearls. Like that classic white dress shirt in your wardrobe, sterling silver jewelry can be dressed up or down, and adapted to accentuate any style or occasion.
“Silver is often the metal used in design focused jewelry because it allows designers to create large-scale pieces in solid forms without worrying too much about weight,” explains jewelry consultant Cheryl Kremkow in a Plumb Club podcast with Samuel B. The biggest names in designer jewelry rely on silver to make dramatic jewelry statements, with Samuel B among them.
Precious Keepsake Affordably Priced The relatively affordable price points of sterling silver are incredible when you consider the metal’s heirloom quality. Sterling silver is durable — won’t bend, buckle or twist out of shape; it’s scratch-resistant; and also, hypoallergenic.
In 2020, the Silver Promotion Service commissioned MVI Marketing to survey consumers about their attitudes toward buying jewelry
A 2020 study commissioned by MVI Marketing, commissioned by the Silver Promotion Institute (SPS) found that 36% of respondents look to silver for its affordability; nearly a quarter like silver as a valued keepsake because it’s a precious metal; and 31% are drawn to the design options available in silver. But for most jewelry shoppers (43%), versatility is the key characteristic they look for in silver jewelry, with designs that can be dressed up or down important to them.
“Sterling silver offers affordable options to purchase keepsakes in a precious metal that has meaning,” cheers Theresa Namie, merchandise manager for the manufacturer, Ostbye. She cites jewelry like initials, iconic symbols (heart and infinity shapes, spiritual), and charms with empowering words and phrases among the bestselling styles in silver jewelry — both as gifts and self-purchases.
With the price of gold skyrocketing, Kremkow underscores that silver has a growing role in a jeweler’s store. “Silver fills in that opening price point gap. In addition to entry-level silver, there also is growth in silver mixed with solid gold and set with diamonds, gems and pearls.”
Silver is a place for manufacturers to play, says Kathy Grenier, vice president of business development, Imperial Pearl. “It’s far more accessible.” She references the brand’s latest collection of black Tahitian pearls set in blacken silver with white topaz in designs that are chain centric, bold, and gender neutral.
To make the most of silver jewelry sales opportunities, Kremkow advises jewelers incorporate entry price points; trends like bold chains and charm necklaces; silver and diamond, and silver and gemstone pieces, including birthstones; and large-scale designer silver jewelry in signature looks.”
As TZR mentions, combining silver and gold provides more accessorizing options. The report notes that layering silver chain link necklaces or bracelets with gold styles is an easy way to freshen up a signature style. While gold has always equated to optimal luxury, TZR finds that more people are now looking at silver with a heightened sense of value.
Silver Streak in Sales Alisa Bunger, vice president of the Chic Pistachio Group (CPG), notes that the company’s Ania Haie sterling silver line has been on fire this year, filling a niche at retail ($40 to $140) for quality silver designs geared to a younger audience (aged 18 to 35). She cites the popularity of neon color enamel set in silver jewelry and expects this trend to last through 2023.
Retailers in an INSTORE survey report that silver definitely attracts the important 20–40-year-old customers. “That customer is beginning their fine jewelry journey with a lifetime of purchases ahead of them,” cites Kremkow. “Younger consumers are not only important customers for your store today, they’re important for tomorrow.”
In addition to a gift for a loved one for a special occasion like a birthday, silver jewelry presents an important opportunity for add-on sales for wedding ring customers. “If you think of bridal jewelry just as engagement ring and wedding band sales, you are missing opportunities for additional sales,” says Kremkow, who cites that bridal party gifts add about $2,600 in potential jewelry sales per wedding, not in including engagement ring and bands. Moreover, brides spend $300 to $1,000 on other jewelry items to accessorize their wedding day looks.
Silver jewelry sales are not as tied to the gift-giving seasonal calendar as other jewelry categories, Kremkow says. “Silver jewelry sells all year round because consumers are more likely to buy silver just more than any other type of jewelry.”
In MVI’s survey, half of those who said they’d be buying jewelry “just because,” plan to buy silver jewelry, with 43% buying it “just because” for themselves. In fact, 41% of retailers surveyed by INSTORE say the female self-purchase is the best opportunity for selling silver jewelry.
“Self-purchases of jewelry aren’t just about style, they’re also about emotion, celebrating self, marking milestones, and making memories,” says Kremkow. “Consider these other emotions in your marketing, and not only speak of love and gifting. You need to provide reasons to purchase and validate that it’s okay to treat oneself.”
Retailers surveyed by INSTORE said their margins on silver were higher than for any other jewelry product category, more than double diamonds, bridal and gold. Moreover, 39% said that silver jewelry had the best inventory turnover rate in their store, compared to 29% who cited diamond, and that silver is a traffic driver, attracting that vital first sale into a new customer.
Silver jewelry sales accounted for 34% of retail jeweler sales by units and 27% by dollar value. The fact that silver accounts for roughly one third of sales in retail jewelry stores, says Kremkow, shows just how critical a silver jewelry strategy is for a jeweler’s success.