Sin City Styles

Each year, the Las Vegas jewelry shows held in late May and early June are a must-attend for many North American jewelers. It’s the best time for merchants to see what’s new firsthand and decide what to buy and position for fourth-quarter sales.

“Our new collections are based on multiple factors like current market trends, data analysis of product we sell through, the current economic climate, and a deeper understanding of our inventory,” explains Monica McDaniel, vice president, Chatham.

New fashion collections from manufacturers—including Plumb Club members—will be rich in colored gemstones, lab-grown ones from Chatham, and a host of mined options from others. Color has also made its way into the wedding jewelry category as center stones and band accents. And not surprisingly, lab-grown diamonds, too, have an important place in some new lines.

As retailers prepare their open-to-buy plans for Sin City, know that suppliers are eager to assist. Bring your shopping lists but also your ideas and explore how suppliers can help you drive more sales.

“We listen to our retailers and produce solutions to their needs,” says Rick Mulholland, sales manager, Novell Design Studio.

Jennifer Dressing, senior vice president of merchandising and product development, KP Sanghvi, is equally prepared.

“We have a constant flow of jewelry coming out of our model-making department,” she says. “The possibilities are endless.”

Stocking Your Market

While JCK Las Vegas is weeks away, jewelry makers have been hard at work for months in preparation. Retailers’ options for new inventory will be abundant, from bridal to fashion and men’s collections; those interviewed for this article cite merchant and consumer interest in these directions as the driving force for manufacturing decisions.

To start, SHR Jewelry Group is capitalizing on the men’s jewelry phenomenon with a celebrity hook. Its new Marc Anthony/Bulova Jewelry Collection will feature watches and jewelry with “a shared cross-generational love of music, innovative design, and an artistic spirit that is bold at heart,” explains Scott H. Rauch, president and CEO. Expect edgy, free-spirited, and refined designs.

 

“The collection is a powerful symbol of self-expression and personal style embodying Marc’s bold confidence and taste for luxury,” he continues. “The line is in sterling silver, and retail prices range from $195–$1,295.”

Continental / Novell

At bridal jewelry house Novell Design Studio, show attendees can check out its new lightweight platinum wedding bands. “With the cost of platinum dropping, our men’s lightweight platinum designs are the better choice for a white metal,” explains Rick Mulholland, sales manager.

Novell will also unveil a new lab-grown diamond jewelry collection; retailers have been asking for one for upwards of a year. Styles will differ from what’s in the core (mined) diamond collections “so there’s no confusion over whether a popular style has lab-grown or natural stones,” adds Mulholland.

More bridal newness includes clusters and mine-to-market stone origins, among others.

Asian Star Group’s Erica Wadia reveals that her firm will unveil a “baby diamond bridal” cluster head that gives a look that is four times bigger than the carat weight. Rings with total diamond carat weights from 0.20–0.375 will be available in round and fancy shapes.

                      KP Sanghvi

“We understand the importance of providing fresh and appealing options for retailers who do not currently promote lab diamonds, and our diamond baby bridals are crafted with this in mind,” she says. “We are committed to ensuring that the cluster style remains popular and relevant by infusing it with new elements that add excitement and allure.”

KP Sanghvi will unveil a trend-inspired bridal collection with mine-to-market diamonds thanks to the company’s close work with De Beers and its Origin and Tracr platforms.

IDD Luxe will debut additions to its Moze Bridal collection, including three-stone and anniversary rings and eternity bands. The company is also beefing up its Skyset Lab Fashion line and adding family-inspired pieces, new link numbers, and more SKUs to its best-selling Flexie collection.

Asian Star’s fashion-forward jewels, meanwhile, will feature vintage-inspired pieces with Big Three gemstones and diamonds. “These will embody the allure of bygone eras while offering a contemporary twist,” she says.

KP Sanghvi’s fashion items include bracelets with unique clasps, metal colors, and two-stone styles that retail for $499 to $2,999. “We want these fun bracelet designs to inspire how each person defines their relationship,” notes Jennifer Dressing, senior vice president of merchandising and product development.

Beaded designs will also have a presence. Think karat gold diamond-cut and polished styles from Royal Chain Group and gemstone beads from Shefi DiamondsRoyal Chain is also bringing puffy electroform earrings and more chains—all designed to layer nicely. “They complement each other and come together in layered looks,” says Phillip Gabriel Maroof, vice president of marketing and design.

Shefi’s Surbhi Jain, marketing director, says enamel and more gemstones, such as bands in yellow gold and rubellite tourmaline, will also be in cases.

Royal Chain

The biggest colored gemstone offerings of all, however, will likely originate from Chatham, Inc. Three new collections of lab-grown gemstones will debut in Las Vegas, maintains Monica McDaniel, vice president. The first is Legacy, made in 18k gold with classic gems and diamonds, and it aims to appeal to an upscale clientele. A second, kaleidoscope-inspired, collection has fancy-shape lab-grown diamonds in sizes of 0.25 ct.–1.0 ct. with lab-grown colored gemstones. A third collection is an extension of its Color Fashion line, containing exclusive gem cuts like flame in the full spectrum of Chatham gem materials.

Finally, The Kingswood Company will offer a new Clean + Care® retail fixture program, giving store owners a more “sophisticated solution for displaying jewelry care products,” says Heather Brown, vice president of content and editorial. “Three unique models are available in varying footprints, aesthetic styles, and visual merchandising plans and are available to both private-label customers and those who offer the Clean + Care® product line,” she adds.

I Do Dream Rings

Given that engagement and commitment rings are perennial best-sellers in many stores, this category has no shortage of new designs. While there will be plenty to see at JCK Las Vegas, some manufacturers offer a sneak peek here.

Asian Star

Asian Star Group has been super busy; in the past six months, it has “introduced more than 250 new bridal designs,” according to Erica Wadia, vice president of marketing and corporate communication. This sea of styles also allows buyers to pick and choose parts between rings to make custom ones. Options include hidden halos—“in between the prongs or around the prongs,” she notes—French pavé on shanks and fancy-shape side stones, even lesser-known Cadillac cuts and trapezoids.

Coincidentally, KP Sanghvi has also created 250 new designs—“From high-end trend bridal to mid-range classic styling,” says Jennifer Dressing, senior vice president of merchandising and product development. “We are spending more time on our model execution and the quality of our designs,” she explains.

IDD Luxe will soon unveil engagement ring designs with petite frames, floral motifs, modern channel settings, an updated three-stone series, and more eternity bands. “These designs cater to current demands and showcase elegance and sophistication for modern brides,” observes Brad Campbell, chief partnership officer.

Lab-grown diamonds have driven up demand for larger center stones—up to 5 carats in different shapes. Plus, hidden halos remain a frequent request.

        IDD Luxe

Color, too, plays a role in the engagement category. That’s why Shefi Diamonds has added morganite and aquamarine to its offerings. “Retailers are showing a preference for colored stones in bridal jewelry,” confirms Surbhi Jain, marketing director. Color also allows clients to add a “personalized touch and symbolize emotions while offering an alternative to traditional diamond rings,” says Jain.

Wadia agrees. “The price point [of colored gems] provides participation in the allure of an engagement ring while staying light on the wallet. This is not three months of paychecks!”

The rise of color in bridal is also a trend that Goldstar Jewellery is tracking. For the past three years, Adam Gerber, executive vice president, has watched color “become part of a traditional bridal assortment.”

Not surprisingly, platinum is a popular choice given the high price of gold. It offers a “higher perceived value,” according to Wadia.

Shefi Diamonds

Dressing has seen an uptick in demand for it, and in response will soon unveil a new collection of platinum engagement rings. “We went in two directions—classic styling and some more trendy,” she says.

And while personal preferences change over time, so, too, do the mindsets of ring shoppers. Today’s clients do a lot of internet research—they are definitely “more educated,” says Wadia. Many don’t hesitate to buy online either.

 

 

“More and more are buying online as returns are made easy,” she continues. “It’s a matter of which store, or online platform becomes the choice for purchase.”

Those who do seek out brick-and-mortar stores arrive ready to buy because of all the online digging.

“Some 70% are prepared to buy—unlike counterparts a decade ago,” says Campbell. “The sales associate’s role now focuses on identifying the perfect ring based on the customer’s internet research  and preferences, simplifying the purchasing process.”

 

Show of Bands

There’s no shortage of plain yellow wedding bands in the world, so innovative ones tend to really stand out. While styles differ for men and women—men’s are generally wider, many with super interesting textures, patterns, and inlays—the ability for clients to customize and champion OTT personalities has never been better. Jewelry manufacturers have been having a lot of fun casting, cutting, and/or fabricating the plain band into an anything-but-boring wardrobe staple.

Manufacturers gearing up for JCK Las Vegas sales couldn’t wait until Sin City to dish on new designs.

Benchmark

Textured and patterned bands have long been a staple in the wedding ring category. Benchmark has both, including some that won design awards, according to A.J. Tosyali, president. “Organic texturing and unisex patterning have been our main focus,” he explains.

In fact, for Las Vegas this year, the brand will be adding to its Brook & Branch line of wedding bands, designs that pack a storytelling punch, given that they reflect a love of an outdoors lifestyle. Think evergreen trees, pheasants, river rocks, and campfires, among other scenes depicted across a variety of metal types. Masculine types are especially loving these looks.

“Men are certainly more about lifestyle-focused products and are willing to spend more now on average than in the past,” adds Tosyali.

Asian Star Group is introducing three different band “stories” in the form of floating, shared prongs, and French pavé-set style with a “nice look and feel,” according to Erica Wadia, vice president of marketing and corporate communication.

                   Cynergy Trading

Plus, expect to see a new collection built around a theme of openness. Here, ring tops will have a gap of “approximately 5 mm where it can fit flush to almost any engagement ring,” says Wadia. “If the bridal head is protruding out, this collection is your answer.”

At Cynergy Trading, unisex numbers and more eternity bands will debut. There’s a growing demand for the latter, in particular.

“Our men’s diamond eternity wedding bands have been a hit,” says Jeff Levitt, vice president of merchandising. “We were an early proponent of men’s engagement rings and sales are definitely picking up.”

In metal types, platinum is enjoying a boost thanks to its price compared to gold. At press time, gold was trading at double that of platinum. Consumers are noticing. “Platinum is taking off given the increased cost of gold,” confirms Tosyali.

Levitt, too, is seeing a “nice” increase in platinum. “Men do like the durability and heft of it,” he adds.

At Novell Design Studio, platinum leads for wedding bands. “Since our wholesale cost is neck-and-neck with gold, once we explain the benefits of platinum over white gold—it’s a no brainer,” explains Rick Mulholland, sales manager.

Continental / Novell

At Shefi Diamonds, two-tone designs appeal to clients, and at ODI, the preference is yellow gold with black diamonds. “Recently we’ve had several stores asking for bands and bridal with black diamond centers, and mostly in yellow gold,” says Valerie Fletcher, vice president of design and product development.

And though business in alternative metals may be taking a backseat for some, Novell’s clients still love certain ones for their moodier tones. “We manufacture tantalum rings with gold accents because consumers ask for a darker metal design,” adds Mulholland.