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MANY TOP FINE JEWELRY SHOWS  are about to break across the Fashion Accessories field again this year, but predictions are mixed as to just how open-to-buy  customers are going to be. 

 

Looking ahead, nobody is exactly sure how the market will fare overall, either, although some top suppliers and designers, like David Yurman, say they expect this holiday season to be better than last. Greg Kwait, chief executive officer of Kwait, the diamond jewelry brand, says luxury customers are re-entering the market. 

       

It is hard to tell who is right.  But..and it’s a big BUT … there’s no question that diamonds are hot.  Red hot!  They are classic, and considered investment pieces, no small benefit in these uncertain times. 

 

                                      The Celebrity Connection

 

In addition, celebrities are wearing diamonds everywhere, one trying to outdo the other with sparkle and elegance. Some of these exquisite flashers are being purchased outright.  Others are “on loan” from the top jewelry houses in the nation:  Harry Winston.  Tiffany’s.  You name it; they all want to share in the positive publicity power of celebrity association.

 

Of all the hot diamond types gaining prominence, chocolate diamonds lead the pack, beautiful brown diamonds in a variety of shades, always spectacular. Many say they expect the cocoa diamonds to take off in high numbers this year, despite the economy! 

That would be a boon to fine jewelry in general, not just de Beers.

 

                                                Urge to Splurge

 

Janet Goldman of Fragments, says the urge to splurge never goes away.  She feels customers have been standing on the sidelines, anxious to jump back into the market.  More action is expected in the high-to-medium fine jewelry price range than in the lower fine jewelry price range.  Some retailers are apparently sending back the lower priced goods, or swapping them for pieces that might move better.

 

SO LONG AS YOU MAINTAIN A HIGH QUALITY-TO-PRICE RATIO, YOU CAN BE FAIRLY CERTAIN YOU’LL MAKE SALES.  GOOD COSTUME JEWELRY ALMOST ALWAYS ASSURES YOU OF THAT BENEFIT.  LOOK AT THESE:

 

 

 

 

 

  • Crystal cuff with scrolling pattern featuring both clear and iridescent stones.

 

Even though fine jewelry sales are reportedly picking up, it doesn’t necessarily suggest that the economy is getting better or that things are on a real upswing.  The truth may simply be that the wealthiest segments of our society have not been hurt as badly as many imagined.

 

                                                  New Strategies

 

Fine jewelers are also putting a number of new strategies into effect to boost sales in this tough economy, not the least of which is stronger concentration on classic designs.  Irene Neuwith, designer from Los Angeles, says women want things that are timeless.  She is concentrating on diamonds and gemstones and thinks a lot of buying action will be in gems in the five figures. 

 

Neuwith points out that many of her customers want investment jewelry and designs that are individualized so that they can make them their signature pieces. What it basically comes down to is that one of a kind pieces are important now, 

 

   — While we are not questioning the present allure of real diamonds, it’s worthwhile to remember that as diamonds go, so do crystals and CZs.  That’s the fashion/trend idiom that isn’t about to fade, no matter what the dollar does. And as real brown diamonds gain in popularity, look for Swarovski’s stunning brown crystals to also give new meaning to elegance and pizzazz.

 

THE EVER DESIRABLE DIAMOND LOOK! YOU CAN GET IT, TOO, AT A FRACTION OF THE “REAL” COST:

 

 

 

 

 

  • Stunning waterfall CZ earrings.  Princess-cut CZs terminating with a large round CZ.  Dressy.

 

 

 

                            Trunk Shows Grow in Importance

 

 

Trunk shows are being used more and more by quality jewelers because these events allow them to interact more directly with the end user.  They are also resulting in better-than-expected sales.  One recent trunk sale at Neiman Marcus in Dallas reportedly was a huge success even though prices ran an impressive $25,000 to $75,000. These are big numbers for trunk shows in any economic climate, but in a recessionary economy, WOW!

 

                                             Silver Regains Stature

 

While emphasis is shifting from lower to higher priced goods, the importance of sterling silver can’t be overlooked, and remember, this is a less expensive fine metal.  Young people, especially, are reportedly showing increased interest in silver jewelry of all sorts. Many   jewelers are adding silver to their product mix, even when they may not have carried silver previously.  Modern styles in sleek, clean lined silver designs are very important.

 

Silver with pearls is another hot jewelry item.  Look for it to stimulate big business in the fashion jewelry field, as well, as sterling plate and faux pearls show up in major design executions.  It’s a dynamite look!

 

Excellent designs in the fashion jewelry field are rendered in beautiful silver-plate, and that gives an unbeatable rich and shiny silver appearance that is indistinguishable from sterling. 

 

HERE ARE A FEW ITEMS YOU MIGHT CONSIDER FOR YOUR “AFFORDABLE” SILVER COLLECTIONS:

 

 

 

 

 

Lane & Slane is presently enjoying an active sterling silver and gold business but President Marion Davidson still believes in being conservative in outlook. On one hand, she notes that, “There is the sentiment that it is inappropriate to lust after jewelry when millions of Americans are losing their jobs and homes.”  On the other hand, she believes the market outlook for silver and pearls – where extravagance is reined in and beauty is still riveting — is good and will get better as we move toward the holiday season.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, June 10th, 2009


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