Archive for July, 2011...
Filed under Bracelets, Brooches, Crystal Jewelry, Earrings, Fashion Jewelry, Necklace Sets, Rhinestone Jewelry, Uncategorized
Filed under Bracelets, Earrings, Fashion Jewelry, Fashion Marketing, Necklace Sets, New Orleans Accessories, Pendants, Religious Gifts, Religious Jewelry, Religious Jewelry & Gifts, Wholesale Jewelry
What is the difference between rhinestone jewelry and crystal jewelry? The terms are often interchanged leaving shopkeepers as well as customers confused. When we look back at vintage rhinestone jewelry before 1940 we see a noticeable change. The look is quite different than we equate with rhinestone jewelry today.
What changed? Well today’s rhinestone jewelry is usually made with rhinestone chain–that is a continuous chain of rhinestone that comes out of a machine with the stones already set. This look is conspicuously missing in the vintage rhinestone jewelry books that cover any era before the 1940s. The reason is the invention of the machine that creates rhinestone chain occurred in Providence, Rhode Island during the forties, the same time America was involved in World War II and saw the rationing of many metals.
The appearance of rhinestone jewelry made from rhinestone chain begins after the War and this is the look that we call rhinestone jewelry today. Machines produced rhinestone chain with stones mechanically set that would roll out continuously and was wound on spools. Designers would buy the spools and develop new designs by cutting and soldering the rhinestone chain. When we talk about rhinestone jewelry today, this is the look that comes to mind.
Now look at a vintage jewelry book showing rhinestone before the forties. The look is gorgeous, but very different. Designers created rings, brooches, bracelets, necklaces and earrings with glued in or prong set stones. The most fabulous designs began appearing in the 1930s introducing an era that continued to the 1960s called The Golden Age of Costume Jewelry.
Legendary costume jewelry houses put their name on fabulous designs and these pieces are collector items today. The era produced greats like Eisenberg, Haskell, Coro, Juliana, Dior, and Trifari. Inspirations from these design houses continue in fashion jewelry today, but we usually refer to this look as crystal jewelry and jewelry made with rhinestone chain as rhinestone jewelry.
TYPES OF RHINESTONE AND CRYSTAL JEWELRY
Are the stones different? Actually, they are not. The quality leader in crystal stones is Swarovski, and they produce rhinestone chain as well with the same process. What sets Swarovski apart? First, they were the pioneer in perfecting machine cut faceted stones. In addition, Swarovski perfected the lead crystal process according to http://www.jsbeads.com/Swarovski-Crystal/ with a finished product that is “32% lead, making the crystal optically pure”. Don’t worry; this lead is not going to release and in any way cause harm to health. Lead crystal is exempt from the lead content rulings.
Czech crystals are another source of crystals that are also used in rhinestone chain. The sparkle and perfection may be a small step below, but the price is cheaper and these stones get more use than the higher priced Swarovski crystals because consumers are very price conscious today.
The third option, used extensively in rhinestone or crystal jewelry from China, is Mideast stones. Sourced from the Mideast from countries like Dubai, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, these rhinestones have high radiance, but dull over time quicker than Czech stones. Mid Eastern stones are a favorite in Chinese manufacturing because they have eye-catching brilliance at a cheaper price than Czech or Austrian crystals.
Finally, Chinese stones are becoming a greater player in rhinestone and crystal jewelry. At first, the stones didn’t provide the quality for sparkling jewelry, but quality is improving for some manufacturers. Those with a keen insight to the market can save money with high quality Chinese rhinestone and crystal, but inferior quality is still in the market from lower end manufacturers.
So the bottom line is rhinestone and crystals are the same stone. The difference is when and how the jewelry is made. Before World War II, the terms are interchangeable because rhinestone chain didn’t exist. After the War rhinestone is more often applied to jewelry made with the chain while crystal usually refers to glued-in or prong set stones that are individually set.
Filed under Fashion Jewelry, Gemstone Jewelry, Necklace Sets
We are in July, it’s hotter than blazes, and consumers don’t want to get out of the air conditioning. When it comes to fashion jewelry, what in the world are retailers going to sell? This two-part blog covers just that. The first part covered needed jewelry for bridal and formal plus gemstone that remains popular season after season. But we saved the best for last. Now we are going to cover the two categories that we have to reorder more than any other in the summer months. The first is niche market jewelry.
NICHE MARKET JEWELRY
Niche market jewelry—what does that mean? Well an example might explain it. In New Orleans, fleur-de-lis jewelry has been huge since Hurricane Katrina. It is the symbol of the City and a rallying point for citizens that faced a serious disaster. Still, six year later, women from New Orleans never tire of fleur-de-lis jewelry. For Accessory Wholesale, it is an item that requires constant reorder, even in the summer. This is fashion jewelry with more powerful sales than even items in the latest trends.
The point is niche markets are a huge answer to getting customers to buy in the sultry heat. Think about your area and the niche markets for your customers. Football is coming and some states live and die by their college teams. High school teams also have a passionate following. In Louisiana, LSU reigns and licensed LSU jewelry will always have a market.
Other niche markets include the growing number of caring people involved with breast cancer awareness. Still other markets are the fun loving red hatters.
Human nature plays into the niche markets that are selling. Right after the 9/11 tragedy, there was a return to values and inspirational jewelry reflected the thoughts and feelings of consumers who gave more thought to a Higher Being. In fragile economic times that have a high unemployment, the same feelings return, perhaps making us feel guilty as fair weather friends. Nevertheless, inspirational jewelry and gifts are on the upswing. Combining inspirational jewelry and gifts in display tells a story in your shop that will capture the attention of shoppers. This is a niche market that can be uplifting for your clientele.
Study your own customer base and local area for niche markets that work. This is where you have a great advantage over the big box stores that do not have your local input.
PENDANTS AND EARRINGS
“Best Brand” manufactures a superb line of pendants and earrings plus the chokers needed to wear the pendants. Themes are endless in this line that has superior metalwork unchallenged in the fashion jewelry field.
Why does this line keep selling over and over again? Three main reasons—themes, quality, and uniqueness. First, themes are special because they touch the hearts of the buyer. Even a shopper that is not in the market for fashion jewelry cannot pass up a Yorkie pendant if their Yorkshire is dear to them. The same is true for nearly every theme from gardening to motorcycles.
But it is not just the theme; it is the exceptional metalwork that delivers the jewelry that is immediately recognizable with intricate detail. The process of “Best Brand” is unique in the fashion jewelry industry. Most pendants and matching earrings start with a thin sheet of steel that a stamping process presses into a dimensionally raised shape, loaded with detail. Then they cut a back and solder it in place so the pendant or earrings are hollow and lightweight, borrowing a page from puffy sterling silver jewelry. Finally, the jewelry is plated, sometimes epoxied with color, and polished. The manufacturer is proud enough of theses creations to stamp their name on the back of each piece. Retailers are buying the jewelry of future vintage collectors.
Not everything is theme. “Best Brand” also creates fashion designs that follow the trends in jewelry. Geometrics, animal prints, inlays, Southwest inspirations, Murano style glass, and classic patterns—it’s all here in this fabulous line.
Now retailers need chokers and chains so customers can wear the pendants. “Best Brand” answers that challenge with one of the most extensive lines of fashion chokers. Stock several with your display and price each component in this line separately. That way the customer gets to create their own designs and they may want more than one choker to give different looks to the same pendant. Also the customer can build their own sale that will fit their budget. Whereas, combining pendant, choker, and earrings can elevate the price and put it beyond an impulsive buy.
Make a statement in your shop with this line and you have something unique with practically no competition. Look around online and in brick and mortar shops and you will probably not find this sensational line or anything like it with such high quality. One final reason why customers are constantly reordering this fashion jewelry—the look with pendants on chokers is tailored, a classy accessory for career wear, and it is timeless, never going out of style. This is the line we reorder more than any other. You have hardly any competition in it. So try out this fashion jewelry and see if it helps your summer sales like it is helping other retailers carrying it.
For many fashion businesses, summer months are far from the best of the year. So retailers want to buy cautiously and they want to key in on products that are selling. This blog and the next will review the areas of fashion jewelry that are doing best, based on our statistics. That statistics have some merit because the customer base has a rather even distribution over the country and includes some international input.
Let’s begin with formal jewelry that received good coverage earlier this month. Sales in jewelry for bridal and special events are steady. Rhinestone and crystal jewelry along with faux pearl for bridal continue along at a steady pace.
This is steady items that should be part of a fashion jewelry retailer’s inventory, but it is not what we normally think of when we talk about fashion jewelry. Actually, formal jewelry is usually a “must buy” for a special occasion. Casual jewelry on the other hand is what we see in fashion magazines and accessorizing the models on the runways. This fashionable jewelry accessorizes apparel with an up to date statement.
JEWELRY IN THIS SUMMER’S FASHION TRENDS
Long swinging necklaces worn solo or in combinations continue to be stylish. No, they didn’t just arrive on the fashion scene, but they are innovating and that is the lifeblood of a trend. Glass beads spaced on gunmetal plated wire, fire polished faceted glass beading, faux pearl mixed with chain in multiple strands—these are all new expressions in this continuing trend.
Multiple bracelets go along with these necklaces and again this is not shockingly new, but now we are in the heart of summer and the “Brazilian Beat” trend reported by Accessories Magazine is influencing bangles and cuffs with sizzling, vibrant colors. Capture the look in a very summer way by using dyed shell bracelets.
When it comes to shockingly new, statement necklaces definitely fit in. Usually crafted in metal with a hand made appearance, these dramatic necklace sets may be a little too edgy for some of your customers. But the tribal looks inspired by craftsmen from India tone down the drama for more traditional bold looks with beading that appears to be hand made relief work of local artists in exotic countries.
Then there are the oversize cocktail rings with stretch bands. A year ago, Accessories Magazine called this fashion jewelry the sleeper item of the year. Sales have only gone up since then. It is hard to say they aren’t gaudy, but you probably need them in your shop because they just keep on selling.
All this fashion jewelry fits into the trendy category and it is moving, but it is not the cream of the crop in sales. Far better is gemstone jewelry.
Think back to September 11, 2001. The Twin Towers attack shocked the world, bling came to a halt, and caring and classic dominated. Fashion jewelry searched the world for classic art that became the new medium for design. Among the components was gemstone, which out-survived all the others and remains high on the consumers’ list of favorites today.
Again, innovation keeps a trend alive and these trends can span a decade or more. Innovation has gemstone jewelry excelling over all the more recent trendy jewelry in sales. This popularity is not only true in the statistics of our company, but a casual perusal of the showcases of upscale department stores reveals gemstone jewelry is still high in their opinion also.
Wide polished chip collars and bracelets in amethyst, coral, or turquoise are there as well as turquoise in abundant designs. Gemstone’s fist cousins of freshwater pearl and shell jewelry are also players.
Our own statistics show symmetrical gemstone designs in necklaces and bracelets doing well with elongated gemstone cubes creating an eye-pleasing look in carnelian, tiger’s eye, rose quartz, crystal quartz, and numerous other semi precious stones.
Turquoise is by far the consumers’ favorite with red coral second. Combinations of the two are also important. Chunky looks with nuggets or polished chips are selling as well as statement necklaces with a large medallion catching attention.
If the public ever gets tired of turquoise, there is an endless list of semi precious stones that can provide interesting natural designs and gorgeous colors all from nature. Agates and jaspers can keep us busy for years. This stuff is fascinating and many semi precious stones are a geology lesson in jewelry with inclusions, banding, and a range of textures and colors. This stuff wasn’t made over night. The website, www.agatelady.com claims the Lake Superior agate field developed 1.2 billion years ago.
On thing is certain—if you have an interesting display of gemstone jewelry, it will grab attention and you will have plenty to talk about with your customers.
Next blog continues with the two categories of fashion jewelry that require the most frequent reorders by our company.