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Ideas for Jewelry & Accessory Businesses

Archive for September, 2012...

Filed under Fashion Jewelry, Uncategorized
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Is fashion jewelry any good any more?  That’s been the discussion in our recent blogs.  Well, fashion jewelry actually goes beyond what we normally think of when talk about the term.  Jewelry with perceived intrinsic value also falls into the fashion jewelry category.  We’re talking about gemstone and shell jewelry.  These categories are doing very well, but we somehow exclude them when we think of fashion jewelry.  Why?



Is it because their components are from nature and we give them a higher status in our jewelry perception?  Regardless, they are doing well and are important this season because the fall palette has a surprise of bright colors.  With manufacturers of costume jewelry playing safe by steering away from color, shell jewelry and gemstone step in to deliver the vibrant hues that update wardrobes for fall 2012.



Look at the Pantone palette for the season.  There is a bright fuchsia called pink flambe’, a lime green called bright chartreuse, a burnt orange called tangerine tango, and a mustard called honey gold.  Actually only three of the ten colors are ones you would expect on a fall palette. 


If costume jewelry manufacturers are steering away from color, where on earth are we going to find these unexpected brights for fall?  You guessed it, in shell and gemstone jewelry. 



Multicolor shell necklace set

Shell and gemstone jewelry are under the fashion jewelry umbrella and they are delivering the color we need for fall.  Compare the Pantone color chart to the multicolor shell necklace shown.  This necklace looks like it was made for this palette.  Many of the vibrant colors are included in the necklace set and, yes, we are talking about fall.  It is hard to find costume jewelry in today’s market that can deliver the fall palette as well as this shell jewelry does. 


Shell bracelets also carry the colors for fall.  The trochus shell bracelet in the picture matches the rose smoke on the Pantone palette.  Other color choices can coordinate with orange tango or pink flambe’. 



gemstone agate bracelet

For a burst of color that expands to cover the entire palette, we need to look at gemstone jewelry.  Here we will find a semi precious stone to go with every color on the palette.  Ultramarine green—try the agate bracelet shown. 



That lavender color called rhapsody—match it with amethyst jewelry.  A nice touch is the amethyst bracelet with clean lines in a semi precious stone once reserved for royalty.




Semi precious necklace set

French roast—a deep brown color with a blend of gray.  Capture it almost perfectly with this necklace set that has a jasper pendant and interesting smaller ovals in rutilated quartz.  .  This is one of the few colors you would expect on a fall palette. 

The pale pink of rose smoke—rose quartz is perfect.  The necklace with polished rose quartz fingers shown does a superb job. 


cherry quartz necklace

The burnt orange hue of tangerine tango—match with this cherry quartz necklace that hints at the color with polished chips. 



fiber optic necklace

If you think there is nothing to match the lime green of bright chartreuse, think again.  Fiber optic, sometimes called cateye, often gets thrown in with gemstone jewelry.  Actually, it is a glass product with the moving eye found in tiger’s eye.  The gemologists call this effect chatoyance.  Fiber optic has a range of colors including the lime color we want to match the color on the palette. 


 semi precious necklace set in snowflake obsidian

 Titanium is a hue of gray that seems at home on a fall palette.  The semi precious necklace set shown delivers the color with a very hard semi precious stone called snowflake obsidian.  Some of your customers will recognize this gemstone that gets its name from gray snowflake-like patterns on a black background.  The polished chip necklace delivers the color with a lot of interesting inclusions.


lapis necklace

Pick up the color called Olympian blue that is a little lighter than cobalt with this lapis necklace made of polished chips. 




gemstone bracelet

Orange aventurine is an excellent match for the honey gold look that is another unexpected color on a fall palette.  This gemstone captures the hue that is a shade darker than mustard and would seem more in place on a spring color palette. 



dyed crystal quartz bracelets

Pink flambe’, a vibrant fuchsia color, is a real surprise in these fall fashion colors.  It definitely looks like a misplaced color from a summer palette.  Capturing this hue in gemstone requires some human help.  One clever process involves crystal quartz.  The glassy clear quartz is too hard to accept dye, but a process of heating the quartz to a high degree and then dousing it in cold water creates endless tiny fractures that absorb the dye and give the quartz color.  The bracelets shown go through the process and deliver a color that brings pink flambe’ to a wardrobe. 



A second process heats sliced geodes in different solutions to get different colors.  An iron nitrate solution creates red and altering the process can deliver different hues in the family including fuchsia.



We can call it shell jewelry and we can call it gemstone jewelry, but it still finds a place in the fashion jewelry category.  It never goes away because these natural components transcend time and also transcend seasons.  If you have any doubts, occasionally browse the showcases of upscale department stores and you will see they always fit into the mix.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Friday, September 21st, 2012

Filed under Fashion Jewelry
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Statement Jewelry

Now, back to the question, how is fashion jewelry doing in 2012?  Sure, the atmosphere is right for fashion jewelry demand.  Dramatic size is the “in” thing.  Statement jewelry of every kind is “the style”, especially statement necklaces.  Only costume jewelry can deliver the look affordably.  Countering a great climate for fashion jewelry is a fragile economy.  So what motivates customers to buy? 


Niche markets boost sales in these accessories.  These markets can be seasonal or special interests.  Combing through our sales statistics, we pinpointed four top niche markets in jewelry for our company.  The results carry some weight because the company has been fine-tuning the product line for the past 27 years.  



 pumpkin pendant

Retailers in the costume business know that Halloween has steadily grown in importance over recent years.  If you have any doubts, look at The National Retail Federation’s statistics on what consumers planned to spend over the last seven years.  The figures grew from slightly over 3 billion to almost 7 billion.  Yet jewelry manufacturers are avoiding this market because it is short and they worry that the large quantities of a run in Halloween jewelry won’t sell through completely in a fragile economy.   


So this niche market has an added advantage—limited competition.  This is great for retailers with a source for Halloween jewelry—especially classy designs.  “Best” is a manufacturer that delivers seasonal jewelry with a lot of class.  As a leader in fashion jewelry, they have a reputation for not cutting corners. 


“Best” uses two processes–casting and stamping.  The stampings have three dimensional shape with sealed backs that are usually silver plated and highly polished.  This jewelry looks identical to sterling silver, but carries a much lower price.  Some pieces have enameling with detailed Halloween color that really sets off the jewelry. 


This it real quality, but some of your customers may want inexpensive Halloween jewelry in resins.  This is cute stuff at impulse sale prices.  Draw attention to your Halloween jewelry with accessories like Halloween scarves or ties.




Christmas jewelry is an even more important niche market than Halloween because it is a longer season.   Manufacturers are avoiding this season also for the same reason.  So if you have the inventory, you have a niche market that can really pay off. 

 Christmas bracelet

“Best” also does a quality Christmas line that includes earrings, pin/pendant combinations, and bracelets.  This is the Cadillac of Christmas jewelry with the same quality we detailed in Halloween.  Bracelets even include glass lampwork beads that are something you can be proud to show in your holiday line. 


Christmas pin

Christmas has also a wider selection of classy pins and earrings in resins and enameled metals.  Nostalgic looks are especially appealing here—the stuff you find on classic Christmas cards.  This niche market gives small retailers a big advantage over competition–even over the majors, because nice jewelry for this season will be in short supply this year. 




A growing number of women are showing compassion for their neighbor by getting involved in drives, marathons, and events to find a cure for breast cancer.  This disease can strike the loved ones in our own family just as easily as the families of strangers.  The pink ribbon is the symbol for breast cancer awareness and October is the month dedicated to raising awareness and raising funds for a cure. 

 breast cancer awareness bracelet

With attention growing for breast cancer awareness, pink ribbon jewelry has increased in demand beyond the expectations of most retailers.  For us this has become an important niche market.  Rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings with pink ribbons get immediate recognition as jewelry that shows concern.   


Since the market is small, this niche has less competition than markets with a wider reach.  Actually, that is what niche markets—appeal to a narrow segment of buyers.  October is the month for retailers that want to enter this area because that is the month of the greatest activity.  If there are walkathons and other scheduled events in your area for breast cancer awareness, this could be a theme that will be meaningful to your customers.  Most likely, you will have little competition and probably none from major retailers. 




Our company enjoys a major niche market for local business because we are in New Orleans.  The French founded the City in 1718 and the fleur-de-lis became our City’s symbol.  The symbol has a long and gallant history that includes being on the banner of St. Joan of Arc and the symbol of French royalty.  During the French Revolution, the fleur-de-lis was removed from the French flag, symbolically severing relations with past royalty


But it still remained the proud symbol of New Orleans.  It remained on the flag of Acadiana in South Louisiana, and as a symbol of other places included in the Louisiana Purchase like St. Louis.

 fleur-de-lis jewelry

After Hurricane Katrina, the fleur-de-lis became immensely popular as a symbol of hope and rebuilding.  The popularity remains today and everything with a fleur-de-lis theme seems to sell.   


Is there a local theme in your area that can be an important niche market?  Think about it.  If one doesn’t exist, apply your imagination to local interests and maybe yu will be the one to begin some local pride that can also benefit your business. 


Why are Local Themes and Sports Grouped Together?


These two niche markets are lumped together because one of the strongest local interests from coast to coast is hometown high school football.  This is a niche market that takes creativity because no manufacturer can produce small runs of jewelry to satisfy the countless local themes in our nation.  So retailers create their own local line of jewelry using mascots, school colors, and sports theme jewelry. 

 school color bracelets

There is a good chance you will find your school colors on our site in the glass bracelet, CB603.  The toggle bracelets consist of 10mm glass beads in several color combinations.  They were designed for exactly the purpose we are talking about–to help match local school colors.  Searching through charms may turn up a charm to add and make the bracelets even more specific to your school. 

 school color choker

Want to do something in necklaces for local schools?  Choose a choker like CK112 that will pass through a 4mm opening of a bead.  Then choose loose beads with 4mm openings on the site.  These specially made beads have a larger opening that will slide on some chains and chokers.  Space the beads with silver plated filigree beads like the picture shows.  A mascot pendant can be included in the center.  Put your mascot in the search on the site and see if any matching pendants come up. Most retailers price the components individually and group them together.  This lets customers be creative and lets them build their own look depending on what they want to spend. 

 sports jewelry

If this involves more than you have time for, simply group some school color jewelry together with bracelets, earrings, and pendants in a football theme.  Also, for collegiate, there are categories for LSU and Alabama licensed jewelry on the site.   


Football is a passion in most areas so give your business a boost by appealing to the locals.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Filed under Fashion Jewelry Trends
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To say we are in a challenging economy is not news.  Small fashion businesses are cautiously making decisions about what inventory to buy.  Searching the internet for statistics on fashion jewelry sales for the second half of this year turns up nothing.  So how do you choose? 



High Fashion Jewelry

First, the atmosphere for fashion jewelry is good.  Actually, it is excellent.  Let’s contrast it to the mid 1990s.  Prada introduced basic colors and a natural look in the nineties and it swept the market.  Soon a large percentage of women were into the trend of minimal jewelry or the natural look of no jewelry at all.  You can imagine how that devastated the fashion jewelry industry.  In 1995, many of my suppliers and manufacturers went out of business or were in bankruptcy.  Many of my competitors and customers were also closing or changing their lines.  Scary, right?  Well 2012 is an entirely different story.


In 2012, the fashion trends are dramatic jewelry.  What can provide the bold looks of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings other than fashion jewelry?  Doing it in fine jewelry would require a second mortgage on the house.  No, the trends are there, but the economy is soft.  So what is happening to fashion jewelry this year? 



Trying to find some statistics on the current state of fashion jewelry is an impossible task.  There are no reports on the internet.  So we must go by experience and the information from others in the industry.  With 27 years in the fashion jewelry industry, we have lots of contacts.  We are specifically interested in fashion jewelry sales for small businesses.  Putting everything together, I noticed a trend that began with 9/11 and continued to grow stronger over the years.  Bling was the thing before the attack.  But immediately the mood turned somber and people felt a need for meaning.  Classic became the desired look with crystal, gemstone, vintage designs, and Murano style glass jewelry taking over  


Some of these categories are slowing as years go by, but the idea of niche markets remains dominant.  In other words, even those that think fashion jewelry is so-so will admit niche markets within fashion jewelry are strong.  Even many manufacturers think the market for fashion jewelry is soft today, but believe their line is doing well because it is outside the general concept of fashion jewelry.  Actually it is.  Because it is a niche market.  And these niche markets seem to mainly fall into three categories:

  • Needed items
  • Special occasions, seasons, and needs
  • Items perceived outside the fashion jewelry category



bridal necklace set

What do we mean by needed items?  This is jewelry bought to fulfill a need rather than for a fashion look.  The most obvious is bridal jewelry.  Bridal jewelry is not an option; it’s a must.  When retailers are considering fashion jewelry, bridal jewelry is generally not what they are thinking.  But faux pearl jewelry is part of fashion jewelry. 


This is the jewelry that sells year round for brides and often bridesmaids.  Necklace sets are important as well as bracelets.  Designs range from elaborate to simple and no matter what bridal magazines show, simplicity continues to dominate the market.   



rhinestone jewelry

Crystal and rhinestone jewelry are also used for bridal, but extend beyond wedding jewelry to include a number of other needs.  Formal occasions like balls need rhinestone or crystal jewelry.  Pageants, dance competition, anniversaries, cocktail parties, teas, luncheons, and some church events all require formal jewelry.  When women are involved in these events, rhinestone and crystal jewelry is usually the choice.  These are needed accessories rather than a fashionable addition to an outfit. 

 crystal jewelry

Our site separates crystals and rhinestone jewelry based on the manufacturing process.  The stones are actually the same, but crystal jewelry has handset stones that are usually glued in place.  References to rhinestone jewelry before World War II refer to this kind of jewelry only.    


During the war, manufacturers in Providence, Rhode Island invented the machinery to produce rhinestone chain.  When you look at rhinestone jewelry today, you see rhinestones set in chain that is cut and soldered together to create the designs.  This chain comes out of the machine with the stones already set.  Look at vintage rhinestone books and you don’t see this look before the War. 


Crystal and rhinestone jewelry are niche markets that continue to ring the cash register regardless of the economy because this needed items. 



fashion chokers

Wire chokers are more popular and have a far greater need than most retailers realize.  Hurricane Isaac just passed through South Louisiana and when we returned, the orders included three that were exclusively chokers with plenty of other orders that included some fashion chokers.  Why are they so popular?  Because the fashion jewelry market has plenty of pendants available, but consumers need a way to wear them. 


The problem is chokers are hard to find and individual tastes presents a second problem.  Customers not only need chokers to wear pendants, but they often have a look in mind that they want to achieve.  So retailers that supply a variety of attractive chokers are filling a basic need in costume jewelry.  In addition, they are letting their customers be creative by mixing and matching pendants and chokers.  Each combination is a fresh look so a few chokers and a few pendants gives a lot of mileage for tailored accessories that look very classy for career wear. 


A soft economy calls for more conservative decisions in retail.  Niche markets provide a degree of safety because they play to specific customers that have needs or strong interests in the items. 

Our next blog will explore specific niche markets for special occasions that rank highest based on our sales statistics. 

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Thursday, September 6th, 2012