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Filed under Earrings, Fashion Jewelry, Pendants, Scarves, Uncategorized, Valentine Jewelry
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 Valentines Day—it comes in the dead of winter, the most frigid month of the year, yet it stirs warm feelings for sweethearts and couples. 

 

A mountain of cards, flowers, and candy are exchanged to show sweethearts and spouses how much they are loved.  Yet small business has to love Valentine’s Day even more with total sales reaching 9.3 billion in 2011 according to an About.com article. 

 

HOW DID VALENTINES DAY COME ABOUT?

How did it all begin?  The history of Valentines Day is rather confusing.  The name comes from the feast of St. Valentine that falls on February 14; at least it did until the revision of The General Roman Calendar of feast days in 1969.  Prior to that, February 14 was actually the fest day for two St. Valentines—One from Rome and the other from Terni, Italy.    

 

It’s the one from Rome that is most likely linked to the romantic theme of Valentines Day.  Legend says that Emperor Claudius II cancelled all wedding and engagements in Rome because he felt married men were less likely to serve in the Roman Legion.  St. Valentine secretly married Christian couples and when discovered, was condemned to death by Claudius.  Another legend states he miraculously healed his jailer’s daughter of blindness.  They continued to visit him in prison and before his execution he sent her a note reading, “From your Valentine”. 

 

A more likely origin of Valentines Day is a belief in Britain and France that birds picked their mates on February 14 and according to The Catholic Encyclopedia this is reflected in Chaucer’s Parliament of Foules that reads:

 

For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.

 

ECONOMIC IMPACT OF VALENTINES DAY

While the origin of Valentines Day is uncertain, there is no question about its importance to small business–Over 1 billion of candy sold, over 190 million cards, and 25% of the annual sales of flower shops.  Best of all, small business is getting a large share of this business. 

 

What about fashion jewelry and accessory shops?  They have a very important part to play.  Think about it.  Flowers wilt in a week, candy is soon gone, and cards end up in the drawer.  But fashion jewelry provides the gift that lasts.  Gifts that go into the jewelry box will be there as a reminder every time it is opened to retrieve an accessory.  Granted, fashion jewelry will not outpace cards, candy, or flowers for Valentines Day gifts, but it is the great add-on gift that does not perish.  It is the meaningful accessory that stirs feeling every time it is put on.   

 

POPULAR FASHION JEWELRY FOR VALENTINES DAY GIFTS

What fashion jewelry is most relevant for the occasion?  Every year we see a swell of business in crystal heart brooches, especially brooches with red crystals.  This fashion jewelry speaks for itself as it makes a shimmering statement of love. Four styles share the limelight and all have noticeable size and plenty of glimmer. 

 

Cupid pins and combinations of cupid and hearts transmit the same feelings with toned down drama.  These cute pins find appeal for all ages. 

 

Filigree heart lockets are also lifetime keepsakes with a classic design.  The puffy hearts have matching earrings and the quality is superb, crafted by “Best Brand”, a leader in fashion jewelry quality. 

 

Usually men are shopping for Valentines jewelry for their sweethearts or wives and often they are not comfortable with buying Valentines jewelry and need your help.  The right item depends of the receiver’s personality and age.  Many younger women prefer the look of sterling silver in bracelets or earrings.  Again “Best Brand” does an excellent job in this area.  Many of his creations are dimensionally stamped from a thin sheet of steel, sealed, plated silver, and polished for a finished product that even a jeweler can mistake for sterling.  Why?  Because this quality manufacturer has taken the time to craft fashion jewelry identical to the steps taken for fine jewelry. 

 

A final consideration for Valentines jewelry is rhinestone.  Rhinestone heart necklaces see a real boost of sales in February.  Sliding on a chain, these rhinestone hearts are easy to wear with outfits throughout the year and the recipient will never forget where it came from. 

 

WHO ARE VALENTINES BOUGHT FOR?

According to Aboutflowers spouses receive 57% of Valentines gifts, Moms receive 20%, significant others 20%, and friends 9%

 

So this opens up other areas we maybe haven’t thought about.  Moms have an easy solution.  We can cheat by going to the Mothers Day selection of jewelry and choose hearts specifically made for Mom. Most are again made by “Best Brand” with that same high quality reported above.  Mix some of these in your Valentines Day presentation.  You may have no competition for such specialized Valentines Day jewelry and you know it will always sell for Mothers Day if there is any inventory left. 

 

For friends, there is a superb gift that is also very practical—sculptured pewter writing pens with a dimensionally raised design that says “Best Friends”.  Sell-through is no problem here either because we are going into a peak wedding season and these make wonderful bridesmaid gifts.       

 

Add some decorations and display Valentines jewelry and gifts together to tell a story.  Keeps a jump on all special occasions coming up, arranging each one together in a location to tell a story.  Soon shoppers will realize your business is the go-to location for unique special occasion gifts. 

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Filed under Brooches, Christmas Jewelry, Crystal Jewelry, Earrings, Fashion Accessories, Fashion Jewelry, Necklace Sets, Rhinestone Jewelry, Seasonal Jewelry
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CONSUMERS TRUST SMALL BUSINESS FOR HOLIDAY & FORMAL JEWELRY

 

Did you notice the emphasis this year on supporting small business in Christmas shopping?  Conventional wisdom says this is smart because small business is the backbone of the American economy.  But how much does putting out the message help the Christmas season for small fashion businesses, especially when they are always competing with big box companies? 

A far more effective way to draw consumers to small business is offering the fashion accessories that shoppers trust small retailers for far more than they trust the majors. We discovered 12 categories that do just that and covered the first nine in the last two blogs.  Now let’s look at the last three, which are in the holiday or the formal jewelry and accessories area. 

10) HOLIDAY JEWELRY—RHINESTONE SETS

 

 Restaurants, clubs, and ballrooms offer special dining and entertainment every New Year’s Eve.  This gives couples the opportunity to dress up and enjoy a romantic evening out.  Women go shopping for the knockout apparel that will turn heads that night and plenty of retailers will be competing for the sales.  But accessorizing the dresses is left mainly to small business because they have the abundant options to make the perfect match for the outfit. 

Rhinestone necklace sets will be high on the shopping list for these consumers.  Nothing seems more traditional than rhinestone for New Year’s Eve, but most major retailers have a very limited selection.   It’s small business that has showcases of options because they specialize in the glitzy look all year.  Yes, when New Year’s Eve is gone for another year, small business will have the glamorous jewelry for proms, bridal, pageant, and balls while the majors are changing their showcases to a casual look.

Small retailers offer the traditional looks that many women are comfortable with as well as the edgy designs that are rising in fashion.  This season look for the glamorous looks in rhinestone that you would expect in the diamond jewels of royalty.  Designs fit for a queen, grace the neck with lavish crystals surrounded by smaller rhinestones. This tasteful extravagance is the ballroom look for this New Years Eve. 

 

When we think of rhinestone jewelry, sets crafted from rhinestone chain come to mind.  This look actually never existed before World War II because the machine to produce the rhinestone chain hadn’t been invented yet.  Before that, rhinestone jewelry was limited to handset stones that we call crystal jewelry today.  And these crystal sets are back in a big way because of the fashion trend of statement necklaces.  This has carried over into formal jewelry and crystal necklace sets deliver with larger stones and bold statements. 

 

With bracelets so big in trends, we can’t overlook crystal bracelets that add a glamorous accessory to the wrist.  Crystals again provide bold, sparkling designs that will stand out for holiday wear—everything from bracelets inspired by Art Deco to the gorgeous look of The Golden Age of Costume Jewelry.  This really adds excitement to a New Year’s Eve ensemble and where do you find it—at the small retailer locations that not only have the wide selection, but provide personal service in putting together the perfect look. 

11) GLITZY EARRINGS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

 

 Not every holiday dress is going to accommodate a necklace set and this is where earrings really step up to add the glamour.  Options abound in glitzy earrings.  Remember the chandeliers from a few years ago?  Well they never went away.  New designs deliver all the sparkle a girl could want with crystals and motion glimmering with every move.

If shoppers prefer something more traditional, the small retailers specializing in formal jewelry will have a host of rhinestone earrings from conservative size to shoulder duster length.  Cascades, buttons, hoops, linear earrings, colored rhinestones—where else can you find this selection?  And where else can shoppers get personal service that will have you leaving satisfied with accessories that really set off an outfit. 

 

Don’t overlook crystal earrings.  Small businesses have plenty of options for every hair do and outfit.  Crystal earrings can have the very feminine look of filigree settings as well as dramatic buttons, bold drops, or the elegance of glimmering crystals in silver plating with black epoxy contrast—so stunning for New Year’s Eve.  To find all these options, shoppers must visit small retailers with a focus on formal jewelry because the big box stores seldom have the variety or the personal service.    

12) BROOCHES

 

 If we think back a few years, it seems like there was a new trendy fashion item every Christmas.  In 2004 it was initials on accessories, in 2005 sequin handbags, and in 2006 crystal brooches.  That year the showcases of department stores sparkled with brooches.  Each item faded away except the crystal brooches that seem to be here to stay. 

But even crystal brooches faded away in the department store showcases while demand continued.  The gorgeous designs draw a lot of inspiration from the first half of the twentieth century—Art Nuevo, Art Deco, and designs from The Golden Age of Costume Jewelry.  Brooches make wonderful Christmas gifts for Mom, for office gift exchanges, and for other special occasions like bridesmaid gifts.  But the only reliable supplier is small businesses specializing in glitzy and formal jewelry. 

 

 Demand is high.  According to Google, there are 450,000 searches for per month for brooches and another 673,000 searches for brooch.  That means customers are looking for brooches and this is a wonderful opportunity for small business. 

A high number of major businesses started as small businesses.  Popeye’s Fried Chicken began with one chicken house in Arabi, La.  Ugg boots took hold in the US when the Australian, Brian Smith, sold them to surfers in California.  This is a small sampling of the importance of small business to the US economy.   In addition to being the incubator for larger businesses, small business hires nearly half the US workers and is the engine for employment with 65% of new hires. 

So survival of small business is important.  Retailers can zero in on areas of fashion where consumers trust them more than they trust the big box companies and consumers need to keep small business in mind when shopping.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Filed under Bracelets, Christmas Jewelry, Crystal Jewelry, Earrings, Fashion Jewelry, Gemstone Jewelry, Necklace Sets, Pendants, Sports Jewelry, Uncategorized
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In the fast pace of the Christmas buying season, how is small business doing compared to the majors.  According to the US Small Business Administration, nearly half the employment in the US and 65% of new hiring comes from small business so their survival is vital to the American economy.  There is a push this year to make consumers aware of supporting small business in their Christmas shopping.  But ask someone if that reflects in their buying pattern, and most will embarrassingly say no.

If that isn’t working, something is.  There are a number of items that consumers simply trust small business for over the majors when shopping.  In fashion accessories we covered headwear and accessories in Part I and now let’s move forward with fashion jewelry

5) STATEMENT NECKLACES

If there is anything radically different on the fashion scene in jewelry this year it would be statement necklaces.  These brash works in metal strutted the runways of fashion shows and stunned readers on the covers of fashion magazines. But they are just a little too edgy for department stores and most of the majors. 

 

These retailers like more toned-down style with the classy look often inspired by The Golden Age of Costume Jewelry.  The Golden Age began in the 1930s during The Great Depression and extended through the 1960s with the most creative houses in costume jewelry delivering elegant works.      

But glamorous jewelry didn’t stand unopposed in that era.  A rebellious statement in jewelry countered these fabulous creations with hand-made works, mostly in metals, that expressed art with primitive designs. A look back on this medium collects the works into a category called Mid-Century Modern. No doubt, this had to be some of the inspiration going into the bold statement necklaces created in metals dominating high fashion this fall and winter. 

 

Now where do fashion forward consumers find this look when shopping for themselves or others this Christmas?  Certainly not in an upscale department store!  No, only small business provides the high fashion look that has been dominating the runways.  So when it comes to forward fashion and edgy designs, consumers know small business is the only answer. 

 

6) QUALITY CHRISTMAS JEWELRY

Looking back twenty years in the jewelry industry, Providence, Rhode Island was the center of American jewelry manufacturing. Many businesses were cottage industries that specialized in aspect of production—linking, carding, soldering, casting, plating.  But competition from China with lower prices and gradually improving quality dismantled the American industry piece by piece. 

Then an economic slowdown caused Chinese manufacturers, importers, and major retailers to be extremely cautious.  Seasonal jewelry was a risk because sell through had to occur in a short period of time. So the 2011 Christmas season is woefully short of quality Christmas jewelry that is traditionally part of the holiday spirit.  Consumers wear it to work, while shopping, and to family gatherings.  It’s as much of Christmas as stockings hanging from the mantle.  But with short supply, where do shoppers find this quality Christmas jewelry that delighted everyone in years past? 

Small retailers are suddenly the go-to source for classy Christmas jewelry.  They do not need a massive inventory to satisfy their clientele and they have an uncanny instinct to find resources.

 

When consumers want to express the holiday spirit with charm bracelets that have enameled charms in Christmas colors or quality glass bracelets with lampwork beads, most likely the only source is the small retailer. 

Classy resin pins in creative designs make wonderful stocking stuffers as well as accent pieces to spread holiday cheer, but this Christmas they may be hard to find outside of small business. 

Pendants and earrings stamped from a thin sheet of metal with art and personality that is irresistible—you guessed it—only small business.  “Best Brand” is the creator of these works of art and this line of fashion jewelry is so labor intense that it is simply impossible to supply the high quantities the majors would want.  Each piece goes through stamping, plating, polishing, and often enameling for color.   The finished product makes any consumer proud to give it as a Christmas gift, but this exceptional jewelry will only be found at small retailers. 

7) PENDANTS AND EARRINGS

Actually, Christmas jewelry is only the tip of the iceberg for “Best Brand”.  Their selection of pendants and matching earrings covers nearly every look in fashion plus endless themes.  The workmanship is so fine that the company proudly has its name impressed on the back of each piece.  And we are equally as proud to distribute the line, which we know from sales records goes exclusively to small business. 

Just look through the pendant line and you will find something for nearly every event or location.  And most pendants have matching earrings.  On our site an items number is preceded by PD for pendants and FS for earrings.  To find a matching earring simply change the PD to FS and put the code in the search box. 

Most businesses buying this line follow a theme.  It could be sea life for beach locations, horse and Southwest themes for a western store, motorcycles for a bike shop, baseball for little league fundraisers, and the list goes on.  So where do consumers find this exceptional line of fashion jewelry—only at small retail locations. 

8 ) LOCAL THEMES AND NICHE MARKETS

This brings us to another excusive of small business–local themes and niche markets.  No national retailer will understand local interests as well as the small businesses that live and operate in the area.  What a huge advantage this gives to the small retailer! 

We are located in South Louisiana.   If you watch Swamp People, you get a glimpse of a piece of our culture—Cajun music, crawfish boils, seafood, and the home of seasonings and hot sauces.  The themes in jewelry that goes to the heart of locals is not found in major retailers.  No, it is small business and often local artists.  The same is true in every locale. 

Even sports from local high schools that everyone has, to avid fans of college teams provides opportunity for small business.  The LSU vs. Alabama game was billed the game of the century.  Licensed jewelry for both teams is found on our web site and small businesses certainly have a market for it with all the dedicated fans these two teams have.  

  

Now back to the local high schools.  Small business can rally capitalize on this theme because no manufacturer can afford to produce a line for such a small market.  Begin with school colors.  Glass bracelets on the site provide a variety of two-tone color and most likely your colors are there.  Next use the search to find your mascot in pendants and earrings.  If it isn’t there, choose pendants for the sport such as football related pendants and earrings.  These slide on chokers found under fashion jewelry.  To really make the jewelry pop for your high school add school color. Pick beads in the right color from loose beads on the menu.  These beads have a 4mm opening so they can slide on many chokers so make sure some of your chokers will accommodate the beads.  Group all the pieces together in your shop to tell a story and sell individually so your customers can build their own look. 

This the advantage small fashion retailers have that helps them overcome the heavy hitters in the majors. 

9) GEMSTONE JEWELRY

 

The flight to quality in fashion jewelry dates back to the shocking tragedy on September 11, 2001.  Suddenly family, prayer, and heroism trumped bling that was the trend of the day.  Fashion jewelry went through a worldwide search for art and materials that were classic.

Crystal, Murano style glass, lampwork beads, and gemstone jewelry were some of the mediums that captured that attention of retail customers.   But gemstone jewelry continues while interest in other forms of fashion jewelry receded. Department stores still grace their showcases with a few selections of semi precious jewelry, but small business is where consumers will find the extensive selection. 

Yes, demand remains high because semi precious jewelry has intrinsic value and unique design that synthetics can’t duplicate.  Department stores left lots of change on the table by moving on.  Every time I am in a department store, I look at their showcases.  Season after season turquoise and coral return.  In addition, each season has at least one other semi precious stone included in fashion jewelry–amethyst was a recent example.  But demand is exceeding this limited supply and customers that have grown to love the intrinsic beauty of semi precious jewelry know that the only place to really find selection is in a small retail location.      

The blog that follows will wrap up the fashion accessories where small business excels with a look at the formal side of jewelry and accessories.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Filed under Bracelets, Bridal Accessories, Bridal Jewelry, Brooches, Costume Jewelry, Crystal Jewelry, Earrings, Fashion Accessories, Fashion Jewelry, Fashion Jewelry Trends, Fashion Trends, Hats, Necklace Sets, Tiaras, Uncategorized, Wholesale Jewelry
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Accessories Magazine reviews trends shaping fashion jewelry and accessories each season based on the fashion shows that preview the coming season.  Major fashion stories result from sorting all the tangents of designers crossing the runways.  The last blog covered the first two for fall and this blog covers the next two—a dual that seems to contradict each other as fashion statements.  Accessories Magazine’s Survival Mode borders on grunge while Ice Queen has a classy majestic look.     

ARCTIC SURVIVAL TREND

As different as the trends seem, both find inspiration in the dominant mood of the times—economic uncertainty.  Survival mode finds an obvious connection.  First impression is the rugged attire of inhabitants of the arctic tundra.  Earth tone colors with patches of fur deliver a nomadic appearance.  Inspiration is global with Scandinavian prints, African crafts, English tweeds, and Alpine flairs all contributing. 

Jewelry combines natural materials with metals for a close-to-earth feeling.  Wood and raw gemstones blended with metals create fashion jewelry that delivers the story.  Look for burnished metals in cuffs and bangles as well as braided leather in jewelry. 

Trapper hats are a natural fit for these trends well as any headwear that is fur trimmed.  Other hats include wide brim wool fedoras, crocheted caps, and wool buckets. 

WINTER WHITE FASHION TREND MAKES LUXURIOUS STATEMENT

If the previous trend reflects a rugged response to economic times, this fashion story that Accessories Magazine calls Ice Queen uses a fantasy world to cope with financial stress.  Opulence abounds in this trend characterized by shades of opal and winter white.   Fur and cashmere add to the extravagance of the fantasy. 

Fashion jewelry accessorizes the look with iridescent crystals, unconventional designs of pearls, and opalescent Lucite.  Rhinestone or crystal mixed with frosted beads and pearls as bracelets or necklace sets.  Jewelry with shades white, cream, and ivory fit into this theme with wintery snow and ice inspiration. 

Headwear accessories include bobby pins with enameled flowers, lace and crocheted headbands or caps, and headwear with sequins, especially iridescent sequins.  Winter white in nearly any hat can accompany the look. 

This fashion story is easy to accessorize because the jewelry that delivers the sparkle for the trend also provides holiday jewelry that will soon be in demand.  Actually, fashion jewelry in crystals, rhinestone, and faux pearls should have a permanent location in shops because of the endless line up of events that call for dressy accessories. 

The following blog includes the fashion story for December delivery as well as holiday trends

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Filed under Bracelets, Brooches, Earrings, Fashion Jewelry, Hats, Necklace Sets, Pendants, Sunglasses
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The runways for every new season provide an abundance of fresh designs that go in endless directions.  But each season, Accessories Magazine makes sense of it all by taking thousands of photos and narrowing down the stand outs for jewelry and accessories to five fashion stories.  This blog covers the first two stories with the rest following during the week. 

THE SIXTIES REINVENTED IN JEWELRY AND ACCESSORIES

 The first fashion story Accessories Magazine calls Mod Remix.  Think sixties here with a clean look and innocence that sometimes gets eclipsed by hippie movements and civil disobedience later in the decade.  However, the sixties open with Jackie Kennedy as First Lady, the picture of elegance.  Camelot opens on Broadway.  Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, as well as a fist full of classic westerns are playing on the silver screen.  Beach party movies were playing for the teens and even Elvis Presley gets into the act. 

 

This was the era of Lucite and plastic colored bangles and earrings and they are back with this fall fashion trend.  Color continues with enameled pins as well as enameled pendants and cuff bracelets—some matching the color blocking of the apparel.  Apparel for the trend likes sleek silhouettes and clean shapes. Sunglasses get smaller with cateye or oval lenses in plastic frames.  Color is here also. 

 

The use of geometric shapes in jewelry brings back oversized earrings whether elongated cone drops with color or plated metal in geometrics.  Geometrics also extend to neckwear with bib necklaces that sometimes incorporate resins. 

And what are sixties trends without patent leather—patent leather in shoes, boots, bags, even hair accessories.  Patent bucket hats also fit in.  The bags are structured often with contrasting handles or piping.  Mod Remix is the fun story for fall trends.   

THE AUSTERE TAILORED TREND

A continuing debate ponders the question of what inspires fashion trends.  One solution offered is zeitgeist—the mood that defines that point of time.  It is hard to argue against the zeitgeist of this era being economic insecurity.  And that theme spills over into the next fashion trend that Accessories Magazine calls Tailor Made, making a strong argument for the zeitgeist theory. 

The austere look Tailor Made uses shades from camel to brown as well as grey, reflecting the tough times.  It is a “no frills” style inspired by menswear with little touches to keep it feminine.  What does that mean?  Well, accessorizing a double-breasted suit coat drops the tie and replaces it with a bow for neckwear, adding a feminine element.  Overall, the look is pragmatic and austere.  How do you accessorize it?

Designers showed the trend with necklaces in gunmetal plating using oversized links and chain designs.  Some necklaces have heavy design with metal bolts and large beading.  Actually, the bold statement necklaces that all over the runway and fashion magazines fit at least three of the trend stories so give them serious thought for fall jewelry. 

Necklaces also use bold pearl and meal combinations.  Over-sized beads are part of the look and sometimes large glass components, especially in smoke.  Metal cuffs and link bracelets accessorize the wrist. 

 

Headwear uses high crown fedoras, fifties fedoras, felt boaters.  The puffy ivy caps as seen in the 1974 film, The Great Gatsby, fit this theme. 

Next blog continues the fashion stories tht make up the major trends of the fall and winter season.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Filed under Bracelets, Brooches, Crystal Jewelry, Earrings, Fashion Jewelry, Necklace Sets, Rhinestone Jewelry, Uncategorized
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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. 

RHINESTONE JEWELRY

 

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. 

CRYSTAL JEWELRY

 

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.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Filed under Bracelets, Earrings, Fashion Jewelry, Fashion Marketing, Necklace Sets, New Orleans Accessories, Pendants, Religious Gifts, Religious Jewelry, Religious Jewelry & Gifts, Wholesale Jewelry
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 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.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Filed under Fashion Jewelry, Gemstone Jewelry, Necklace Sets
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 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. 

FORMAL JEWELRY

 

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. 

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.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Filed under Fashion Jewelry, Gemstone Jewelry, Necklace Sets, Rhinestone Jewelry
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A good friend and important supplier stopped by recently to show new products in his line.  During the conversation, he mentioned another wholesaler wanted him to make some jewelry items that were not his regular line.  He said he refused because the wholesaler couldn’t take a large quantity since fashion jewelry was no good any more. 

I was shocked that he said fashion jewelry was no good when he made his living on the very thing.  Then I realized he wasn’t talking about his own line, which consisted of high quality pendants, earrings, and chokers. This is a line that sells very well and we constantly reorder it.  The line captures fashion statements as well as every imaginable theme in exceptional detail.  He didn’t think of this as fashion jewelry. 

Afterwards I thought about the conversation and had to admit that he was right.  Retailers are not looking for fashion jewelry.  They are looking for niche markets—specifics within the fashion jewelry category.  When new merchandise arrives, it goes to rhinestone jewelry, crystal jewelry, CZs, or bridal jewelry.  Even casual items find a home in niche markets like cuff bracelets, bangles, statement necklaces, quality glass jewelry, or gemstone. 

Fashion jewelry continues to flourish, but the search is for niche markets.  Gemstone jewelry carries a high importance over the last few years.  Even today, turquoise is high on the trend list for summer fashion jewelry.  However, when we think of it, we think gemstone jewelry. 

 

Rhinestone jewelry is enjoying brisk sales with prom, bridal, and pageant hitting on all cylinders.  Again, we don’t think fashion jewelry.  No, retailers are looking for prom, pageant, or bridal jewelry.  Rhinestone jewelry in bolder designs makes a statement for pageant and even crosses over into bridal for fashion conscious brides applying summer trends in fashion jewelry to wedding day jewelry.  And the delicate designs are overwhelmingly popular for prom and most brides. 

All the sets previously bunched together as fashion jewelry, now break down to meaningful niches.  Dominating the fashion magazines this summer is statement necklaces.  By the way, these massive necklaces sets guarantee that fashion jewelry is alive and well.  How else can you accomplish the look?  Certain to be noticed, the bold necklace sets are mainly constructed with metal designs.  Platings vary with pewter and antique silver very popular.  The search here is for statement necklaces.  We have to ask, when did fashion jewelry give way to all the sub-categories of jewelry?

Looking back at fashion jewelry in the 21st century reveals what is going on.  The new century came in with bling the rage—the look of exaggerated opulence with super-sized stones.  Then the shock of the Twin Towers attack on Sept 11, 2001 suddenly brought everything to a halt with all eyes glued to the devastation on our TV screens.  The nation pulled together and values suddenly reemerged.  

 Caring for neighbors overtook selfish feelings and jewelry reflected the mood of the times.  Bling vanished and true beauty of classic materials and designs surfaced.  No longer was fashion jewelry a generic category.  Instead, the worldwide search for art in jewelry saw the rise of gemstone, Murano style glass, crystal, shell and classic components both man-made and natural.   The dominating characteristic of jewelry was classic with universal appeal.  Overnight the jewelry that appealed to a woman also appealed to her mother, daughter, and grandmother.  This is the universal beauty of art and the accessories were too special to lump together as fashion jewelry. 

Under the radar, the trend continued to the present day.  Each of the niche markets in fashion jewelry is special and important whereas the lump sum category called fashion jewelry has lost its shine.  So the conclusion is yes, fashion jewelry has vanished from consumers’ attention, but all those sub-categories of jewelry are more important than ever.  Actually, without them the dramatic statement necklaces seen in every fashion magazine and classic gemstone jewelry that marches on and on would not be possible.  The elegance of bridal and prom jewelry would not grace the special occasions. And mesmerizing beauty of man-made art in glass jewelry and crystal brooches would not be possible.  So each sub-category flourishes like never before while some say fashion jewelry is dead.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Filed under Fashion Jewelry, Fashion Jewelry Trends, Necklace Sets
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If fashion ever stands still, it ceases to be fashion.  So every change of seasons we can expect something entirely new or new developments in an ongoing trend.  One of those ongoing trends that is really coming to center stage this spring is statement necklaces.  Yes, they were up-trending last summer and again in the fall season, but this spring they are really making an impact. 

The Accessories Magazine Census Report that summarizes accessories at the end of every year says the statement necklace continued to sell well in 2010.  They go on to say that these necklaces will remain strong in 2011, but evolve into longer mixed-media ropes and looks that will be more tribal in nature. 

MIXED –MEDIA ROPE STATEMENT NECKLACES

The mixed –media ropes often incorporate beading with different types and sizes of chain, forming long swinging necklaces that hardly seem new. All of us have noticed this look in everything from fashion magazines to upscale apparel catalogs.  The look continues with some innovations like fire polished faceted beads adding quality components that are anything but ordinary.  Other styles use multiple strands of small chain that ties a knot and drops in a tassel with fire polished beads again terminating each chain.     

What are these fire polished faceted beads?  You may have seen them in fashion jewelry without realizing what they are.  Small Pleasures web site gives a concise definition as faceted glass (mainly from the Czech Republic) that is polished by glazing in a red hot oven.   These are the faceted glass beads that often seem to change from a color to clear with motion. 

TRIBAL DESIGN STATEMENT NECKLACES 

The look of hand craftsmanship is a key element of tribal jewelry.  Inspiration is the hand workmanship of different world cultures with India, Africa, and the Hispanic cultures among the most popular.  A long necklace with fluted and engraved silver plated beads makes impact as statement jewelry with a look easily identified as inspired by India.

But more familiar looks in statement jewelry—the styles that strut the runways—use bold statement in plated metals that appear to be hand crafted.  A bold bib necklace with curved bars creating hatchet-shaped windows and a fringe of wavy spoon shaped disks provides that fashion runway look. 

STATEMENT JEWELRY WITH BOLD BEADING

Necklaces with exaggerated bead size are not new this season, but some new designs reinvent the look to help keep the trend going.  The season super-sized pearl beads mix with even larger sized beads with a pave’ of faceted fire polished beading.  This gives some shimmer to faux pearl jewelry that will not go unnoticed. 

The design has other colors with jet black being most popular after pearl.  It’s hard to think of an outfit that couldn’t be accessorized by one or the other of these colors.

Another style captures the look of crystals by using faceted acrylic stones.  These mix with the oversized faux pearls and a long tassel to create a dressier version of statement necklaces.  Here the jewelry can expand to accessorizing an after 5 ensemble. 

SHELL STATEMENT NECKLACES

Shell jewelry, especially mother-of-pearl and the darker version, black lip mother-of-pearl enter the statement necklace arena.  These shells along with paua shell are players in spring fashion trends in their own right.  The shells show up in earrings and other fashion jewelry, but really make impact as statement necklaces. 

 

A black lip mother-of-pearl necklace set uses shapes including disks and squared in a design that terminates with a tassel.  This fashion jewelry not only meets the statement necklace trend that is on the rise, but the natural beauty of the iridescent shell will grab onlooker’s attention in any setting. 

GEMSTONE STATEMENT NECKLACES

 

Perhaps the most unusual statement necklace for spring is found in gemstone jewelry.  Sliced agates drop from multiple strands of chain.  Agates have a semi-transparency that mesmerizes onlookers with intriguing designs created by nature.  Agates have a glassy finish when polished and a hardness on the Mohs scale of 7.  The agates used for this jewelry are slice geodes with many pieces still showing an edge that was the dull grey outside of the round rock. 

A choice of eye-catching colors adds to the appeal.  While the natural state is mostly less interesting with shades of grey and brown, chemical treatment achieves vibrant colors customers love.  The agate is first boiled in a bicarbonate solution and then soaked in a chemical to achieve the color.  Different chemicals are used for each color.  The finished product is a statement necklace worthy of the name because nature’s intriguing designs in the agate slices are sure to turn heads. 

While the statement necklace in past seasons might have seemed over the edge, fashion magazines and runways have familiarized consumers with this jewelry and now your fashion conscious customers are demanding the look.  So add some impact to your showcases for spring by including the dramatic look of statement necklaces.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Friday, March 25th, 2011