INSTOREMAG.COM - News and advice for the American jewelry store owner Tue, 28 Jul 2015 13:07:02 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb "I Do Not Reorder Pieces": Heresy or Genius?

Inventory experts would have you reorder every fast-selling piece in your store – and they’re generally right. However, when it comes to designer jewelry, Ellen Hertz of Max’s in Minneapolis says she never reorders a piece. It’s got to do with exclusivity and originality. Says Hertz: “Our designers have to come up with new designs if they want me to keep buying from them. To me, the value proposition for customers is that they get to see new stuff every time, so they'll keep coming back. And, they won't see the same piece worn by their friends around town."

As a former America’s Coolest Stores winner and one of the most honored designer boutiques in the country, Ellen must be doing something right – or a lot of things. Here are a few other comments (some of them decidedly counter to conventional wisdom) that she had about her success selling designer jewelry.

"Exclusivity to our area is critical. One of my goals when I started Max's was to make our selection different from what was available in more traditional jewelry stores or what can be found in nearby specialty boutiques. I try really hard to find designers that shoppers won't have seen elsewhere in the Twin Cities. When I meet new designers at trade shows, the first thing I ask is if they're selling to someone else in the Twin Cities. If they say 'yes', I walk away."

"If you have a $1,000 design in silver next to the same design in gold for $3,000, customers want the gold. At that price point, silver just doesn't make sense to customers — they'll spend more for the gold, or not buy it at all."

The biggest mistake a retailer can make when adding a new designer line? To go into the line too cautiously in terms of amount of pieces or the product mix without having anything that stands out as a showpiece or eye-catcher for that line. “Once you're into higher-end designer jewelry, you have to be willing to make a commitment. A couple of small rings and earrings aren't going to garner the attention you need to make a high-priced line worthwhile."

"The one thing I'd say to a retailer who's never sold designer jewelry but is interested in adding a new line is this: they have to like the line themselves. I would go so far as to say, especially when they're just starting out, that they probably should like it enough that they could see themselves buying it and wearing it proudly. I always say to people, I like everything I've bought for my store. It doesn't mean I'd necessarily buy everything I see in my store, but I like it. I like the design, the quality, and the story. When you love a line, you can translate its value more easily to your staff as well."

blog comments powered by Disqus
]]> (Trace Shelton) Customer Service Mon, 27 Jul 2015 00:00:00 +0000
Jewelers For Water: Fine-Tuning the Message

Although the scope of Alethe Fatherley’s caring may sometimes seem as deep and wide as the ocean, what she cares most about these days is simply well water.

So Fatherley, A GIA graduate gemologist and founder of Jewelers That Care, has given her nonprofit organization a new name — Jewelers For Water — that makes her message more clear than ever.

She has learned, through travels to Africa, that lack of water and lack of education lead to a spiral of health and social problems, especially for rural communities, and has worked since 2007 to bring clean, life-saving water to children in African villages.

So, if you’re at the JA New York show July 27-28 at the Javits Center, stop by Alethe Fatherley’s booth to soak up a little inspiration and learn how you might be able to help.

Fatherly got her start in the jewelry business at Tiffany & Co., and later taught gemology at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. She also worked for David Yurman, H. Stern and Lazare Kaplan International. At Lazare Kaplan, she became interested in the firm’s diamond-cutting facilities in Namibia, and in the process of learning about that aspect of the jewelry industry, developed a keen interest in the people of rural Africa and their daily challenges.

Fatherly's sterling silver water pump necklace with designer Thomas Kurilla and manufacturer Hoover & Strong. (MSRP $180).

An eye-opening, three-week trip to Tanzania changed her life as well as her outlook. The children she met yearned for an education but faced often insurmountable obstacles in pursuit of that education.

One huge obstacle was the lack of accessible water wells. While volunteering with the group Cross-Cultural Solutions, she joined local women in walking five miles to obtain water from wells. Only to discover, when they would finally arrive, that the water was dirty, or was otherwise inaccessible.

She volunteered as a kindergarten teacher there, too, for a few weeks, came back home to her life on the East Coast, and immediately took action to raise money for the children who had changed her. With the first $1,000 collected from a garage sale and networking with her friends, she was able to build two bathrooms for the kindergarten kids.

Her next step was to found the nonprofit organization Jewelers That Care in 2007 with the laudable goals of building both water wells and boarding schools, through donations and jewelry industry partnerships, and raising awareness with an annual awards event in Las Vegas.

The first well was built in Tanzania’s Mwanga District, near Mount Kilimanjaro.

And more recently, Fatherly partnered with designer Thomas Kurilla and manufacturer Hoover & Strong to create a sterling silver water pump necklace (MSRP $180), available at a wholesale price to retail jewelers. It’s made in the United States from recycled metal. Fifty percent of the net proceeds from the sale of each vintage-style water pump pendant goes directly to funding water well projects in rural villages of Africa.

For more information, see

blog comments powered by Disqus
]]> (Eileen McClelland) Best Practices Mon, 27 Jul 2015 00:00:00 +0000
Spelling Out the Appeal of Acrostic Jewelry

Personal jewelry — delicate in scale and loaded with meaning for the wearer — remains a hot seller. And combining it with a trend from an earlier era is one way designers are keeping the category fresh. Acrostic jewelry, which spells out messages with an alphabet composed of gemstones, was popular during the Victorian era and is finding favor once again. Using the first letter in a gem’s name to represent letters from A to Z — amethyst to zircon — a linear series of stones indicates a short message. The look is perfectly suited to styles that follow straight lines, like pervasive bar necklaces and stackable rings. It’s an undercover way to wear a sentimental message without broadcasting the meaning to the whole world.

Some young designers, like Ilana Sarna of Ilana Ariel borrow from the style of traditional 19th century jewels by concealing sweet, chaste messages like “care” and “loved one” in their acrostic pieces. At Lulu Frost, contemporary slang like “cool” and “hot” appears in some designs. And when a client chooses a custom acrostic design she can say whatever her heart desires, and only reveal the message to a select few.

Lulu Frost 18K “Cool” (coral, opal and labradorite) necklace, MSRP: $1,430

Ilana Ariel 14K “Loved One” (labradorite, opal, violet amethyst, emerald, diamond, opal, navy sapphire, emerald) ring, MSRP: $1,225

1909 by Erica Weiner 14K yellow gold and oxidized sterling silver “Adore” (amethyst, diamond, opal, ruby and emerald) bracelet, MSRP: $750

blog comments powered by Disqus
]]> (Tanya Dukes) Designers/Jewelry Fri, 24 Jul 2015 00:00:00 +0000
Finally, a Bracelet Trend in Fine (At Any Price)

Add-a-bead-or-charm designs, friendship styles, and other such affordable bracelets notwithstanding, traditional fine jewelers (at long last) have a huge trend: open-ended, gem-tipped, skinny-mini bangles.

After a two-year lapse—or has it been three since the wide-cuff redux?—real jewelers (and particularly luxe shops) can concentrate on a wrist style, with the certainty that most lines they carry (or want to carry) are doing their version of this bracelet. Admittedly, stacked bangles followed that sort-of-recent cuff trend and, yes, they were thin and totally different in look than the cuffs. However, with the current wrist design trend, it’s the details that are important. (For example, closed, eternity-style bangles aren’t de rigueur—at least, for the most-trending fashion moment.)

Obviously, earlier this year—particularly in Basel—when I started to observe manufacturers’ many open-ended slimmer-than-slim stacks with colored gems or diamonds topping their tips, it was David Yurman’s original classic cable bracelet that immediately came to mind. How could it not? After all, the contemporary jewelry icon did make it a modern classic. It was back in 1983—hard to believe it’s over three decades--when his “Renaissance Collection”came in, merging open-ended sterling silver-and-18K twisted cable with semiprecious cab tips of garnet, iolite, peridot, citrine, etc.  While I’m sure that Mr. Yurman’s now-iconic bangle and signature motif continues to sell well (and to most every age demographic), because thin-gauge open styles are currently so in-vogue, I strongly suspect that the brand’s seeing a notable resurgence in their 5 millimeters especially (over their 10s, 8.5s, and 7s).

To be clear, in no way am I implying that the new styles from other brands, entwining themselves into the on-trend jewelry wardrobes of customers, are replicas of those original Yurmans. In fact, it’s their distinctive differences that are paramount to their appeal—and, surely, why, at this time, they excite me. Also, these bangles are every bit a collectible, a stackable, and a modern wardrobe staple--and among my top three picks for every customer’s Wish List for fall/holiday.

{igallery id=4819|cid=1508|pid=1|type=category|children=0|addlinks=0|tags=|limit=0}

For daily news, blogs and tips jewelers need, subscribe to our email bulletins here.

blog comments powered by Disqus
]]> (Lorraine DePasque) Designers/Jewelry Wed, 22 Jul 2015 00:00:00 +0000
Eric Robertson: Discount Diamonds

Illustration concept of Discount Diamonds

Eric Robertson is a writer, illustrator and creative lead for Green Lake Jewelry Works. More of his completely random drawings can be found here:

blog comments powered by Disqus
]]> (Eric Robertson) Guest Blogs Thu, 23 Jul 2015 00:00:00 +0000
Can You Find Any Familiar Faces in This Photo?

Any familiar faces, here?

While perusing old photographs, Howard Posin, owner of Howard’s Diamond Center in Triadelphia, WV, discovered this photograph of the 1946 National Association of Credit Jewelers annual convention banquet in Chicago.

Posin even managed to locate his parents in this crowd.

Can you find your parents, grandparents, yourself, maybe?

Please respond to this post and let us know who’s who in Chicago jewelers history.

click for larger photo

blog comments powered by Disqus
]]> (Eileen McClelland) Best Practices Tue, 21 Jul 2015 00:00:00 +0000
Window Display Tip: Try Cellophane to Reduce Harsh Colors

Holiday-style lights can be beautiful for lighting up window displays to passersby in the street. But sometimes, the glare can be a little much. And if you have a striking color scheme, it too may not be as soft as the feeling you’re trying to create.

When Dustin Rennells, creative director at Persona Jewelry+ in Boston, was putting together his holiday window displays last year, he discovered that the shine of his purple twinkle lights combined with purple garland was too jarring to the eye.

“Our purple garland sprinkled with purple twinkle lights was too harsh for the color I wanted,” says Rennells. “So, I lined between the garland and the window with shards of cellophane from our wrapping station. It also gave a diffused, homey glow to otherwise shocking candy-purple lights.”

Look for more display tips in our full story on these Persona Jewelry+ windows, coming in September in INDESIGN.

blog comments powered by Disqus
]]> (Trace Shelton) Customer Service Mon, 20 Jul 2015 00:00:00 +0000
Summer Jewelry with a Sense of Humor

A few weeks ago in a fancy New York hotel suite overlooking Madison Avenue, I had a chance to preview some of the newest pieces from Suzanne Syz, a Geneva-based jewelry designer whose pieces often have a tongue-in-cheek sensibility. Among her designs you’ll find oversized enameled earrings that look like bull’s-eyes (complete with a protruding arrow) or cufflinks carved from agate to resemble Lifesavers candies. It probably goes without saying that Ms. Syz’ collection — with prices that can climb well into six-figure category — is for shoppers that have plenty of disposal income. As she admits, “My clients already have classic diamond pieces. They come to me to give them something fun.”

Seeing Suzanne Syz’ budget busting pieces was a reminder of the giddy pleasure and whimsy that jewelry offers. And even at less stratospheric prices there are designers finding an audience for pieces that show off their very specific creative preoccupations. Whether it’s Wendy Brandes’ ear jackets modeled after her cat (and Internet celebrity) FitzRoy or Alison Lou’s popsicle-shaped pendant, it’s good to see that less-than-traditional jewelry find its customers.

Now that summer—a season to take everything a little less seriously—is in full swing, it’s a perfect opportunity to highlight some of the designers who are making fine jewelry with a lighthearted, unconventional spirit.

{igallery id=1082|cid=1506|pid=1|type=category|children=0|addlinks=0|tags=|limit=0}
blog comments powered by Disqus
]]> (Tanya Dukes) Designers/Jewelry Fri, 17 Jul 2015 00:00:00 +0000
The Jeweler: Donut

Catch "The Jeweler" every other Wednesday on INSTOREMAG.COM. For more cartoons from Tim Searfoss, go here.

Catch "The Jeweler" every other Wednesday on INSTOREMAG.COM. For more cartoons from Tim Searfoss, go here.

blog comments powered by Disqus
]]> (Tim Searfoss) Guest Blogs Wed, 15 Jul 2015 00:00:00 +0000
Why, Yes—Ys Have Gotten “Taller” and Slimmer

In Paris last week, I saw that Y-necklaces shined as part of the glamour of the bi-annual Haute Couture fashion shows. Nevertheless, what struck me were the differences between the new Ys and those not only of the late Nineties but also from late 2014. For the most part, the Y-necks accessorizing winter’s high-end clothes were longer and slimmer and, overall, more lightweight in attitude.

Based on those catwalks, it seems to me that, going forward, the freshest Y-necklaces have a delicate, diaphanous nature—perhaps oddly, even when they’re made of “chunky” interlocking links, like at Christian Dior.

Indeed, that same ethereal elegance was usually emphasized in the Y-necklaces that premiered at the jewelry shows in Vegas, too. At this time, our industry’s designers are paying just as much attention to proportion as they are to precious metals and gems. And, from what I’ve been hearing since, it’s paying off. A sales associate at Jane Basch Jewelry Designs told me, “Our new Y-necklaces have been really, really hot. Funny thing is, Jane did them two years ago, but then they didn’t even sell!” Yes, fashion’s timing is proving to be letter-perfect.

{igallery id=410|cid=1496|pid=1|type=category|children=0|addlinks=0|tags=|limit=0}

For daily news, blogs and tips jewelers need, subscribe to our email bulletins here.

blog comments powered by Disqus
]]> (Lorraine DePasque) Designers/Jewelry Wed, 15 Jul 2015 00:00:00 +0000