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I Thought I’d Seen All the Jewelry I Needed for This Year … But I Was So Wrong

August shows in New York yielded many designs that retailers need to see.

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WITH LAS VEGAS JEWELRY Week two months in the past, I thought I had seen everything I needed to see for the season as far as new trends, hot items and designers to watch or discover. But August in New York kicked off with Spectrum Awards Editors’ Day and then, from Aug. 10-14, four shows ran almost concurrently: Melee the Show, NY Now, The JA Show and Metal & Smith. There were also press deskside appointments of saleable and noteworthy designers. A summer head cold, pad full of notes and iPhone full of photos later, I realized there was a lot more to report and bring to the attention of retailers who couldn’t make this trip into New York City.

Let’s break it down.

The colorful pieces shown above are by (left to right) Soulbound, Sofia Zakia and Rebecca Overmann.

These rings are by (left to right) Karen Karch, K8 Jewelry and Elizabeth Street.

Engaging Colors

This was the leading trend at these shows for a new wave of bridal rings rendered beautifully by both established independent and up-and-coming designers. The best in this category included Rebecca Overmann, Megan Thorne, Karen Karch and Sofia Zakia as well as rising stars Elizabeth Street, Soulbound (all at Melee the Show) and K8 Jewelry (at The JA Show).

Vibrant and unexpectedly refreshing stones for engagement rings such as green sapphires, moonstone, garnet, purple and red spinel, rubies, aquamarines, pink sapphires and a host of other gemstones we never thought would sell in this category created new excitement among retailers who shopped the show.

These old-meets-new designs are by (left to right) Talon, Sofia Zakia, Heavenly Vices and Erica Molinari.

The Past Meets the Present

This trend can be seen in independent designer collections with jewels that borrow from the past yet are imbued with both a current sensibility and built-in longevity. Contemporary designers are inspired by different periods and reimagine their influences with daring and the freedom to mix time frames and materials with abandon. A few of these creative designers also work with one-of-a-kind pieces that they transform into symbolic keepsakes for today’s woman. Designers mixing old and new or reflecting on pieces of the past and turning them into modern jewels include Samantha Jackson of Heavenly Vices (Metal & Smith), Erica Molinari (Melee the Show), Sofia Zakia (Melee the Show),  Talon (press preview) and Darsana (press preview).

Shown here are chains by (left to right) Roule & Co., Polly Wales and Mallary Marks.

Working On the Chain Gang

This is a theme that continues to evolve as designers create their own chains from cast and handmade links in different shapes, lengths and widths. There’s often an extra link that acts as an “add on” to lengthen or add one medallion or multiple charms and medallions to the chain. Whether they be necklace or bracelet chains, the links can also be worn alone. They are often textured with touches of different colors of diamonds as accents or combined with vivid colored gemstones to pump up the style quotient and add an extra dimension of elegance. Designers who have joined the chain gang include Polly Wales (NY Now), Tura Sen (Melee the Show), Michelle Fantaci (Melee the Show) and Mallary Marks (Melee the Show).

Shown here are pieces by (left to right) Theresa Kaz, Roule & Co., Michelle Fantaci and Darsana.

Show Me Your Heart

Designers have brought back this universal symbol of love in all materials. It is one of the most popular motifs I saw from Las Vegas and the August shows in New York City. Although the heart still evokes sentimental and spiritual meanings that range from romance to devotion to friendship to divine love, the modern interpretations are anything but frilly or fussy or sugary sweet. These new versions range from feminine yet bold to daring and edgy. Designs from Thereza Kaz (The JA Show), Roule & Co. (Melee the Show), Michelle Fantaci (Melee the Show) and Darsana (press preview) are sure to win the heart of today’s consumer.

Shown here are earrings by (left to right) Hannah G, Soulbound, Sarah Swell, Moritz Glik and Julie Lamb.

The Ear Party

This trend continues with all shapes and styles of earrings. Multiple piercings are still going strong in smaller studs and drops. Geometric linear styles are going strong, and those with spherical drops offer a feel of the planets and celestial themes so prevalent this season. For different styles check out Moritz Glik (Melee the Show), Hannah G (press preview), Soulbound (Melee the Show) and Julie Lamb (Metal & Smith).

These pieces are by (left to right) Alex Monroe, Lene Vibe, Lene Vibe and Alex Monroe.

In the Garden

This is where you will want to stay even when the chill of fall comes along. This is a look that seems to continue well into fall/winter and holiday as so many women love floral motifs. And when they are mixed with insects in gold or precious stones and metal, well, we even appreciate them then, especially when created by Lene Vibe (Melee the Show), whose pieces continue to grow more magical and who creates a whole little fantastical world around pearls.

Alex Monroe Jewellery (Melee the Show) also does an amazing job with the tiniest of insects and a range of small and delicate blooms that appear on necklaces, earrings and rings.

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Shown above (left to right) are displays by Julie Lamb, Heavenly Vices and Alex Monroe.

These displays are by (left to right) Soulbound, Megan Thorne and Lene Vibe.

On Display

Take a page out of these designers’ cases. All of them used either vivid colors or the perfect props that allow you to understand their designs and make them pop. Check out how Soulbound creates the feeling of its collection within a 6-foot case with small objects (Melee the Show). Alex Monroe Jewellery creates a similar vibe with their displays props and pretty little accents (Melee the Show). Megan Thorne’s touches always echo back to her feeling for antique inspired creations such as in her vintage peacocks that act as ring trays. Lene Vibe (Melee the Show) also adds an extra touch with glass and brass cases that act as displays for her little garden party of jewels. Heavenly Vices (Metal & Smith) shows that you can display pieces beautifully when you only have a table to work as long as you have just the right hue in light violet displays that pop gold and silver, diamonds and enamel touches. And Julie Lamb (Metal & Smith) proves that you are in New York with her themed posters and touches that speak to the city she captures in her collection.

These plume-inspired pieces are by Annie Fensterstock.

Stand Out and Show Your Plumes

If these styles don’t bring out the peacock in you, I don’t know what will. Peacock feathers take shape in all different renditions, but two favorites were those that appeared in earrings by Annie Fensterstock at Melee the Show and at The Spectrum Awards Editor’s Day.

Shown here are pieces by (left to right) Michelle Fantaci, Erica Molinari and Brooke Gregson.

A Jewel of a Different Color (or Many Colors)

This trend can be seen in those with enameling in everything from antique-inspired looks to those with a pop ’60s feeling. Whether the enamel technique is used to highlight bold gemstones or to create the backdrop for motifs and messages, it is now being seen in different variations, which we saw at the shows in Las Vegas and New York and at press previews.

Beth Bernstein is a published author of three books and jewelry and fashion expert with 18+ years experience. A broad knowledge of the history of jewelry and fashion coupled with a background in "the story", writing, trends, design concepts has earned Beth a proven track record.

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Possible ‘Diamond in a Diamond’ Is the Strangest Thing Ever

This bizarre specimen was found in Yakutsk, Russia.

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RUSSIA’S ALROSA DIAMOND mining company may have discovered a diamond in a diamond.

Alrosa’s Instagram page features a video of a 0.62-carat rough diamond with a curious void in its center. Rattling around in that cavity seems to be another rough diamond.

In a caption accompanying the video, Alrosa wrote, “A diamond in a diamond? We couldn’t help but share this very special find with you.”

Alrosa goes on to describe how the smaller crystal seems to move freely within the larger one. The curious gem was discovered in Yakutsk, Russia.

“We are not sure if the smaller one is a diamond,” wrote Alrosa. “Our scientists are looking forward to studying the crystal. It will be researched with non-destructive methods.”

Please check out Alrosa’s video below:

 

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A diamond in a diamond? We couldn’t help but share this very special find with you. Watch: the smaller crystal moves in a cavity inside the larger rough diamond. The larger diamond weighs 0.62 carats. We are not sure if the smaller one is a diamond. Our scientists are looking forward to studying the crystal. It will be researched with non-destructive methods #diamondscientistsbestfriend #ALROSA #diamondsALROSA #realisrare Алмаз внутри алмаза? Не можем не поделиться с вами своей находкой: внутри этого алмаза в 0,62 карата передвигается в полости другой кристалл. Наши учёные пока не уверены, что внутри находится именно алмаз. Они с нетерпением ждут, когда интересная находка попадёт к ним в лабораторию. Изучать будут не разрушающими методами #алмазылучшиедрузьяученых #АЛРОСА #алмазыАЛРОСА #

A post shared by ALROSA® (@alrosadiamonds) on

In an unrelated Instagram post, Alrosa honored the 115th anniversary of Russia’s TASS news agency with what the mining company is calling “the world’s most expensive diamond hashtag.”

Alrosa created a mural with the hashtag “TASS115” rendered in natural white diamonds. The precious stones weigh 4,000 carats and are valued at $350,000.

The mural is being displayed at Alrosa’s diamond sorting center in the Siberian town of Mirny.

In its congratulatory message, Alrosa wrote, “On [the] occasion of the 115th anniversary of the legendary TASS, we [are] giving our friends the most expensive hashtag in history as a present.”

Alrosa unveiled the mural on its Facebook and Instagram pages.

The TASS news agency was founded on September 1, 1904, as the St. Petersburg Telegraph Agency (SPTA). It was renamed the Russian Telegraph Agency (ROSTA) in 1918. Seven years later, the agency would become TASS (the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union). Today, it boasts 63 bureaus in 60 countries.

Alrosa is the world’s leading diamond producer in terms of volume, accounting for nearly a third of global rough diamond production. The company manages mines in Russia’s Yakutia and Arkhangelsk regions, as well as Africa.

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David Geller

Here Are a Few Tips You Haven’t Seen to Make the Most of Your Bridal Custom Designs

They’re simple yet brilliant.

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IT’S 2019, AND it’s not your daddy’s jewelry store anymore. No more high margins on diamonds. Where’s the money now? The mounting.

Keystone is the goal, and many get it on the mounting, but comparison shopping can make it difficult. That said, the really big problem with selling from the showcase is the amount of inventory you must carry.

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On the other hand, custom designing an engagement ring has many advantages:

  • Higher profit margins
  • You pay for the item after you’ve collected money from the customer.
  • The customer feels like they are directing the process rather than being “sold.”
  • If you share the process of designing their ring with the customer, they will likely share with their friends and family. It’ll be on social media, texts and emails.
  • You can adjust which components go into the ring to more fit their budget.
  • Selling from the showcase has a closing ratio of 30 percent in most stores, but custom design has a closing ratio of 70-80 percent.

The downside? Someone must know how to design the ring, how it comes together and pricing. Training is essential, or having someone specific to sell the ring and lead the customer through the process. Figuring out how to price the item requires particular skills.

Here are some additional tips to make the most of your custom design process:

  • While designing the ring, if you use CAD/CAM, take a snapshot of the model on the screen and send it to the customer, saying something like, “Well, Jim has gotten started on your beautiful design.” If you hand-carve the wax or mill it, take a picture and send by text or email. Same goes for the casting process and another of the jeweler finishing up the ring.
  • When appropriate, send out a handwritten thank-you note.
  • Go to Office Depot and buy a pack of 100 sheets of do-it-yourself business cards. Make yourself a master blank company business card with no logo, just everything else about your store. Take a good picture of their new ring and paste it on the card, then print a sheet of 10 and have it in the envelope when you deliver the ring.

After they “ooh and aah” over the ring, tell them, “I’m glad you love it. You know, we have more customers come in from referrals than anything else and would love for you to refer family and friends. Here are some of our cards.”

Then plop them down on the showcase face up.

They will be so excited that they will not only place one on their refrigerator door, they’ll give them out to friends and show everyone how their ring is on “my jeweler’s business card.”

Isn’t this a fun business?

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Do You Have a Content Curator?

Depending on your objectives, digital marketing now consumes between 40% to 60%+ of most retailers’ marketing budgets.

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DEPENDING ON YOUR OBJECTIVES, digital marketing now consumes between 40% to 60%+ of most retailers’ marketing budgets. As digital continues to shift our marketing strategies, it also demands an increased level of personalization. If you do digital marketing, it’s fair to say you probably want or expect it to deliver results, and to do so means rethinking the roles of in-store team members. A key in-store role can and should be the Content Curator. Here’s why.

Social Media is becoming highly specialized. Even if you are working with an agency, there is only so much a third party can provide based on time and money. While they can be essential in driving strategy and managing advertising placement and buys, more and more retailers have someone internal to supplement those efforts, the Content Curator.

What is a Content Curator?

A Content Curator is an in-store person who leads the charge to collect and cultivate original content.

  • Produce content in-house
  • Engage with employees to create content
  • Post or share content with your marketing partner

It’s All About Content.

Each social channel has its own unique purpose and should have original content. Programs that share the same content over different channels isn’t an effective way to approach social media.

What Channels Should You Use?

If you’d like to run effective social campaigns, start by assessing what you can do… and do well. Also, understand what the channel should be used for and develop content to match. While there are many choices, most retailers will find the best opportunities in:

  • Facebook – Brand positioning, general news, all age ranges
  • Instagram – Lifestyle, younger
  • YouTube – Great if you can create video content…custom?

Equipment. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to be able to produce great content. You can easily get set up for under $200.

  • Newer Smartphone or Camera w/ Video
  • Camera Rig with LED lighting
  • Editing software such as Photoshop
  • Share and Store. As the Content Curator, you collect and create content that can be used socially, but also on your website or other opportunities.Save all your content on Dropbox or Google Drive
  • Save by category and monthly folders Ex: 2-19
  • Save images at the highest resolution. Images can be scaled down but not up.

Video. Video typically shows better user engagement as well as costs when doing social advertising.

  • Facebook promoted posts
  • Facebook Live
  • Facebook “Video Creation Kit” – Create Video from Still Image and Text Assets. Built into Ads Manager and your Page Publishing tools
  • YouTube Channel

Facebook GIF Advertising. Like video, GIFs tend to have much lower CPA. They stand out and don’t require the same investment as video.

How to make a GIF… the simplest way is to use giphy.com/create/gifmakerRemember, if you want to compete online, everything should be as personalized as possible. It will set you apart from your competition and better position your store in your local market. A Content Curator is a core key to that success.

Remember, if you want to compete online, everything should be as personalized as possible. It will set you apart from your competition and better position your store in your local market. A Content Curator is a core key to that success.

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