The wrought iron artistry of Charleston, SC, first inspired Cargo Hold owner Bob Glenn and company to interpret Southern gates as sterling silver jewelry a decade ago.

Since then, Glenn has become aware of how universal the appeal of these motifs is and of how many places in the U.S. have decorative ironwork.

The jewelry line is carried by 300 retailers.

“We initially thought it would be good to sell in Charleston, but other areas of the country have embraced it,” Glenn says. “Our area is primarily the Southeast, but we have accounts that sell it on the West Coast, New England, just about anywhere.”

Customers are intrigued with the designs and how they relate to specific locations.

“Having any kind of a story with a piece of jewelry is a good thing,” Glenn says.

Glenn is especially pleased with the latest story, found in the historical architecture and fine craftsmanship of Biltmore House in Asheville, NC, which opened in 1895 as the country estate of George and Edith Vanderbilt.

Biltmore Jewelry by Southern Gates is a limited six-piece holiday release in sterling silver. The first pieces in the collection are expressions of a variety of elements that showcase the craftsmanship within the estate, including fine details in the exterior stonework and grand woodcarvings on the ceilings.

The Biltmore collection is available at the Biltmore now and will be widely available to retailers in January.

Southern Gates is the best-selling brand for Dan Kramer, owner of It’s About Time Boutique in Cartersville, GA, who has carried the line since the store opened in 2013. “The classic designs look great on everyone,” he says.

But what makes it more personal is the custom piece, exclusive to About Time, that’s modeled after the dome and clock tower on the Cartersville Courthouse.

“It’s so nice and rare to come across a line of jewelry that is well made, meaningful, attractive and well priced,” Kramer says. “Having a store in Georgia, the Southern influence and the story behind the jewelry is an added touch that keeps customers returning.”

Bruce and Angie Hutchins of Ellington Jewelers in Kernersville, NC, have been carrying Southern Gates for about 10 years.

Cargo Hold has tweaked designs to meet individual customer requests.

“Even without making changes, our customers love the Southern Gates pieces,” Angie says. “The designs are appealing, the quality is there, as well as the price. I have several customers that go directly to that case when they are looking for a gift for their friends and family. The 'North Carolina' state piece has been a huge hit for us.”

Cargo Hold designers are constantly on the lookout for designs that can translate well to jewelry. Any given design is generally made into multiple pieces, such as earrings pendants and a ring or bracelet, making add-on sales natural.

Everyone in the company has some input into design.

“A lot of us wear multiple hats,” Glenn says.



This article is an online extra for INSTORE Online.

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