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Buying & Selling

Buy low, sell high. If only it were so easy! Here we look at the jewelry, colored gems and watch brands that have been driving jewelers' sales. We also look at the end result of all that trading and hard work — the memories and the money jewelers get to take home.

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11. What are the three best performing brand-name jewelry lines that you carry?

COMMENT: Gabriel and Stuller made it a three-peat, claiming the top two spots in our rankings for the third year in a row.
2019 RANK / BRAND2018 RANKCHANGE IN RANK
1. Gabriel & Co. (64)1
2. Stuller (41)2
3. Allison-Kaufman (29)4up 1
4. Hearts On Fire (18)3down 1
5. Simon G. (15)20up 15
6 tie. Pandora (14)6
6 tie. Ostbye (14)10up 4
8 tie. John Hardy (13)9up 1
8 tie. Lashbrook (13)15up 7
10 tie. Benchmark (12)8down 2
10 tie. Frederic Duclos (12)11up 1
12 tie. Roberto Coin (11)23up 11
12 tie. Sylvie Collection (11)22up 10
12 tie. ASHI Diamonds (11)23up 11
15 tie. Berco (10)23up 8
15 tie. Tacori (10)outside top 25
17 tie. ArtCarved (9)7down 10
17 tie. Le Vian (9)outside top 25
17 tie. Officina Bernardi (9)outside top 25
17 tie. SDC Creations (9)15down 2
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12. What are the three best performing watch brands that you carry?

2019 RANK / WATCH BRAND2018 RANKCHANGE IN RANK
1. Citizen1
2. Seiko2
3. Rolex4up 1
4. Bulova3down 1
5. Belair5
6. Beringoutside top 25
7.Tag Heuer8up 1
8. Shinola 17up 9
9. Tissot7down 2
10. Breitling12up 2
11. Obaku 9down 2
12. Reactor 12
13. Omega 12down 1
14. Movado 10down 4
15 tie. Fossil17up 2
15 tie. Michele12down 3
15 tie. Oris15
15 tie. Victorinox Swiss Army10down 5
15 tie. Tudor 15
20 tie. Caravelle20
20 tie. G-Shock20
20 tie. Nomos 20
20 tie. Pulsar 6down 14

13. Excluding sapphires, what is your best­selling colored gemstone in terms of total sales value?

2019 RANK / WATCH BRAND2018 RANKCHANGE IN RANK
1. Ruby1
2. Emerald4up 2
3. Topaz3
4. Opal5up 1
5. Amethyst2down 3
6. Tanzanite7up 1
7.Tourmaline 6down 1
8. Aquamarine 8
9. Garnetoutside top 25outside top 25
10. Morganite9down 1
COMMENT: Just out of the top 10 in descending order were peridot, blue zircon, and pearls, all at just under 1%; “Others” accounted for about 3%
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14. As a store owner, what did you earn (salary + share of profit) last year?

COMMENT: Jewelers in the Southwest reported the highest income levels with 35% making $150,000 or more a year. Those in the Mid-Atlantic reported the lowest incomes with 37% making less than $40,000.

15. What were your total sales last year?

Less than $100,000
5%
$100,000-$249,999
9%
$250,000 to $499,999
20%
$500,000 to $999,999
26%
$1 million to $1,499,999
15%
$1.5 million to $2,999,999
13%
$3 million to $5 million
6%
More than $5 million
5%

16. What jewelry or watch brand would you most like to add to your cases?

The king lives: Rolex was the runaway choice for the most wished-for brand. Overall, watch brands were more desired by retailers, likely because those brands are more recognized by consumers due to massive marketing budgets. The most wanted jewelry brands were Gabriel & Co., David Yurman and Cartier, in that order, followed closely by designer Alex Sepkus.

  1. Rolex
  2. Tag Heuer
  3. Omega
  4. Patek Philippe
  5. Gabriel & Co.
  6. David Yurman
  7. Cartier, Citizen, Fossil, Tudor
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17. What do you think will be the next breakout category in jewelry?

Top 10 responses:

  1. Lab-created diamonds and finished jewelry. (“I think we are already seeing it and it is anything with laboratory-created diamonds.”)
  2. Yellow gold (“Yellow gold has been hot, but with the current prices I am not sure.”)
  3. Color (Also described as rare, exotic and bold. Spinel was mentioned more than once.)
  4. Silver (including silver fashion with lab-grown diamonds)
  5. Custom and custom bridal
  6. Stackable rings and bracelets
  7. Men’s jewelry (Fashion, engagement rings and precious metal wedding bands were mentioned.)
  8. Pearls
  9. Avant-garde or alternative bridal, including anything asymmetrical
  10. Pre-owned jewelry, including vintage jewelry, updated estate jewelry, repurposing old jewelry and restoration of a customer’s jewelry

Other ideas mentioned by more than one respondent:

  • Ania Haie jewelry
  • Basics (including solitaire studs, line bracelets and diamond hoops)
  • Tiara bands
  • Sturdier designs, such as heavy, weighted rings
  • Minimalist jewelry, especially earrings
  • Smart jewelry
  • Hand-made, artistically designed jewelry

General responses:

  • “Hell, I don’t know but I always sell a crap load of diamond studs and diamond wedding bands every Christmas, year after year.”
  • “Who cares? We are in the Midwest where trends come in slow. But everyone needs repairs and loves custom.”
  • “Please God, anything but another bracelet line. LOL.”

18. Jewelers remember sales for a wide variety of reasons. Sure, sometimes it’s a big sale, but more often, it’s the occasion or the circumstances of the purchase or the inspiration behind a custom piece that ensures the sale will always have a place in your memory.

special delivery. A black opal of exceptional quality showed up in my mail with the note to make a “large custom ring” in 18K gold. A regular customer just sent it and said, “Make me something beautiful.”

a meaningful gift. A farm couple celebrating their 50th anniversary bought a $150 10K gold and sapphire ring. The emotion of the couple was more rewarding than anything else. It was not much, but it was what they could afford. It was what it meant to them that was so special.

a son closes the sale. A 1-carat diamond for a 50th-wedding anniversary. The husband did not want to spend that much, and the son told him his mother was worth more per year than the cost of the ring. He paid cash on the spot.

a last wish. A first-time customer came into our store and told us that a friend had recommended us. She asked if we made jewelry on the premises and we told her that we did. She then showed us several pieces of gents’ jewelry that she had brought with her and asked if we could use both the stones and the gold to make new pieces. She needed several ladies and several gents’ pieces. If memory serves me correctly, 13 in total. We came up with the designs and she gave us the OK to proceed, provided we could finish all items in five days. She explained that she had just come from the hospital where she had been visiting her dying father and that he had given her the task of taking his jewelry and converting it into multiple pieces so that he could give each of his loved ones a piece to remember him by. Needless to say, this project took center stage and was completed on time. He died three days after he got to give his gifts. She has become not only a fantastic customer, but also a friend.

it’s personal. Both of my daughters’ engagement rings.

a sentimental favorite. The ones I sold to my wife before we started dating.

a wild request. A custom pendant to hold an elephant eyelash.

a bonus. A 5-carat diamond sold to a client to put into his ring. I took what I made from the sale and bought my dream car, a 1966 GTO trig power convertible.

a turning point. For three years running, a middle-aged couple, not married, came in during a local festival. They looked at stones and talked about a custom “not-wedding, not-engagement ring”. By the third year it had become a joke because they thought it was as unlikely that they would buy a ring as it was that they would get married. I got them very excited about a trilliant purple sapphire and made a custom ring. After they came to pick it up, he proposed on the steps outside the store. This is the only experience I have had where the process of shopping for jewelry was the turning point toward actual marriage.

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is this a practical joke? A dealer who bought six pieces I thought would be buried with me and who paid full price.

the best revenge. My best customer walks in and requests the most expensive item available to walk out with. When asked for what occasion she was buying this item, she says, “To teach my husband a lesson; he bought us a new tractor as our anniversary gift. Then he told me I wasn’t allowed to drive the new tractor. So, he will learn not to get me a gift I can’t use.”

a lasting lesson. I had just started in the business and an older gentleman walked in the store, not well dressed and not particularly well groomed, and wanted to look at something for his 25th anniversary. He was carrying a cigar box under his arm. Not being well trained but remembering the 25th was silver, I showed him several sterling pieces. I could tell we weren’t connecting, and he finally indicated he wanted something nicer. He picked out a beautiful white gold and diamond pendant worth 10 times what I was initially showing him. As he came to the counter to pay, he opened his cigar box. It was full of cash, from $1 bills to $100 bills. He had been saving money for years to pay for this piece. It is still one of the best sales lessons I’ve ever had!

a layaway legend. A gentleman put two rings on layaway ($79 and $89) for his wife and daughter for Christmas gifts. He paid $4 every week. They came in on the 26th to have them sized. They were so thrilled, you would have thought he had spent thousands.

the last gift. I recently had the opportunity to sell a custom designed ring to a gentleman who was about to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary. His wife had been battling cancer off and on for the last five years. She wasn’t doing too well. His 50th wedding anniversary was on the 29th of August. It was supposed to be done on the 22nd, so no concerns. I received a text asking me if we could bump up the due date to the 17th because his wife had taken a turn for the worse. I said we would have the ring ready. It wasn’t easy, and required some sacrifice from our team, but we made it happen. I delivered it to him on the 17th of August. He was happy to be able to give it to her at the big celebration that evening with family and friends. I just got word this morning (August 24th) that his dear wife passed away in her sleep last night. I am happy he got to give her this last gift with so much meaning and that we were able to be a part of it.

a beautiful gesture. A bracelet given to the widow of a suicide victim, engraved inside with the names of 20 friends and the phrase “may you always be surrounded by a circle of friends.”

a dream piece. A necklace I saw in a dream. I woke up, drew it, created the piece, called a customer in another state and told him his wife had to have it. He bought it and she loved it.

more for her money. A little girl about 5 years old with her piggy bank in hand, wanting to get her mom a diamond heart for Mother’s Day. She had just under $10 in coins. The project was completed just in time for Mother’s Day. Best sale ever!

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Deb Schulman says once she and her husband, Ron, decided to retire, she could feel “the stress start to leave.” The owners of B. Alsohns Jewelers in Palm Desert, California, the Schulmans had heard about Wilkerson over the years and contacted them when the time was right. Wilkerson provided the personalized service, experience and manpower it took to organize their GOB sale. “We are so impressed with the way Wilkerson performed for us,” says Ron Schulman, “I’d send high accolades to anyone who was interested.”

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IIJS Signature 2020 to Have Special Design Pavilion, Featuring the Works of Hand-Picked Women Entrepreneurs and Budding Jewelry Designers

It’s a platform that bridges the gap between manufacturers and trade attendees and is an ideal meeting point to introduce the right manufacturer to the right buyer.

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(PRESS RELEASE) IIJS Signature, India’s first trade show of the calendar year is regarded as the nerve centre of jewelry design and technology – attracting domestic and international buyers alike. The 13th edition of IIJS Signature 2020 will be held from February 13th-16th at Bombay Exhibition Centre, Mumbai.

This premium B2B jewelry-buying show has already attracted more than 10,800 pre-registered visitors. These visitors have confirmed their presence for the show in the first phase of pre-registration that ended on December 17th 2019, which is 261% higher than last year. The GJEPC is expecting to get more registrations in the second phase that will end in mid-January 2020.

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A Packed Store Like the Day Before Christmas? Wilkerson Makes It Happen
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The IIJS Signature platform will also be known for giving exposure to the new comers in the industry. This year, IIJS Signature has a special Design Pavilion, which will feature the works of nine hand-picked women entrepreneurs and nine budding jewelry designers. The platform will be a great experience for our designers and entrepreneurs to network and meet buyers from India and abroad. This will also give them an understanding on the expectations of different buyers. GJEPC has offered special rates for these participants with the aim to encourage tomorrow’s creative stars of India. Selection of jewelry designers and women entrepreneurs will be done by independent industry experts appointed by the Council in assistance with the Women’s Jewelry Association – India. Preference will also be given to IIGJ past and present alumni.

Pramod Agrawal, chairman, GJEPC states, “IIJS Signature has defined itself as an important barometer of success for the Indian industry, showcasing the best of jewelry in terms of design, quality and finish, as well as high technology solutions – all under one roof. The show will undoubtedly help to boost India’s jewelry exports from $12 billion at present to $18 billion by 2025.”

“As an endeavor to encourage design talent and entrepreneurship, this time we have created a special Design Pavilion, which will showcase the works of nine hand-picked women entrepreneurs and nine budding jewelry designers from the industry. GJEPC has offered nominal rates for these participants, with an aim to bring forth such design talent. As GJEPC we indulge in series of design initiatives across the year that helps nurture the skillset and talent of jewelry design. Design Pavilion at IIJS Signature is yet another such effort in that direction.” Said Mr. Agrawal.

Colin Shah, vice chairman, GJEPC, notes, “The heartening response received from exhibitors and visitors for IIJS Signature – in terms of record numbers of stall bookings and pre-registrations – is the best antidote to the slowdown that has affected our industry for so long. It is a clear indication that the trade believes 2020 will witness an uptick in demand throughout the pipeline. In these stressful times, the optimism and positivity shown by our industry is perhaps our greatest strength. I envisage a more stable political and economic environment in the next few years, which will hopefully bring about further business-friendly policy changes related to taxation, export finance and so on.”

Mansukh Kothari, convener – National Exhibitions, GJEPC, comments, “IIJS Signature stands tall for its eclectic mix of high-design jewelry to cater to a variety of individual requirements. The first show of the Indian calendar year is perfectly timed to replenish inventory for the upcoming festivals that drive jewelry sales and the summer wedding season.”

Speaking On the Design Pavilion, Convener National Exhibitions said, “ India is a powerhouse of Design when it comes to jewelry. It was imperative to showcase this design talent to the world at IIJS Signature, as the show provides significant opportunity and exposure to Indian and International buyers”

Two significant events timed around IIJS Signature i.e. Design Inspirations and The Artisan Awards. These are being organized in keeping with the GJEPC’s stated objective of raising the design consciousness of the Indian industry.

The Artisan Awards 2020, which is themed on Architectural Gems, will honor nine winners on February 12th 2020, at an exclusive gala in Mumbai, one day prior to the start of IIJS Signature. In the first round of judging, 27 finalists were selected from the 625 entries. The designs were based on the three key architectural eras – Art Deco, Islamic Arabesque and Neo-Futurism. The Awards will be presented by a renowned international jewelry artist, who is specially visiting the show for this purpose.

The day-long Design Inspirations seminar, which will be held along the sidelines of IIJS Signature, on February 16th, will see a slew of distinguished foreign and Indian speakers from the fields of fashion, jewelry, retail and more. These influential experts will share their knowledge and experience to stimulate ideas and innovation.

IIJS Signature, besides being a perfect networking platform due to its unhurried pace, it is also a place to get the pulse of the market in terms of high design, market demand, and insights on inventive technology. The show is a platform that bridges the gap between manufacturers and trade attendees and is an ideal meeting point to introduce the right manufacturer to the right buyer.

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Video: Here’s a Great Way to Use Personal Stories in Your Jewelry Marketing

Show potential customers what it’s like to do business with you.

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ONE OF THE NICE THINGS about being an independent jeweler is that you build relationships with customers and hear a lot of stories.

When someone tells you about how a gift was given or received, take out your phone and ask if you can record it, advises Jimmy DeGroot.

Then you can put the video on social media and let people see what it’s like to do business with your store.

Watch the video:

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Blue Nile to Open 50+ Brick-and-Mortar ‘Webrooms’

The expansion could double the company’s workforce.

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Online jewelry retailer Blue Nile plans to open between 50 and 100 brick-and-mortar “webrooms” over the next five years, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports.

At present, the company has only five showrooms. They’re located in Bellevue, WA; Boston; New York; Portland, OR; and Washington, DC.

This expansion could mean doubling the retailer’s employee base to about 1,000 people.

In a webroom, customers view the products and then place their orders using a tablet.

Blue Nile CEO Sean Kell, who took reins in August, told the Business Journal that customers like the showrooms.

“A lot of people love to see, feel and touch the product,” Kell said.

Blue Nile officially become a private company in February 2018. It had previously traded on the Nasdaq. The Seattle-based company was acquired by an investor group in a $500 million deal. The investor group is made up of funds managed by Bain Capital Private Equity and Bow Street LLC.

Read more at the Puget Sound Business Journal

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