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Las Vegas 2018
Buying Guide

Customers are beating doors down for this trending jewelry.




So you want your client to feel at home in your store. You’ve got the space; you’ve got the staff. But just how welcoming is your jewelry selection? If you have old jewelry squatting in your showcases as if it were living in rent-controlled apartments, now’s the time to evict it and bring in more compelling product — the kind that will attract visitors. With the Las Vegas shows happening this month, there won’t be a better moment to ditch the old and bring in some new, exciting offerings. Here are the hot sellers and trending jewelry that your clients will want to take home, as well as expansion categories from which you can build to even greater heights.

Rose Gold

In the Pink

What was once a special order has now established itself as a superlative staple. Rose gold’s warm glow has found its way into everything from fashion jewelry to the height of haute couture design. This pretty metal isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Your customers will expect you to have rose gold on hand, and you should be ready. 


18K rose gold necklace with diamonds (1.00 TCW).


(310) 598-5010,

Sig Ward Jewelry

18K rose gold cuff bracelet with gray mother of pearl (10.00 TCW) and diamonds (0.40 TCW).


(310) 871-5360, 

Noam Carver

14K rose gold engagement ring setting with 26 round diamonds (center stone not included).


(866) 214-7464, 

Adel Chefridi

18K rose gold earrings with diamonds.


(845) 684-5185, 

Christopher Designs

14K rose gold ring with a L’Amour Crisscut diamond (0.81 TCW) and round diamonds (0.74 TCW).


(800) 955-0970,


Word Jewelry

Wear Your Truth

These talismanic pieces literally make a statement. Each one proudly proclaims a motto or value important to the wearer, offering reassurance, empowerment, inspiration or comfort. It can be easier for customers to make an emotional connection with these pieces because they’re not just buying an accessory; they’re investing in their personal identity.

Eden Presley

14K yellow gold bracelet.


(917) 952-7667,

Lulu and Shay

14K yellow gold ring with sapphire, opal, amethysts, emerald, and diamond.


(917) 523-8828,

DRU Jewelry

14K gold medallion necklace with rubies and black diamonds.


(310) 980-4257,


Sterling silver breakaway charm set with black enamel. 


(401) 463-2755,

Nora Kogan

Sterling silver ring with enamel.


Statement Earrings

Go Big or Go Home

Statement earrings have returned, first gracing the lobes of mega-celebrities and then spreading to the wider ranks of everyday jewelry lovers. Statement earrings’ blatant, unapologetic exuberance is joyful — a mood that fits perfectly into the current cultural moment. There’s sure to be a pair of statement earrings that expresses what each of your customers wants their ears to say. 

Les Georgettes

Earrings in yellow gold finish with Perspex.


(718) 360-2917,


22K yellow gold earrings with faceted orange and yellow sapphire briolettes.


(646) 795-1212,


18K yellow gold earrings with mother of pearl abalone shell and black diamonds.


(212) 937-9727,

Frederic Duclos

Sterling silver and rose-gold-plated earrings.


(866) 898-3636,

We Dream in Colour

Brass earrings with sterling silver posts.


(978) 594-1425,

Stiletto Earrings

Get in Line

Whether their design is flexible or firm, these long, lean face-framing lovelies add a dash of lengthening elegance to any look. Light and universally flattering, stiletto earrings are a great pick for anyone looking to update their look without getting too crazy. Start small for shy shoppers or go straight to the major dangles for those who seem amenable to daring designs.

Melissa Kaye

18K yellow gold earrings with diamonds (1.41 TCW).


(917) 573-0388,

Rebecca Myers Design

18K yellow gold and oxidized sterling silver earrings with white diamonds and raw yellow diamonds.


(800) 575-4569,

Susanne Klevorick

14K yellow gold earrings with Akoya and freshwater pearls.


(646) 662-2110,


14K white gold earrings with blue topaz.


(800) 255-0192,

IO Collective

18K yellow gold earrings with tourmaline, sapphires, and diamonds (0.14 TCW).


(646) 847-9098,


Dark Romance

That Old Black Magic

Fantastical themes in jewelry aren’t new, but for the past few years they’ve leaned towards the sugary. Now we’re seeing a shift from everything nice to a darker spice; more sultry and spiritual. Think mystical fortune-tellers, Ouija boards, a sisterhood of modern witches dancing under the full moon. Too soulful to be categorized as goth, these designs are bold, eerie and utterly compelling.

Shelley Cavanaugh

18K yellow gold necklace with rubellite (11.40 TCW).


(503) 756-4950,

Acanthus Jewelry

14K yellow gold necklace with dendritic agate and black diamonds.


Dana Bronfman

18K yellow and black rhodium-plated sterling silver earrings with black, white, and gray rose cut diamonds.


(650) 269-1101,

Susan Elnora

Sterling silver stud earrings.


(612) 716-1561,

Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry

Silver and 18K yellow gold ring with rutilated quartz (65.45 TCW).


(310) 278-4792,

Rainbow Brights

Vivid, Vivacious, & Varicolored

Colored gems were trending before Princess Eugenie revealed her Padparadscha engagement ring in January 2018. After the peachy-pink royal bauble’s debut, the public’s interest was piqued. Pinks and purples are hot commodities, as are traditional ROYGBIV rainbows and more abstract assemblages of variously hued stones. These cheerful choices are sure to delight any shopper with an appreciation for whimsy, especially millennials seeking an updated take on the classics.

Baker and Black

18K yellow gold ring with rubellite tourmaline, blue sapphire, and rhodolite garnet.


Little H

14K yellow gold necklace with freshwater Edison button pearls, ruby, and amethyst.



14K yellow gold earrings with multicolored sapphires.


Suzy Landa

18K yellow gold earrings with peridot, tourmaline, aquamarine, imperial topaz, yellow beryl, and diamonds.


(212) 874-2346,

Kelly Bello Design

14K yellow gold choker necklace with amethyst, rubellite, sapphire, yellow beryl, emerald, and aquamarine.


(505) 730-6686,


Georgian Inspired

Not Lost But Gone Before

One could say that all design is informed by that which came before, but one particular time period is having a definite upswing in aesthetic influence. Demand for genuine antique Georgian jewelry has recently skyrocketed, but it’s not just the good old stuff that collectors covet. Contemporary designers are interpreting iconic 18th century motifs in inspiring new ways — memento mori, girandoles, acrostic messages, rose cuts, the ouroboros, and even lover’s eyes are once again in vogue.

Beloved NYC

18K rose gold locket bracelet with white enamel.


(212) 498-9002,

Erica Molinari

Oxidized sterling silver lock necklace with 18K yellow gold and diamonds (1.19 TCW).


Ana Katarina

18K yellow gold necklace with hand-carved Brazilian agate cameo, sapphires (1.05 TCW), and diamonds (0.30 TCW).


(617) 699-3714,

Rahaminov Diamonds

18K rose gold ring with a round rose cut diamond (1.79 TCW), round rose cut diamonds (0.79 TCW), and white diamond melee (0.27 TCW).


(213) 622-9866,

Holly Dyment

14K black gold earrings with lapis, pink sapphire, and white diamonds.


(212) 463-7950,

Sculptural Styles

Wearable Abstractions

The appeal of sculptural jewelry comes from the same place as the return of statement earrings: it’s about embracing the desire to be seen. Sculptural jewelry can take so many forms that it’s hard to define precisely, but its hallmark is the willingness to occupy space, often in unexpected ways. 

Vitae Ascendere

18K rose, yellow, and white gold earrings.


(415) 231-6999,

Elizabeth Garvin

Oxidized sterling silver and 18K gold cuff bracelet with diamonds (2.00 TCW).


(212) 420-9470,

Karin Jacobson Design

18K yellow gold and recycled oxidized silver earrings with peridot and diamonds.


(612) 875-5788,

Julie Cohn

Bronze earrings.


(214) 415-1792,

Kelim Jewelry Design

925 sterling silver necklace.


(301) 448-7367,

Digital Art Deco

Not Your Grandmother’s Geometry

The irresistible Art Deco era has inspired many a jeweler, but this particular subset of designs takes that classic, crisp 1920s geometry in a slightly different direction. These designs integrate the distinctly deco concepts of clean lines and negative space and infuse the aesthetic with a fresh, almost futuristic feeling of slight abstraction that elevates the entire concept to a new level. 

Cat Janiga Jewelry

Sterling silver ring with 22K yellow gold and amethyst.


(416) 454-6522,

Gigi Ferranti Jewelry

14K yellow gold earrings with diamonds (0.60 TCW) and emeralds (0.96 TCW).


(718) 251-1614,

V Jewellery

Rhodium-plated 925 sterling silver necklace with 18K yellow gold plate, cubic zirconia, black enamel, and synthetic emerald.


+44 (0) 121 329 3113,

Just Jules

14K white gold engagement ring with emerald cut diamond (0.90 TCW) and full cut and kite shape diamond sides (0.40 TCW).


(480) 860-6211,

Irthly Adornments

18K yellow gold earrings with labradorite (3.40 TCW) and diamonds (0.23 TCW).


(949) 478-4591,

Neck Mess

There Ain’t No Rules

Necklace layering isn’t a new trend, but it’s evolved recently from its usual dainty, careful arrangements into something gloriously chaotic and daring. The “neck mess” approach to layered necklaces is intentionally rumpled, often involving multiple chunky pieces and dangling charms twined together or connected in texturally interesting ways. Bold chains, charm holders, and connector pieces like padlocks are integral. Search the hashtag #neckmess on Instagram to see hundreds. 

Delphine Leymarie Fine Jewelry

18K yellow gold chain and charm holder (charms not included).

$1,240 (chain), $359 (charm holder)

(212) 537-5769,

Judi Powers

Natural beryl crystal necklace with 14K white gold and sapphire clasp.


(718) 571-9049,


Sterling silver charm holder necklace (charms not included).


(877) 479-7742,

Marla Aaron

18K yellow gold chain, lock, and box charm inlaid with lapis.


Pamela Froman Fine Jewelry

18K yellow gold necklace with rubellite (16.72 TCW), Australian boulder opal (3.81 TCW), diamonds (0.34 TCW), watermelon tourmaline nuggets and sliced beads.


(323) 954-7436,

Hair Jewelry

Crowning Glory

You have a client who’s just not inspired. They’re suffering from bracelet boredom, earring ennui, and ring reluctance. Perhaps you could draw this lost soul’s attention to the potential of their unadorned noggin. Haute headwear isn’t just for music festivals and royal weddings anymore. If they’re not ready to go full tiara, embellished headbands and bejeweled barrettes are a great way to channel one’s inner royalty in the day to day. 


Black fabric headband with sequins and sparkling stones.


Mrs. President & Co.

Barrette with crystal.


(213) 689-8889,

Hushed Commotion

Headband with crystal accents.


(347) 549-9709,

Jennifer Behr

Bobby pin with Swarovski crystal.


(718) 360-1875,

JY Jewels and Our Lady of Leisure Millinery

Satin-wrapped headband with cerise and white crystals in rose gold dipped settings.


+61 407 358 368,

Jewelry Storage

Graduate from the Sock Drawer

Any true jewelry collector knows that what you do with your treasures when they’re not on your body is vital to your jewels’ accessibility and safety. Who hasn’t lost an earring to the edge of a table or tangled chains together on a dresser top? Offering your customers a selection of jewelry storage options alongside your regular merchandise gives you the potential for some great add-on sales and offers window shoppers a solid reason to come into your store even on days when they’re not intending to buy jewelry. 

The Painted Press

Clay and liquid gold jewelry dish.


WOLF 1834

Leather case with built in mirror, LusterLoc anti-tarnish lining, and snap closure with gold finish.


(310) 473-0012,

Modern Mud

Earthenware dish with 22K gold accents.


(516) 318-2271,

Splendid Music Box Co.

Hand-crafted Italian inlaid musical jewelry box with lined jewelry compartment.


(212) 532-9304,

Hudson and Bleecker

Jewelry case with vegan saffino leather, velour lining, and light gold accents.


(646) 912-9286,


Peer Review

We asked our Brain Squad: What do you think will be the breakout category this holiday season?

Rolling With Gold

Still finding yellow gold organic styles interesting. Fancy garnets are hot, spinels and zircons exciting. Brenda Newman, The Jewelry Source, El Segundo, CA

East Fourth Street

Earrings in 14K recycled yellow gold with fair-trade marquise-cut rhodolite garnets.


Mysterious Gems

Phenomenon gems: cat’s eyes, stars and chatoyancy, opalescents and all the mystical allure that goes with them. Laura Pool, Laura’s Jewelry Designs, St. Robert, MO

Amali Jewelry

18K yellow gold woven bracelet with Ethiopian opals.


Lab Specimens

We are seeing a huge uptick in synthetic requests for engagement rings … colored gems and diamonds. I think the market will continue in that direction! Jennifer Farnes, Revolution Jewelry Works, Colorado Springs, CO


14K white gold engagement ring with a 1.00-carat lab-created diamond center stone.


Mixing Metals

Gold/white mixed pieces are becoming the thing. Steven Wardle, Forest Beach Design, Chatham, MA

Sia Taylor

Necklace in 18k yellow, rose, and white gold with 22K gold, 24K gold and platinum.



Becky Stone writes about jewelry styles for INSTORE. She is founder and CEO of well-known jewelry blog Diamonds in the Library.



Wilkerson Testimonials

Having a Moving Sale? Let Wilkerson Do the Heavy Lifting

For Jim Woodard, owner of Woodard’s Diamonds & Design in Tullahoma, Tenn., when it was time for a moving sale, there was only one company to help with the event: Wilkerson. “They brought in the right team for us,” he says, remarking about the sale’s extraordinary results, including a nearly 500% monthly sales increase compared to the previous year. “I wanted to have the best in the industry. And that’s the main reason why I contacted Wilkerson.”

Promoted Headlines

Cover Stories

The Big Survey 2019: Buying & Selling




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.
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

12. What are the three best performing watch brands that you carry?

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?

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%

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
$250,000 to $499,999
$500,000 to $999,999
$1 million to $1,499,999
$1.5 million to $2,999,999
$3 million to $5 million
More than $5 million

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

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.


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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Big Survey

The Big Survey 2019: Big Data





Big Data

Gabriel & Co. is king. Earnings for many jewelers have flat-lined. And customers — and almost as often staff — are still confounding. Those are some of the broad takeaways of the 2019 Big Survey. Dig in and enjoy our analysis of data provided by 802 North American jewelers.

Utah’s jewelers were most concerned about the impact of social media on their personal lives: 75% said it had been negative. In a possible related finding, Utah’s jewelers also checked review sites most regularly, doing it daily or every few days. Jewelers in Maine were the least likely to check what people were saying about them online.
California had the highest number of multiple-store owners: 23% had two stores and 3% had three or more.
Arizona led the way in e-ccommerce with 71% saying it contributed a moderate or substantial portion of their sales (meaning more than 10%).
Texas contributed the highest portion of big city stores to our survey (23%) among U.S. stores. (Canada actually had the most in North America at 29%.)
Wisconsin could possibly change its moniker to the Surprise State: Only 15% of its jewelers said their performance this year was in line with expectations. The rest were either doing better or worse than expected.
Jewelers in Iowa were most excited about lab-grown diamonds (63%), while jewelers in New York were most alarmed by their emergence (48%).
Canadian jewelers are most likely to be asked about a diamond’s origins (83% say it happens regularly) while in the U.S. it was California that holds that distinction (70%).

1. How well is your business performing in 2019 compared to your expectations going into the year?

Far below expectations
Below expectations
In line with expectations
Above expectations
Way above expectations

2. How many stores do you operate?

3. Where is your store located by region?

Mid Atlantic


Mountain (Rocky Mountains)
(including Alaska)
West (including Hawaii)

4. Is your (main) store located:

On a downtown street
In its own free-standing building


In a strip mall
In a lifestyle center
Office building/Business park
In a mall
Home studio
On the Internet
Continue Reading

Cover Stories

12 Imaginative Ways to Reach Today’s Fickle Holiday Customer

Ideas to make sure stressed out shoppers find your store … and what they’re looking for.



Consider the holiday shopper: stressed, confused, possibly hungry and above all, in search of a friendly face.

What will that harried consumer find in your store? Solutions or more stress?

Make sure your store is a relaxed environment where shoppers know they can unwind, take their time, enjoy a snack and a drink, and find a cheerful someone to greet them immediately and help them ASAP.

“That in itself can make all the difference,” says Tammy Benda of Bottom Line Marketing, who reminds her retail-jewelry clients that the holiday hustle can be as overwhelming for shoppers as it is for retailers. Impersonal Internet shopping, although a convenience, is missing that human touch that only you, their personal shopper, can provide. “That’s very important during the holidays because you’re not just competing with other jewelry stores, but with purses, clothes, electronics, home improvement,” she says.

Here are some ideas to make sure those stressed out shoppers find your store and find what they’re looking for when they get there.

1Make it fun to visit. Have an ugly sweater contest among your staff and ask your customers to vote on a winner. Ask customers to submit their own ugly sweater photos on social media, Benda suggests.

2Feed them. Jennifer Farnes of Revolution Jewelry Works in Colorado Springs, CO, is planning a food-truck event. “Most highly rated food trucks have a big and loyal following on social media,” she says. “It’s a great way to promote local restaurateurs while exposing their regulars to our business. Also we are trying to put together a live music event featuring local individual musicians all day long, with hors d’oeuvres and drinks.”

3Spend money on social media to target not only your customers and their friends, but lookalike audiences as well. “A lot of businesses say ‘I have 10,000 followers on my Facebook page.’ But Facebook is not going to deliver your ads for free,” Benda says. “There is far less organic reach during the holidays than at any time of year because there is so much competition.

“Make sure everyone who goes to your site is retargeted. When they get to your website, follow them around and virtually say ‘I know you are looking for an engagement ring, this is why you should buy an engagement ring from us,’ and then list all of the reasons why buying that ring from you is the best choice.”

4Be human in your marketing. In other words, be the human being that that customer wants to come in and talk to. Have your staff appear in videos showing their favorite gifts under $500. Put a personality on your social media, a smile, a welcoming voice.

5Experiment. If you’ve always done things one way with middling results, consider trying it a different way. Tom Schowalter of Miners Den Jewelers in Royal Oak, MI, plans a big sales event each November to kickstart the holiday season. “In the past, we mailed over 20,000 direct mail cards; last year we did everything via email, text and Facebook and we got a bigger response.”

Lacey Madsen of Lacey’s Custom Jewelry in Bismarck, ND, has hosted ladies nights and men’s nights, as well as remounting, vintage and loose-gemstone events. This year, she experimented in September with a preview event, inviting customers in to help her select new holiday inventory.

Chris Wattsson of Wattsson & Wattsson Jeweler in Marquette, MI, is updating his holiday events, including the traditional ladies night. He’s found that wish-list conversions have been steadily declining, so this year’s event will target self-purchasing women and include a gift with purchase or a dollar amount off for a dollar amount spent. Soon after Christmas, he’s also planning a new event targeted at people who received jewelry online for Christmas and are looking for sizings and appraisals.

6Start early. Ellen Hertz, owner of Max’s Jewelry in St. Louis Park, MN, is scheduling all of her holiday trunk shows in November this year to capture holiday shopping dollars earlier. “One of the things I’ve heard a few too many times is somebody coming in for an event toward the end of the year, and saying, ‘Oh, I wish I had known, I already got a present for my wife or girlfriend or daughter.’ I don’t want to hear that anymore. So I’m going to jump start the holiday season. I’m not going to be obnoxious and horrible by putting out the glass ornaments and cards that we sell before Halloween, but Nov. 1 is turning into holidays in the store.”

7Save some energy for the homestretch. Try as you might to encourage early shoppers, it’s hard to change habits, Benda says. “Those last three days — Dec. 22, 23 and 24 — are going to be the craziest days no matter what you do.”

In addition to those seven tips, here are 12 more inspirational marketing ideas.

Say It With Dinner

Croghan’s Jewel Box

Family-owned Croghan’s Jewel Box in Charleston, SC, believes in the power of appreciation. Each year, Rhett Ramsay Outten and her team print a list of their top 100 customers in terms of dollars and frequency of purchase. “We choose something to send each of them with a handwritten note saying thank you for your business this year,” she says. “One year we partnered with an exciting new hotel in town and gave them a night and dinner on us. Some years we send a $100 gift certificate with a pretty ornament. It is a nice touchstone and people seem to appreciate being appreciated! It definitely brings them back in the store!”

Instant “Catalog” On Instagram

Max’s Jewelry

At Max’s Jewelry in St. Louis Park, MN, owner Ellen Hertz had been phasing out her printed holiday catalog in favor of a digital version; last year, she dropped the print version altogether. But this year, she’s going to deconstruct it into multiple Instagram stories. Hertz believes the new format will be more far-reaching. “The catalog in the past has brought us for the most part the same customers,” she says. “We had people come in who saw things in the catalog they liked, but by and large, those were our customers who were inclined to shop with us regardless of whether or not we had a catalog. I don’t know how many new eyeballs it reached. But Instagram is a good venue for us.” It’s possible they will also bundle the posts together at some point and make it a catalog. But if they do, that catalog will be digital. “Basically, it’s digital, digital, digital,” Hertz says. A year ago Max’s also launched an intense national digital branding and retargeting campaign. “My goal is to link people through those ads to those catalog stories,” Hertz says.

Customers Rock the Catalog


Every once in a while, a good idea stands the test of time.

Mike Miller of MJ Miller & Co. in Barrington, IL, has produced a holiday catalog for three decades that continues to be the best sales tool in his holiday marketing repertoire. The key to the project’s enduring success, he says, is the personalization that comes from enlisting customers as models; the models and their friends and families become instant brand ambassadors.

The 2019 catalog showcased 64 pages of jewelry worn by 24 of their customers. Each model is selected specifically to wear a featured piece of jewelry. “We look at the piece of jewelry and we think we know what will look best on a certain customer,” says Lynnette Solomon, special events coordinator. “We can envision a customer wearing it.”

They partner with a salon for hair and makeup, and the photo shoot is done at the store throughout June. Models, along with their friends and family, are invited to a champagne-fueled “Catalog Reveal Party” in September to view the finished product first.  “We are the talk of the town,” Solomon says. “Everybody wants to see who is in it and what they are wearing.”

MJ Miller enlists customers to model for a holiday catalog that’s mailed all over the world and celebrated with an invitation-only, catalog-reveal party.

If that hot commodity of a catalog is not in customers’ hands by mid-October, the phone will ring. “If it’s a day late, people want to know, `Where’s my catalog?’” Miller says.  And while the catalog has been online for years now, customers still prefer to hold this marketing marvel in their hands. So Miller keeps thousands on site and orders more from the printer as needed to meet requests that exceed the initial mailing of 150,000 copies. Most are mailed in the Chicago area, but the customer base encompasses all 50 states and 13 foreign countries, so this locally produced catalog has global reach.

“If they have an interest in it, we can overnight it to them,” Miller says.

“I make damn sure we never run out. We don’t have time for that!”

Unscripted Commercial Saves The Day

Barry’s Estate Jewelry

Barry Fixler of Barry’s Estate Jewelry in Bardonia, NY, would not call himself social-media savvy. His forte is TV commercials, in which he has invested significantly for years. So, when he decided to give away a $5,000 diamond engagement ring, he enlisted the help of a social-media guru. The first 150 couples to respond to the promotion by email would be entered in a chance to win the ring, but would be required to show up at the store for the drawing. By the day of the drawing, Fixler had set up a tent to accommodate 300 people with food, entertainment, heat, and a photo booth. Then he discovered that his guru had failed to follow up and invite the contestants to the event. “I expected 300 people and only 20 people showed up,” Fixler says.

Barry Fixler’s diamond-ring giveaway resulted in a spontaneous reaction that he was able to turn into a TV commercial with wide appeal.

But, turning to his tried-and-true marketing medium, he notified both his TV production company, (theTerry Snyder Co.) and a local TV station in an effort to salvage his marketing investment. That part turned out better than he could have anticipated. When a young couple won the ring, the groom-to-be knelt and proposed on the spot, and his bride-to-be said, “yes,” through her tears, all while the cameras rolled. Fixler was also able to use the unscripted, heartfelt moment in a memorable commercial. “That was a home run,” Fixler says. “It was a super, super hit. It brought more customers here. What I thought was a major bomb turned out to be a huge success.” 

Make Over My (Ugly) Ring!

Revolution Jewelry Works

Before and after photos of a ring that was redesigned for the Revolution Jewelry Works’ “Make Over My Ring” 2018 contest.

A few Novembers ago, Revolution Jewelry Works in Colorado Springs, CO, first partnered with a local TV station for a promotion called “Make Over My Ring.” Owner Jennifer Farnes had a good working relationship with the TV station, so much of the publicity was good will. “If you’re nice to salespeople, when opportunities come up, you can cross-promote,” she says. Contestants submitted photos of dubiously designed jewelry that they wanted to transform. TV viewers voted on the ugliest. The owner of the ring deemed the absolute ugliest would win a $1,500 makeover at Revolution Jewelry Works that included CAD design, casting and setting. That first year, voters chose a wedding ring with a missing center stone that was also afflicted with “monstrous channels” and an early ‘80s design. The winner used everything left in the ring to create a new cluster ring with a compressed halo. Social media followers as well as the TV audience loved it, and so the contest was repeated in 2017 and 2018, drawing steady attention to Revolution’s custom and makeover talents.

Geo-Fencing The Consumer

Seita Jewelers

Nicole Moret of Seita Jewelers of Tarentum, PA, has worked with Gemfind for the past year on digital marketing, and this will be the first holiday season they’ve used geo-fencing as a marketing tool.

Geo-fencing draws a virtual line around a perimeter and targets mobile-device users. “If a customer has walked into a location and their IP address is grabbed, then your ad is going to be served on any of 10,000 apps,” says Alex Fetanat, founder and CEO of GemFind. “The beauty of this is it’s a targeted marketing effort. You can geo-fence the location around a big box competitor or anywhere you think your potential customers will walk into. As they walk in and when they go home, your ads will appear on their apps for about 30 days. You can grow your brand awareness and it’s trackable.” 

Geo-fencing just makes sense, Moret says. “As a consumer, I’ve been geo-fenced myself. It gets the consumer what they’re looking for in a quicker and easier way. We target local businesses within 20 miles, some of the major areas, malls, country clubs, grocery stores and other jewelry stores to raise awareness that we’re here. We’ve had proven walk-ins from them and phone calls. Our general traffic from the website and online inquiries has increased.” The geo-fencing ads include a call to action — click to call, to get directions or to make an appointment. “We talk about selection. We do have a very large selection and we offer custom design. Engagement and wedding rings are always a top priority.”

Holiday Bling Box Has It All


Borsheims’ Holiday Bling Box 2019 is built around a coveted pair of diamond huggie earrings.

Since 2017, Borsheims in Omaha, NE, has offered variations on a theme of a gift collection that debuts in the holiday preview catalog. The 2019 Holiday Bling Box has a “chic-glam” theme and includes a Citizen rose-tone and white-ceramic Chandler watch, 14K gold huggie hoop earrings with a full carat of diamonds, a 14K white gold diamond line necklace and an Orrefors small Carat vase, all for $1,685. All items come packaged in a single box and wrapped in Borsheims signature silver with a burgundy bow.

Adrienne Fay, Borsheims vice president overseeing the customer-purchase journey, says the Bling Boxes were created as a response to research about what customers want. “Beyond saving customers time, they’re fun to give, fun to receive, and are a gift that will really be treasured,” Fay says. After experimenting with a variety of price points and options, they determined that focusing on only one option in the $1,000 to $1,600 range worked best. They choose one strong seller — such as the diamond hoops this year — and then add pieces to complement it. The other pieces represent the breadth of merchandise categories available in the store, such as giftware and watches. “People say they really like this one item, and all of these other gifts are a bonus,” says Fay. Sometimes the boxes are disassembled and given as gifts to more than one recipient.

Two Holidays At Once

Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry

At Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry in Peachtree City, GA, “Cover Two Holidays At Once” is designed to provide value for customer loyalty. The goal of the promotion is to extend the December holiday season into the Valentine’s Day season. During December, clients receive 10 percent of their purchase back in the form of a gift certificate that can be used from Jan. 9 to Feb. 28. During that period in 2019, the store had a 19 percent increase in the number of units sold, a 40 percent increase in average ticket price, and 56 percent increase in merchandise profit vs. the previous year.

“This promotion added significant value to the Mucklow’s shopping experience, strengthened our community relationships and increased bottom line sales in a traditionally slow quarter,” manager Rod Worley says.

Sleep In, Then Shop

Midwest JewelerS & Estate Buyers

At Midwest Jewelers & Estate Buyers in Zionsville, IN, no one’s in a rush on Black Friday. Doors open at noon sharp for the Sleep-In Sale. “Unless you have a $1 TV for sale, who wants to show up at midnight?” says Allyson Gutwein, store manager. To make it even more relaxed, employees wear pajamas to work and serve hot chocolate and biscotti to customers, who are invited to show up similarly attired. Customers who do wear pajamas are entered in a drawing to win discounts, the best of which is 50 percent off anything in the store. The staff got together and found zip-up onesies to wear in solidarity. “Last year I sold a very high-end ring while in pigtails and a reindeer onesie,” Gutwein says. “If you can sell a high-end ring wearing that, you can do it any other day.” Luckily, customers’ choice of pajamas have all been quite modest, and generally climate-appropriate flannel. “You do wonder if you try something out-of-the-box that someone’s going to take it too far, but there’s been nothing salacious,” Gutwein says.

Staffers wear pajamas to work for the Sleep-In Sale at Midwest Jewelers & Estate Buyers. From left, Allyson Gutwein, Emilie Ritchie and Alley Pontius.

Most important, Midwest Jewelers & Estate Buyers has a reputation for having fun.

Owner Brian McCall jokes that he hasn’t been invited to the event, possibly because no one wants to see him in pajamas, but Gutwein disputes that claim. “Everyone is invited,” she says.

Keep ‘Em Guessing

Toner Jewelers

Toner Jewelers promoted its “Guess the Weight of the Gemstones” contest on the front cover of a holiday catalog.

Last year, Alisha Moore and the Toner Jewelers team in Overland Park, KS, filled a wine glass full of random gemstones and displayed it in one of their cases. Then they mailed out thousands of catalogs. The front cover of the catalog promoted the “Guess the Weight of the Gemstones” contest. Customers could enter the contest once a day while in the store, but they were required to share their contact information. First prize was a $5,000 store gift card. “There was excitement about it when regulars would come in,” Moore says. “You couldn’t touch it or handle it, but people would stand there and do calculations. Other people in the store were asking what they were doing and would join them. The first place winner was a good client of ours, and yes, she made guesses every day. It was a good, no-pressure way for us to capture information.”

Big-Ticket Items – No Waiting!

Bernie Robbins Jewelers

If you don’t have it, they can’t buy it. A Bernie Robbins Jewelers customer recently spotted a 7-carat diamond ring in a case, loved it and bought it on the spot, which made owner Harvey Rovinsky ponder the vast potential of focusing on his luxury clientele. “We’ve identified a significant number of clients who have the ability to spend six-figures-plus, and we wanted to reach out to them,” says Rovinsky, who owns five stores in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Bernie Robbins’ luxe catalog introduces a high-end diamond collection pre-holiday
in an effort to romance luxury shoppers.

So the team at Bernie Robbins is launching a Luxury Diamonds line this holiday season, which Rovinsky believes to be the largest collection of 3-plus carat diamonds in their market. They’re also building areas in their stores to house fancy, GIA-certified diamonds in green, pink, blue and orange. Some will be ready to go: “We thought if we mount them and talk about them, we are selling rings and other jewelry, which is way different than selling a diamond in a paper,” Rovinsky says. They’re also producing a high-end catalog to accompany the Luxury Diamond collection. Each book costs $25 to produce. “Everything is funneling toward the holiday,” Rovinsky says, “but we expect this initiative to be a year-round thing.”

When Life Gives You Orange Barrels

Harris Jewelers

A promotion involving the color orange saved Harris Jewelers from an anticipated road-construction slowdown for the 2018 holiday season and beyond.

When a major construction project claimed the street in front of Harris Jewelers in Rio Rancho, NM, in fall 2018, Karen Fitzpatrick expected a 40 percent drop in holiday business. But instead, due to a fun promotion combined with an aggressive radio and Facebook ad campaign, she’s met her goal every month since then, even as the construction project dragged on for a year. 

Here’s the promotion she credits with her success: For every $10 spent in the store, including on watch batteries, guests receive an orange ticket (a shout-out to the orange construction barrels). Every Monday, Fitzpatrick and team draw 10 tickets, which are then posted on a wall in the store. So shoppers must return to the store by Saturday to see if they won. She clears out old inventory with the promotion, too, since winners choose from a showcase of wrapped jewelry gifts from the half-off case. “We have customers addicted to this,” Fitzpatrick says. Winners’ pictures are posted on social media. “I cannot tell you what a success this has been,” she says. “We even have an orange barrel, named George, with a tumbleweed head in our vestibule that we decorate for the holidays.”

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