Jewelry Industry News Trends Analysis | Jewelry Show and Exhibition Wed, 17 Sep 2014 05:26:50 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Jewelry Heads East (As Did London’s Runways)

Casual observers of London Fashion Week, which comes to a close today, may not have noticed the strong Eastern inspired aesthetic weaving through some collections—Marchesa, particularly, was outstanding. But those who watched closely (as I did, of course), may also have thought about the Asian themes and styling that continues to escalate in fine jewelry. Truly, I can’t remember a year when I’ve seen so many Buddhas, plum blossoms, and lace-like carved jades. But then, as if to put an exclamation point on the all-things-Eastern trend, several days ago, the big announcement came about “Chinese Whispers: Tales of the East in Art, Film and Fashion.”

That’s the name of the exhibition, which will be at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art from May 7-August 16. If you think it will be yet-another-fashion-thing-in-New-York, think again. Because Yahoo is sponsoring it. Yahoo’s Style editor says, “It is probably one of, if not the, most important fashion events” of 2015. Well, it’s my opinion that the Oscars and Globes, ultimately, will be more significant but, still, because Yahoo’s reach is deep, the exhibition’s influence will be impressive.

Certainly, I don’t expect every jewelry manufacturer to begin focusing on some Eastern themes or styling. It would seem a bit weird, wouldn’t it, if a brand like Sevan Bicakci, for instance, suddenly started making delicate floral rings? Nonetheless, it won’t surprise me in the least if, come next spring, Mr. Bicakci has more carved jade and bamboo one-of-a-kinds in his line.

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]]> (Lorraine DePasque) Designers/Jewelry Tue, 16 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Dear Big Brands: Your Canned PR Is Boring

In an age when people of all ages – but especially Millennials – are so interested in real, authentic experiences and products, it amazes me that the biggest companies with the most resources continue to churn out canned, bland advertising and PR.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working on INDESIGN’s annual story that ranks the most visible jewelry brands in America, and I’ve been in touch with the publicity and marketing liaisons for many of our industry’s most recognizable brands. A few of them are doing an incredible job with their vast resources, creating interesting advertising while also carrying on real conversations with customers via social media. I always know the good ones when the PR people are friendly and personable in our email exchanges, and they’re usually quick to get me the answers I need in a conversational format. On the other hand, I’m always shocked and appalled at how many of the companies I contact are not even interested in participating in a story that talks about their visibility efforts and details what differentiates their brands. And then there are some who seem interested, but will only send me dry “sound bite” style information. In other words, boring. To me, that says that whatever measure of success you have is far short of what it could be.

These companies seem to be so darn careful with what they’ll put out into the public domain. Every word of every press release is so carefully crafted, probably hashed and rehashed dozens of times and vetted by several honchos before it’s finally stamped “okay.” Sometimes, I think they must read them over and say, “No, change that – we don’t want anything that remotely resembles what a real person might actually say.” And the result is often something so canned that it’s completely void of personality – whereas personality is exactly what people are looking for in their jewelry today. So you have these brands that tout their designs as creative while their publicity, advertising and social media “conversations” are anything but.

As jewelers who work with the public on a daily basis, you probably realize this intuitively. I imagine your dealings with consumers in your advertising and social media are probably as real and authentic as your conversations in your store. But if they’re not, I beg you, “rough them up” a little. Put your real self out there – the one who’s a person just like your customer, but a person who just happens to love jewelry, or design, or working with people. That’s the kind of thing that resonates. And no matter how much money you have (or don’t have) to throw into marketing, that’s a message that will attract customers; anything canned is just selling yourself short.

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]]> (Trace Shelton) Customer Service Mon, 15 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Do Men or Women Make Better Jewelry Salespeople?

Do men talk over you in conversations? Fail to register what you're saying? Explain things to you in a tone that suggests you're a bit slow?

Chances are you are a retiring, shy man. More likely, though, you are a woman.

To feminists such conversational patterns are just more evidence of our patriarchal society.

Linguists see something a little more nuanced: men talk to determine and achieve status. Women talk to determine and achieve connection.

Of course, this kind of behavior doesn't apply to every conversation, or every man, or every woman (more than a few women like to dominate conversations as well). But it clearly happens a lot.

And it's got some interesting press with columns a few months back in the Economist and Huffington Post.

As invariably happens, I seem to come across these hot talking points after everyone else has lost interest and moved on. But with the key holiday season not too far away it seemed a good time to revive the issue: Men, are you really, really listening to what your female customers and subordinates are saying? Do I have to explain more SLOWLY just how important listening is as a sales skills (oops, sorry -- reverting to gender type).

Impending holiday season aside, gender is always a fascinating topic in the jewelry industry. Is there another retail sector where two-thirds of the stores are owned by men, yet two-thirds of the sales associates are women? Where most of the shoppers are women, and most of the goods are designed to be worn by women yet the single most important part of the trade– the diamond ring sale -- is primarily purchased by men?

Gender was one of the issues we looked at a little more deeply in our 2014 Big Survey (look out for the upcoming October issue.) With the aim of being a little provocative we asked our survey-takers whether they thought women or men made better sales associates. The results were interesting:

  • 34% thought women were better
  • 65% wouldn't take our bait and said gender was irrelevant
  • Just 0.65%, not even 1%, thought men were better

Given that 33% of our survey-takers (all store owners) were women, and 67% were men, the conclusion was obvious, right? -- people were voting along gender lines, although men a little more defensively.

A quick cross tabulation revealed something really intriguing: Men tended to think more highly of women's sales abilities than women did: 38% of men thought women were better salespeople than men, compared to just 26% of the women (74% of the women said gender was irrelevant.)

Our conclusion: Maybe working with a lot of women has made men in the industry more appreciative of their abilities, and sensitive to the best way to engage with them.

Final takeaway: Obviously nobody wants to be treated like a stereotype. But, it's worth keeping in mind: leverage the idea of "social connections" when dealing with women, "status" with men.

Although you probably knew that anyway.

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]]> (Chris Burslem) Customer Service Fri, 12 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Fill in the Blank: Favorite Jewelry Designer


to "Fill in the Blank," a weekly helping of nutritious thought for growing jewelry store owners.
My favorite jewelry designer of all time is ____________.

Welcome to "Fill in the Blank," a weekly helping of nutritious thought for growing jewelry store-owners.

Instructions: Fill in the blank with the first thing that comes into your mind. Think of these as a Rorschach test for jewelers. Oh, and for extra credit, you might explain in a separate paragraph why you think answered the way you did. Because that's always interesting, too — the so-called "method behind the madness." Thanks for participating! And check back every Friday for more blank-filling mayhem.


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]]> (William Irwin) Around the Web Fri, 12 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0000
The Future Forecast at VicenzaOro

On day three of the VicenzaOro jewelry fair Paola De Luca charges up to me at the time of our appointed meeting dressed in a knee-length lace skirt, a jacket covered in platinum colored sequins, two enormous cocktail rings and a jeweled bib necklace. It is 10am. She looks hip, elegant and—thanks to the platform sneakers on her feet—able to race through the day without missing a step. Being nimble and fast moving is a job requirement for De Luca who is Creative Director of Trendvision Jewellery + Forecasting, an independent arm of VicenzaOro that conducts research, educational programs for buyers and manufacturers and organizes think tanks in the jewelry and luxury sectors.

Paola De Luca

And at VicenzaOro she’s been busy with introducing Trendbook 2016 + a big, glossy reference book that’s a guide to burgeoning jewelry trends and the cultural currents that guide them. With more than 20 years of experience in the jewelry industry—Paola’s worked for names from Ferragamo and Harry Winston to QVC and was editor in chief of the TJF Trend Book for six years—she knows her stuff, and I jumped at the chance to ask her a few questions:

What is trend forecasting, anyway? Forecasting is a strategic tool for the business in general: retailers, manufacturers and buyers. It’s planning ahead and changing the focus from being product driven to concept driven. We look at the lifestyle changes of the final consumer and apply that information to product development, design and marketing. In the 1990s, the role of a retailer was more like being a merchant. Now it’s very much about marketing. Today, luxury is more related to perceived value rather than tangible value. At VicenzaOro the fair focuses on “Made in Italy” and can’t necessarily compete with other places in terms of making huge volumes of product. Where Vicenza is strongest is in craftsmanship and creativity. The western world can compete with emerging markets by proposing marketing concepts instead of just focusing on production. Forecasting reflects contemporary changes in life and business to help guide those ideas and concepts.

How do you translate that into the Trendbook? The Trendbook is an objective resource tool that can be ordered online. In anything you have to look at different sources. You should read five newspapers a day—from the left, right and center—to come to a conclusion. The Trendbook is an objective perspective; it’s not opinionated. It helps give readers a structure for approaching their work. The Trendbook is a tool readers can refer to every day for case studies, merchandising ideas and content that connects trends to different consumer types for the upcoming seasons.

How do you respond to people who say they don’t sell trends and only invest in classic pieces? I say that “classic” is evolving. Falling back on classic is being scared of change, but change is already happening. Whether you accept it or not, change is viral. Even when they’re not physically traveling, people travel through the Internet, with catalogs, with QVC. We’re in a liquid society. Falling back on classic is a safe way to say, “I’m scared of trying because I don’t know where to go.” The truth of the matter is that a customer can always find a product online. It’s not that the pie is shrinking; people are going where they’re most excited. The more conservative the area, the more people want excitement. That doesn’t mean extravagant, avant-garde couture pieces. People need new ideas on how to style pieces, for example. A salesperson has to express the lifestyle the client would like to have and be an aspirational presence. If you’re boring, you can’t sell excitement.

Right now, what’s something that is really inspiring and influential? I love Hong Kong. Everything is happening there in terms of business, style, fashion... There’s a reason Prada did its IPO there. It’s a fascinating place that’s a hybrid of different cultures, from mainland China to British and western culture. So much of current fashion comes from the street style in Hong Kong. I go there and see young designers that are doing beautiful, well-made design I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Learn more about Trendvision and Trendbook 2016+ at

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]]> (Tanya Dukes) Designers/Jewelry Wed, 10 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0000
The Jeweler: Ladies Man

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.

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]]> (Tim Searfoss) Guest Blogs Wed, 10 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Yup, Two Cutouts That Will Be In . . .

As New York Fashion Week continues, mesh and lace both have been making a notable appearance in spring 2015 ready-to-wear. Given that the same openwork messages are weaving through many of the latest fine jewelry collections, this duo of runway trends has been a bright spot. Because, realistically speaking, more often than not, when fashion’s focus is on light ‘n airy, the customer’s preference for such jewelry is the same.

Love or hate the mesh and lace clothes, there simply won’t be any escaping them next year. Tadashi Shoji said his new cocktail dresses and capped gowns that mixed lace with chain-mesh inserts were inspired by old Venetian lace and that, “It’s the juxtaposition of the power and the feminine.”

Whether mesh or lace looks are created in cloth or metal, I do agree that the finished product can be, at once, strong and delicate. Jewelry designer Sara Freedenfeld achieves that in her line, Amáli Jewelry Design, by frequently encasing stones in woven precious metal chain. Also one of the best fine-wire jewelry collections I’ve seen recently comes from Pinar Oner Design Atelier. The brand’s necklaces and bracelets that weave different colors of diamonds into lacy gold appear to be works of art as well as on-trend.

For me, it never gets old to see how some of jewelry’s finest interpret the current style zeitgeist . . . and now, in this case, how they interpret the fashion world’s au courant mesh and lace fabric directions.

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]]> (Lorraine DePasque) Designers/Jewelry Tue, 09 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0000
TIVOL Has Gone to the Dogs

TIVOL’s ad campaign, “TIVOL Has Gone to the Dogs,” has done a great job of bringing new customers into the store while also linking the store’s brand identity to community interests.

Launched in late 2013, the campaign — to be featured in the October issue of INSTORE — continues to present beautifully photographed homeless pups taken in by KC Pet Project, a Kansas City area no-kill animal rescue. “It happened very naturally,” says TIVOL Director of Marketing Adam Gebhardt. “This company has always been extremely dog-friendly and has a long history of injecting humor into our ads. I had been trying to brainstorm an idea for a campaign when (owner) Cathy Tivol’s dog kind of sauntered in and it just kind of hit me.”

Each ad includes a caption that promotes the animal shelter and, when possible, the pet’s name and adoption status.

To further support the campaign, TIVOL designed sterling silver doggie tags that sell for $79. The tags, which feature a single diamond, are branded with the TIVOL logo and can be customized with a pet’s first name and a phone number at no additional charge. With the sale of each tag, $20 is given to the KC Pet Project.

“We’re getting wonderful feedback from our customers and the community as a whole,” Gebhardt says.

“People love the charitable aspect of this campaign,” says Cathy Tivol. “It offers us another way to give back to our community — and along the way help dogs, which are near and dear to everyone’s hearts at TIVOL.”

As the holiday season approaches, Gebhardt advises thinking beyond promoting your own business and remembering how important partnerships can be in helping you build your brand.

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]]> (Eileen McClelland) Best Practices Tue, 09 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0000
The VicenzaOro Short List: Italian Brands to See

VicenzaOro is one of the world’s biggest jewelry shows, so it always helps to have a cheat sheet of a few must-sees. This list will jump start your shopping list, or just give you a little inspiration.

Anna e Alex

The top reason anyone becomes an editor (or buyer, I suspect) is for the heart quickening moment when you find a new designer to love. I spied the women behind Rome-based brand Anna e Alex roaming the halls in their colorful, geometric pendants and I snapped to attention. Once I tracked them to their booth in VicenzaOro’s Glamroom, a special section for rising design talent, I fell for their updated, affordable approach to the cameos and use of passementerie with colored gemstones.

Mattia Cielo

Mattia Cielo is part artist, part engineer. His namesake collection always edges the innovation needle forward. He uses the term “metamorphic dynamism” to describe the way his pieces often expand, bend and sway in response to movement, and high tech materials figure into his work as much as diamonds and gold. This year he’s brought carbon fiber, which is best known for its applications in the aerospace and car industries, into the mix to create oversized pieces of surprising lightness.


The show is called VicenzaOro for a reason. For a lot of visitors the show is all about gold. Vendorafa is tops at doing strong, classic gold design that still feels fresh. The label is expert at rich, textured surfaces.

Diva Gioielli

A relatively new brand that’s not in the U.S…yet, Diva caught my eye for two reasons. Its current collection has captured the minimalist current in jewelry in a way that I haven’t seen elsewhere at the show and the pieces are in sterling silver in a variety of textures and with galvanic treatments that can convert the metal to different colors.


Sometimes you don’t want something practical. Half the fun of visiting a show as diverse as VicenzaOro is being exposed to outrageous pieces that you won’t see at the grocery store (at least not in most neighborhoods). Cantamessa made its name manufacturing for other brands but its own label is loaded with jellyfish rings, earrings that resemble feathers and any other flight of fancy you can imagine.

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]]> (Tanya Dukes) Designers/Jewelry Mon, 08 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0000
Aaron Faber Gallery Turns 40

Patricia Faber and her husband Edward, co-owners of Aaron Faber Gallery on Fifth Avenue in New York (just up the block from the Museum of Modern Art), are celebrating the gallery’s 40th anniversary this year. The gallery was founded as a showcase for artist-made jewelry, and so the Fabers have carried many different designer lines over the years – some of them, like David Yurman, well before they were household names. I spoke to Patricia recently in regards to a really cool two-day bridal event they put together (more on that in the next issue of INDESIGN), and we also talked about her history with designer jewelry and their upcoming anniversary celebration. Here was a small snippet of our interview.

What do you love so much about designer jewelry … especially unknown artists?

“It’s a passion for jewelry and jewelry design.  My husband and I started working with jewelry artists in 1974 when no one had a clue what this was about.  We started on 47th Street, so we worked hard to bring the artists into fine metals and market that to the public. We’re inspired when we find a jeweler who’s following his or her own aesthetic and out of nowhere is making innovative, unusual jewelry that’s evocative.  It makes you stop and think, it calls attention to the wearer, it’s exciting.  The designer movement has really mushroomed since decades ago.  Many designers have integrated what they’re doing more with the fine jewelry market, while at the same time, the market has begun looking at design more than materials.  It’s come together a bit.”

How did you get started carrying designer jewelry?

“We started out around the same time as David Yurman.  It was so long ago, he was still making belt buckles!  Designer jewelry all began as part of the craft movement of handmade jewelry, ceramics, glass – people developing a different lifestyle.  David Yurman comes from that. His wife Sybil is an artist.  We sold his belt buckles at that time.  That generation came out of a very creative background, and the newer generation of designer jewelers are certainly creative, but it’s not coming out of people who would have been painters or sculptors, but people coming out of the design world or jewelry world.  But it’s just as exciting when you see some fabulous gem-encrusted work that’s colorful or over the top.  There are amazing designers coming out of the world of gems; they have that spark of creativity.”

How will the gallery celebrate its 40th anniversary?

“We’re well known for vintage watches and estate jewelry, so we’re going to do a watch roundtable in September.  That’s Edward’s focus.  It will be a discussion of collecting watches both contemporary and vintage.  Michael Friedman, the brand ambassador for Audemars Piguet, will be speaking.  We’re also doing an exhibition of jewelry by 20 of the artists with whom we have long relationships.  They’ll be showing 120 jewels, some very new, so we’re challenging them not just to present us with their signature pieces, but also to do something new for our 40th anniversary celebration.  One of the artists is presenting 3-D printed bracelets, so that’s really new!  We’re working with artists whose medium is jewelry, but they love a challenge and doing something new.”

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]]> (Trace Shelton) Customer Service Mon, 08 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0000