De Beers' diamond solitaire necklace, with its understated bezel,
is starting to attract consumers' attention. But how is it selling?
As erratic as an El Niño winter, the bezel-set diamond solitaire
necklace proved an unpredictable sale during the holidays. Independent jewelers
say sales ran the gamut from phenomenal and disappointing. At the end of
the holidays, most agreed with Jerry Thornton of Thornton & Sons in
Dixon, CA: "The diamond solitaire necklace did good, not great, but
Though it may be slow to take off for some jewelers, however, most also
agree the style is here to stay. "It goes with the low-key way people
dress," says Colleen Rafferty of Christensen & Rafferty Ltd., San
Mateo, CA. Professional Jeweler gleaned other observations from a poll of
About 30% of the people who bought the bezel-set necklace at Crescent Westwood
Jewelers in Los Angeles asked for it specifically; others recognized it
when they saw it, says jeweler Linda Abell. Successful retailers credited
De Beers' promotional campaign for the solitaire necklace. Luckless jewelers
guessed the ads are still too new: "I guess it's because husbands haven't
seen it yet," says Tom Jerbic of The Diamond Palace in Las Vegas.
Marketing as Remounts
Several jewelers do an excellent remount business with the necklace. "I
encourage women who are getting divorced to put the center stone into a
diamond solitaire necklace," says Linda Brantley of Trein's Jewelry,
Dixon, IL. "It makes the diamond a whole new piece; all ties with the
past are gone."
Many create their own collections in a variety of sizes (1/3-ct. to 1-ct.
sizes are popular), metals (18k white and yellow gold fight for first place)
and styles (chubbier bezels). In-house design can enhance the stone rather
than hide it, a frequent problem with bezels.
In addition to relying on publicity from promotions, some jewelers are making
an extra effort to point out the necklace's fashion value. One retailer
laminated an In-Style magazine article showing celebrities wearing the necklace
and placed it on her counter.
Consumers are starting to recognize the bezel setting and buy it in other
types of jewelry too. The look is becoming especially popular in diamond
stud earrings and is catching on in engagement rings, wedding bands, fashion
rings and gemstone jewelry.
Despite tradition, many Midwestern jewelers have seen terrific results.
Those less successful with the style often serve smaller markets. "We're
about five to seven years behind the fashion trends," says Elizabeth
Doubeck of Wattson & Wattson, Marquette, MI, located several hours north
of Detroit. "We've sold only one of the necklaces since June."
All this talk about the diamond solitaire necklace has been good for the
category, whatever the setting. "There was virtually no interest for
the bezel-set necklace at the holidays, but I did remarkably with four-
and six-prong diamond solitaire necklaces," says David Christianson
of Christianson Jewelry, Kendellville, IN.
by Stacey King Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.