Precious Metals: News
FROM THE BLACK HILLS
Black Hills gold has always boasted mass appeal; now
it's making inroads with new consumers
Though it's been around so long that jewelers tend to take it for granted,
Black Hills gold jewelry is capturing new consumers in all parts of the
country. Though many jewelers brushed it off years ago as a product for
Midwesterners and people without much money, that's changed. New styling,
a nationwide approach to marketing and a growth in jewelers' need for reasonably
priced products has helped it continue its quiet success.
Black Hills gold manufacturers, most of them based right in the Black
Hills of South Dakota, spoke to Professional Jeweler about trends, target
consumers and other issues concerning their distinctive product. Here's
Middle Class and Quite Proud of It
Black Hills gold jewelry is for the middle-class crowd, and its purveyors
target that niche. "It truly is everyman's jewelry," says Wes
Shelton, marketing manager for Mt. Rushmore Black Hills Gold, Rapid City,
SD. "You may not be able to buy the $20,000 car or remodel your house,
but when gift-giving time comes, you can afford the $100 for Black Hills
Not Just a Regional Product
Though the South and the East were the biggest challenges, all Black
Hills producers say their product sells all over now. "It's collected
from coast to coast and top to bottom," says Gogi Enstad, marketing
manager for Black Hills Gold Jewelry by Coleman, Rapid City, SD.
Fun for All Ages
From teenagers to grandmothers, from Harley-Davidson aficionados to young
marrieds, the appeal of Black Hills gold cuts across all age categories.
Jerry Magstadt, vice president of sales and marketing for Stamper Black
Hills Gold Jewelry, Rapid City, SD, says its extensive Harley-Davidson line
is extremely successful with Harley lovers. Teenagers are attracted to the
real gold line for its affordability. And Enstad says her company's lines
of Little Primrose rings, birthstone necklaces and other children's styles
have met with much success.
Rings are Hot
South Dakota Gold, Rapid City, SD, has had great success with a new product
it calls "Wish Rings," based on a legend that says wearing seven
gold rings that freely move will bring you good luck, says Jenn Sears, advertising
director at South Dakota Gold. But all the Black Hills gold companies say
rings are a hot item. That may have something to do with collectors.
Collectors Love It
Black Hills gold tends to attract collectors, who often buy rings to
display on every finger, say many companies. Mt. Rushmore's Shelton theorizes
that because Black Hills gold is less expensive, people can afford to collect
it, plus its recognizable style makes it easy to coordinate with other pieces.
In addition, Shelton says lines such as his, which still are handmade, make
it fascinating to collectors looking for an alternative to mass-produced
Have you looked at Black Hills gold lately? Some companies attribute
much of their recent success to an effort to modernize styles. Black Hills
Gold Jewelry by Coleman, for example, made sure to produce items in such
popular styles as hoop earrings and Y necklaces. "Jewelers have told
us it's nice to see something new in Black Hills gold," says David
DeMaria, Coleman's sales manager. Ear pins, dangles and even toe rings have
been popular for Stamper Black Hills Gold Jewelry, says Magstadt.
Left: Ear pins appeal to contemporary buyers.
This new style from Stamper Black Hills Gold Jewelry features the trademark
leaf and grape design and are popular with women who use the telephone a
lot because they lie comfortably against the ear.
Right: Fresh styling, demonstrated in this heart
pendant from Black Hills Gold Jewelry by Coleman, is one of the keys to
the category's continued success.
- by Peggy Jo Donahue
Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.