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August 1999

Gemstones & Pearls:News

Chatham's New Creation

Get set for gem-set jewelry from a familiar name

Chatham Created Gems has created a new opportunity for independent jewelers to sell more color – man-made color. The San Francisco-based producer of lab-grown gemstones has introduced a jewelry line with a strong retail sales program.

The line, the Chatham Collection, was launched at the JCK International Jewelry Show in Las Vegas in June. It features Chatham created gemstones in 14k or 18k white, yellow or two-tone gold rings, pendants and earrings, sometimes with natural diamond accents. President Tom Chatham describes the collection as well-made traditional jewelry with a twist. "We experimented with a lot of different designs over the past three years and came to realize far-out styling wasn't our niche," he says. "That would have added another obstacle for the retailer: in addition to selling a high-fashion piece, the jeweler also would have had to sell the created gem concept."

The resulting collection costs $1,000-$6,000 keystone. "We created a line that gives the consumer a rich look at an affordable price and gives the retailer comfortable margins and great sales support," he says. "There's a vacuum in the marketplace for better-quality created gemstone jewelry. We are aiming this collection at better independents such as American Gem Society member stores."

A Natural
Creating jewelry was a natural move for Chatham, says Robert Metz, owner of Robert Metz & Associates, New York City. Chatham hired this marketing consultant last year to help launch the Chatham Collection. "It's easier for the retailer to sell a finished piece than a component," says Metz. "Moreover, it's very difficult for a component to retain its brand name."

Metz was impressed by the brand recognition Chatham created gems have among consumers. "Everyone knows Chatham in the trade, but I was surprised to see how many consumers asked for his gems by name. In fact, many Chatham clients special-order loose goods because consumers ask for them. That's the strongest selling point for this line – we know there are consumers who want it."

Sales Support
Chatham offers a lacquer, wood and Leatherette modular display system for the collection as well as new point-of-purchase brochures, counter cards and stock balancing. "This is not a one-time package," says Chatham. "We want to build an active partnership with our customers, who will be exclusive Chatham retailers in their communities."

A national consumer ad campaign this autumn will list retailers who sign on now by region. The company also is redesigning its Web site [] – which receives more than 20,000 hits a month – to include a retailer referral service. Additionally, co-op advertising will give participating retailers a chance to recoup up to 50% of their cost for advertising the collection in any venue they choose. Chatham also will help retailers to launch the line with public relations activities in their community.

– by Deborah Yonick

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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