From Them Thar Hills

Precious Metals:News

From Them Thar Hills

Toss out old notions about the customers and strike it rich with Black Hills Gold

The old image of the typical Black Hills Gold jewelry customer is sharply at odds with what retailers who sell the product see today. This is why many independent jewelers have begun to stock a bigger, pricier inventory of the jewelry.

The profile of the Black Hills Gold buyer is changing, says David Horowitz of David Horowitz Jewelers, Porterville, CA. "The lower price, colorful, attractive and innovative design were ideal for the teenage buyer," says Horowitz. "But now I'm selling at a higher price-point to women in their 30s, 40s and 50s. The woman who wants something fashionable with stones can find it in Black Hills gold and will often spend $400 to $500 or more."

Black Hills Gold jewelry with gemstones is indeed popular now, says David DiMaria, national sales manager for Black Hills Gold Jewelry by Coleman, Rapid City, SD. In fact, Coleman is expanding its gemstone line with additional rings, earrings and pendants. He says peridot will feature prominently in the new pieces, retailing for $50 and up.

Another new piece from Black Hills Gold Jewelry by Coleman is a bib necklace featuring distinctive grape-leaf stations. It's scheduled for introduction at the JCK International Jewelry Show in Orlando.

Paul Shuey of Shuey Jewelers Inc., Shamokin, PA, carries the full line from South Dakota Gold, Rapid City. Like Horowitz, Shuey says the profile of the Black Hills Gold buyer includes everyone who likes colorful and innovative design at a good price.

"Shamokin is a small town in rural central Pennsylvania. Designs reflecting nature – like hummingbirds, grape leaves and flowers – are always very popular," says Shuey. He also does well with the South Dakota Gold "Wish Rings," a design taken from an ancient legend incorporating seven rings into earrings, pendants and rings to bring good luck.

Looking Upscale
Dan O'Donnell, president of Chain Reaction Jewelers, with three stores around Phoenix, AZ, has carried Stamper Black Hills Gold Jewelry for 15 years and has drawn conclusions about the popularity of the company's Harley-Davidson collection. "I think it breaks down into two groups," says O'Donnell. "The Harley owners and the wannabes. We sell to the hard-core biker dudes, but we also see a lot of professional men and women." According to O'Donnell, these buyers are often very affluent. A new Harley is a big-ticket item, he points out. Stamper's line sells well because the company continually introduces new designs, he says.

One of Stamper's new designs is a bridal ring set with a diamond and also with the birthstone representing the month of the wedding, says Jerry Magstadt, vice president of sales and marketing. These rings can be purchased with the diamond already set or as a mounting only. The mountings sell for $325 to $345 retail.

Travel & Tourism
Frank Gangler operates three stores under the name The Gold Outlet around Rapid City, and Black Hills Gold is a big part of his business. He carries more than 3,000 pieces from all five major Black Hills Gold manufacturers. His business serves two distinct clienteles. The locals tend to buy the more traditional pieces; those using all or almost all Black Hills Gold. His other clientele is made up of tourists who come from every part of the world to see Mount Rushmore. To them, he sells less traditional pieces that are gold with Black Hills Gold trim.

"Even Asian tourists to this country buy a lot of Black Hills Gold, which surprises me," he says. "There is a traditional preference among many Asians for high-karat gold, but Black Hills Gold is the exception." He notes that certain lines, like gold on silver designs, are more popular among the young.

Designs using black onyx and Black Hills Gold are also a strong item for the Gold Outlet. Wes Shelton, marketing director for Mount Rushmore Black Hills Gold, Rapid City, expects black onyx pieces will be strong sellers for his company this year. Roses with colored gemstones – including ruby and garnet – and heart and rose combinations in tricolor gold also are expected to be popular throughout spring and summer

Landstrom's Original Black Hills Gold Creations Inc., Rapid City, says Black Hills Gold jewelry with diamonds will continue to be strong sellers through this year. Landstrom's offers many styles accented not only with diamonds, but also with pearls and gemstones. This year, Landstrom launches a collection of fancy-cut gemstone jewelry accented in 10k Black Hills Gold. The collection retails for $50 to $100.

"Black Hills Gold is more valuable to retailers than they think because everyone – everywhere – finds it interesting and appealing," says Frank Gangler. He admits the bulk of his mail-order business comes from the eastern U.S. because of a lack of availability through retail outlets. The demand for Black Hills Gold is there, he says. Jewelers in the East may want to mine that interest for all it's worth.

Black Hills Gold Jewelry by Coleman, (605) 394-3767.

South Dakota Gold, (800) 523-4209.

Stamper Black Hills Gold Jewelry, (605) 342-0751.

Mount Rushmore Black Hills Gold, (800) 658-3361.

Landstrom's Original Black Hills Gold, (800) 843-0009.


Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


HomeAsk the ExpertBrainstormStatsSite of the WeekConsumer Press Scan
Your Business On-LineCalendarMagazine & Site ArchivesStaffSite Map
Professional Jeweler EventsGuide to Electronic Services
Classified On-LineJA Certification Study Session

Home Ask the Expert Brainstorm Stats Site of the Week Consumer Press Scan Your Business On-Line Calendar Staff Site Map