From Them Thar Hills
Toss out old notions about the customers and strike it rich with Black
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
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
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.