The Color of Money
For jewelers who love colored gemstones, pastel pearls, enamels, beads,
opaque stones and colored gold, the spirit of the times is with you at last.
After an agonizingly long period of white on white in jewelry and neutrals
in clothing and store interiors, the consuming world has rediscovered color
Pundits credit a strong economy, which always brings color to the forefront
(think '80s Nancy Reagan-red or the smashing '60s colors featured in the
new Austin Powers movie). Trend watchers point to newly colorful computers,
cell phones and other consumer products that are breaking out of neutral
hell and causing people to think about color in a new and different light.
We've all heard rumblings before about a return to color, with little
ultimate change in retailers' colored gem sales. But this embrace of color
feels different. With other color spurts during the bleached-out '90s, a
single color would be cited as the trend, such as red, pink or blue. This
time around, there's a veritable rainbow of shades on the horizon, including
the above three, but also orange, yellow and purple in pale to saturated
Even the most monochromatic women I know are beginning to take a timid
step toward color, with a red scarf, a blue watch strap or a colored gem
ring. In fact, most women probably prefer the idea of using color as an
accent rather than as the total picture. Black, gray, beige and brown are
just too darn easy for busy women, a secret men have been privy to for centuries.
Women also increasingly fear looking like walking daffodils or tomatoes,
which is why you see relatively few women outside of television and magazines
wearing a total color look. This is good news for jewelers, who can show
women how colorful jewelry adds a touch of spice to their most sober neutrals.
The lovely rush of color provided by newly popular bead necklaces, shown
in a spread in June Vogue,or the warmth of yellow gold, cited as "back
in style" in May Elle,is hard to argue with, even for the most colorblind
of women. InStyle,the hottest magazine for women right now, has been beating
the drum for color in jewelry this whole year, culminating in this month's
focus on "semiprecious" gems (all right, we'll forgive the magazine
for using the non-approved term).
When it comes to color, don't forget to think about your store's image
as well. In this month's cover story, Image Editor Stacey King reports that
Asian-influenced reds and yellows, as well as already strong blues and purples,
are showing up in store carpeting, wall coverings and displays. A well-chosen
vibrant color can define who you are like almost no other design element,
as Tiffany, with its blue box, and Cartier, with its red and gold one, well
know. So be of good cheer as you prepare for the fall selling season. Buy
one new accent piece for your store in a popular color and replenish your
gem inventory. The color buyers are coming.
by Peggy Jo Donahue
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.