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October 1999


Good as Gold

Yellow gold has survived the great white wave to make waves of its own

Gold has roots in ancient currencies and early tribal rituals. Its most alluring use, however, has always been in jewelry. The Egyptians reserved it for pharaohs. The Etruscans forged new design techniques with granulation and gold thread. The Chinese and Indians imparted romance by creating 24k gold jewelry for brides to wear for good luck.

Most recently, traditional yellow gold lost ground as consumers paid heed to ads featuring white metal in everything from jewelry to home furnishings. Where did yellow gold go? "It never left us," says Harry Schmidt, owner of HMS, Addison, TX. In fact, yellow gold still accounts for a majority of all fine jewelry sales, despite the hype about white for the past few years.

Whatever the color, gold is a good bet for this holiday season with commodity prices hovering around $250 per ounce, down from $400 a few short years ago.

Timely Tips

Christine Yorke, a consultant for the World Gold Council, takes note of design trends and shares her thoughts on the most significant ones:

  • Softness: Mesh with dangles, metal fabricated like cloth and anything else that's soft and conforms to the body is popular.
  • More White: Yorke places her bets on white gold. She cites one gold– intensive jewelry manufacturer that now produces nearly 90% of its lines with some white metal. Two – tone gold remains especially popular.
  • Higher Karat Yellow Gold: One exception to the white gold storm is high – karat yellow gold (18k and above). The rich color of high – karat gold gives it a freshness that will please today's more sophisticated customers.
  • Look to the Past: Ancient – inspired and estate jewelry styles will remain popular, though Yorke says the best designs will add some sort of modern twist.
  • Branding: Branding of gold jewelry lines will continue as generic designs become harder to sell, she says. Independent retailers will need to exercise caution, however, to maintain their own brand name in the process.

Show Scene

Professional Jeweler's visits to domestic and international trade shows this year found some other trends:

  • Finishes: Mixed finishes – such as polished and brushed.
  • Motifs: Nature motifs and spiritual themes.
  • Chain: The larger the better, especially with open links.

by Lorraine M. Suermann

14k gold mesh bracelet and necklace are available also in white gold. Royal Chain, New York City; (800) 622– 0960, fax (800) 262– 4246.
Flexible stocking mesh chain is available in 14K or 10k gold, gold filled or sterling silver.
National Chain, Warwick, RI; (401) 732– 6200, fax (401) 738– 1684,
14k gold necklace is from the Woven Gold collection. Michael Anthony, Mt. Vernon, NY; (800) 625– 7252, ext. 442, or (914) 699– 0000, ext. 442, fax (914) 665– 3284.
From the Flora collection comes the orchid cattleya brooch/pendant in 18k pink, green and white gold with 0.21 carat of pavé diamonds. Hiroko Sato– Pijanowski, Ann Arbor, MI; (734) 668– 6670, fax (734) 663– 6632,
18k white gold and platinum rings from the Cathedrals collection glisten with pavé diamonds. Suggested retail, $600– $1,400.
Christie Frantz, Berkley, CA; (800) 468 – 8900, fax (510) 525– 7782,
14k gold Christmas– theme bracelet is $1,160 retail. Also available in sterling silver, goldplate and 10k. Rembrandt Charms, Buffalo, NY; (800) 828– 7840.
18k gold bracelet from the Truffle collection features 0.96 carat of diamonds. Suggested retail, $4,500. Also available in 14k at $3,500. John Atencio Designs, Denver, CO;
(303) 830– 7733.
From Paris Nouvelle Vague Cartier collection, this ring of 18k gold beads is available also in white gold and with polished or unpolished finish. Cartier, New York City; (212) 446– 3527 or (212) 446– 3526.
Drop rings come in rose, white or yellow gold and feature 0.15 carat of baguette diamonds. KWM Exclusives for Tamara
Comolli Fine Jewelry Collection, New York City; (212) 398– 8662, fax (212) 398– 8665.
From the Fanfare collection, this 18k pin with a Chinese freshwater pearl is $800 keystone. Conni Mainne Designs Fine
Jewelry, El Cerrito, CA; (510) 559– 7823.
Earrings are from the Spun Gold collection. Matching ring and bracelet are available.
W&B Mazza & Sons Inc., Baldwin, NY; (800) 654– 3400 or (516) 379– 4130, fax (516) 379– 4152.
Split Bead mokumé gané pendant and mirror– image earrings are crafted in 14k white gold and etched sterling silver. The pendant has a bezel– set diamond. Suggested retail, $640 for the earrings, $720 for the pendant. George Sawyer Design, Minneapolis, MN; (612) 375– 1799.
14k engraved bracelet from the Monaco collection is $1,750 suggested retail. Klass Designs, Elko, NV; (702) 753– 4262, fax (702) 777– 3582
High– polish 18k white gold cuff bracelet features ribbed and diamond (0.32 carats) accents. Suggested retail, $3,025. Jenny Perl, Wheaton, MD; (800) 790– 3033 or (301) 933– 9500, fax (301) 942– 3977.
18k white gold heart pendant with chain is $350 suggested retail. Mazza/Bartholomew Ltd., New York City; (212) 935– 4530,
fax (212) 421– 3720.
Available in 14k white and 14k or 18k yellow gold, this cross can be customized with your name and wedding dates or with traditional Posey sayings. The cross is from a collection that is $249– $599 suggested retail.
John Christian, Austin, TX; (888) 646– 6466 or (512) 326– 5004, fax (512) 326– 4822.
  Traditional meets contemporary with these heavily carved bands in pink, white and yellow 14k gold. Mix and match the bands and guards. Also available in 18k and platinum. Suggested retail, $400– $900.
Melissa Shipley Designs, Denver, CO; (303) 741– 5771.
18k ensemble is from the nature– inspired 18k Leaf collection. Kimberlee Teti, St. Davids, PA; (610) 688– 8828, fax (610) 688– 8890.
From the Wave collection, these 14k rings are suitable for remounting and are $422– $522 suggested retail. Available in 18k for $504– $624. Daunis, Portland, ME;
(207) 773– 6011, fax (207) 773– 3606.
Crafted in 18k gold or platinum, this ensemble is from the Double Happiness collection. OE Design SDN BHD for
Feng Shui Jewellery, Penang, Malaysia;
(60– 4) 641– 5707, fax (60– 4) 641– 5714,
From the Generation X collection, these earrings are crafted in 18k gold and are available in a variety of finishes. Charles Garnier Paris, Cranston, RI; (800) 722– 3721 or (401) 946– 3444, fax (401) 946– 0044.
Hearts to the Nines bell pendant is just one of 100 designs. Pendants are available in 18k or 14k gold or sterling silver. Suggested retail, $25– $700. Kevin Kapin Manufactory, Ojai, CA; (805) 646-8380, fax (805) 646-8729.
Gold rings come in 10k yellow gold with 12k rose and green gold leaves and diamond accents. Suggested retail, $234 (left) and $600. Black Hills Gold Jewelry by Coleman,
Rapid City, SD; (800) 874– 9926 or
(605) 394– 3708, fax (605) 394– 3719,
The Chain Fantasy Collection features handmade Italian chain in 18k white or green gold. Suggested retail, $350– $790. Available also in platinum. Linea Aurea, New York City; (212) 944– 6161.
14k Italian Byzantine chain with gemstones is available in 8 inches ($960 keystone) and 17 inches (1,600). HMS, Addison, TX; (800) HMS– GOLD or (972) 248– 0266, fax (800) FAX– GOLD.
Split chain necklace is crafted in 10k tricolor gold. Suggested retail, $77.50. Stamper Black Hills Gold Jewelry, Rapid City, SD;
(605) 342– 0751.
14k yellow or white gold charms are from the New Baroque collection of La Nouvelle Bague. La Nouvelle Bague, Florence, Italy; (39– 055) 244– 911,


Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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