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October 1999

Precious Metals & Bench: New Products

Tops of the Tables

Consumers want items that last a lifetime or longer

The retail sterling silver flatware market was estimated at $251 million in 1997, with growth attributed largely to high– priced lines bought by status– conscious consumers. The sale of sterling gift items reached almost $321 million that same year. Results for 1998 aren't available yet from the Silver Information Center, New York City, but they are expected to show continued growth.

The top sterling gift– giving occasions are Christmas, Hanukkah, weddings, christenings, birthdays and Mother's and Father's Days. The fastest– growing category is picture frames, followed by tabletops, says SIC. However, the categories with the biggest growth are accessories, baby gifts and entertainment–related items. These gifts are not limited to silver creations – gold also makes a stunning statement when used to make decorative boxes, picture frames and other decorative items.
Diana Shiel, public relations director of SIC, expects the following trends will gain momentum this holiday season and next spring:

  • Flatware is getting larger. These larger pieces often are referred to as Continental, European or dinner– size place settings.
  • Unusual serving pieces are hot items, including jelly, sugar or tea spoons, as well as cheese knives and asparagus tongs.
  • Mixing contemporary pieces with antique and period pieces is in vogue. Manufacturers report strong demand for vases and pitchers, which often are more expensive but sell because they are decorative and useful.
  • Popular collectibles range from ornaments to animal replicas, key rings, bottle stoppers, pill boxes and antique replica novelties.
  • Home office accessories comprise a growth category. As more people work from home, pens, letter openers, frames and book clips in precious metals create a professional environment.
  • There is a strong Asian influence evident in the use of bamboo mixed with silver or imitated in precious metal. Tiffany & Co.'s bamboo flatware pattern shares design cues with its bamboo pattern jewelry.

Set a romantic table for two in your store to show how beautiful silver can be in the home. For added interest, place small gift accessories (such as a pill box) on the table or rest a bottle of wine on a sterling silver coaster topped with an ornate wine cork. Invite your customers to sit at the table so they can experience sitting in front of such elegance.

by Lorraine M. Suermann

Geometric napkin rings are by Patricia Von Musulin; beetle napkin ring is by Dean Thaxter.

  • Patricia Von Musulin, New York
    City; (212) 206– 9345, fax (212) 627– 7216.
  • Dean Thaxter, New York City; (212)683– 0170.
New England Sterling line of men's .925 sterling silver accessories includes a handcrafted shaving brush and razor. New England Sterling, North Attleboro, MA; (800) 447– 5552.

Casually displayed sterling silver picture frames fill rooms with silvery accents. From left:

  • Buccellati, East Longmeadow, MA; (800) 223– 7885 or (413) 525– 4800, fax (413) 525– 8877.
  • Wallace, East Boston, MA; (617) 561– 2200, fax (617) 569– 5814.
  • Lunt Silversmiths, Greenfield, MA; (413) 774– 2774, fax (413) 774– 4393.
  • John Hardy Collection, New York City; (212) 696– 9292, fax (212) 213– 5494.
Sterling silver candlesticks from the Classic Collection sell for $695 each. Sterling silver Drottningholm vase retails for $1,495.
Gense America, New York City; (888) 368– 4360 or (212) 725– 2882, fax (212) 725– 1711,
Money clips and key rings crafted in sterling silver feature 14k gold accents. Suggested retail, $75. Leonore Doskow Inc., Montrose, NY; (800) 431– 2302 or (914) 737– 1335.
18k gold picture frames are from the Memories collection. Fope Gioielli, New York City; (212) 869– 4111, fax (212) 869– 0486.

 Miniature sterling silver boxes are popular collectibles and gifts for all occasions.

  • Crab and turtle boxes. Buccellati, East
    Longmeadow, MA; (800) 223– 7885 or (413) 525– 4800, fax (413) 525– 8877.
  • Shell box. Cazenovia, Cazenovia, NY; (315) 655– 3433.
  • Engraved grid– pattern box. Charles Thomae & Son, Attleboro, MA; (800) 966– 8466, fax (508) 226– 7314.

Along with trappings such as cocktail accessories and hors d'oeuvre servers, sterling silver accessories for the wine connoisseur are the latest must– have collectibles.

  • Frog wine cork. J. Reed & Sons, Long Island City, NY; (718) 392– 5700, fax (718) 786– 1008.
  • Drip catcher, cork screw and grape shears. Georg Jensen, New York City; (212) 685– 9060, fax (212) 685– 7995.
  • Cooler and bottle coaster. Buccellati, East Longmeadow, MA; (800) 223
    7885 or (413) 525– 4800, fax (413) 525– 8877.
  • Ant wine bottle stopper. Trudy Sigiura, Princeton, NJ; (609) 683– 7831, fax (609) 255– 2911.
24k gold overlaid engravable money clips with French hinged back offer security. Lifetime guarantee. Suggested retail,$40– $45. Kelly Waters Inc., Boston, MA; (800) 647– 7017, fax (877) 282– 4103.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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