Professional Jeweler Archive: Singular Sensation

May 2000

Feature


Singular Sensation

The single diamond, in larger carat weights, is the hottest thing goingend timepieces


Nothing is more beautiful than a single diamond, resplendent with solitary fire and brilliance. In fact, the diamond solitaire has been a constant in jewelry design since around 1880 (when high-quality diamonds became more available). Now, with creative advertising and a strong economy, consumers are choosing ever larger, higher qualities.

Of course, bigger and better isn’t the only news in diamond jewelry styles. Invisible setting and square cuts are making inroads also.

To help you take advantage of this interest, we offer a synopsis of today’s most popular diamond styles, settings and cuts, and a look at trends in individual product categories.

Style

Apparel designs influence the jewelry styles women wear. “This year, elaborate designs, materials and patterns in clothing call for simple jewelry that won’t fight for attention,” says David Skuza, president of Flanders Diamond USA, New York City. Nothing better fits this bill than diamond stud earrings and solitaire pendants, especially using the bigger diamonds consumers want today.

Just how popular are bigger diamonds? “Two-carat and larger diamonds are selling like popcorn,” says Margaret De Young of Ernest Slotar, Chicago, IL. These bigger diamonds look best in clean, simple designs that don’t compete with the impact of a diamond that large.

Settings

The four-prong setting remains the most popular because it’s simple and holds the diamond aloft, allowing free passage of light. The bezel is another popular setting for diamonds, again for its simplicity.

The latest look is invisible setting, which has become more affordable because advanced technology makes it easier to cut the grooves that hold the diamonds on metal rails. The diamonds’ crowns sit side by side with no metal visible between. Unlike pavé, invisible setting has no prongs to snag clothing.

All these settings are made most often in platinum.

Cuts

Round diamonds remain the No. 1 seller, but squares and rectangles continue to grow in popularity as women who already own rounds look for variety. Princess cuts in particular are popular. “I’m also seeing a revival of emerald cuts and radiants,” says Skuza. De Young says the size trend in squares and rectangles is 3-4 carats. The larger emerald cuts offer a 1920s feeling to jewelry.

Trends by Category

Earrings: Consumers want their ears to glimmer with studs at least 1 carat each set in prongs or bezels. (See “Stone Alone” on page 48). Settings are minimal because consumers want the diamond to be the focus. Earrings are the strongest diamond jewelry category right now, partly because of their unisex appeal.

Necklaces: Thanks to De Beers advertising, diamond solitaire necklaces are becoming a must-have for consumers. The Riveria necklace – a ribbon of diamonds around the neck – remains popular also. “A continuous line of diamonds puts the person wearing it into a ring of unparalleled beauty,” says Peter Strauss, sales manager of Distinctive Gems & Jewelry Inc., Los Angeles, CA.

Rings: The traditional best-sellers – round solitaires and three-diamond rings – still top the list. But some customers can be talked into cranking up the volume with fancy yellow diamonds (especially in the center of a three-diamond ring) or using wider baguettes set in a swirl.

Bracelets: Women who jumped on the $199 diamond tennis bracelet bandwagon now realize they should have spent more and are seeking better quality in diamonds, settings (platinum) and clasps (also platinum). Sectional bracelets (mixing diamond sections with other gems or precious metal designs) offer more design options.

Sales

When selling diamond jewelry, differentiate yourself by stepping out of the commodity business and back into the romance business. Diamonds are a pure representation of feelings and should be sold as such.

While it will always be important to know and explain the 4Cs to customers, you also should sell the romance. Talk about the joy she’ll feel when she receives the gift of diamond jewelry, the pleasure he’ll get from selecting and giving the present. And drive home that it’s the love between them that the diamond jewelry represents. This isn’t an appliance – it’s a beautiful symbol of the heart.

– by Lorraine M. Suermann

Platinum and gold necklace, winner of a 2000 De Beers Diamonds- International Award, has 103.2 carats of baguette diamonds and a 5.21-ct. champagne pear-shaped diamond.

Nova/MWI, Van Nuys, CA; (818) 989-2828, fax (818) 785-3514.

18k gold Architecture rings are also available in white gold and platinum.

Judith Ripka, New York City; (212) 355-0033, fax (212) 355-8757.

18k gold flower brooch features 11.41 carats of fancy yellow diamonds, 0.33 carat of round brilliant diamonds, 0.21 carat of fancy green diamonds, 0.61 carat of fancy pink diamonds and 0.28 carat of fancy orange diamonds. Retail, $37,000.

Distinctive Gems & Jewelry Inc., Los Angeles, CA; (800) 683-0081 or (213) 683-0081, fax (213) 489-5672.

14k yellow and white gold Spyder pendant suspends a 1-ct. round brilliant diamond. Suggested retail for mounting, $725.

Artelle Designs, Minneapolis, MN; (800) 936-3456 or (612) 926-8163, fax (612) 926-5420.

From the Princess collection, this handmade necklace with 1.75 carats of diamonds is available in 14k ($5,790 suggested retail), 18k ($12,000) and platinum (inquire for price). Matching earrings have 0.42 carat of diamonds and come in 14k ($3,770), 18k ($8,700) and platinum.

Henrí Ramon Designs, Sussex, NJ; (973) 875-9808, rhljewelers@warwick.net, www.rhljewelers.com.

Platinum brooch is set with 18.41 carats of round diamonds and 1.94 carats of baguettes. Suggested retail, $50,000.

Ellagem, New York City; (212) 398-0101, fax (212) 302-0153.

18k white and yellow gold earrings have a satin finish and are set with four brilliant diamonds in precisely sculpted angles.

Primavera Boman, New York City; (212) 966-5386.

18k white gold butterfly pin with 1.03 carats of diamonds is $1,800 suggested retail.

Elite Designs Inc., Miami, FL; (305) 373-1934, fax (305) 358-0805.

This white gold necklace from the Pushkin collection features 62.62 carats of diamonds, 35.70 carats of cabochon rubies and 36 pearls. The matching bracelet has 27.24 carats of diamonds, 10.78 carats of cabochon rubies and 18 pearls.

Chopard, New York City; (212) 247-3300.

Platinum and 18k necklaces feature “A Cut Above” hearts-and-arrows diamonds in half bezels. The brand is laser-inscribed on the diamonds.

Alpha Inc., Houston, TX; (800) 343-9021 or (713) 784-4750, fax (713) 784-2544, dia57facet@aol.com, www.alphadiamonds.com.

Sapphire and diamond bracelet is rendered in a floral motif.

S.E.S. Creations Inc., New York City; (800) 272-8737 or (212) 207-8737, fax (212) 207-4711.

Platinum hoop earrings are channel-set with round diamonds and feature Flanders-cut dangles. Diamonds total 1.50 carats. Suggested retail, $4,995.

Flanders Diamond USA, New York City; (800) 580-9393 or (212) 302-0099, fax (212) 302-0005.

Funny Heart pendant is crafted in 18k white gold with 2.54 carats of diamonds. Suggested retail, $12,850.

Piaget, New York City; (212) 909-4369, fax (212) 909-4332.

Clover platinum stick pin has 0.33 carat of round diamonds and is $1,640 suggested retail. Round platinum stick pin has 0.59 carat of round diamonds and is $1,345.

OGI Wedding Bands Ltd., New York City; (212) 840-0935, fax (212) 764-7240.

Mother-and-child pendant is crafted in 14k white gold and set with 0.63 carat of diamond pavé. Suggested retail, $1,168.

Carla Corp., East Providence, RI; (401) 438-7070, fax (401) 438-0455.

Bezel-set princess-cut diamond enhancer is crafted in platinum and hangs on a platinum foxtail chain. Matching platinum earrings also feature princess-cut diamonds.

Catherine Iskiw Designs, New York City; (212) 794-6392, fax (212) 794-4781.

Platinum bracelet has 3-4 carats of bezel-set round diamonds.

Ernest Slotar Inc., Chicago, IL; (312) 236-7351, fax (312) 236-6456.


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