Professional Jeweler Archive: Silver Prospecting

April 2001


Silver Prospecting

Traditional or contemporary, the shimmer of silver finds a welcome place in all jewelry wardrobes regardless of gender

The splendor of silver has always captivated. This white metal has marked historical milestones, family celebrations and personal achievements. With its appealingly cool and crisp luster, sterling silver jewelry has the enduring appeal of a precious metal and the ability to adapt to fashion’s demands. The unlimited selection of designs available, from steadfastly traditional to boldly dramatic, allow consumers to build vast and personalized silver jewelry wardrobes to suit all tastes and budgets.


Sterling silver jewelry complements and can dress up a down-to-earth a style. And it can be casual and comfortable while lending an elegant, timeless air. An opulent choker, pendant or hair ornament with white or colored pearls or gemstone accents set in sterling silver is luxurious and fashionable. “Delicate silver and gemstone drop or stud earrings, a classic bangle bracelet or hoop earrings updated with pearl or gemstone accents or a simple strand of pearls or gemstone beads with a personalized charm satisfy many different generations,” says Maria Dicenso of Beaucraft, Providence, RI.


Today’s teens don’t sit idly by waiting for the next trend to happen – they create them. Silver jewelry is a hot accessory with girls and boys. Favorable price points and the versatility of the metal, shiny designs of neck chains, cuffs, ID and ankle bracelets, stackable rings, neck wires and fashionable earrings are all the rage in this age group. Sterling jewelry styles run the gamut from classic and vintage to modern and contemporary. “Today’s teens are sophisticated and trendy, and sterling silver jewelry offers the versatility that stylish teens look for,” says Wendy Blackinton, assistant sales and marketing manager, New England Sterling, North Attleboro, MA.


Men’s interest in silver accessories and jewelry is on an upswing. Not only do men shop for gifts; they also buy an increasing amount of silver jewelry for themselves. “Sales of men’s sterling silver jewelry and accessories are on the rise, with cuff links being most popular,” says David Doskow of Leonore Doskow Inc., Montrose, NY. Refined novelty cuff links and stud sets in cigar, martini, automobile, golf, computer and other motifs are proving popular. Men also are shopping for accessories such as sterling silver key rings, money clips, collar stays, belt buckles and ID bracelets. Luxe-looking sterling cigar, bar and desk accessories are also status collectibles.


With the bright white backdrop of sterling silver, colored gemstones have punch and vibrancy. Deep blue, amethyst, amber, pink tourmaline, iolite, coral and rhodolite are among the favorites. Red, parakeet blue, orange and yellow top the most-wanted list for color. Remember that consumers want exciting, deep color, so pastels are beginning to look dated.


Putting a reflective mirror finish on sterling silver jewelry gives it an expensive look on a par with white gold and even platinum. Few customers ask for oxidation today, say experts we spoke with. When they want definition in their jewelry, customers turn to texture, which also offers a white on white appearance. “Hammered, brushed and distressed finishes are very popular right now,” says Dicenso. Specific designs such as tweed, engine turned, plaid or barley corn are raking in sales.


Earrings: From big hoops to small studs, the look is clean to fit every age group. Look for inconspicuous dangles and earrings that reflect every shape imaginable.

Necklaces: Lariats, chokers and cable styles with engravable charms are hot. Oval, heart and round lockets that are shiny and engraved give depth and detail. Pendants are big with stylized cutouts.

Rings: They’re set with enormous gemstones of every variety.

Bracelets: The hottest sterling silver jewelry category is filling consumer demand with charm bracelets, cuffs and bangles. The most important style for summer is the rolo bracelet with a Tiffany & Co.-influenced engravable heart tag. Link bracelets in cable and rolo are important. To ease the frustration of putting on a bracelet, lobster claws, barrels and push-clip lobster claw clasps are growing in popularity.

Pins: Disk pins, botanical garden themes and butterflies are all the rage.


Keep your eye on silver jewelry with 18k gold accents. “People want value in their silver purchases so they are looking for higher karat gold accents,” says Blackinton. Classic styling will continue. Pins and earrings will become larger. Enamel is coming into vogue for customers who don’t want or can’t afford gemstones. Geometric shapes – especially squares – are on the rise. Watch for more square hoops. Ankle bracelets should be everywhere by summer.

– by Lorraine M. O’Donnell, A.J.P.

From the Metropolitan collection, each bracelet or ring is crafted in sterling silver and 18k gold. Suggested retail, $900 (bracelet) and $400 (ring).

La Nouvelle Bague/Howard L. Grant Inc., New York City; (212) 750-5554, fax (212) 750-0033,,

Sterling silver ring features photographic imagery. Suggested retail, $158.

Zebra Design/Art Shots, Pittsburgh, PA; (412) 281-6612, fax (412) 281-6624.

Sterling silver and 18k gold jewelry suite features round and cushion chalcedony cabochons. Suggested retail, $390 for the enhancer, $450 for the clip post earrings, $300 for the ring.

Mazza/Bartholomew, New York City; (212) 935-4530, fax (212) 421-3720.

Sterling silver and 18k gold brooch is from the Air collection. Suggested retail, $244.

Fedra International, Rehoboth, MA; (508) 252-8000, fax (508) 252-4650.

Sterling silver and 18k gold brooch glistens with 0.04 carat of diamond accents. Suggested retail, $1,775.

Janis Kerman Design, Quebec, Canada; (514) 931-3952, fax (514) 932-6141,,

Sterling silver and 14k gold jewelry suite is set with citrine and amethyst.

Behnam Jewelry Corp., New York City; (800) 848-3620 or (212) 302-7800, fax (212) 302-3556,

From the Torcellato collection are sterling silver and 18k gold bracelets featuring three shapes of cable: square, flat and round. Suggested retail, $395-$750.

Alisa, Manalapan, NJ; (888) 253-6600, fax (732) 823-1812.

Sterling silver rings are embellished with 12k Black Hills gold leaves. Triple keystone, $63-$73.50.

Black Hills Gold Jewelry by Coleman, Rapid City, SD; (800) 874-9926, fax (605) 721-3752.

Italian beaded link set. The bracelet is $20 suggested retail, the 16-in. necklace is $50.

The Cargo Hold Inc., Charleston, SC; (800) 845-6964 or (843) 723-3341, fax (843) 722-1377.

Sterling silver dangle earrings are $175 suggested retail.

Barbara Killen Design Ltd., Chicago, IL;
(312) 346-6955, fax (312) 456-0450.

16- or 18-in. Omega necklaces feature lobster claw clasps. Available in a 1.5mm round style and domed styles in 3mm, 4mm, 6mm, 8mm and 10mm widths.

MS Co., Attleboro, MA; (800) 675-4657 or (508) 222-1700, fax (508) 222-6449,,

Limited-production fused and hand-fabricated pin is crafted in 22k, 18k and sterling silver.

C.H. Mackellar, Brooklyn, NY; (718) 596-7143,

Two styles of sterling silver hoop earrings retail for $12-$32.

Beaucraft Inc., Providence, RI; (401) 461-2305, fax (401) 461-7799.

Sterling silver round snake chain is available in widths from 2mm to 6.5mm. Each width is sold by the foot. Suggested retail, $12-$225.

Rio Grande, Albuquerque, NM; (800) 545-6566, fax (800) 965-2329.

Sterling silver bracelets and necklace are accented with 6mm tourmalines of varying color. Suggested retail, $800 each.

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

Pendant features a sterling silver twisted wire frame.

Wendy Tabb Jewelry, New York City; (212) 966-5104,

Three dangle heart bracelets and engravable necklace are crafted in .925 sterling silver.

New England Sterling, North Attleboro, MA; (800) 447-5552.

Sterling silver and 18k gold brooch is set with a 31.40-ct. blue chalcedony and a 0.06-ct. diamond accent. Suggested retail, $780.

Joyce Christiana, Asheville, NC; (828) 684-2442, fax (828) 684-8642.

Silver chains hold silver and gold pendants with colored gems. Keystone, $160 each.

Jewelry at Auction, Rochester, NY; (716) 241-9388,,

Bold 18-inch sterling silver open-link necklace retails for $410.

Martina Windels, Providence, RI; (401) 351-0968, fax (401) 351-0960.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications