Professional Jeweler Archive: As Gold as it Gets

April 2002

Feature


As Gold as it Gets

Keep it sentimental and simple


The warmth of yellow gold commands consumers’ attention again in everything from clothing to cosmetics, housewares to automobiles and, of course, jewelry. For jewelry, it’s back to basics: Simple, clean styling is at the forefront. “Up to 1999 we saw extravagance; consumers bought whimsical and flashy special-occasion jewelry,” says Brian Fleming, vice president of marketing at Carla Corp., East Providence, RI. “Now consumers are back to value-oriented, casual and conservative jewelry.”

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 spurred demand for anything holding sentimental value, including patriotic themes, hearts, lockets and crosses. “People are wearing their beliefs on their ears, necks, wrists and ankles,” says Duvall O’Steen, marketing coordinator for the World Gold Council, New York City. “The consumer mood is sentimental and romantic.” Comforting symbols such as X and O links, heart tags and the Irish claddagh all hold expressions of emotion for consumers, and that’s reflected in what they buy.

Accents in Stone

Mixing gemstones with gold not only adds value but gives jewelry fashion-forward credibility. “Coral, turquoise and amber are summer-like gemstones that exude a warm, ethnic feel,” says Shaye Strager, jewelry stylist and trends forecaster at Goldstein Communications, New York City.

Colored-stone and diamond accents also provide a bright, positive, visual statement. “Designers are studding gold with garnet, yellow sapphire and peridot,” says O’Steen. “This color sprinkling adds pizzazz to gold jewelry and make consumers happy to buy and wear it.”

Other gems that mix well with yellow gold include blue topaz, amethyst, citrine, aquamarine, green tourmaline, sapphire in all colors and tanzanite. “It’s like a crayon box of colors. At one time, color was found only in costume jewelry; now it’s the real deal, and consumers are in love with it,” says Rick Bannerot, U.S. advertising and marketing manager for the World Gold Council, New York City. “It’s a lot of pretty chips that don’t cost much but allow the jewelry to be fun and fashion-forward without the investment.”

The Finish Line

Head back to the bench for finishes. The desire for textured, intricate designs – finishes such as hammered, sand-blasted, diamond-cut and florentine – will keep bench workers challenged and busy. Textile surfaces such as braided or knotted metals are popular also.

For customers who simply must have yellow gold jewelry with a high polish, offer pieces designed to withstand wear and tear. “High polish on a concave surface will not pick up scratches,” says George Simpson, president/designer of The Touch, Waltham, MA. Also, mixing gold alloys that make the metal look black, blue, peach or purple is on the cutting edge.

Mixed Bag of Trends

Earrings: Square, triangular, round and tubular hoops are still popular. Consumers also want midsized drops, tassels or chandelier earrings that move. Anticlastic twists express sassy style.

Necklaces: Funky link chains that can be worn as a multistrand or long single strand are versatile – wrap them as many times as possible or not at all. Consumers love options, making convertible lariats that can be worn as a lariat or a plain necklace an exceptional gift. Pendants showing texture have good sell-through.

Rings: Designs range from small and sentimental to cocktail styles. Larger sizes and splashes of color are desirable. When buying bands, consumers are moving away from raised settings to flatter ones that better suit active lifestyles. Matching jewelry suites are important. Small mesh rings radiate personal style as well as being soft and comfortable.

Bracelets: Thin, elegant bracelets or stackable gold bangles provoke visual excitement. Colored gemstone and diamond link bracelets that are more link than precious stones are strong sellers. Slinky®-inspired bracelets also draw attention.

Pins: Nature-inspired and free-form designs are current. Patriotic and religious themes with enameling show sentiment. And, of course, circular pins are classic.

– by Lorraine M. O’Donnell, A.J.P.

18k yellow gold mesh bangle is set with 85 points of diamonds. The 18k handmade mesh “Wave” necklace is available in two sizes and in yellow or white gold.

H. Weiss, New York City; (212) 355-5622, fax (212 355-5429.

From the Astro collection, this 18k gold ring features intertwined golden orbits interspersed with diamonds, creating an illusion of sparkling stars. Necklace, bangle and earrings are also available with diamonds or plain white or yellow gold.

Alfieri & St. John, Valenza, Italy; In the U.S., (888) 768-4953, fax (631) 261-6379.

22k gold necklaces from the Golden Wheat collection retail for $1,215 to $13,030.

Lagos, Philadelphia, PA; (215) 925-1693, fax (215) 925-0831.

18k gold cuff bracelet is hand-forged, hammered and delicately encrusted on the cusp with 0.54 carat of diamonds.

Daniela Vettori, Vicenza, Italy;
In the U.S., (212) 838-0822, helena@goldsteincom.com.

14k white gold rings are set with a 1.0-ct. Chatham created emerald or a 1.15-ct. Chatham created sapphire. Triple keystone, $951.

Chatham Created Gems, San Francisco, CA; (800) 272-2002, fax (415) 397-8450.

18k alligator brooch has 28 points of diamonds on its body and emeralds for eyes. Other gemstones are available. Suggested retail $1,230.

Jewelzoo, New York City; (888) 244-9191 or (212) 730-0395, fax (212) 730-8232, www.jewelzoo.com.

18k gold locket is full of surprises as its flap opens to reveal a secret note. Pendants are set with diamonds or gemstones. A personal message from a loved one will keep the recipient’s spirits high.

Roba Design Inc., Aventura, FL; (305) 932-1400, fax (305) 933-0611, bp@envelope.com.

14k white gold bracelet is from the Toggleart collection. Available also in yellow gold and from 7.5 inches to 17 inches, with or without diamond accents.

Royal Chain, New York City; (800) 622-0960, fax (800) 262-4246.

18k gold rings feature (from top) a 0.65-ct. heart-shaped yellow sapphire, a 0.20-ct. princess-cut diamond and a 0.58-ct. princess-cut diamond. Suggested retail, $1,590 to $2,650.

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

14k gold braid bracelet and necklace.

Citra, New York City; fax (212) 382-0646.

There’s a touch of spring in this 14k gold daisy pendant and earrings, bouquet bracelet with pearl accents and dogwood pendant and earrings. Suggested retail, $76-$598.

The Touch, Waltham, MA; (800) 556-0041 or (781) 894-8133, fax (781) 894-7821, thetouch7@aol.com, www.the-touch.com.

14k gold twist pin is from the CaSandra collection.

Carla Corp., East Providence, RI; (800) 556-7092 or (401) 438-7070, fax (401) 438-0455.

14k gold neck chains and chokers are available also in 18k (except for the twist).

Zelman & Friedman Inc., Long Island City, NY; (800) 253-2100 or (718) 349-3400, fax (718) 349-8159.

Copyright © 2002 by Bond Communications