Professional Jeweler Archive: Ice Age

May 2002

Feature


Ice Age

Consumers are opting for simple but stunning diamond jewelry


A new ice age is here. The sparkling flow of massive diamond jewelry from the opulent 1990s is giving way to simpler, more fluid designs with smaller stones. In fact, while expensive pieces are still available, price tags under $500 make diamond jewelry even more suitable for everyday wear.

The biggest trends: Bead-set melee and three-stone diamond jewelry. These simpler designs sell well because they look modern and classic at the same time, says Sasha Samuels, owner/ designer of Sasha Samuels, Portland, OR.

While round diamonds still rule, square and princess cuts are popular options. “These geometric cuts are very clean, and people are going for simple right now,” says Anne Jones-Fox, vice president of jewelry sales at Eugene Biro, New York City. Also beginning to draw more attention are pear and plump marquise cuts. Ovals still move too. “It’s a simple shape and a very good value with low demand right now so the price point is better,” says Brandee Dallow, spokesperson for the Diamond Information Center, New York City.

Consumer Wish List

Our experts offer the following trends for 2002.

Earrings: One of every five diamond jewelry purchases are stud earrings, says DIC. Because small studs can be hidden by hair, consumers are willing to sacrifice quality to buy larger in this category.

Necklaces: Look for consumers to buy necklaces with repeated patterns and pendants ranging from the simple solitaire to those with three stones, a horseshoe, four-leaf clover or heart.

Rings: The most popular style is a three-stone ring of diamonds totaling 1 carat or more, says DIC. Also popular are right-hand rings with interesting design and quality workmanship.

Bracelets: Simple and unique are the keywords. Offer line bracelets in a wide array of designs and diamond cuts.

Sales

The Diamond Promotion Service believes jewelers will sell more diamond jewelry of all descriptions and for all occasions this year. “Diamonds have a love equity no other product has,” says DPS chief Lynn Diamond. “Consumers’ motivations this year are to affirm their connections with others. What better product is there to make this statement than a diamond?”

The jewelry industry and key products such as diamonds are better positioned than other luxury goods to benefit from consumers’ mind-sets, she adds. “The tourism industry has been one of jewelry’s main competitors in recent years,” she says. “Now people are looking for experiences to share that will replace travel but carry the same emotional impact as travel memories.”

Here are her suggestions for increasing diamond sales.

Advertising: Ads should center on helping customers declare their love, not on price. Images of couples, families and other relationships are key. So is promoting the actual experience of giving and receiving a diamond and the excitement and warmth that moment promises. De Beers’ marketing arm, The Diamond Trading Co., is helping with ads that depict couples reaffirming their love.

At the Counter: You can be more explicit in your store than in ads about the events of Sept. 11. “You can say things like ‘As this occasion draws near, what really matters to you?’ or ‘At a time when words seem more difficult than ever, how are you going to tell her?’ We hope the answer will be with a diamond,” she says.

Product: Solitaire rings and three-stone rings, earrings and necklaces are the key products to focus on, says Diamond. Solitaire necklaces or earrings and line bracelets also fit the bill.

Occasions: Remind customers anniversaries, birthdays and Christmas are all perfect opportunities to tell a loved one he or she is cherished.

Symbolism: DTC ads depict three-stone jewelry as a symbol of the past, present and future. “The jewelry has never had a customer base so primed for this message,” she says.

The Future

Now that we have the trends of 2002 under our belt, how about the future? Our experts offer some advice.

Sasha Samuels: I see a continued interest in fancy colored diamonds, especially yellow diamonds bead-set in yellow gold and coupled with their white counterparts. The look is versatile, rich, unique and classic. There also will be a continued appreciation of high-quality workmanship, fine stones and great design.

Anne Jones-Fox: Consumers will continue to look for safe purchases, so jewelry must be basic, classic and simple. Retailers should concentrate on selling the diamond more than the setting. Certificates add some piece of mind for larger diamonds.

Brandee Dallow: Consumers will continue to turn to classic designs and will look for meaning in their purchases. Three-stone diamond jewelry is a gift of love with wonderful, clean and modern design.

– by Lorraine M. O’Donnell, A.J.P.

18k white or yellow gold and diamond rings.

Bucherer/KWM Exclusives Inc., New York City; (212) 570-6065, fax (212) 570-6720, kwmgems@aol.com.

18k white gold earrings with 1.77 carats of diamonds are $2,800 suggested.

Mdviani Designs, Ridgefield, NJ; (201) 840-5410, fax (201) 840-5412.

White and yellow diamond ring features diamonds set in a flower pattern.

Stardust Diamonds Corp., Los Angeles, CA; (213) 239-9999, fax (213) 239-9992.

Meridien ring and earrings feature diamonds in platinum.

Rudolf Erdel, Oak Ridge, TN; (865) 220-8090.

18k necklaces feature diamonds from 0.70-1.16 carats. Suggested retail, $4,000-$10,000.

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

18k white gold earrings are set with baguette diamonds.

J.R. Gold Designs, New York City; (212) 922-9292, fax (212) 922-2992.

18k gold and platinum wing earrings have diamond accents.

Sasha Samuels, Portland, OR; (503) 232-5422, fax (503) 232-4965.

Ring and earring in 18k gold or platinum feature natural color diamonds.

Fredrick, Beverly Hills, CA; (310) 786-8293, fax (310) 786-8294, www.fredrickone.com.

14k gold anticlastic earrings with 0.14 carat of diamonds are $560 suggested retail.

Scavezze/Goldsmith, Salida, CO; (719) 539-2971, fax (719) 539-2971.

A brilliant-cut diamond is embedded in the Pendulum pendant.

Somos Creations, Valley Cottage, NY; (845) 268-4004, fax (845) 268-0634, www.somoscreations.com.

14k white gold earrings and necklace are set with G-H/I1-I2 diamonds. Suggested retail, $199-$299.

Dinaro Creations, New York City; (212) 819-1460, fax (212) 819-1631.

Available in 18k white or yellow gold, each ring is channel-set with round diamonds.

The Rothenberg Collection, Van Nuys, CA; (818) 786-7512, fax (818) 786-7513.

The two-tone center cuff with 0.21 carat of diamonds is $1,875 suggested retail. The 14k gold cuff with a 0.25-ct. marquise diamond is $2,025. The cuff with a 0.20-ct. round brilliant diamond is $1,545. All cuffs are hand-forged.

Avirom & Associates, Boulder, CO; (800) 456-5958 or (303) 494-5624, fax (303) 494-5745.

Ring is set with a 12mm x 5mm marquise diamond and 0.24 carat of diamond melee. Suggested retail for the semimount, $1,850 in 18k, $3,500 in platinum.

Jane Taylor Inc., Amherst, MA; (413) 253-7174, fax (413) 253-4014.

Two-tone diamond cross.

Krieger/KWM Exclusives Inc., New York City; (212) 570-6065, fax (212) 570-6720, kwmgems@aol.com.

14k two-tone pendant with 0.25 carat of diamonds is $400 suggested retail.

Eugene Biro, New York City; (212) 997-0146, fax (212) 764-4506.

18k gold and diamond earrings are $1,000-$1,200 keystone.

Elite Designs Inc., Miami, FL; (800) 757-1008 or (305) 373-1934, fax (305) 358-0805.

Earrings and necklace are encrusted with round diamonds.

Eshel Jewelry M New York City; (212) 840-3627, fax (212) 921-8316.

14k gold faith, hope and charity necklace is set with 0.30 carat of diamonds. Suggested retail, $855.

KC Designs, New York City; (212) 921-9270, fax (212) 768-9073.

The Haiku collection is crafted in platinum sprinkled with diamonds. Also available in 18k white or yellow gold.

Walls Designs Inc.,Boulder, CO; (303) 494-1636, fax (303) 494-3396.

“Candace” features a blue diamond bezel-set in 14k white gold in a 14k yellow gold setting. Available also with topaz, citrine, garnet or amethyst, starting at $300 suggested retail.

Jewelry at Auction.com, Rochester NY; (716) 241-9388, fax (716) 271-3512.

18k gold diamond slide pendants are $312-$392 suggested retail.

Ronna Lugosch Designs, Round Pond, ME; (800) 299-7734 or (207) 529-6050,fax (207) 529-7000.

18k gold braided solitaire necklaces feature a bezel-set pear or marquise Gabrielle diamond.

Gabrielle Diamonds, New York City; (212) 979-9100.

From The Cell collection of 18k white gold jewelry, the necklace has 45.75 carats of brilliant and princess diamonds, the bracelet features 22.53 carats, the earrings have 6.92 carats and the ring, 3.15 carats.

Piere Milano/The Luxe Group, New York City; (212) 391-4220, fax (212) 391-4324, pieromilano@theluxegroup.com.

23.84 carats of fancy intense yellow and E-F color princess-cut diamonds circle this platinum and 18k yellow gold bracelet. Suggested retail, $68,000.

J.B. International LLC, New York City; (800) 213-2077 or (212) 997-3205, fax (212) 997-3209.

18k white gold heart pendant with 0.87 carat of diamonds is $2,980 suggested retail.

Susan Michel Ltd., Flushing, NY; (718) 591-3722, fax (718) 380-3835.

Copyright © 2002 by Bond Communications