Professional Jeweler Archive: Charming Bracelets

March 2003

Precious Metals/Metalsmithing

Charming Bracelets

Personalized jewelry is one of the hottest categories selling today

Charm bracelets of all shapes and sizes have captivated consumers for three decades, but their popularity has skyrocketed in the past few years. The grip these bracelets have on consumers is not letting up. They’ve been featured in movies such as Men In Black II, incorporated into song (Mariah Carey’s new CD is called “Charm Bracelet”) and covered by consumer magazines. The result: “Our business is up 35%-38% so far this year in gold and silver,” says Chris Lux, president of Rembrandt Charms, Buffalo, NY.

The latest incarnation of charm bracelets are stainless steel with 18k gold accents. “The classic concept of the charm bracelet has been reinvented, making it much more affordable and adding a large selection of links,” says Marzia Marzi, marketing director at Nomination, New York City. Roy Merlucci, director of sales and marketing at Royal Chain, New York City, agrees. “These bracelets are the most unbelievable item to hit the industry,” he says.

The Appeal

The appeal of personalized bracelets is global. Longevity, sentimental value, flexibility, collectibility and individualism are the characteristics that keep them popular. And charm bracelets are made to fit any budget. “These bracelets are priced for the preteen up to grandparents,” says Gilbert Elmassian, manager at Dazzlers, Los Angeles, CA. “Because you can build your own, they satisfy all ages and all incomes.” Prices range from a little as $15 retail for a single charm to $2,800 or more for a completed bracelet.

Year-Round Winner

Personalized bracelets aren’t just for Christmas. Sales are excellent also for Mother’s Day and graduations. “During May we had lines waiting to see the 18k gold and stainless steel charm display,” says Christine Anzell, a partner in The Jewelry Box of Lake Forest, Lake Forest, CA. “Christmas was even better.”

For retailers sitting on the fence, you’re missing the parade, caution our experts. “Charm bracelets are made to pull business through during tough times. These bracelets have add-on sales written all over them,” says Merlucci. Adds Marzi, “Our charm bracelets have been a great success. Our sales have tripled.” Says Elmassian, “Holiday 2002 was by far one of our best holiday seasons yet.”

Display & Advertising

Start with boxes, which serve as a display and contain an initial assortment of various links. Support material such as easel signs, postcards and pillows are available from suppliers. Once you’ve established a clientele for this product and your inventory has grown, you can move the charms to trays. For 18k and stainless steel, Marzi suggests using blue with black velvet padding to create the maximum effect. Display all charms by categories to make it easier to visualize. As your inventory grows to the point where a counter display isn’t enough, Lux suggests using a freestanding case, such as the one Rembrandt Charms produces.

To reach consumers, let your supplier lead the way. Ad slicks, counter cards, posters, digital photos and catalogs are readily available. Authorized Nomination retailers have to use the company’s global ad slicks to create their ads. As with most support materials, add your own information at the bottom to customize them for your store. “Local advertising such as mailings, postcards and coupon advertising can lead to other business such as repairs and new jewelry business,” says Anzell.

Repeat Sales

Repeat sales are a big feature for these bracelets. Maximize such sales by creating a charm registry or wish list for consumers to shop from. Rembrandt Charms offers a computerized touch screen where customers can see all charms available. They just touch the charm and get a complete printout that includes a description and retail price. Royal Chain offers a counter copy of its catalog to show what’s new.

To get the ball rolling, try a promotion of a free bracelet with the purchase of four or more links for the 18k gold-and-stainless-steel bracelets. Because new styles are added constantly, you can start a club: “With every 10 charms, get the 11th free.

Place your charm bracelet display on the back counter so customers have to walk through the store to see it,” says Frank Fiasconaro, owner of CG Creations, Pearl River, NY, which sells a variety of 18k and stainless steel bracelets. This will plant the seed for future purchases and give consumers the opportunity to see all the merchandise.

– by Lorraine M. O’Donnell, A.J.P.

Lifetime memory bracelet is crafted in 14k gold and is $2,600 retail as shown.

Rembrandt Charms, Buffalo, NY; (800) 828-7840, fax (800) 828-7811.

18k and stainless steel bracelet from the Composable Collection.

Nomination, New York City; (212) 571-2333, fax (212) 571-2394,

Above: Charm bracelets are made from 14k solid gold wire and are $89-$799 suggested retail.

Dazzlers Manufacturers of Fine Jewelry, Los Angeles, CA; (800) 421-0111,

PersonaLinks, made in Italy of stainless steel and 18k gold.

Royal Chain, New York City; (212) 382-3340, fax (800) 262-4246.

The Daria by DynaFlex™ collection features these 18k gold and stainless steel charms and charm bracelet.

CG Creations, Pearl River, NY; (800) 431-1606, fax (800) 880-3198.

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications