Professional Jeweler Archive: Love, Always

May 2003

Feature


Love, Always

Classic diamond jewelry transcends fads and endures as a best-seller through economic ebbs and flows


Diamonds are the ultimate gift of love, so even during difficult economic times diamond jewelry sells. However, trendy design may give way to more classic style because the focus is on value. If you’re looking to increase your margins, cast your eyes toward the stars. “Celebrities are driving trends more now than ever before,” says Lenny Krol, co-owner of KC Designs, New York City. Keep a sharp eye on magazines such as In Style, Vogue and Elle to see what entertainers are wearing. Also keep up with De Beers’ Diamond Trading Co. ad campaigns – these ads promoting three-stone jewelry, larger solitaires and unusual shapes are driving interest and sales. If you want to sell diamond jewelry, know what consumers are seeing.

Timeless Design

Classic three-stone jewelry, diamond solitaire pendants and retro styles are the focal point of diamond jewelry this year. Apparel fashion for the year is pared down, with designers such as Donna Karan looking back to the classic, womanly silhouettes of the 1940s for inspiration. “The demand is for clean and simple styles, with three-stone rings and line bracelets heading the buying,” says David Levine, president of William Levine Fine Jewels, Chicago, IL. “People’s portfolios have been cut in half, so purchases are rethought and elaborate designs are no longer an important factor.”

Super-Size It

Some consumers are bumping up their diamond size request. “More people are buying bigger,” says Brandee Dallow, manager at the DTC Diamond Information Center in New York City. Thank DTC’s continuing consumer ads for diamond purchases of a half-carat or more. But demand for smaller diamonds is up significantly too. “It’s either melee or 1 carat total or more,” says Levine. “There is no in-between.”

Place Settings

Settings run the gamut. “Four-prong and pre-set pavé settings where the piece is cast with the hole and prongs already in place give the look of true pavé without the cost,” says Mark Schneider, designer/owner, Mark Schneider Designs, Long Beach, CA. “Other settings creating a stir are non-traditional hammer-set diamonds and a post setting like the one Whitney Boin created.”

Though platinum still rules in the bridal arena, 18k white gold has become very popular for diamond fashion jewelry. “White gold looks like platinum and works for consumers in this area,” says Krol. “While the bigger designers are pushing 18k white gold, 14k white is preferable for earrings and is less expensive for diamond fashion jewelry.”

In Shape

The squares have it. Whether the diamonds are square, princess or emerald cut, consumers prefer this boxy shape. This may change soon though. “Other shapes such as oval, hearts, pear and marquise are gaining in popularity,” says Dallow. Again, the DTC consumer ad campaign helps drive demand, and fancy shapes have been placed on entertainers attending awards shows such as the Golden Globes, Grammys and Academy Awards.

New and so-old-they’re-new-again shapes promise to be big. “Old cuts such as the Asscher are not a passing trend,” says Dallow. “Quadrillion, Ashoka, Escada’s new 12-sided cut with 97 facets and the Royal Asscher by Fabrikant are just a few branded cuts that are getting attention.”

Consumer Demands

Prompted by fashion trends and product promotion, consumers will search for these category-leading styles.

Earrings: Studs set in a four-prong basket are the staple. However, larger diamonds – 2 carats or more – set in three prongs create a pleasing look without sacrificing the security of the stones. According to DIC, studs represented slightly more than half of diamond sales in 2001. Center diamonds circled with pavé remain popular in princess, emerald, oval, and round shapes. Hinged hoops are returning for comfort reasons. Chandelier and drop earrings continue to charm the fashion world.

Necklaces: A sparkling Riviera shows no boundaries with price, but for cautious customers, smaller, understated pendants are the key. Crosses and hearts continue to make fashion statements. Lucky charms appeal to a sense of fun.

Rings: The three-stone ring category as a whole has tripled in sales in the past three years, says DIC. Stack rings that mix and match allow wearers to create looks to suit moods and situations. Right-hand rings will be the next big thing, thanks to a new De Beers promotion (see “What’s Next).

Bracelets: The classic line bracelet remains a strong look in round, princess, Asscher and radiant cuts. Diamond charm bracelets, stackable bangles and link bracelets using melee are clean and crisp.

What’s Next

Look for a big DTC boost for right-hand rings. These rings are directed more toward fashion and women buying for themselves. “The left hand is a symbol of the relationship and the right hand is a symbol of you,” says Dallow.
“Expect to see right-hand rings set with a cluster of at least 20 points of diamonds with one significant stone,” says Schneider.

– by Lorraine M. O’Donnell, A.J.P.

18k white gold calla lily brooch features 4.30 carats of pavé diamonds.

Art Import Inc., New York City; (800) 246-3746 or (212) 840-3995. Photo by Robert Weldon.

Three-stone earrings are a contemporary classic.

Izi Creations, New York City; (212) 487-7799.

His-and-hers white gold bands are set with round diamonds and a contrasting matte and polish finish.

Benchmark, Tuscaloosa, AL; (205) 345-0555, fax (205) 752-8322.

Two-tone tension bridal suite is accented with rose gold and pavé diamonds. The setting is available in 14k or 18k white gold or platinum. Shown in platinum, the engagement ring features 1.06 carats of pavé diamonds and can hold a center stone of up to 1.50 carats. Suggested retail for semimount is $4,005-$5,505. Matching pavé wedding band, also available in 14k and 18k white gold or platinum, includes 0.95 carat of pavé diamonds and is $3,000-$4,050 suggested retail.

Gelin & Abaci, Glendora, CA; (800) 545-8545, fax (626) 914-7829, www.gelinandabaci.com.

18k rings retail for $1,325-$3,395. Also available in platinum.

JFA Designs, Irvine, CA; (949) 263-9909, fax (949) 263-9910.

White diamonds are set in yellow, white and rose gold pendants.

C.M. Creations, New York City; (877) 398-9666 or (212) 398-9666, fax (212) 840-5680.

Fleur-de-lis platinum pendant features rose-cut diamonds.

Cathy Carmendy, Santa Monica, CA; (310) 396-3120, fax (310) 399-5902.

14k two-tone hoop earrings are set with 0.50 carat of diamonds. Suggested retail, $499.

Krementz, Providence, RI; (800) 556-7354.

14k gold sandal pendant is set with 0.09 carat of diamonds.

The Sultan Co., Honolulu, HI; (808) 837-1245, fax (808) 837-1388.

14k gold hoop earrings feature pavé diamonds.

Breuning, Lawrenceville, GA; (678) 377-1673, fax (678) 377-1674.

Flower diamond pendants are 14k white or green gold and retail for $375-$1,485.

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

Rings from the Trellis Collection are available in one-, three-, and five-stone versions for round and princess-cut stones. Solitaires and three-stone versions are available also in emerald-cut and oval styles. All variations are in stock in platinum and 14k gold.

Overnight Mountings, Long Island City, NY; (888) 731-1111 or (718) 472-1212, www.overnightmountings.com.

Circle earrings are set with 0.50 carat of G/SI1 diamonds. Suggested retail, $2,100.

Artelle Designs, Minneapolis, MN; (800) 936-3456 or (763) 559-0044, fax (763) 559-0234.

Platinum necklace is bezel-set with round and baguette diamonds. A heart is stamped in the bezels. Suggested retail, $100,900.

Kwiat, New York City; (800) 927-GEMS or (212) 223-1111, fax (212) 223-2796, www.kwiat.com.

18k white gold lockets are set with antique rose-cut and round brilliant diamonds. Suggested retail, $2,300-$4,600.

Barry Kronen Designs, Sunrise, FL; (954) 746-7773, fax (954) 746-9419.

14k gold three-stone diamond pendant has 0.25 carat of diamonds. Suggested retail, $600.

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

18k white gold earrings hold 0.30 carat of round diamonds, 0.34 carat of princess-cut diamonds and 0.80 carat of baguettes. Suggested retail, $4,200.

Kimberley Diamond Co., New York City; (800) 223-4104, fax (212) 791-7731.

18k gold and platinum tapered fishtail ring is set with 1 carat of round diamonds. Retail, $3,600. Also available in all metals with 0.75 carat of diamonds.

Sachs/Reisman Inc., New York City; (800) 236-6421 or (212) 719-4102, fax (212) 719-4103.

18k gold heart slide pendant with 1.30 carats of diamonds is $2,250 retail.

Susan Michel, Flushing, NY; (888) 738-3400 or (718) 591-3722, fax (718) 380-3835.

18k white gold drop earrings with 0.32 carat of diamonds are $1,490 suggested retail.

Peter Storm, Belmont, CA; (650) 341-8717, fax (650) 341-8719.

Platinum and diamond cross features 1.50 carats of diamonds.

Pe Jay Creations Ltd., New York City; (800) 292-1998, fax (212) 807-9549.

From left, bracelet with 14.72 carats of princess-cut diamonds is $27,000 retail, the bracelet with 12.26 carats of radiant-cut diamonds is $33,000 and the bracelet with 10 carats of brilliant-cut diamonds is $26,000. All bracelets are platinum.

William Levine Fine Jewels, Chicago, IL; (800) LEVINES, fax (312) 580-7470.

Platinum ring has a pavé shank with a center diamond in a half bezel.

Mark Schneider Designs, Long Beach, CA; (562) 437-0448, fax (562) 437-0593.

14k white gold bracelet features 5.02 carats of G-H/SI1 diamonds. Suggested retail, $4,400.

Citra, New York City; (800) 223-6515 or (212) 354-1000, fax (212) 382-2775.

Platinum wrap-around bracelet is set with round diamonds.

Monile/Connoisseur International, New York City; (212) 354-9100, fax (212) 840-0243, alex@diamonds.net.

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications