Professional Jeweler Archive: Redefining Gold Jewelry

September 2003


Redefining Gold Jewelry

The World Gold Council encourages designers to reimagine the basics

One frustration for gold jewelry designers and the jewelers who sell their wares is why consumers like basic styles so much. “If I see one more heart or cross or rolo chain ...” goes the common complaint.

Yet these styles have a life all their own, and retailers and manufacturers who hope to profit this year know they have to respect that. However, there’s no reason such universal styles have to be stuck in a rut. “We’re encouraging retailers to refresh their inventories and stock redefined basics this fall,” says Rick Bannerot, vice president of advertising for U.S. jewelry programs at the World Gold Council.

There’s a good reason for independent jewelers to do this. With mass merchants selling so much basic gold jewelry, the styles that used to drive sales universally have become commoditized, and many women find the typical jewelry counter’s offering of gold jewelry boring.

To prime the pump and encourage new styling, WGC asked jewelry manufacturers earlier this year to go beyond overworked interpretations of basics and produce new twists to attract consumers. “Women would buy more gold if there were more new styles out there,” says Duvall O’Steen, WGC manager of jewelry public relations and promotion. O’Steen asked a blue-ribbon panel of industry experts to choose the best of the new styles, and these were displayed at the JCK-Las Vegas Show in kiosks at the WGC booth and in a catalog jewelers could use to shop the show. According to manufacturers, the new styles are a big hit with retailers.

Among the changes to look for as you shop for basic gold jewelry for the holiday season:

  • In links, think unusual shapes, mixes of different kinds of brushed gold, new takes on weaving and patterns on links, such as a Greek key motif.
  • Look for open, airy designs in necklaces, bracelets and rings that show lots of skin peeking through. River pebbles, flatter surfaces, beady or wrought styles and art-inspired motifs are also hot. You’ll find very affordable pieces that incorporate rubber, silk and other non-precious elements.
  • When it comes to pendants and symbols such as hearts and crosses, go for unusual patterns and cut-out elements, plus ethnic and ancient-inspired styles.
  • Look beyond predictable themes in charms, lockets and other sentimental styles.
  • Earrings should move beyond basic hoops and dangles. You have myriad funky hoop shapes to choose from, and dangles have become more complex and interesting too.

The key message: don’t settle for predictable. Women need to feel excited about the jewelry they buy. They need to be given a reason. In today’s fashion-driven world, what better reason could there be than: “I’ve never seen anything like that before!”

– by Peggy Jo Donahue

Hammered yellow gold heart on a chain.

Caroline Ballou, East Providence, RI; (800) 755-7099,

Photo by Robert Weldon.

18k gold necklace features 1.19 carats of diamond accents and is $9,900 suggested retail.
Suna Bros. Inc., New York City; (800) 456-7862, fax (212) 869-5922.
14k white and yellow gold slides are $225-$275 suggested retail.

De-ani Inc., Monrovia, CA; (888) 343-3264, fax (888) 353-3264.

Cuff bracelet features yellow and white gold.

HMS Jewelry Co., Addison, TX; (800) HMS-GOLD or (972) 248-0266,

14k gold ring is $275 suggested retail.

Crescendo, division of Siffari, Ontario, Canada; (800) 387-0111 or (416) 441-1010, fax (416) 441-6188,

White and yellow gold heart and crosses feature intricate details.

Aurafin-Oro America, Tamarac, FL; (800) 327-1808,

14k necklace is inspired by nature.

Cheri Dori, Sunrise, FL; (954) 741-0711, fax (954) 741-0901.

Open-weave bracelet contrasts brushed gold with shiny details.

Rina Limor for J.R. Gold Designs, New York City; (800) 999-0583,

Unusually shaped hoops feature flattened and curved surfaces.

Charles Garnier, Cranston, RI; (800) 722-3721,

Lockets feature unusual details.

Princess Pride Creations, Chicago, IL; (800) 621-8185, nick.messe@

18k gold and diamond pendants are ancient-inspired.

SeidenGang Designs, Rye, NY; (914) 925-0788, fax (914) 925-0708.

Links feature a Greek key motif and lion’s head toggle attachment.

OTC International, Long Island City, NY; (800) 666-1136,

14k gold sports charm bracelet is $2,060 suggested retail.

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

18k yellow or white gold and diamond accents adorn these bracelets from the Chocolate line.

Cede, Dallas, TX; (972) 713-9927, fax (972) 713-9928.

Woven gold bangles feature diamond accents.

Monarch, New York City; (212) 382-1742, fax (212) 382-1942.

Diamond-shaped links come in bracelets and necklaces.

Silbers, Houston, TX; (800) 745-2377,

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications