Professional Jeweler Archive: Connecting with Color

January 2004

Feature


Connecting with Color

Designs diversify and consumer awareness grows


A customer’s interest in colored gems is usually first expressed as a request for “something different, not a diamond.”

That gives you an in, to educate your customers about value and how color keys to fashion and emotion. Even in the gemstones category, some observers see a resurgence in red.

“I’ve always included deep mysterious sapphire blue to cool aqua greens in my collections,” says Judith Ripka, designer/owner of Judith Ripka, New York City. “However, that envelope has been pushed, and this year it’s all about red.” African ruby, pink sapphire, morganite and plum star ruby are a few choices. Mixing reds with 18k yellow gold creates a lush and exotic impact.

Don’t count out blue and green yet. “Blue sells no matter what. It complements any skin tone and is a calming color,” says Jill Zvaigzne, designer at I.B. Goodman, Chicago, IL. “Vivid, bright apple-green peridot is in the limelight too.” With green a fresh accent color in apparel fashion, look for jade and emerald to remain popular also.

Is the Price Right?

Consumers are always concerned about prices, but you can work around that. “If you show your customer a gemstone that’s exceptional in beauty and value and combine that with a little education, the price barrier goes away,” says Boris Shmukler, master jeweler and designer at Rakhman Jewelers, Chandler, AZ. “Quality and individuality is very important when selling a gemstone. Consumers don’t want something that’s commercial. If it’s worth it, they’ll spend it.”

The gems predicted to sell well this year are blue topaz, apple green peridot and milky aquamarine. Smokey quartz and citrine also blend beautifully with gold. Look for bright, vivid tones of emerald, ruby, sapphire, tanzanite and fine-quality opal.

In terms of cut, diamond-top or checkerboard faceting, antique cushions and buff-top baguettes offer a personalized look. Also straight lines such as in trilliants keep colored gemstone jewelry from looking too commercial. Cabochons don’t have to be faceted to look rich. Large moonstone, opal and garnet cabochons carry their own weight.

The freshest look is a gem with impact but not overpowering – up to 12mm.

Earrings – Chandeliers are here to stay and are one of the most popular ways for your customers to wear colored gems. “Chandeliers may have started as a fad,” says Ripka. “But they will continue to evolve with styles that move easily from day into evening.”

Necklaces – Drama competes with simplicity – look for large Bohemian pendants or a bold piece on a simple cord. Chokers and gemstone solitaires are clean-cut and angular. Geometric, removable slides are versatile.

Rings – Right-hand custom rings create a stylish statement. “One of our most popular styles is the Lola Ring with a bold faceted gemstone surrounded by pavé diamond hearts,” says Ripka.

Bracelets – Tennis anyone? “The tennis bracelet in multicolor sapphire brings fun to a piece while still being sophisticated,” says Zvaigzne. Loose-link charm bracelets are popular ways to express personality. Cuffs of all varieties, stacked two or more, satisfy consumers of all ages.

Pins – The big brooch is back in single-color themes such as the earth tones of fall or bright vivid spring shades. “Women are wearing pins as the focal point of their fashion, which shows people are thinking much differently about how they wear their jewelry,” says Ripka.

The Future

Looking ahead, gemstones in rich wine colors and vibrant earth tones will remain popular. New designs combining opaque and faceted gemstones create an exciting juxtaposition. Unique design details and unusual cuts in the stones will herald a whole new dimension to future designs. “Education must be kept in the forefront as gemstones are predicted to grow in demand,” says Shmukler.

– by Lorraine M. O’Donnell, A.J.P.

18k gold rings feature fire opal and diamond accents.

Judith Ripka, New York City; (212) 244-1230, fax (212) 244-4560.

This 14k white gold ring is set with a 9mm x 7mm oval unheated sapphire surrounded by 1 carat of full-cut G-H/SI diamonds. Suggested retail, $7,250.

Color Craft, New York City; (212) 840-1924.

Three-row Seasons Ring in 18k white gold has 5.45 carats of mulitcolored sapphires and 0.30 carat of diamonds.

Aaron Henry Designs, Los Angeles, CA; (213) 623-4228

Mocha topaz and amethyst are set in bold sterling silver rings with diamond accents.

Scott Kay, Teaneck, NJ; (201) 287-0100, fax (201) 287-1617.

High polished sterling silver pendant and earrings feature blue topaz and amethyst. Suggested retail, $114 for the earrings, $141 for the pendant.

Sunstone Inc., Morton Grove, IL; (800) 323-5436.

Plum ruby star cabochon is bezel-set in a 14k white and yellow gold pendant. The yellow curved side is pavé-set with round brilliant-cut white diamonds and round green tsavorite garnet with white gold curved bars on the opposite side.

Artsation by Boris, Chandler, AZ; (480) 857-9707.

18k white gold purse pendant features pink sapphire in yellow gold.

Mirabelle, Los Angeles, CA; (213) 622-0656, fax (213) 622-1373.

This 14k gold ring holds a 0.44-ct. round emerald and 0.50 carat of round diamonds. Suggested retail, $1,111.

Idaho Opal & Gem Corp., Pocatello, ID; (800) 635-9800, fax (208) 233-0120.

Platinum ring has a 4.35-ct. cushion-cut pink sapphire and 0.96 carat of E/VS1 diamonds. Suggested retail, $18,900.

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

14k white gold suite features blue topaz and diamonds.

I.B. Goodman, Chicago, IL; (800) 543-1945.

This 18k rose and white gold pendant is set with 0.25 carat of round brilliant-cut diamonds and a 33.07-ct. cushion briolette morganite. Suggested retail, $9,800.

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

Reflection 18k gold pendant features a buff-top colored gemstone.

Voetsch Jewelry, Prairie Village, KS; (800) 757-9490 or (913) 341-7100.

Cleopatra’s collar features natural Afghanistan lapis with 18k gold spacers strung on stainless steel cable with 0.22 carat of baguette diamonds. Suggested retail, $2,200.

Gaia Pelikan, Sedona, AZ; (928) 282-5222.

Platinum earrings are set with ruby and diamond.

Trio, New York City; (212) 382-1044.

Rose quartz and freshwater cultured pearl choker.

KC Thompson, New York City; (212) 941-8282, fax (212) 941-6275.

14k gold pendant and ring feature peridot. The ring is $547 suggested retail. The pendant features a 0.03-ct. diamond accent and is $298.

Stuller, Lafayette, LA; (800) 877-7777, fax (337) 981-1655.

Necklace is sterling silver with golden green freshwater cultured pearls, faceted pistachio quartz and chrysoberyl. Suggested retail, $595.

Arlee Kasselman Jewelry Design, Scottsdale, AZ; (480) 998-8720, fax (480) 998-9703.

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