Professional Jeweler Archive: Driving Demand for Diamonds

May 2004

Feature


Driving Demand for Diamonds

The economic upturn whets consumers' desires for more and bigger diamonds


In the glow of a 7% increase in jewelry store sales last year, diamond jewelry is bursting with multiple stones this spring. Where one or two diamonds sufficed during the early 2000s, jewelry now features an abundance of diamonds outlining a design, marching side by side in luxurious chains and bunching next to each other in pavé statements. The next logical step will be larger diamonds, just in time for Holiday 2004. Keep that top of mind when shopping at the summer shows this year.

“Small diamonds have a place in the market, but the real trend will be with larger stones,” predicts Adam Levy, vice president of Adasco Designs, New York City. “Consumers are becoming comfortable again with making a sizable purchase. Demand is larger in total weights and in single stones, both going beyond 2 carats.”

Settings with shared prongs or two prongs instead of four or bezels are the new favorites in platinum and 18k white gold. “The look is back-to-basics with classic, clean settings that show a lot without being over-the-top,” says Levy. “Consumers will invest in this type of diamond jewelry with the expectation to wear it for 20+ years.”

More Than Fair in Square

Square diamonds remain the biggest growth category – princess, emerald and radiant styles are selling well, says Joyce Pessel, senior director of operations at Jordan Meryl, Boca Raton, FL. “However, the next shape to have will be the cushion,” she says. “Cushions have retro appeal and are the bridge between square and round shapes.” That heirloom quality is important in diamond jewelry as the desire for sentimental and estate pieces continues. Notes Levy, “More retro cuts such as Asscher, cushion, old-mine and rose-cut diamonds in classic antique-inspired designs evoke more emotion with consumers.”

Best-Sellers

Earrings: Studs paired with a removable drop offer versatility. Chandelier earrings’ vintage look is still fun, with lower price points driving sales. Diamond hinged hoops are also in high demand. The newest diamond earring is the long, straight stiletto. Sometimes the narrow row of diamonds is punctuated with a design, pearl or other gem on the end.

Necklaces: Solitaire pendants are simple, classic and available across every price range. Multiple solitaires and briolette drops are also popular. On the higher end, the riviera is always fashionable and luxurious.

Rings: Three-stone rings with larger stones continue to dominate the category. Stack bands in white or colored diamonds that can be worn as bridal or non-bridal styles are popular.

Bracelets: Line bracelets, cuffs or bracelets with a ’70s feel – such as charms or other dangles – are youthful and affordable. Architectural motifs are big, as are Art Deco styles.

Pins and Brooches: Diamond pavé antique styling and nature motifs dominate.

In the Future

For non-bridal diamond jewelry, “antique styling will continue, as will floral patterns. Also, jewelry gifts for Valentine’s Day and birthday gifts, where the jewelry is not center-stone oriented, will be very important,” says Levy.

– by Lorraine M. O’Donnell, A.J.P.

point of $ALE

Selling the Anniversary

DTC will promote this underserved occasion heavily

The Diamond Trading Co. is putting 25% of its 2004 marketing budget toward promoting the sale of diamonds for anniversaries. Though the campaign is new, some jewelers already have ideas.

Bring It Up. Always suggest diamond jewelry as an anniversary gift. “Often, men are unsure what to give – we stress that diamonds are always appropriate. We say there are certain pieces of jewelry that every woman would like to own,” says Jacqueline Grand Raffi, vice president of sales at Long’s Fine Jewelers, Burlington, MA.

Stay Connected. “Every time we sell an engagement ring, we ask for the wedding date, which gives us the anniversary date for our records. Each month we print a special-events report so our sales associates know which clients are celebrating an anniversary. The sales associate can then call or e-mail the gentleman and offer to help pick an appropriate gift,” says James F. Sunderland Jr., G.G., managing director of James & Sons, Chicago, IL.

Cater to Your Customers. When a good customer is pressed for time, take your business to him. “This personal contact builds loyalty for the sales professional as well as the retailer. We are setting up a concierge and gift service that offers gift ideas [including anniversaries] that can be taken to the customer’s place of business as needed. We see this as a great untapped opportunity,” says Raffi.

Three-Stone Rings & More. “Promoting the three-stone ring gives our sales professionals the opportunity to sell a new ring or build onto existing diamond jewelry. We can match the client’s engagement ring with side stones and sell a more significant diamond as the center. It enables us to sell at least two more diamonds if not a new ring,” says Raffi. But if your customer is on the fence or she already has a three-stone ring, don’t be afraid to suggest other diamond jewelry. Adds Sunderland, “We are ready to highlight several diamond categories. Three-stone rings have been popular, but three-stone pendants are selling even better.” Other anniversary gifts to focus on: stud earrings, bracelets, anniversary bands, solitaire pendants and multidiamond earrings.

Sell Emotion. Emotional messages are tied tightly to diamond jewelry. The past, present and future message of three-stone jewelry is a powerful sales tool. “People want jewelry that symbolizes their eternal love,” says Raffi. “Give them a reminder that they are now at a time in their lives when it’s OK for purchases to be all about them. Diamonds given for an anniversary gift say I’d marry you all over again.

Promote the Occasion. TV and newspaper ads, radio, billboards and direct mail are all useful, but there are other promotion tools. “We have a Pray for Rain campaign for the engagement ring customer,” says Jim Clark, president of B.C. Clark Jewelers, Oklahoma City, OK. “If it rains 1 inch or more on their wedding day, B.C. Clark will refund money up to $5,000. We have the couple fill out a contact sheet with their wedding date, birthdays and business information. All this helps us reconnect later for the anniversary. So far 58 couples have won.”

Raffi says the anniversary occasion is new territory. “I haven’t seen any great events solely targeted on anniversaries. It could be fun – why not have an anniversary event instead of a wedding event? You could team up with other vendors targeting Baby Boomers and encourage them to celebrate their love instead of being so focused on the engagement and wedding band offer,” says Raffi.

– LMO


Diamonds swirl around this heart pendant necklace.

Eugene Biro, New York City; (800) 223-3535 or (212) 997-0146, www.eugenebiro.com.

18k white gold necklace features 4.06 carats of natural fancy intense yellow diamonds with 10.43 carats of round diamonds, 1.70 carats of baguette diamonds, 0.41 carat of pear-shaped diamonds. Suggested retail, $145,000.

Bergio, Fairfield, NJ; (888) 237-4464 or (973) 227-3230, fax (973) 227-3556.

Square diamonds in platinum start at $7,000 suggested retail.

Lazare Kaplan International, New York City; (800) 554-3325
or (212) 857-7610.

Handmade platinum and 18k gold earrings each feature a 0.97-ct. fancy yellow radiant-cut diamond and 0.60 carat of round diamonds. Suggested retail, $6,900.

David Levy, New York City; (866) 398-8952 or (212) 398-8952, fax (212) 398-8126, www.diamondmatchmaker.com.

Diamond dangle earrings hold white and yellow diamonds.

Scott Kay, Teaneck, NJ; (800) 487-2724 or (201) 287-0100, fax (201) 287-1617.

18k rose gold earrings feature rhodium-plated leaves and 1.78 carats of round diamonds. Suggested retail, $3,825. A matching ring with 1 carat of diamonds is $2,295.

Behnam Jewelry Corp., New York City; (800) 848-3620.

18k gold jewelry suite features F-G internally flawless diamonds. Earrings with 3.57 carats are $6,990 suggested retail, the ring with 2.50 carats is $5,074 and the pendant with 3.69 carats is $8,594. The chain, $376.

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

Three different styles of line bracelets.

K&D Diamonds Inc., New York City; (212) 869-0811, fax (212) 869-0815.

18k gold ring features 0.36 carat of bezel-set diamonds. Suggested retail, $1,300.

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

From the FuzzeFace collection, 18k gold dog bone pendants are set with 1.15 carats of G-H round diamonds. Suggested retail, $1,990 each.

Jordan Meryl, Boca Raton, FL; (800) 99-MERYL.

Sterling silver and black diamond jewelry suite.

Dobbs of Boston, Gloucester, MA; (800) 23-DOBBS, fax (978) 283-2209.

From the Tini collection, this 14k gold martini glass sparkles with 0.50 carat of diamonds. Suggested retail, $895.

Frank Reubel Designs, Flagler Beach, FL; (888) 439-0272, fax (386) 439-1318, www.frankreubeldesigns.com.

14k white gold pendant features 0.35 carat of accent diamonds. Suggested retail, $1,440 without the center stone. Also available in 18k and platinum.

Gelin & Abaci Inc., Glendora, CA; (800) 545-8545 or (626) 914-7899, fax (626) 914-7829.

24k gold earrings feature diamond briolettes.

Gurhan, New York City; (877) 447-4692, contact@gurhan.com.

Platinum bracelet with 18 carats of heart-shaped diamonds is $100,000 suggested retail.

Adasco Designs Inc., New York City; (800) 632-6685 or (212) 819-0288.

14k necklace can be worn three ways and features 1.75 carats of channel-set baguettes and diamond pavé. Suggested retail, $3,599.

Connoisseur Collection, Alpharetta, GA; (770) 664-1818, fax (770) 740-9529.

Four-pronged Cocktail stud earring mountings are available in platinum and 14k or 18k white or yellow gold and can accommodate square stones from 2.75mm to 5.5mm and round stones from 3.25mm to 8.50mm. Suggested retail, from $15.
R Findings, Rochester, NY; (800) 422-7624 or (585) 385-6730, fax (888) 243-5484, www.rfindings.com, sales@rfindings.com.
Diamond anniversary ring and three-stone mounting are made to fit a variety of diamond sizes.

Epoque Jewelry Inc., New York City; (212) 334-7238, fax (212) 965-1096.

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications