Professional Jeweler Archive: Goosing Gold

September 2004

Precious Metals/News


Goosing Gold

Consumers say the gold jewelry they see in stores is boring. A new World Gold Council push aims to change that perception


‘There are lots of new gold jewelry styles,” John Calnon says enthusiastically. “The problem is jewelers aren’t carrying them, so consumers say they love yellow gold, but what they see in stores is not relevant or of-the-moment fashion-wise.”

Calnon, new managing director of the World Gold Council, says one of his key jobs will be to make sure this hard reality changes – and fast. He’ll do it through a partnership program with major retailers to get exciting new products into a critical mass of stores in record time. The first major jeweler to step up to the plate for the campaign is Sterling Jewelers, Akron, OH, which has committed dollars, resources and a share of showcase space in its 1,000+ stores to the project. Then the new products, new promotions and new point-of-sale material will drive sales, says Calnon.

If Sterling succeeds, it could propel small and large retailers to take a chance on more adventurous gold jewelry styles – exactly the reasoning behind WGC’s use of high-volume retailers for this initial push. Its research shows that if given fresh styles, even women who already own gold jewelry wardrobes will get excited about the category and buy new products. “It’s a financial, philosophical and strategic commitment that retailers have to make,” says Calnon.

Help for Independents

To help independent retailers ride the coattails of the campaign, WGC has a new point-of-sale package that includes consumer brochures, training materials, in-case displays and signs. A fresh selection of WGC lifestyle photography shows models wearing newer styles fashionably. Jewelers can use the images for posters, Duratrans and other point-of-sale images (but not for advertising).

To sell the new look of gold, you need the styles in your store. WGC worked with a wide range of manufacturers that created gold jewelry defining the newer looks. WGC has several look-books and brochures, which it uses at trade shows to point jewelers in the right direction. WGC also uses the look-books to influence gold jewelry selections by stylists at magazines and fashion shows.

In “Trend Spotting” this month, we show some of the latest looks using photos of fashion-forward pieces that WGC and its advisers chose. We also feature a wide range of gold jewelry in our cover story to provide more ideas. Use these two stories to inspire gold jewelry choices for your customers for the upcoming holiday season.

• World Gold Council, New York City; (212) 317-3800.

– by Peggy Jo Donahue

Gold jewelry must go beyond boring basics to draw buyers back to stores. This suite features several fashion-forward touches, such as the use of repeating circles, an antique-inspired style and dangles.

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

“The Language of Gold” is a new brochure you may give to consumers. It contains a concise vocabulary of gold jewelry designed to motivate customers and educate them about karatage, finishes, chain styles and care.

In June, John Calnon began working as the World Gold Council’s managing director for the United States, succeeding Michael C. Barlerin, who retired from his position of managing director, Americas. Calnon rejoined WGC as director of international jewelry in March 2001. Previously, he was vice president of jewelry at QVC, where he led the electronic retailer to a leadership position in fine jewelry sales. Before joining QVC in 1996, Calnon spent six years with WGC directing trade development programs.

Calnon will direct a three-year strategic program with leading retail partners to boost gold jewelry sales and market share in the U.S.

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications