Professional Jeweler Archive: Minority Report

April 2005

Cover Focus | Ethnic Markets: New Products


Minority Report

Ethnic designers bring new perspectives to the fine jewelry marketplace


StyleWatch

In jewelry, fashion trumps ethnic identity, so selecting merchandise to appeal to specific ethnic demographics is not especially necessary. The year’s trends apply across the board – such as the popularity of colored diamonds and diamond pavé – but here are some tips for appealing to a specific market.

Black-owned companies resonate with black consumers. Simmons Jewelry Co. – a joint venture of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons; his wife, Kimora Lee Simmons; and Fabrikant – and Chris Aire’s jewelry have earned credibility and loyalty. Aire also has raised black and general consumer awareness of platinum and rose gold.

Lines such as those from Simmons and Aire bridge ethnic lines and appeal to many young non-ethnic consumers – especially those who follow hip-hop, pop and R&B music or high-profile athletes such as Allen Iverson, Michael Vick or LeBron James.

A recent study of Hispanic consumers by the Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council shows 17% chose platinum as their favorite metal compared with 4% of people in general.

Urban and ethnic markets generally look for larger styles that have presence – big diamonds, a lot of pavé and dog tags and pendants hanging on heavier chains.

Simmons Jewelry Co. has a licensing agreement with Sanrio, the company behind the 30-year-old Hello Kitty craze. This Hello Kitty® jewelry is 18k white gold with ruby bows, citrine noses and onyx eyes. The double-chain face pendant has 0.89 carat of diamonds and the earrings have 0.51 carat of diamonds.

Simmons Jewelry Co., New York City; (212) 554-0981.

Baby Phat Fashion Watches, including this Showgirl Signature cat watch, are also by Kimora Lee Simmons.

Simmons Jewelry Co., New York City; (212) 554-0981.

Earrings, rings and the watch on the left from Chris Aire are platinum with diamonds. The watch on the right is his proprietary RedGold™ with diamonds.

Chris Aire/2 Awesome International, Los Angeles, CA; (213) 688-0900, (213) 688-2880, www.2awesomeint.com

The Nitrogen Collection is aimed at the young, fashion-conscious urban market. Jewelry from the Asian (above) and Hollywood Diva (right) collections are pictured.

The Nitrogen Collection from Aurafin/OroAmerica, Tamarac, FL; (800) 327-1808, www.nitrogencollection.com.

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications