June 7, 2002
JCK Show Trends
Exhibitors at the JCK Show in Las Vegas, May 31-June 4, stayed with the fundamentals, befitting a year in which the health of the economy is still an open question. Here's a look at what was on view, and what was selling:
Bridal jewelry rules all sizes, all diamond shapes, all setting styles. There is a continued interest in older cuts, while new cuts also are being introduced in record numbers. Retro and antique style settings remain hot, as brides stay fascinated with vintage everything.
The renewed interest in getting hitched after Sept. 11 is also reflected in increasing amounts of add-on wedding jewelry. B.A. Ballou introduces Ballou-Bridal, a new line of jewelry designed for members of wedding parties, including bridesmaids, flower girls, groomsmen and parents of the bride and groom.
Among non-bridal diamond jewelry, the craze for symbols, especially in pendants, rages on and expands into lucky charms and other messages of hope. Three-stone diamond jewelry is the other obvious choice for jewelers looking to hitch on to the Diamond Trading Co.'s consumer ad campaigns. As the category expands, designs are getting more creative. Colored diamonds, especially in yellows and champagnes, are popular, and pavé styles in unusual patterns and concave settings are a new look.
Colored Gems & Pearls
As expected, opaque gems like turquoise and coral are a hit after the fashion world decreed they were "in." All kinds of green and blue turquoise is available, including mottled, veined, clean, chunky and diminuitive styles. What's unclear is how many traditional jewelers will score with these stones, which are widely sold in cheaper versions at department stores and trendy boutiques.
All of the so-called "colors of the sea" are popular as well, including turquoise-like colors in milky aquamarine, chrysocolla, peruvian opal and apatite, as well as greens such as peridot, tourmaline and chrysoprase. Beautiful paraiba tourmalines were on view too. Among the warmer tones, rich oranges, especially in citrine, and deep reds prevailed. Orange and pink sapphire sales seem softer, possibly due to recent uncertainty over new diffusion treatments. Tanzanite is regaining strength, reports Matt Hakimi, of tanzanite jewelry supplier C.H. Hakimi. Prices are rising too, as the the gem's reported link with terrorism has been denied. Among the various cuts, beads and briolettes continue in popularity.
Unusual pearl shapes inspire lots of pretty jewelry designs this year, especially in pastel colors. The other big pearl color story is black, with affordable baroque Tahitians leading the way.
Yellow gold continues to glow in the spotlight, with the most exciting designs highlighting its newly fashionable warmth. Christen Som, formerly a silver line, introduced gold to its collections this year to respond to customer requests.
The World Gold Council's campaigns and promotions are clearly working. But white metals haven't disappeared. Jewelers in many parts of the country continue to see big demand for silver, white gold, platinum and mixed color metals. Titanium and steel jewelry are growing in popularity too, often with precious accents. Etched, worked and primitive finishes seem freshest this year, while rich, high-karat gold is now almost commonplace. Links of all kinds are still hot, with rounder shapes dominating. Among metal-intensive jewelry, symbols are also popular and lockets and vintage looks are back, reports Jonathan Schmidt of Boma.
by Peggy Jo Donahue & Robert Weldon, G.G.