JA Show Trends

July 31, 2003

JA Show Trends

Exhibitors at JA New York, held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City July 27-30, reported strong traffic and good sales.

Established looks continue to dominate. Symbols, such as crosses and hearts, are hotter than ever. Brooches and pendants are beginning to downsize, reflecting the spending mood of consumers, appearing in all-metal and colored gem designs. Beads of all kinds and in all sizes, especially colored gem and metal versions, are still popular. Chain links were diamond covered or all metal, most often in oblong, oval or marquise shapes. Jewelry accented by rubber or silk cords in all colors had a strong showing.

Precious Metals
Silver sold well, and was often seen mixed with 18k gold. Stainless steel, also mixed with 18k gold, had a much stronger showing this year than in years past. Interest in gold was high, often seen with matte finishes. Heart motifs and bridal jewelry still dominate platinum-intensive lines. Brushed metal beads were in abundance and enamel touches were everywhere. Rings and bangles with cutout messages are returning. Titanium lines are increasing as consumers look for new white metals.

Colored Gems
Blue, green, orange and brown gems complemented many showcases. "Retailers are loving tourmaline right now because of the saturation of color and good prices," say Nancy and Mark Schneider of Schneider Designs, Long Beach, CA.

A sprinkling of emerald creates a spectacular look in white metal, this gem could be on the rise. Rough blue druzy quartz offered a very fresh look in 18k gold. Turquoise and coral seem to be waning after a strong three-year showing. Large gemstone pendants that hang from strings of gemstone beads were often seen. "Aquamarine and apatite beads are a lot of fun and give the wearer a lot of options," says Denise Wood, owner of Denise Wood Designs Inc., Darien, CT. Red Brazilian agate had a small showing.

Necklaces with pearl stations and off-round pearls dominated. "Single drop pearl pendants where the design shows off the shape of the pearl are very hot right now," says Ramona Marshall of Stuller, Lafayette, LA. Coin, teardrop and slightly baroque pearls were shown in abundance. Interchangeable drop earrings where the drop is removable and used as a pendant showed innovation.

Diamonds & Bridal
Flush-set diamonds were popular with bridal jewelry makers. Bridal exhibitors agree gold is back, but platinum remains the standard. Antique settings and diamond cuts are still popular. In non-bridal diamond jewelry, right hand rings were very strong. Along with big rings, exhibitors featured chandelier and tear-drop earrings, cuff bracelets and three-stone styles in pendants and rings. "Anklets with small pavè hearts are selling like mad," says Joi Frankel, Designs by Joi, New York City.

by Lorraine M. O'Donnell, A.J.P.

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