By and  on June 20, 2005

LAS VEGAS — Fine jewelry retailers are expecting a strong second half driven by women buying for themselves.

As the jewelry market continues to grow, jewelers are anticipating double-digit increases over the next six months, helped by the continued boom in demand for luxury goods.

The feel-good mood was expressed by buyers and vendors at the Couture Jewellery Collection & Conference, Luxury by JCK, JCK and the new Signature Salons shows that took place here earlier this month. The shows are harbingers of what’s to come as retailers stock up on merchandise for the crucial holiday selling period.

Fine and costume jewelry have had a particularly strong year. Fashion designers have been featuring jewelry in large doses on the runway, and women are accessorizing the current ethnic and bohemian apparel trends with layers of necklaces, earrings and bracelets.

Styles at JCK enforced the trend of personalization, with women looking for unique details in perfect pieces for themselves as opposed to more generic or simple styles.

Mark Udell, chief executive officer of London Jewelers, said, “People are out there spending. They want to be good to themselves.”

Tim Greve, president of Carl Greve Jewelry and Timepiece Collections based in Portland, Ore., expects a very profitable holiday season due to a mélange of new ideas and emerging designers. Greve cited the influx of men’s jewelry into the market, including the David Yurman men’s line, as well as the popularity of rose gold.

“[Rose gold] is finally starting to get more inroads in the U.S. market,” he said. “Since yellow gold has been strong in the U.S., it is paving the way for pink gold to be accepted by the customers.”

Lauren Kulchinsky, buyer and vice president at Mayfair Jewelers, projected a 20 percent growth in sales, but others remain more cautious about the second half. Jim Rosenheim, ceo of the Tiny Jewel Box in Washington, D.C., said that after experiencing a 19 percent increase in 2004, he planned for a modest 5 percent increase this year.

“We are still 19 percent over last year so far,” Rosenheim said. “We’re seeing strong, consistent business, and I don’t see it abating.”

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