LAS VEGAS — The paradigms are shifting in the fine jewelry sector.
Out is the indulging self-purchasing consumer looking to drape herself in gold, diamond and gemstone jewelry for fashion’s sake. In is a new era of purchasing from the heart: birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and the like.
Jewelry brands are banking on special occasion purchasing to keep them afloat in these rocky times. Mother’s Day marked a turn for the better for jewelry sales that have, like other luxury categories, taken a beating since the stock market tanked last fall. Retailers and company executives were pleased, if a bit surprised, at the uptick in sales starting in mid-April.
The new mood was on full display at the jewelry trade shows here, including Couture at the Wynn resort from May 28 to June 2 and JCK, which took place at the Sands Expo & Convention Center from May 30 to June 3. The shows proved quieter than in years past, with fewer exhibitors and retailers, but orders were placed and executives predicted a better holiday than last year’s dismal season.
But jewelers and retailers appear to have learned their lesson, offering lower-priced collections; injecting more bang for the buck, and adding more casual pieces.
“We’re very cognizant of where the consumer is spending for themselves for a gift,” said John Green, president and chief executive officer of Lux, Bond & Green, the 111-year-old retailer with eight locations on the East Coast, who is investing the stores’ buy more into silver. “Luxury is a tough word. Celebration is a great word.”
Jim Rosenheim, ceo of Tiny Jewel Box in Washington, D.C., said, “What we’re seeing is people buying for occasions, not retail therapy.”
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Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
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24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
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