By  on February 7, 2005

NEW YORK — Color the fine jewelry industry optimistic.

Bright gems, layered on looks, and big and bold stones will dominate the market for spring. Fashion continues to influence the industry, as evidenced by the offerings from designers seen at the recent JA show here.

Vendors and local buyers made the trek to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, despite the foot of snow that fell during the first day of the show that ended its three-day run Jan. 25. Attendance was down 32 percent from last year, mainly due to the weather, which caused many retailers to cancel appointments. Still, exhibitors said the regional buyers who did attend were writing sizable orders.

“Bright color is doing very well within our store,” said John Green, president and chief executive officer of Lux, Bond & Green in Hartford, Conn. “It makes it more interesting to someone who’s a frequent buyer. We had a strong Thanksgiving through Christmas season. Business is up from last year in the upper single digits.”

Paul and Sherry McCord, co-owners of Linwood Custom Jewelers in Linwood, N.J., were on the hunt for semiprecious, big and bold looks.

“We’re looking for color,” Paul said. “We sold more color at Christmas than we expected [sales were up 10 percent], so we’re filling in. Last year’s holiday was really good, so if I was even close to it this year, I was happy.”

Colored stones, particularly turquoise, aquamarine, blue topaz and blue sapphires, attracted strong buyer interest.

“Blue seems to be the color,” said Mary Aulde, co-owner of Alberian and Aulde, which showed multistrand necklaces in aquamarine and faceted turquoise stones.

“It’s fashion and color that’s driving the business,” said Janet Goldman, president of showroom and retail outlet Fragments, who was exhibiting at the show for the first time since the recent opening of her uptown boutique.

Designer Julie Baker presented big linear earrings with turquoise, blue topaz, lemon topaz and gold leaves. She said that bangles were selling well because of the trend of layering or stacking multiple pieces at once.

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