The Women’s Jewelry Association held its annual Awards for Excellence on Monday evening at New York’s Pier 60, with recipients touting the self-purchasing trend.
Cartier North America president and chief executive officer Mercedes Abramo, Swarovski executive board member Nadja Swarovski and Hearts on Fire president Caryl Capeci were each bestowed with “visionary” awards.
In interviews, honorees highlighted how more women are purchasing fine jewelry for themselves, rather than waiting for a gift from a companion.
Last summer, the broad-spectrum e-tailer Lyst reported that 78 percent of its jewelry sales come from female consumers. That percentage is expected to continue growing. Tiffany & Co. has also placed a vested interest in growing its self-purchasing business.
Abramo said of the cultural shift: “I think it’s wonderful. Jewelry doesn’t need to be purchased by someone else. Women have disposable income now, just like men have. We have been seeing it for a while, we are a feminine brand. For us, it’s about making that connection between why Cartier is relevant for them, and the joy and dream of becoming a part of the Cartier family.”
Swarovski took an even-keel approach. “Purchasing for yourself is an amazingly empowered thing to do, while at the same time, gift-giving is just as wonderful; What a wonderful expression of care and consideration,” she said.
Capeci noted that Hearts on Fire is working to bolster a self-purchasing client, and has noticed consumer trends in the category. “We often see a price barrier for self-purchasing women, historically they spend a certain amount. We are starting to see them gravitate toward stackable bands and other items that are priced at under $5,000,” Capeci noted.
The company is working to drive home the idea that “a piece of diamond jewelry lasts for decades. You are buying it to hand on to children far after you are gone. It’s very different than other fashion jewelry. We have to convince someone to want jewelry, the most important thing is creating desire. As an industry we need to all come together and reinforce why fine jewelry is important and what it means in people’s lives.”