What will high-end retailers be looking for at Las Vegas jewelry shows after all this time away from the action? These are the categories, colors and stones of their luxury lists.
You may be feeling giddy with excitement, or even a little anxious, but there’s no doubt: after a long hiatus, Luxury and JCK are opening on August 24 and August 27 respectively, and they’re sure to be historic at all points of view.
Do you have a buying strategy in place? When we asked this question of jewelers and retail buyers, we found that many of them had no other goal than to walk the show floors with an open mind. Others had a strict checklist of specific colors, stones, and grades.
Many retailers told us they would use the show as an opportunity to stock up on “staple items” such as tennis bracelets and diamond stud earrings. With miles of stalls to cover only at Luxury and JCK, the tunnel vision approach might be the most efficient use of your time and budget, but try to set aside at least half a day to explore a unknown territory. Otherwise, you risk missing out on the product that will become your next smash hit.
If you don’t know where to start or are worried about falling prey to a Supermarket sweep–shopping spree style, check out the notes on these pages before you start the hunt.
FRESH AND UNTAPPED TALENT
Trade shows have always been the starting point for discovering emerging jewelry artists or collections making their US debut. And with in-person trade show platforms nearly inactive since the pandemic hit last spring, retailers’ appetite for curating new ranges is at an all-time high.
“We’ll scour the directory beforehand to see if we can find anything we didn’t know about,” says Paul Schneider, owner of Twist and Twistonline.com in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle. “We research the designers, look at their websites and Instagram, see where they sell, and then sometimes we make an appointment to see their collection in person. We have an entirely separate category of “Let’s check it out anonymously before we introduce ourselves” and a third category which is “Let’s see if we have time”. ”
Laura Kitsos, owner of Gem Jewelry Boutique in Oak Park, Ill., which offers Liven, Majolie Collections, Gasia and other fine fashion jewelry lines that tend to exhibit at the JCK show, said she plans to buy “a mix of designers that aren’t usually overly saturated, like handcrafted jewelry in Istanbul.
And Melissa Quick, president of Steve Quick Jeweler in Chicago, is also looking for new faces. “We really try to avoid tennis bracelets and river necklaces and stick to more unusual or fun pieces that aren’t easy to buy and handcrafted small batch collections.”
Pro tip: Head to the Design Collective neighborhood and JCK’s Greek Pavilion for beginners galore.
BRIDE OR BUST
Most of the retailers we consulted are looking for engagement rings and wedding bands. Sales in these categories have exploded since the 2020 holiday season, driving demand for everything from heavy diamond eternity rings and fancy shapes to new-to-market designer lines.
“Our plan is to get our base bride first, but we also want the newest and most successful bride for our millennial customers,” says Michelle Coon, sales associate at Alter’s Gem Jewelry in Beaumont, Arizona. Texas. “We would love to find a designer who makes a ballerina-style halo engagement ring with baguettes.”
For Omaha, Neb.-based Borsheims-based diamond buyer Heather Ingraham of Borsheims, it’s all about loose ovals and finished round solitaire styles. “I always need more solitaire options,” she says. “They should be simple and classic, but also have a little detail that makes them different.”
EARRINGS, EARRINGS, EARRINGS
As long as Zoom remains the date spot of choice, above-the-neck jewelry will be a hot ticket. As such, this year many retailers’ shopping lists continue to place single post earrings, bolder studs or midi length styles and earrings in the priority column. Meanwhile, getting the COVID-19 shot means having the freedom to go out and socialize. For many buyers, earring styles are de rigueur.
Which shades come first on buyers’ lists? Suppliers champion the charms of gray spinel, and jewelers pay attention to it. “That stone is fire,” says Tiffany Bayley, owner of Avalon Park Jewelers in Orlando, Florida. “This year’s Pantone color, Ultimate Gray, is everywhere we look, trendy furniture. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for spinel gray in all shades, shapes and sizes.
Bayley also has shades of blue on her brain, from sapphires to aquas and turquoises. “The royal family has been dominating the news lately, as has their jewellery,” she says. “All blue is back. And the 18 to 30 age group seems mesmerized by opals. The small oval opals have been huge sellers so I will definitely be stocking up on these beauties.
Styles You Can’t Miss
JCK Publishers will keep you updated on emerging trends throughout the year, but which ones should you invest in right now? A buyer’s perspective is the best barometer (and ask your customers what they want). Here are five trending styles we’ve heard a lot about in our stories.
“We’re definitely noticing increased sentimentality among shoppers, many of whom enjoy gifting pearls,” says Camile Hannoush, president of Connecticut-based Michaels Jewelers. (Secret Date Earrings with Black South Sea Pearls and Green Amethysts in 18k Rose Gold; €2,725 [$3,336]; Alessandra Dona; 914-289-0206; alessandradona.com)
2. Protective Talismans
“Now, more than ever, the idea surrounding holistic health, family and community protection resonates deeply when buying something as personal as fine jewelry,” says Michelle Pendleton, owner of Pendleton Jewelry in Kansas City, Kan. (Ceres Pendant with Diamonds in 18k Yellow Gold; $5,050; Dorian & Rose; [email protected])
3. Little River Necklaces
“We like a messy stack with a shorter 16-18 inch necklace that could be with diamonds or with precious and semi-precious stones,” says Amy Lane, jewelry buyer at Bergdorf Goodman in New York. (Necklace with 1.28 cts. tw diamonds in 14k white gold; $3,390; shy creation; [email protected]; timidcreation.com)
4. Bright colors
“We’re seeing a lot more color, bright, clean colors like enamels,” said Paul Schneider, owner of Twist and Twistonline.com. JCK earlier this year. “People aren’t afraid to buy gold with enamel. It is enormous.” (3-Diamond Stack Rings in Enamel with 0.05 ct. tw Diamonds in 14k Gold; $595 each; EF collection; 323-952-6065; efcollection.com)
5. Bold Gold
“I see a resurgence in yellow gold – I think the moment for rose gold has passed,” says Paula Kogan, senior bridal and fine jewelry buyer for Watches of Switzerland Group, owner of Mayors. (14k matte yellow gold leaf earrings with diamonds 0.44 ct. tw; $3,050; Marika Desert Gold; 216-759-7569; marikadesertgold.com)