Monthly Archives: May 2009

Pop Culture: Turn Trends into Transactions

gossip girlThe economic downturn has meant jewelers must buy smarter and better than ever before. At her JCK Las Vegas session, “JCK Style: What’s Hot and Why You Should Care,” Jewelry Information Center spokesperson Helena Krodel will provide much needed insight on how to turn hot trends into transactions for your store.

To prepare to buy right, and for the right trends, Krodel says to consider key fashion influencers, such as:

* Pop Culture: Television shows like Gossip Girl, which follows the lives of privileged young Manhattanites, are gospel to fashionistas.
* Top Influencers: New First Lady Michelle Obama has brought fashion back into the White House, influencing what people wear (and where they buy it).
* The Eco/Green Movement: Consumers with a conscience continue to push for more environmentally-friendly and organic products, including jewelry in an effort to Recycle, Reduce, Reuse!
* Technology and the Internet: Even if you’re not ready to jump on sites like Facebook, you need to be aware of how the latest web technologies are influencing consumers — and enabling both positive and negative information — to travel instantly. As a challenge, check out how to Twitter!
* Fashion Sources: Traditional media like bridal and fashion magazines continue to influence consumers and have been joined by fashion-focused Internet sites like

Take The Tip:

* Attend Helena Krodel’s presentation: “JCK Style: What’s Hot and Why You Should Care” at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, May 28.
* Visit for more insight on trends.

Pantone’s color seers say earth tones for fall

This is a reprint of an article in National Jeweler May 14th, 2009 written by Catherine Dayrit

Just Like You Design citrene ringNew York–Each season, the world-renowned color experts at Pantone release a report detailing the palette of hues that fashion designers expect to be indicative of the season. And for fall, designers are placing their bets on a rainbow of earth tones, from true red and deep orange to vibrant blue.

“The fall 2009 palette is more unique and thoughtful than the typical autumnal hues of years past,” Pantone Color Institute Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman said in the report. “Designers recognize the desire for fundamental basics that speak to the current economic conditions, but also understand the need to incorporate vibrant color to grab the consumers’ eyes and entice them to buy.”

Among the top 10 colors designers identified as the most directional hues for fall are: “American Beauty,” a balanced, true red; “Purple Heart,” a jewel-tone purple; “Honey Yellow,” a warm, more subdued version of the sunny “Mimosa Yellow,” Pantone’s 2009 Color of the Year; “Burnt Sienna,” an earthy shade of orange; “Rapture Rose,” combining the vibrancy of fuchsia and the softness of pink; “Warm Olive,” a rich yellow-green; and finally “Majolica Blue,” a deep teal.

Helena Krodel, spokeswoman for the Jewelry Information Center, says that what these trends mean for jewelry is a proliferation of large gemstones in earth tones or rich deep colors. The stones will be combined with chain-links or charms in precious metals, making for oversized statement necklaces.

As for basic colors for the season, designers surveyed by Pantone selected “Creme Brulee,” a grayed-down beige; “Iron,” a grounding color somewhere between brown and gray that coordinates well with all colors in the palette; and “Nomad,” which serves as a bridge between the beige and light gray.

Such tones serve as an ideal canvas for jewelry, whether that means sticking to the monotone look with one of the all-metal statement necklaces that will be big for fall, or selecting colored gemstones with intense hues that pop.

Leatrice says that of the 10 colors, the neutral Iron received the highest rating from designers, a choice that points to practicality.

“Designers are very aware that consumers are conscious of how they’re spending their money,” she says. “They want something very consistent.”

She also adds that over the last few seasons there has been more of a trend toward “trans-seasonal” dressing, in which apparel and accessories can be used from one season and into the next, so trends linger and aren’t thrown out the door quite so quickly.

“If you love something, it’s a shame to hang it in the closet,” she says.

And that goes for jewelry too. While precious stones tend to be pricey, perhaps making for an initial barrier at the sales counter, their classic nature helps to make them pieces worth investing in, items that can be worn time and again.

A great article from Abe Sherman of “Big”

Evolution of our Industry

by Abe Sherman

A crisis requires an immediate action plan.  You work through a crisis: you rebuild the house after a fire; you rebuild the city after a serious earthquake.  We approach the crisis as having a beginning, a middle and an end-the light at the end of the tunnel, and we push through to emerge on the other side, knowing that we can rebuild it, we will rebuild it.  In our industry, we have been addressing our current “issues” by applying crisis management.  We cut our expenses, lowered our inventory and we are looking to introduce new merchandise that might address otherwise missed selling opportunities by attracting a new customer base.  By taking these steps, all necessary by the way, we feel as if we are doing what we need to be doing to work through this crisis.

There are two things we cannot know at the beginning of any crisis:  How long will this last and what does it look like on the other side.  While our industry is indeed at some point on the timeline of the crises (actually, more than one in my opinion), we can only guess about how long they will last and what our industry will look like on the other side.   That said, I don’t believe that we are merely dealing with a series of crises-I believe our industry will continue to shake for many months and perhaps years to come, just as the aftershocks of a serious earthquake.  I believe this will be the time we will look back upon as the beginning of significant evolution.

Expect business as usual to look very different in 5 years.  Banking related issues such as terms, memo and stock balancing may all be endangered species as our industry evolves.  Marketing and advertising will have to consider enormous changes in demographics as the boomers retire and Millennials emerge (an even larger mass of humanity than the boomers). And this new group doesn’t read the newspaper or listen to the radio, they Tweet. They text. They post on Facebook. Every one of them has an IPod with 12,000 songs that they downloaded for free. They are connected 24/7 in ways that we, as an industry don’t even understand yet, let alone have addressed. I am not talking about advertising differences here; I’m talking about life style, life stage and two huge consumer bases.  The former defined us for the past 50 years and the later will define us for the next 50.  I’m talking about evolution.

I believe the changes that emerge will require a level of cooperation and transparency unlike anything our industry has ever experienced.  Retailers will have to open up and communicate with their suppliers and suppliers will actually have to listen.  Merchandising (an art form largely undervalued in our industry for the past two decades) will have to have a new found respect and merchandisers will emerge once again as having value.  Brands, whatever that really means in our industry, will have to work cooperatively with their retail-partners or they will go extinct.  The entire industry will have to learn how to manage their inventory and stop thinking of it as an asset!

These are the times when the earth moves, when mountains are formed, when there is a fundamental shift in the landscape-and it never goes back to the way it was.  The JCK panel discussion “The Evolution of Our Industry” was conceived around the notion that the jewelry industry must evolve, like it or not.  Ready or not.  Many stakeholders in our industry are feeling the pain of the early rumblings of these changes, but like all other evolutionary cycles, what emerges should be more efficient.  While we work through our own crises, let’s keep in mind that these issues are not likely to be short lived and that while one eye is working in the present, let’s keep the other focused on the future.  After all, there are 86 million Millennials who would like you to be their jeweler.

If you will be in Vegas, please join us to hear the views of some of our industries forward-looking stakeholders as we address these issues.   Ken Gassman, president and founder of the Jewelry Industry Research Institute, whose research is published by IDEX Online, will be the moderator of this panel.   Panel includes:  Phyllis Bergman, CEO of Mercury Ring, Kathy Corey, VP Merchandising at Day’s Jewelers, Richard Fields, Chief Strategic Officer at Unique Settings, Mark Michaels, Secretary and Treasurer of Michaels Jewelry, Nehal Modi, CEO of Gitanjali USA,  Abe Sherman, CEO of BIG and Ron Spurga, Vice President of ANB Amro.

Trend Blitz: Affordable Jewelry

Costume jewelryOne of the best effects of the current costume jewelry craze is its impact—or lack thereof—on the wallet. Designers are eschewing precious metals and gemstones for non-traditional materials like textiles and wood, driving prices down in the process. In fact, some of our favorite jewelry labels at the moment are some of the most affordable we’ve found in a long time, proving that you don’t need to spend a lot to make a statement.

Maria Lau
Since graduating from London’s Royal College of Art in 2003, Maria Lau has gained a following for her intricate pieces made from materials normally found in clothing. Her most recent collection, “A Skin Less Ordinary,” takes root in the aesthetics of Masai jewelry but has an effect that’s far more ethereal than you’d expect. Nude stockings are braided, twisted and knotted with strands of semi-precious stones to create regal neckpieces and headbands, while magnetic hematine minerals are used to create long, layered chain necklaces. Select pieces from the collection are available at , starting at $75.

Sabrina Dehoff
Sabrina Dehoff is best known for her knotted cord pieces, which are reminiscent of the drawstrings on a hooded nylon parka. This season, she’s taken her collection’s urban wilderness theme even further, adding natural materials like spruce, perch, oak and plum woods. The rough, outdoorsy feel of the collection is balanced out with 23k gold plating and Swarovski crystal accents, which glam up a series of pyramid stud earrings, floral-shaped brooches and tiny pendants in the shapes of woodland creatures. The collection can be found at Opening Ceremony, where most prices are less than $250.

Johanne Mills
A former creative director for Donna Karan and consultant for everyone from Matthew Williamson to Bulgari and W magazine, it’s no wonder that Johanne Mills’ eponymous jewelry line is as eclectic as her résumé. Her collections combine graphic shapes, unusual raw materials and an arts and crafts sensibility, with most pieces hovering around the $300 mark. A pair of sleek drop earrings is made from onyx discs and brass tubes, while a cheerful bib necklace is crafted from looped silk cord, dotted with triangular studs in calcite, adventurine and metal. and carry a diverse range of Mills’ creations.

—Erin Magner

Reprinted from the JC report. An excellent source of information on the fashion world.