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Buyer's Choice: Best of Show


Although Las Vegas famously boasts, “What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas,” many jewelry retailers say that perhaps too much is happening to Vegas and their stays there are growing a bit too long.

Thanks to more than six concurrent and overlapping shows, many retailers now have to traipse through many aisles to see their existing vendors and look for new products. That job may be difficult and often frustrating, but those who made the effort found familiar vendors with new collections and some new ones to answer client needs.

According to many retailers, what they need for the second half of 2007 is novelties. One way retailers can grasp the enormity of the Vegas shows is by focusing on particular needs, ranging from something to satisfy the “client who has everything” to those seeking quality and service on basic items. Satisfying niche markets continues to be a priority, including bridal, men’s jewelry, collectors, and jewelry for the growing segment of consumers 65 and over.

Novelties may range from bold, classic yellow gold to special, one-of-a-kind jewelry. Or, novelties might be a new diamond or gemstone cut, a precious metal finish, or a mechanism to improve comfort and fit.

A few themes ring universal. There’s more interest in bold, from bold yellow classics to hammered, high-karat looks. Color continues to be a driving force in diamonds and gemstones. The breadth of color available from earthy browns and environmental greens to classics enables retailers to select a palette that addresses all client tastes.

The problem is, say retailers, so much time is taken up traveling from core suppliers that there’s less time to “shop and browse” for something new. There was exciting product this season in Vegas—it’s just that finding it has become more arduous.


sterling silver and 18k gold bangles with moonstones and diamonds
Oxidized sterling silver and 18k gold bangles with moonstones and diamonds by Emily Armenta, Viewpoint Showrooms, (800) 237-9477.
earrings in 18k white and yellow gold
Fit and Function

“One of the new lines we picked up was the new bridal and men’s lines from Superfit. We have been working with Superfit for years and our customers who suffer from arthritis think their mechanism, which allows them to put the ring on without going over the knuckles, is amazing. We also picked up their toe rings, something that also addresses a need from our clients. Recently we began pulling back from micro-pavé, which is appearing all over. We are emphasizing prong set and channel sets instead. We also bought from Frederic Sage and Barry Kronen, both of whom had new designs that were different yet still had a level of quality. We liked some of the new styles from Sakamoto. The earrings were number one! Shopping Las Vegas has become a mind boggling exercise.”
— Grey Darcey, E.R. Sawyer Jewelers, Santa Rosa, California

Cascade earrings in 18k white and yellow gold from Sakamoto, (310) 618-2094.

oval pendant and bangle
Mark of Bridal

“The best thing we have in the store is Hearts On Fire. The bestsellers for us are probably their oval pendant and bangle. We also do well with Verragio, Tacori, and Mark Patterson. Two years ago, we added Mark Schneider and the line does really well in our store. I’m amazed at how many calls we get, people call every week. On his web site, we are the only retailer in the area, so I think that’s why. At this show we just looked at Jordan Scott. The line is very well priced and I think it will do well for us.”
— Jean Chance, W.R. Chance Diamond Jewelers, Annapolis, Maryland

“Affection,” “Inspire,” and “Alluring” engagement rings by Mark Schneider, (800) 452-5804.

oxidized sterling silver and gold
Karat Salad

“High-karat 22k and 24k gold continues to be strong, such as geometric flavored jewelry from Gurhan and Yossi Harari. The rich color of higher karat gold really sets the jewelry apart. For my customers, high-karat gold has become a prestige item. And it appeals to the young, hip crowd as well as their grandmothers. One-of-a-kind pieces from Gurhan, such as the mosaics and Roman soldier buttons, sell out almost immediately. Concurrently, I’ve noticed a decline in white gold sales. I also liked Kwiat’s 100th anniversary celebration line which included pieces taken from the archives. Emily Armenta’s oxidized sterling silver and gold collection is one of the prettiest I have seen of that combination.”
— Cathy Eastham, Cathy Eastham Fine Jewelry, Midland, Texas

Mosaic 24k gold pendants from Gurhan, (646) 230-1122.

18k gold, enamel, and gemstones
Yellow Fever

“Our customers gravitate toward the classic, timeless styles in jewelry, not the trendy. That’s one reason we went to Jingirian, which had interesting gold styles but conservative in design. Yellow gold continues to be our customers’ favorite. Even when gold prices rose last year, sometimes almost doubling on Italian styles, consumers continued to buy. Another popular gold collection has been Golden West’s Avalon group which includes a nice array of bracelet link styles. Colored gemstones still are doing quite well. One of our best color categories has been colored gemstone beads, such as peridot, tourmaline, and multicolor long strands, 60-inches even, and also torsade styles, retailing between $3,000 to $5,000. Fabergé is another color line we did well with and expect similar results this fall.”
— Sarah Sockolof, Simms Jewelers, Bedminster, New Jersey

“Abondance” collection in 18k gold, enamel, and gemstones by Fabergé, (49) (7231) 91870.

Green beryl and 18k gold drop earrings
Bold Encounters

“Bling still continues to be king in Scottsdale. I love the new shades you can find in gemstones, especially green beryl which has a look that reminds me of what aquamarine used to be in a bygone era. For summer, I like clear and light yellow gemstones, and big quartz rings with diamond pavé accents. Bracelets with tattoo inspired patterns looked great, some with a glam rock or gothic appearance. I see men’s jewelry really starting to take off with younger men who want to wear it more. The girls love it when guys get the cool stuff and show their style. I still like the whole pirate, skulls, and swords look such as King Baby or Robin Rotenier.”
— Joel Starkman, Joel M. Starkman Jewelers, Scottsdale, Arizona

Green beryl and 18k gold drop earrings from Erica Courtney, (323) 938-2373.

Necklace and bracelet in 18k yellow gold
Classics Redux

“I liked and ordered the new 18k gold pieces from Jingirian. Our store does well with classic style jewelry and Jingirian has first-class product. We also carry Abel & Zimmermann and other German suppliers, but I found Jingirian’s quality to be equal to them. Fashion fine jewelry has actually been quiet for us. We do better with classic, traditional categories such as diamond studs and eternity bands. Estate has been important. We buy and sell estate pieces and business has been good, especially from European dealers who find our prices about 40 percent less due to the exchange rate.”
— Danny Lister Jr., Lister Jewelers,
Coral Gables, Florida

Necklace and bracelet in 18k yellow gold from the “Classica” collection by Jingirian, (800) 222-0012.

Black titanium
Autumn Positioning

“I spent more days than I liked in Las Vegas. This time I checked out and shopped some categories I have been planning to buy. I’m interested in various types of alternative metals for men’s jewelry. Tungsten carbide and black titanium have great appeal to the younger male consumer. I don’t think it’s an issue of price, rather one of durability and something different. I also spent time investigating some of the Russian cut diamonds. I find them very interesting. I had sticker shock about much of the gold jewelry, which was very high due to the price of gold. We brought along our store managers who helped by indicating areas we want to be strong in for fourth quarter, such as three-stone and Journey. We see Journey being even bigger this year and the styles offer more of a variety than three-stone.”
— Stan Matthews, Matthews Jewelers, Beaumont, Texas

Black titanium styles for men by Edward Mirell, (954) 481-8422.

diamond ring
Catering to the Young at Heart

“Many retirees live in our selling area and I would say more of them are over 55 years old. One of the biggest problems these clients complain about are rings that don’t fit, or no longer can fit, due to swelling, arthritis, or other things. We have been carrying Superfit for many years for retrofittings, but we are adding its men’s bands. Many of our clients play golf and they don’t like to wear rings, which can be difficult to get off or because their fingers swell. We have found clients usually have to go up 2.5 or 3 times the size ring to fit over their knuckles. But then the rings look too big. Superfit has solved that problem with their custom fit. The backup of a lifetime guarantee is also important.”
— Fred Reiger, Diamonds by Terry, Stuart, Florida

Men’s 18k white gold band from Superfit, (800) 765-7111.

Carved ebony and 18k gold bracelet and earrings
Pioneering Spirit

“One of the companies I found interesting was DiLuca, an Italian company that has taken an ancient craft, cameo and coral carving, and given it a contemporary feeling, especially seen in the styles incorporating wood. Shamballa, a Danish company, introduced the ultimate in mystic jewelry. Their pieces were well crafted and their use of precious stones such as rubies is striking. They are the must-have this season. Raffaella Mannelli also had a striking collection of carved ebony, 18k gold, and diamonds. Sevan Bicakci continues to get better and better. Now he is carving stones on both sides so that whatever the angle, you see a different perspective. Robert Lee Morris’ Andy Warhol collection really captured Warhol’s spirit including the words and designs that made him a star.”
— Marie Helene Morrow, Reinhold Jewelers, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Carved ebony and 18k gold bracelet and earrings by Raffaella Mannelli, (39) (055) 845-5317.

Gemstone and 18k gold pendant
Singular Sensations

“We have been doing well with Tournaire, a French company that adds an unusual dimension to its pieces, especially colored stone rings and pendants. The crest ring is so cool. It’s not for everyone, but for the luxury market Tournaire is a standout. We found an interesting line, Kurtulan, which has a 24k gold and silver line that has great designs. Initial pieces in the store sold through the moment we received them. Yves Kamioner, one of our bestselling designers, continues to come up with collections that wow collectors. His ‘French flea market bracelets,’ as we call them, have additional wonderful elements. No two bracelets are ever the same. Yves is now layering in blackened sterling silver necklaces with one-of-a-kind elements stationed through. We fell in love with them!”
— Colleen Rafferty, Christensen & Rafferty, San Mateo, California

Gemstone and 18k gold pendant from Tournaire, (33) (1) 402-0019.