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Holiday Forecast
What top retailers are buying for the season


It’s time to roll the dice and pick your inventory for the holiday season. We asked leading retailers from across the country to share what they think will sell best this holiday season and what they are doing to keep inventory selling despite the economy. What are they buying this year? As you might expect, most jewelers we talked to are buying a lot of silver and collectible beads to encourage frequent customer visits. Stocking inventory under $200 retail is critical in this economy, they say. But retailers also say not to forget to show that one incredible piece, no matter the budget. You compliment the customer by showing a better piece and you give yourself the chance to make a bigger sale.

Maybe the most interesting thing about a sluggish economy is that it brings out jewelers’ hard-won insights. As retailers told us about their plans for holiday buying, their imaginations, practicality, and overall optimism came shining through.


bracelets featuring new sustainably harvested wood beads

PANDORA bracelets featuring new sustainably harvested wood beads made from Coraçao de Negro, Acupo, Muirapiranga, Pau Amarelo and Muiracatiara, suggested retail $30 each, (410) 309-0200, www.pandora-jewelry.com.

steel and gold-plated bronze necklace

MIKE RUMANOFF

Rumanoff’s Fine Jewelry, Hamden, Connecticut

WHAT WILL SELL: “We’re expanding from 1,800 to 2,700 square feet. We think that 2,000 to 3,000 square feet is probably the ideal size for a retail jewelry store. We’ve been doing very well with Rebecca. She fills the need for people who want bigger pieces—18k gold on bronze—at a good price point that runs from $175 up to $600. Pandora is still the phenomenon. We plan to install a Pandora shop in a shop. The price point is right, whether you’re looking to start with a sterling bracelet with one charm at $75 or the same in gold at $1,300. Once we begin selling the charms, we can predict how much money that first sale will ultimately generate as people return.”

HOW WE’LL SELL IT: “Our expansion will say a lot to our customers about our business, as well as the effort to offer beautifully designed jewelry at good, accessible price points.”

REBECCA “Griffe” collection steel and gold-plated bronze necklace, suggested retail $325, (310) 319-9600, www.rebecca.it.

14k gold bracelet with smoky and lemon quartz

MONTECA CONFER

Confer’s, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania

WHAT WILL SELL: “Two trends we’re noticing are chocolate diamonds and gold bracelets. Their popularity is a combination of different colors of gold and we make sure to keep them at eye level. We do well with Pandora, Oro America, and Leslie’s, and after we went to Italy last October with the IJO to visit factories, we started ordering from Quality Gold, which represents several Italian manufacturers. For holiday engagements, we expect to do well with Mark Schneider and Kirk Kara.”

HOW WE’LL SELL IT: “While we’re good at in-store selling, we also do tons of marketing. We have five billboards in town and do a lot of direct mail, including postcards and e-mail. We have sign-up cards by the cash register to receive e-mail. People are very receptive to e-mail, and as a result our e-mails are opened by more than 50 percent of the people we send them to.”

LESLIE’S 14k gold bracelet with smoky and lemon quartz, suggested retail $2,600, (800) 221-2628, www.leslies.com.

sterling silver necklace, rhodium plated with 18k hand etched gold links

JONATHAN ZEMMOL

The Yellow Door, Brooklyn, New York

WHAT WILL SELL: “We’ve been doing very well with earrings, colored stones, and yellow gold. Our clientele, many of whom are self-gifting women, are looking for lighter, more creative, artsy, frivolous accessories, jewelry you don’t have to ask permission to wear. Designers include Rudolf Friedmann, who’s out with a new line of sterling with semiprecious stones and elements of 18k gold. We’re also finding demand for couture fashion jewelry that is high-end costume jewelry. We are selling Alexis Bittar in a price point from $200 to $900. It allows them to wear very stylish jewelry without the worries of a huge loss if it goes missing.”

HOW WE’LL SELL IT: “We deal with designers who do a great job of publicizing themselves, so if somebody sees their goods in our store, it’s as though we’ve given them our imprimatur and that we have our finger on the pulse.”

RUDOLF FRIEDMANN sterling silver necklace, rhodium plated with 18k hand etched gold links, suggested retail $600, (212) 869-5070, www.rudolffriedmann.com.

sterling and 18k gold concave-cut amethyst ring

KRISTEN LAUGHTER

Parker’s Karat Patch, Asheville, North Carolina

WHAT WILL SELL: “We’re approaching the holidays with an optimistic view, hoping that people will see jewelry as something that can lift their spirits. Our current focus is to control costs and to reorder best sellers fast. We’re also trying to keep a good stock of lower to medium-level price points, and sterling has helped. Our best sellers include Lorenzo, who’s doing sterling and 18k gold with colored stones, and Elle, whose jewelry has a bolder contemporary look. We emphasize heavier sterling that doesn’t bend or break because we want customers to perceive good value.”

HOW WE’LL SELL IT: “After 30 years in business, our best marketing tool is word of mouth. Consumers often mistrust jewelers before they even meet them, so to have people come into the store ready to trust you on the say-so of their family or friends is a great asset.”

LORENZO sterling and 18k gold concave-cut amethyst ring, suggested retail $395, available from Simon Golub & Sons, (800) 426-7125, www.lorenzojewelry.com.

black and white diamond and 14k gold ring

TIM BRANSCOMB

Sierra West Jewelers, Orem, Utah

WHAT WILL SELL: “We’ve been through three other recessions in 31 years, so what we’re doing now is what we learned from them. Our best sellers right now are loose diamonds in the $500 to $20,000 range, and that’s where we’ll continue filling gaps. We’re also adding black, white, and brown diamonds. Designers we like include Simon G., as well has his secondary line of jewelry that has the same feel but less diamond weight and clarity. The key is to look at every company to see what value they can offer.”

HOW WE’LL SELL IT: “People were conservative last year and we expect them to be so this year. We always make it a point to show them one incredible piece that’s three or four times over their budget, then work back down from there. We’ve found over the years, even in a recession, that one in five customers will buy up.”

SIMON G. black and white diamond and 14k gold ring from the “Zeghani” collection, a diffusion line, (800) 627-2661, www.simongjewelry.com.

18k yellow gold and diamond satin finished ring

JEAN LEWIS

Cravens & Lewis Jewelers, Georgetown, Kentucky

WHAT WILL SELL: “We already stock broadly in a variety of styles and we’re not seeing any big new trends, so we aren’t planning any special buys. We do sell some champagne and black diamonds and anticipate that demand will continue. Our bread and butter is what keeps us going, and that includes diamond pendants and earrings, and sterling, which at a price point of $300 and under is very popular.”

HOW WE’LL SELL IT: “Tastes here run more to fashion than high-end
jewelry. Customers look more at the design than the designer. We’re members of the IJO, which offers ‘The Collection,’ pieces done by various designers
exclusively for IJO. Because we have access to a wide variety of designs, we’re confident about being able to offer customers beautiful pieces.”

OVERNIGHT IJO collection 18k yellow gold and diamond satin finished ring, suggested retail $1,850, and 18k yellow gold and diamond satin finished earrings, suggested retail $2,075, (888) 731-1111, www.overnightmountings.com.

patterned ring in rhodium-plated sterling silver

SAM HILL

Rohr Jewelers, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

WHAT WILL SELL: “People are starting to feel a bit better about buying, and we’ve brought in some stainless steel and sterling goods in an affordable price range—$100 to $300—that they feel comfortable with. One sterling designer we especially like is Sekikazu. He draws people in with good designs and elements like black rhodium and etching. We’ve also done well with Elle, it’s a good name and people recognize it.”

HOW WE’LL SELL IT: “We’re not slashing prices or holding sales, which are actions that don’t inspire confidence. I’m finally working on a web site. I’ve also gotten involved with local non-profits as a way to letting people know about us. Sekikazu designed two pieces for the wild jaguar conservation work done by our local zoo, and our store has also designed a pendant for the local medical college’s cancer center.”

ELLE JEWELRY “Eclipse” collection patterned ring in rhodium-plated sterling silver, suggested retail $125,
(888) 507-ELLE, www.ellejewelry.com.

princess cut diamond earrings

BRIAN SCHUBOT

Jules R. Schubot Jewellers, Troy, Michigan

WHAT WILL SELL: “The trend is not toward any particular style of jewelry or price point. The trend is toward value, not necessarily inexpensive, but more in the sense of jewelry that is oriented towards a classic rather than fashion look. That means basic diamonds and colors which are always marketable, and buying because they have an enduring value rather than just for the design or name.”

HOW WE’LL SELL IT: “There is an opportunity to reestablish the value of jewelry as portable wealth, a concept that has been lost as wealth moved to banks, stocks, and real estate. People once bought jewelry not just to celebrate occasions but because it had value in its own right. As a consumer good, jewelry holds its value better than almost anything I can think of.”

PICCHIOTTI princess cut diamond earrings, (39) 0131-953081, www.picchiotti.it.