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The Men's Boom
Buyer's Choice

It may have taken a year or two longer than everyone hoped, but the menís jewelry business is, actually, well, booming at last. Sure, sales of menís jewelry may still be in single digit percentiles for most stores, but retailers are reporting noticeable increases.

Several factors appear to favor success in the category. One is longevity, a stick-to-itiveness even as others were losing patience. In particular, branded menís jewelry lines have the edge in many stores, where name recognition appeals not just to men self-purchasers but women shopping for gifts too. Women make up a sizeable percentage of menís fine jewelry sales, accounting for a third to a half of sales, retailers report. One reason is that they are likely to take more fashion risks on behalf of a significant other.

The role of the women as gift givers in menís jewelry offers another opportunity to retailers. Although everyone agrees that more marketing and advertising of menís lines to men would help everyone, itís important to remember that, just as with womenís jewelry, the woman consumer is a strong market that must be heeded.

While cuff links, buoyed by a blip upward in tailored suits and clothing, continue to be the strongest classification, bracelets are now mandatory. Men seem to be more amenable to touting metals and materials of all sorts on their wrists. Nor is there a lack of imagination on materials from manufacturersóeverything from rare woods to Formula 1 materials to karat gold to space age metals have sales appeal.

Perhaps one of the best indicators that menís jewelry has finally strengthened among fine jewelry consumers is that categories such as pendants and other types of ďnecklacesĒ are starting to sell, even in stores that traditionally only featured more formal, tailored jewelry such as cuff links. Some of it is due to younger men who are trading up and being lured into jewelry stores. Some of it may be thanks to women who want their men to dress and accessorize more like their favorite movie and rock stars. Some of it is a hidden market that obviously is being uncovered, making this category one to watch in the coming year.

sterling silver and black diamond dog tag pendants
David Yurmanís sterling silver and black diamond dog tag pendants, (212) 896-1550.
sterling silver bracelets

Good Investment

“Our best sellers are bold and chunky style bracelets. We are seeing an increase with the mixing of metals. Sterling silver is still our strongest. Many designers are now starting to add leather or titanium with silver. Women are starting to take the risk of buying trendy fashion pieces for men. John Hardy, David Yurman, and Scott Kay have all invested so much into their designs and our customers see that. Hardy gives a natural feeling to his collection, while Yurman offers fashion forward pieces. Kay is dwelling into the gothic look. Each of these designers gives the male customer something he wants to wear. Gemstones are becoming more unusual. Designers are working with dinosaur bones, blood eyes, cat’s eyes, and black diamonds. Men do not want a flashy look but rather a bold statement piece. For Father’s Day and graduation, we plan to do visual displays in our store and Yurman ads in the newspaper. Men are finally starting to embrace fashion jewelry.”
— Rebecca Garnick and Debby Pinkham, Long’s Jewelers, Boston, Massachusetts

Scott Kay’s sterling silver bracelets from the “Kodiak” collection, (800) 487-2724.

gemstone, silver, and gold cuff links

Alternative Thinking

“Alternative metals are huge right now. I am seeing a lot of sterling silver with rubber, gold, and platinum. It is a lot of mix and match. Tiger’s eye is huge. David Yurman’s collection is really helping to bring new gemstones into play. Black is important right now. I am seeing a lot of black diamonds and sapphires in men’s pieces. Men are starting to wear more and more jewelry. John Hardy and David Yurman are our biggest sellers. Bracelets do amazing for us. A lot of detail is starting to be added to the bracelets. Dog tags and pendants are starting to become stronger. I am seeing more women coming in and buying the pieces for gifts.”
— Laurie Harris, Tapper’s, West Bloomfield, Michigan

David Yurman’s exotic gemstone, silver, and gold cuff links, (212) 896-1550.

sterling silver and black sapphire bracelet

White & Black

“We have a strong men’s jewelry clientele. Men are finally starting to become more fashion forward and they are not afraid to wear more than just a wedding ring anymore. Our two biggest sellers are bracelets and dog tag necklaces. David Yurman and John Hardy’s collections do the best. We also have our own private label that does well. As far as metals, men still prefer steel and silver as opposed to gold. With the increase of men’s jewelry, wedding bands are also starting to become more fashion based. White and black diamonds are becoming popular. David Yurman’s exotic stone collection has helped to increase the desire of stones in a piece. I am thrilled men are becoming excited about jewelry.”
— Michael Littman, Gary Michael’s Fine Jewelry, Manalapan, New Jersey

John Hardy’s sterling silver and black sapphire bracelet, (212) 219-4288.

black titanium and diamond rings

Strong Expansion

“After 30 years, we have finally decided to launch Von Bargen’s first line, which will include men’s jewelry. We decided to switch our business model and start to focus on men. We are still strong in selling wedding bands to men but have recently increased within the men’s fashion jewelry collections. David Yurman and John Hardy along with our collection have helped to gain segment expansion. We just added Philip Stein Teslar’s watch collection. Cuff links and bracelets are our strong sellers. With men wearing jewelry becoming common, designs are becoming more modern. Silver is still the strongest. Gemstones are gaining a place within the men’s collections. Black sapphires and cat’s eyes are strong for us. We plan to do more marketing of our men’s lines than ever before.”
— Jeff Pierce, Von Bargen’s, Burlington, Vermont

Edward Mirell’s black titanium and diamond rings, (954) 481-8422.

sterling silver car engine pendant

Sportswear Driven

“We have seen a real movement in the last year toward men thinking more about wearing jewelry as another accessory. We have had a strong business in cuff links with Rotenier and we added his new collection of sterling silver pendants and bracelets. The man who buys the Etro or Robert Graham shirt and Seven jeans is picking up on this collection which features whimsical military themes including skulls, swords, and a grenade. More men are seeing jewelry as part of their wardrobes just like women like to buy earrings with their new outfits. Cuff links continue to be strong and we plan our trunk shows around Father’s Day or Christmas when we find at least 50 percent of the sales are to women who are giving them as gifts.”
— Chris Mitchell, Marsh’s, Huntington, New York

Rotenier’s sterling silver car engine pendant, (212) 768-1117.

bangle bracelet in titanium and anodized aluminum

Mix & Match

“Men’s jewelry does very well here. A gentleman that enjoys a fine watch is more likely to buy a high-end piece of jewelry. We work with many leading designers: David Yurman, Scott Kay, John Hardy, and David Heston. Sauro does very well. The collection has helped to increase the sales of our men’s bracelets. Sauro appeals to our fashion based male customer. With the increase of fashion bracelets there has been an increase in metals and gems. Men are starting to look for pieces that can be worn with more than one outfit. Black metal gives a fashionable look but still keeps the piece classic. Yurman’s rings and cuff links made with dinosaur bone have been a huge hit. We also have seen gems becoming more muted to mix and match with different outfits. Casual Fridays are done, more men are starting to enjoy dressing up. It is the 30-plus target market that is finally deciding to become more conscious of their jewelry.”
— David Mizer, Bernie Robbins, Newton, Pennsylvania

Sauro’s bangle bracelet in titanium and anodized aluminum, (39) 0444-291144.

18k gold ring

Mr. Popularity

“There has been a large increase within the past two years of more people coming in to buy men’s jewelry. David Yurman and Di Modolo have really helped us by releasing men collections. Scott Kay’s ‘Sparta’ collection has helped increase the sales for men’s wedding bands. Watches are still the number one sellers followed by rings and bracelets. More men are coming in looking for a wedding ring that is also fashionable and trendy. Sterling silver and platinum are still the two best selling metals. As far as precious stones, diamonds continue to be the number one seller.”
— Lori Roberts, Reis Nichols, Indianapolis, Indiana

Di Modolo’s 18k gold men’s ring, (212) 826-3600.

stainless steel cuff links with signature cut diamonds

Elegant Appointments

“Dunhill, Montblanc, and Deakin & Francis are just a few of the men’s collections we work with. As far as the popularity of the items, I would definitely say men’s bracelets and cuff links. We have found more women coming in to purchase for men then before. White gold, sterling silver, and platinum are our strongest selling metals. There has been a slight increase in gemstones. Diamonds and mother-of-pearl have been added more to cuff links. We are always on the lookout for new collections and designers to keep our men’s fashion jewelry collection growing.”
— Bob Marshak, Zadok Jewelers, Houston, Texas

Montblanc’s stainless steel cuff links with signature cut diamonds, (800) 995-4810.

sterling silver and crystal pendant

Funky Town

“We have seen a great response to our men’s collections. Since our store is located in a resort area, our clients tend to want jewelry and accessories that are more casual and funky. We carry men’s sterling silver jewelry from Robin Rotenier, Stephen Webster, John Hardy, and Me & Ro. The vast majority is merchandised in its own case near our watch cases. About half the sales are to men self-purchasers. The other half are bought by women for a man. Some men think twice about buying jewelry, but if a woman gives it to them, she likely understands what would best suit him.”
— Beth Smith, Chepita, Aspen, Colorado

Stephen Webster’s sterling silver and “Crystal Haze” heart skull pendant, (212) 226-6160.

rubber and steel bracelet

Finishing Touches

“Men’s jewelry is definitely starting to turn the corner. Men are starting to become more fashion conscious. I always say a beautiful suit deserves a nice piece of jewelry to go with it. Accessories are becoming more important in a man’s wardrobe. Hollywood stars are starting to have a large impact on men. TeNo’s cuff links sell strong for the store. Cuff links and watches are still number one sellers, but bracelets are starting to make a strong increase. It may be due to the new appeal of alternative metals. I have been seeing a lot of different substances used together, from gold and rubber to platinum and dinosaur bone. I am looking to add more of these types of pieces. Men are coming in more to purchase their own jewelry. Men are finally starting to create their own personal style.”
— Helain Pesis, Continental Diamond, St. Louis Park, Minneapolis

TeNo’s rubber and steel bracelet, (800) 360-2586.