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What’s New
Bold-face names from music and fashion, technical innovation, and new ideas for affordable and fun jewelry inspired these interesting product launches at the 2008 shows in Las Vegas

Masculine 18k gold locket

Seal the Deal

As the Grammy-winning musician who wrote “Kiss from a Rose,” Seal has built a career on being able to communicate and evoke emotion. Since his marriage to supermodel Heidi Klum in 2005, he’s also famous for the romantic gesture. He famously proposed in an igloo he built in the Canadian Rockies just for the occasion.

So when he decided to create his first jewelry collection, “Seal for Mouawad,” he wanted to tap into the emotional power of jewelry. “In the same way I connect with people through my music, I want to connect with them through my jewelry,” he says.

His new collection of unisex designs is built around signature lockets. Each locket is shaped like a tablet and slides open like a matchbox. With soft brushed finishes in 18k and 22k rose, yellow, and black gold, many of the lockets are also inscribed with fragments of his song lyrics. The lockets are available as bracelets as well as necklaces. Suggested retail prices range from $3,000 to $8,000.

Mouawad, who also creates the Heidi Klum jewelry collection, launched the new collection at Couture with an opening night Seal concert. What will Seal put in his own locket? “A coin my wife gave me that’s engraved with a photo I took of our children,” he says.

Masculine 18k gold locket that slides open like a matchbox from the new “Seal for Mouawad” collection, (310) 226-7870.

bracelet in sterling silver with diamonds

Silver Moon

This year, the most important trend in the market was the importance of silver. A new silver brand that debuted in Vegas, Lune D’Argent, is a strong option for retailers looking for a new silver collection. The brand is a new venture for the Gitanjali group, which includes DTC sightholder Digico, Leading Jewelers of the World, JMC, Samuel’s Jewelers, and many other companies. The distinctive style of the collection is the creation of designer Amy Levine, who is now creative director for Gitanjali’s jewelry companies in the U.S.

Lune D’Argent has four distinct collections based on the elements: earth, water, wind, fire, and rain. All styles feature diamonds and some also include 14k gold accents and colored gemstones. The “Wave” collection has inscribed scroll patterns; “Fire” styles have cut-out flame patterns; “Earth” features a pebbled relief; “Rain” a marquise and dot relief pattern; “Wind” a graceful openwork scroll; and “Water” adds drops of colored gemstones. Suggested retail prices range from $195 to $1,495.

In addition to the Lune D’Argent brand, the group also launched an ideal cut bridal brand called “PassionStone,” a mid-tier bridal brand in 14k gold called “Affiance,” and additional designs to the existing brand of fashion jewelry called “Amy L.” after designer Amy Levine.

“Earth” cuff bracelet in sterling silver with diamonds from Lune D’Argent, suggested retail $1,495, (866) 562-2289.

14k white gold earrings with shades of blue spinel

Miller’s Crossing

Nicole Miller, a designer known for fun and affordable designer fashion and an extensive collection of men’s ties, also launched her first jewelry collection in Las Vegas. It’s a partnership with World Trade Jewelers, a company that started out as a retailer, named after a store the company had in the World Trade Center before September 11. After the store was destroyed, the company decided to concentrate on its wholesale business.

As you might expect from a designer known for her use of color, the Nicole Miller fine jewelry collection is full of colorful gemstone combinations including many styles set with enhanced diamonds in vivid shades. Many styles are big and bold with large colored gemstones. Design elements wrap in front of and behind the gemstones.

The initial 92-piece collection is 14k gold with suggested retails from $499 to $7,999, with most styles concentrated in the $899 to $2,499 price range. “We’re trying to be more middle of the road,” says April Scorcia of World Trade Jewelers. Displays, packaging, and a catalog designed for over the counter use are available.

Flexible 14k white gold earrings with shades of blue spinel from Nicole Miller Fine Jewelry by World Trade Jewelers, (212) 983-0412.

Engagement rings in 18k gold

Ideal Bondanza

Lazare Kaplan, known for its ideal cut diamonds, has discovered a softer side. In Vegas, the brand launched “Simply Lazare by Michael Bondanza,” a new bridal collection created by Michael Bondanza set with the Lazare Diamond. The new 18k gold collection, 18 pieces with several interlocking design themes, also has its own custom display, signage, packaging, and promotional materials.

“Not every retailer wants the same thing,” says Marcee Feinberg, vice president of marketing for Lazare Kaplan. “We have a look for our collection but some customers wanted something different.”

Interestingly, this is not the first time the two have worked together. Years ago, Bondanza created the classic twist setting that has become one of the best-selling styles at Lazare Kaplan. “Now that we have a Bondanza collection we can market an updated version of the setting under his name with other styles that represent his classic style and impeccable quality.”

Lazare Kaplan and Bondanza also teamed up to support a good cause. During the Las Vegas show, Lazare Kaplan sales of the Bondanza-designed “DreamMaker” pendant benefited Jewelers for Children. With every purchase of the pendant, the retailer was also entered in a drawing to win a second pendant. The promotion raised $5,000 for the charity. “In keeping with our history, we would like to continue to help make the dreams of children come true,” Feinberg says.

Engagement rings in 18k gold from Simply Lazare by Michael Bondanza, (800) LK-IDEAL.

pendants on 18k gold chain with dangling fortunes

Fortune Telling

“Ideas from your loved ones will inspire you.” That fortune cookie message tells the story of the new collection by Sharon Loeff Designs. The idea for the collection came from designer Loeff’s 16 year-old daughter Hannah, who asked her mom to make her a fortune cookie necklace with a message inside. “We mentioned to some local retailers we were making the piece and the response was overwhelming,” Loeff says. “At that point, the project morphed from a one-of-a-kind gift to a complete product concept.”

What Hannah soon christened the “Precious Fortunes” collection debuted at the JCK show. Precious Fortunes includes necklaces in sterling silver, 14k gold with diamonds, and sterling silver charm bracelets. Retail price points range from $199 to $1,199.

All the fortune cookies open and close with a magnetic latch. Each cookie can accept at least one charm or tag on which a personalized message can be engraved. Buyers may pick from a stock fortune or a custom fortune. Both the necklaces and bracelet are designed to accept charms that display the Chinese characters for love, happiness, prosperity, luck, and longevity. The upshot? “You may find success in an unlikely place.”

Sterling silver “Precious Fortune” pendants on 18k gold chain with dangling fortunes by Sharon Loeff Designs, suggested retail $199 for small necklace and $249 for large necklace, (480) 991-1412.


See the Light

With the gold price sky high, companies are working to reduce the weight of many basic styles without sacrificing quality by using innovative openwork and unusual materials. You might think the classic 14k gold wedding band was immutable to innovation. But this Vegas, Stuller launched a new collection of wedding bands that looks the same as its traditional wedding band collection inside and out, until you pick it up and discover that it’s noticeably lighter.

The new “Luxecor” brand of 14k yellow and white gold wedding bands provides the classic wedding band look with 25 percent less weight than traditional bands with the same profile. The collection is based on a new patent-pending technology to remove weight from the center of the band, leaving both sides smooth and comfortable. Luxecor bands are manufactured in Stuller’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, facility using a technology the company isn’t willing to discuss. According to Stuller, the new bands have the same strength as classic bands and they are backing that promise with a lifetime warranty.

With gold at $900, Stuller’s standard suggested retails for the new bands start at $315. The bands are available in polished inside round style from 4 to 8mm and a milgrain inside round style from 4 to 6mm. A satin or florentine finish is also available. Half sizes are available from 4 to 13, whole sizes to 15. Although the bands can’t be stretched, they can be sized with regular sizing stock. Worn rings can be exchanged for another size for a service charge and shipping. All bands include a customer warranty card.

New “Luxecor” bands from Stuller weigh 25 percent less than conventional bands, (800) 877-7777.

Engagement ring in 18k gold

Badgley Mischka for the Finger

As the fashion and jewelry worlds grow closer, more clothing designers are seeking to create jewelry collections that express their design philosophy in a new form. At Couture, Badgley Mischka, a fashion brand created by designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka, launched its first jewelry collection, Badgley Mischka Bride. The brand was named one of the “Top 10 American Designers” by Vogue magazine. “Badgley Mischka signature style is simple, streamlined, and thoroughly elegant,” Mischka said.

The Badgley Mischka bridal collection was launched at the Couture show by Zalemark, a veteran of creating successful licensed jewelry collections. Zalemark, known for the Seventeen collection aimed at young women and the Demeter collection with model Rachel Hunter, also launched the new ESQ collection with the Hearst publication at the show. The company also has a new deal with television personality and restaurateur B. Smith.

The Badgley Mischka Bride jewelry collection is a line of semi-mount engagement rings in 18k gold set with G VS diamonds. Styles are designed for one to three carat diamonds and larger. Semi-mounts retail for $2,500 to $6,000. Badgley Mischka also creates bridal and bridesmaid clothing collections. In addition to custom packaging and displays, stores will also receive DVDs with the designers’ bridal collection show. The brand also plans to launch couture and fashion jewelry collections.

Engagement ring in 18k gold from the new Badgley Mischka Bride collection by Zalemark, (800) 949-9809.