Ace the Case: The Most Fashionable Ways to Freshen Up Your Displays



“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful,” wrote essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson. In retailing, it could also be said that opportunities to make something beautiful are equally worthwhile. After all, humans are visual creatures—around 20 percent of our brain cells are used solely for vision (how wild is that?). With the holidays around the corner, this is a terrific time to beautify, change up, or completely overhaul your fine-jewelry cases. We asked three visual merchandising experts to weigh in on easy, effective ways to upgrade your cases for the year’s busiest selling season.

On Display 

Do your in-case display pieces look old? Is the fabric sun-faded? And, most important, do your display elements perfectly showcase the styles you’ve invested in for the holidays? Emily Graffagnino, visual merchandising and senior product manager for Lafayette, La.–based Stuller, recommends taking stock of the display pieces you already have, then potentially buying new ones that will spotlight the season’s major trends—such as small vertical ring stands for stackable rings and magnetic neck forms for layering necklaces. 

Light It Up

If you’ve yet to make the switch from halogen to LED lights in your cases, now’s a good time. While halogens cast yellow (and, later, red) light on diamonds and jewelry, LED light is more crystalline and therefore reflects true colors. Vijay Paul, showcase specialist for New York City–based equipment supplier Kassoy and CEO of jewelry lighting company Lighting 4 Diamonds (which sells LED strip lights starting at $10 per foot), says jewelers should look for in-case strip lights that feature light chips rated at the same color and intensity—for an all-over even appearance. A strip with mixed-rated chips “will give you a range of colors,” he explains. 

Mix Master

Whether you merchandise by designer, style, or material, mixing up how you show off your selections can have a huge influence on how your clients shop and buy. Change often creates excitement. For example, for years, Dawn Hendricks, owner of Peridot Fine Jewelry in Larchmont, N.Y., arranged her cases by designer; but at one point she put all the rings in the store near the cash wrap—a shift that resulted in more ring sales. Consider what makes sense to group, regroup, or even showcase on its own. 

Rule of Three

When organizing jewelry, Graffagnino recommends putting items in groups of three. The visually appealing number “provides balance within your case, and is easiest for the viewer to take in while shopping,” she says. 

À La Carte Cases 

Not all of your cases have to be on legs. Tabletop cases, meant to highlight a special piece or collection, are all the rage in jewelry stores. And it’s no mystery why—these versatile, mobile pieces, which can be placed near the register or on a pretty coffee table, spotlight jewelry beautifully and add interest to your overall decor. Look for adorable (and affordable!) ones on Pinterest and Etsy by typing in “jewelry display cases.” 

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Grouping jewels by style (e.g., rings) is an eye-catching option.

Illuminating Ideas

“Nice lighting is not expensive, but the effect you get out of lighting is phenomenal,” says Robert Persekian, owner of Precisions Displays in San Jose, Calif. In addition to buying LEDs with matching light chips, he says it’s important to play with the intensity of the lighting in your cases: “Some people like a lot of light and some don’t—it’s very personal, and it has a lot to do with the height of your ceiling. You have to find that right combination of the color, the intensity, the spacing, and the angle of light.”

Color Theory

“Color changes everything,” says Graffagnino, who runs Stuller’s display-revamping Case by Case program for retailers. But you don’t have to re-fabric every case to make an impact. “Adding just a small burst of color to your cases can completely transform your showroom floor,” she says. The pop-of-color approach is great for the holidays because it “makes updating the look of your store manageable, without diving into the total investment of buying all-new showcase displays.” She recommends choosing an accent color that’s “energetic and bright for summer, soft and pastel for spring, and deep and warm for fall and winter.” Persekian says there are no rules for color, but pastels look the most modern.

Textural Interest

Don’t be afraid to mix fabric textures and colors. “Just because you use mostly leatherette doesn’t mean a suede won’t elevate the feel,” Graffagnino says. Persekian likes when stores use multiple colors to highlight special merchandise: “It draws the eye in a really great way when you have a different color in one case than in another.” 

Flower Power 

The holidays are short—and financially crucial—so prepare to pull out all the stops. If flowers and seasonal decorations suit the ambience and mood of your business, commission striking floral arrangements and/or style your cases with decorative objects that add a lovely sense of occasion in November and December.

Signs of the Times

Is the signage elegant and easy to read? If not, invest in case signs that can be customized with pricing and messages. Or get creative: Ask someone with gorgeous penmanship to create price tags on thick, beautiful paper, or enlist a local wood-carver to hand-engrave signs on driftwood. Your only limitation is your imagination. 

Top: playing with fabric and texture at the ultrachic August in Los Angeles (photograph by Natasha Lee)

Inset: a group of three ring holders at the super-stylish Nine Roses Jewelers in Richmond, Va. (photograph by Jay Westcott)

(Hand: Rebecca Martyn/Offset)