In Praise of American-Made, Editor’s Letter, October 2012



In last year’s October issue, my editor’s letter began with an anecdote about Chinese tourists and the tremendous impact they had made on the retail scene in America. Inside was a feature article detailing the ways in which American jewelers could make their stores and merchandise more appealing to visitors from the Far East. The not-so-subtle message was that the Chinese buying frenzy was just beginning and there was no end in sight.

China is still on track to achieve global luxury dominance, but it’s clear that during the past year, the unbridled optimism that drove scores of jewelers and watchmakers to open retail and wholesale operations there has been tempered by a reported slowdown in luxury sales. Instead, the talk today is all-American, now that manufacturers, retailers, and consumers are rallying behind domestic production and singing the praises of American-made.

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Panama City hosts the newest JCK Events show, LUXURY Privé.

We explore the phenomenal push behind made-in-the-USA jewels in “Capitalizing on the American-Made Jewelry Movement,” senior editor Jennifer Heebner’s eye-opening look at the marketing benefits of promoting American-made goods—like the instant classics from designer Suzanne Donegan’s Mannin Insignia Collection, which I had the pleasure of trying on when I visited her in Santa Monica, Calif., a few weeks ago.

Most of the jewelry featured in our second annual Holiday Survival Guide is also the product of American ingenuity, so don’t be shy—dig in! We’ve broken down the guide into month-by-month tips on everything from seasonal social media strategies to how much ice you’ll need if you’re planning a party (a pound and a half per person). Then, we’ve hand-picked nearly three dozen pieces of trendy product in every budget category (“’Tis the Season to Sell Jewelry“).

Speaking of budget, before you consider the jewels we’ve collected, you’d do well to read senior editor Emili Vesilind’s “How to Hit Jewelry Shoppers’ New Sweet Spot,” a nitty-gritty look at the price points that are resonating with buyers in the wake of the recession. Not surprisingly, the core price range has declined for most retailers. Use Emili’s well-researched piece to benchmark your business.

Wide monogram cuff in 22k gold over sterling silver; $575; Mannin Insignia Collection, Los Angeles; 310-396-2170; manninfinejewelry.com

If you’re among those whose sweet spot falls in the stratosphere, our spotlight on the luxury market (“The Way to Sell Luxury Jewelry? Make It Special“) offers some valuable lessons on what excites consumers for whom money is no object. Hint: If there’s one piece and one piece only, you’re on the right track.

Elsewhere in this issue, we tout another made-in-America production—Latin America, that is (Jewel Box). LUXURY Privé, the invitation-only buying show from the organizers of JCK Las Vegas, now has a chic kid sister, LUXURY Privé Panama, which opens Oct. 22 at the Westin Playa Bonita in Panama City.

Every time I think about the show, I recall my first (and only) trip to Panama, back in 1995, when I spent three months backpacking through Central America with three girlfriends from college. We were awed by the canal, an engineering spectacle extraordinaire, and Panama City’s Old Town charmed us with its crumbling pastel-colored buildings, but truthfully, the capital was a little rough around the edges. Today, nearly two decades later, the city is one of the region’s most sophisticated destinations and will no doubt impress those attending Privé—offering one more example of the unstoppable American revival under way.