What are the top trending products on buyers’ shopping lists as they head to Sin City? We investigate.
At this year’s JCK Las Vegas and Luxury shows, retailers are mostly sticking with jewels that have performed well for the past few seasons, and especially during the 2022 holiday. That goes double for products that fall into a trending category—think enamel, genderless design, and Montana sapphire engagement rings.
Overall, alternative bridal will still be a priority for buyers, especially those hoping to draw in Gen Z customers, who strenuously try to avoid anything cookie-cutter. One increasingly popular choice: rings with a gemstone center stone, from moss agate to tourmaline, according to a retailer we spoke with.
Exceptional loose stones for custom projects are on almost everyone’s shopping agenda. In terms of color, emeralds and sapphires are among the most desirable. As JCK recently reported, green—especially brighter and mintier hues such as peridot and chrysoprase—is still going strong.
More must-haves for fall and holiday 2023 are updated diamond classics and the eternal “unicorn” buy: an attractively priced diamond fashion line that feels fresh and current, that no other store carries, and that is ethically and sustainably produced.
And many retailers plan to shop with certain price points in mind. “I believe it’s important to introduce lines that can fit within many price ranges right now, ultimately allowing the language of each designer to sway the client’s purchase,” says Brianne Chavarin, a buyer at Robbins Brothers, which has multiple locations in Arizona, California, Texas, and Washington.
More on that below, plus other items retailers hope to find in Las Vegas this year.
While the inflationary environment has not deterred consumer spending on jewelry, today’s economy has prompted some retailers to stock up on collections that offer lower thresholds for buyers. Naturally that means different things to different stores.
For Camille Zarsky at The Seven in New York City, the focus will be on “really fun, special pieces of jewelry that are one-of-a-kind that fit into a $10,000-and-under price point,” she tells JCK. “We have to acknowledge the consumer is not hesitant, but a little bit more conscientious right now. I think you need to adapt to that as a retailer but still give people that special piece without making them feel like they’re making any sacrifices or compromises.”
In Chicago, Melissa Quick, president of Steve Quick Jeweler, is also being circumspect about her purchases. “We need to make sure that we have some pieces that we can sell for under $2,000,” she says. “We always cherry-pick pieces, and we start with the people that we have long-term relationships with to see if we find the things that excite us there.”
In Petal, Miss., Chae Carter, owner of Carter’s Collective, is responding to an increased demand for price-point fine fashion jewelry with a plan to shop for pieces in the $200 to $800 range. “We’re always looking for styles that we can easily sell online and promote on social media,” she says. “Shy Creation has a great selection, and their pieces tend to be spot-on as far as current trends.”
Great, Giftable Finds
Elizabeth Campbell, another buyer at Robbins Brothers, says she’s looking for fashion-forward “gifts that wow, especially bracelets and earrings,” in the under $10,000 retail price bracket, featuring either lab-grown or natural diamonds.
Plenty of suppliers are promoting holiday jewelry gifts, but Tiffany Bayley, owner of Avalon Park Jewelers, near Orlando, Fla., says she is focused on the bridal party. “Covid is over and the weddings are back in grand style, so I will be stocking up on bridesmaid gifts, items you can engrave, mother-of-the-bride jewelry, and more.”
Bayley’s first stop: fellow Floridian Anna Zuckerman. “She has amazing designs that are red carpet–worthy at gift-giving prices.”
“Our customer gravitates toward elegant, everyday pieces, and we always look for a new take on diamond tennis bracelets and necklaces, yellow gold chains as well as an expanded offering for men’s jewelry,” says Anne Russell, executive vice president at Hamilton Jewelers, with locations in New Jersey and Southern Florida.
Laura Kitsos, owner of Gem Jewelry Boutique in Oak Park, Ill., says she will be restocking her best-selling basics at Luxury and JCK. “I usually buy gold chains, diamond huggies and rings, and charms,” she says, adding that she expects to find them at Prehistoric Works and Mondrian Collection.
And Rosena Sammi, who heads The Jewelry Edit, an online jewelry boutique specializing in emerging designers, will be on an “exploratory mission” to find a new diamond collection to add to her assortment, something with “the classic sparkle and allure of diamonds, but with a twist,” she says. “I have been looking for many months now, so I am ready to place the right order.”
Expanded Options for Charm Collectors
It’s not that retailers won’t be buying charms—zodiac, spiritual, and otherwise. But after selling so many of them in recent seasons, there is a sense that the charm customer needs jewelry that can layer in with her existing pendants, medallions, and other neck accoutrements.
Zarsky says she asks herself, “What else does that same woman like?” and so will be searching for alternative styles that “are easy for women to wear and pair with her existing collections.”
Carter has a similar mission but a more specific shopping list: “We are really into the clips that can connect existing pendants and charms to any necklace or bracelet chain,” she says. “We love to make each customer feel like their piece, or the way they style it, is unique.”
In theory, retailers come to Las Vegas Jewelry Week to discover new lines and unsung voices. The problem is that they rarely find time to do so. This year, however, the retailers JCK spoke to say they are determined to create space in their schedules to allow the opportunity for wandering and discovery.
Carol Ferguson, owner of Element 79 in Denver, says she and her team will be hunting for “emerging lines that other stores aren’t chasing, in the more easily affordable $300 to $3,000 retail price range.”
Steve Quick Jeweler brings on only “one or potentially two new designers each year,” says Melissa Quick, but “we are always looking for small-batch creators, makers, and designers.” This year, she adds, “I am absolutely going to make sure that I have a day, if not a day and a half, where I’m not committing to anything so we can potentially find something new.”
Non-Basic Bridal for Men
Genderless/men’s jewelry has recently become a lucrative category for jewelers. Come Vegas, many retailers will be stocking up on curb-link chains, signet rings, and even pearls.
The interest in men’s jewelry means that “when it comes time for men to select their wedding bands, it is no longer just an alternative metal $500 ring,” Bayley says. “They are spending far more than ever before,” she adds. “But it’s not time to bring out that old tray of men’s channel-set bands—the guys want custom, too. Meteorite inlay, dinosaur bone, and turquoise have been popular choices paired with yellow gold. It’s the metal of choice for my grooms this year, so I will be at the Heavy Stone booth looking for all the new styles to display.”
Top: 14k yellow gold fluted diamond and gold pendant, $1,219, 14k yellow gold heart diamond scattered pendant, $4,192, 14k yellow gold Polaris mother-of-pearl diamond pendant, $1,085; Mondrian Collection