Color First: Pick a Color, Any Color

Having a color first approach to selling gemstones and gemstone set jewelry taps into the desire consumers have for color, says Ramona Gautreaux, marketing manager for the diamond and gemstone division at Stuller in Lafayette, La.

“By approaching sales from the color aspect first, and the gem second, you open the door for colored gemstones to be seen as a fine quality fashion accessory. The variety of colored gems available in the market provides consumers with price points that will fit within everyone’s budget.” And that, says Gautreaux, will help you sell more color, to more people, more frequently, grow your customer base, increase sales, and increase profits.

From the color accents we choose for our homes, to the cars we drive, to the clothes we wear, color is everywhere. Color also signifies products—Home Depot orange, Target red. And go into Home Depot to the paint department and you will see hundreds of paint colors. “A color focused sales strategy, quite simply, allows for broader merchandise selection,” says Gautreaux. “What would happen if you visited Home Depot and they only sold four colors of paint? Would you shop elsewhere or pick one of those four colors? Do we still think of color the way Henry Ford did? Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, as long as it’s black.”

Gautreaux continued, “As consumers ourselves, if we were to encounter any of these situations, we would look elsewhere. As jewelry retail store owners, designers, and sales associates, I think we would all agree that this limited method of selling will not guarantee success and profits.”

You need a wide range of product and selection within that product category. Gautreaux, like most of us, has heard consumers comment time and time again that that they do not like their birthstone, or that it’s too expensive, or that they already have birthstone jewelry. With as many colored gems available, there are always other options.

“Broaden your market by promoting a different color group each month,” Gautreaux suggested. This gets consumers thinking about colored stone jewelry as a fashion accessory. “Your store becomes a destination for fashion products.”

Color Stories
Gautreaux reviewed seven color groups, and talked about each one in terms of human appeal, meanings of particular colors, and how you can help your customer identify the colors that fulfill their desires.

“When shopping for color, customers need to try on several shades and hues to get an understanding of what looks good on them,” Gautreaux said. “The best advice to keep in mind is that a good color will improve one’s looks, and a bad color choice will make one look ill.”

Do not just sell a piece of colored stone jewelry because you want to sell a piece of jewelry. “Be honest with your customer. Advise them on what enhances their beauty and what doesn’t,” Gautreaux said. “Remember, your customers are walking billboards for your store. If they look good and feel great, and get toms of compliments, they will tell others about your store.”

Danger, and Excitement
Love, and Passion

“For many, a red car is seen as the ultimate symbol of success,” Gautreaux said. “With red, the eyes blink more frequently, the blood pressure rises, the heart beats faster, and the appetite increases.”

Red allows customers to express their daring side. But there are several different shades of reds to choose from, such as tomato reds, cool reds, and earthy reds.

Gautreaux said tomato reds can be described as having a touch of yellow or orange, is youthful and exuberant. “These reds are more outgoing and trendy,” Gautreaux said. “Think cherry Mexican fire opal, and Carnelian.”

Cool reds have a touch of violet or blue. Deeper, more sophisticated, these reds can be described as ruby-red, or burgundy. Think ruby, red spinel, rhodolite garnet, and Chatham Created ruby. “Cooler reds will be popular through 2008.”

Earthy reds have hints of brown, such as Mozambique garnet, Madeira citrine, and Bloodstone (green with earthy red.)

“Red lovers are typically ‘movers and shakers,’ they’re competitive, daring, and energetic, Gautreaux said. “When selling red gem-set jewelry, make sure you find out whether your client is looking for something trendy, or classic.”

Pink is a softer version of red. Where red is energetic and passionate, pink is sensuous and romantic, Gautreaux said. “Pink has a far reaching range of hues. Magentas, bordering on red, to corals that have a touch of orange, to mauve pinks with hints of purple.”

“In 2007 and 2008, vintage pinks (also called “dusty pinks.”) will gain in popularity, especially when set in designs that are romantically inspired.”

These include pink sapphire, rose quartz, pink coral, morganite, imperial topaz, or even pink diamond.

Bright pinks, such as pink tourmaline, rhodolite garnet, pink sapphire, and Chatham Created pink sapphire look great in hand-made jewelry. “mod-inspired creations” look “stunning” when set with bright pinks, such as pink color fusion topaz by Signity.

When looking for pink, you should know whether your clients are looking for “big and bold” or something “whimsical.” “What type of clothing do they want it to go with – blue jeans or a little black dress?” Gautreaux asked.

Yellow has always been associated with the sun, and precious gold.

“Because of this, yellow is often representative of knowledge, generosity, cheerfulness, and divinity,” Gautreaux said. “Yellow is very important in today’s fashions. It will continue to have strong influence into 2009.” Think yellow sapphire, diamond, citrine, tiger’s eye, and topaz, as well as Chatham Created yellow sapphire.

For dusty pastel yellows, think yellow sapphire, topaz, and lemon quartz. While lovers of yellow tend to be creative and artistic, they can also have an analytical side and lean towards being a perfectionist.

Orange is linked to love, abundance, and bounty. It’s a symbol of fruitfulness. It communicates a sense of warmth, and energy. There are coppery oranges, peachy colors, and bright oranges ranging to tomato-reds. “As neon colors gain favor in 2008, orange will be a front-runner in fashion.”

For vivid oranges, think Mexican fire opal, carnelian, Signity’s color fusion topaz in Poppy, orange sapphire, sunstone, or Chatham Created padparadscha. For warm orange, think orange sapphires, as well as spessartite garnet.

“Lovers of orange can be friendly, charming, and are often successful in business as they are always looking for new worlds to conquer.”

Try orange on your client. “Individuals with too much red in their skin color may find bright orange gems unattractive against their skin. At the same time, customers who have creamy or caramel skin color may look great in orange.”

Green has always been recognized as being soothing to the eyes. It has also the widest range of distinguishable hues, Gautreaux said. Earthy greens will remain popular through 2008 and fits consumers who are seeking balance. Think jade, emerald, and green tourmaline. Evergreen diffused topaz, Chatham Created emerald, as well as bloodstone will work well.

For vibrant greens, think peridot, tsavorite, and Paraíba tourmaline.

For soft hues of green, appealing in vintage designs, think chrysoprase, green quartz, and lighter emeralds.

“Green lovers are not risk takers,” Gautreaux said. “While they are open to new ideas, the will typically stay with what is safe.” So try it on first. Recommend a hue that compliments their hair, skin, and/or eyes.

Blue is the most frequently selected color as being a favorite by the American consumer. Blue represents loyalty, trust, and stability.

“All shades of blue, from the cool end of the spectrum to the warm end of the spectrum, will be popular in 2008,” Gautreaux said, including blue sapphire and iolite for classic deep blues and teals. Lapis, Ceylon sapphire, London blue topaz, glacier diffused topaz, and Paraíba tourmaline are choices for bright blue hues. For pastel blues, consider chalcedony, and aquamarine. For teal, part of the blue hue, suggest zircon, turquoise, topaz, and blue diamond.

“Somewhere between passion red and calm blue lies the mystery of purple,” says Gautreaux. “Magical, holy, sensuous, regal, nostalgic, and decadent are all words used to describe purple,” Gautreaux said. Purple also includes violet, lavender, mauve, magenta, and lilac. Think amethyst, tanzanite, sapphire, iolite, chalcedony, color change garnet, and alexandrite.

“Purples can be cool or warm colors. Certain shades of purple can overpower paler skin tones, so make sure your customer tries on different gems in the purple family to find their perfect shade.”

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