We all know individuals who wear only white metals. Indeed, we may also know others who wear only yellow gold. There are any number of reasons for this mindset, many of which have nothing to do with what actually looks best on the person. For example, the preference may arise:
- From a time when she could afford only sterling silver pieces, and she has built an entire jewelry wardrobe around those pieces;
- From her cultural and ethnic background;
- From her family’s view that only the best will do (platinum or high karat gold);
- Because her mother always wore yellow gold (or silver or platinum);
- Because she built her wardrobe around one or several pieces received as gifts;
- Because she personally won’t settle for anything but the most expensive option;
- Because she is an artist or designer who works with a particular metal;
- Because she does or did work for a designer, manufacturer or association that promotes a particular metal;
- Because she built a jewelry wardrobe around her wedding ring, and she accepted the metal preference of her husband for her ring, too;
- Because she personally thinks a particular metal is beautiful and doesn’t give any thought to how well it suits her; or even
- From the preference of someone whose style she imitates.
For someone who has built an entire jewelry wardrobe of white metals, branching out into yellow gold can be a big step. It seems to require developing an entire new parallel set of favorite pieces in a new color, a process that can seem daunting. And if that person’s wardrobe is built of sterling silver, there is also a higher price point for each item to take into consideration.
Moreover, for some individuals, wearing white metals is a purposeful recognition of the most flattering colors for their personal coloring (skin, hair and eyes). In the broadest terms, this is a determination of whether one’s colors are cool (with pink or blue undertones) or warm (with orange or yellow undertones).
As an image consultant, I make this determination of the best personal colors for my individual clients. I use a sophisticated system of color resonances (developed by Carla Mathis, AICI CIM of Body Beautiful) that goes far beyond the simplistic four-season early color analyses from the 1980s. As much as possible, I give my clients options in both white metals and yellow ones.
I say “yellow ones” because, of course, there are many shades of yellow gold as well as effects such as antiquing that tone down the warmth of yellow metal. Generally the higher the karatage of gold, the more orange the hue. The more orange the hue, the more difficult it is for a person with cool coloring (e.g., someone with noticeably pink skin) to wear. 22 karat gold is more difficult to wear for someone with cool coloring than is 14 karat gold. By difficult to wear, I mean that there is an inherent clash of the colors when worn next to each other. Sometimes this clash of hues can be so jarring as to make someone look ill. Be attentive to the effect of various colors on your customers.
[An example of a bad choice of color. The actress has cool coloring; the dress has too much yellow to be flattering.]
Whatever the reason for a customer’s preference for white metals, if she is interested in knowing about current styles and trends in jewelry, you may have an opportunity to expand her view of the color metals she wants to wear. 2009 presents a unique opportunity in that the Pantone, the color authority, announced that mimosa, a warm yellow, is the color of the year. The Pantone press release comments, “In a time of economic uncertainty and political change, optimism is paramount and no other color expresses hope and reassurance more than yellow.” Mimosa is at the far end of the warmth scale, an extremely warm color.
Could there be a more perfect color choice to supply the inspiration for a special promotional event for yellow gold at your store? Mimosa is not only a warm but also a joyful color, the color of school buses and taxis, and of orange juice, with or without the addition of the champagne that transforms the juice into the popular cocktail. Why not throw a mimosa-themed special event for the customers you’d like to introduce to yellow gold? Decorate the store in sunny yellow. The beverage of choice is a no-brainer.
Another way to introduce the white metal lover to yellow gold is to interest the customer in two-tone or tri-color jewelry, or in a creative mix of white and yellow pieces worn together. Even the individual who does not look good wearing yellow gold on its own may well find that the mix of hues softens the effect of the yellow and makes it a viable option. Yellow is the color complement of blue, and a shot of yellow gold can be a great accent for ensembles of blue, so often favored by individuals with cool coloring. The May 2009 issue of Vogue magazine discusses accessorizing denim and notes, “When it comes to jewelry, [yellow] gold looks really rich next to a dark blue.” Choosing a piece with combined metals is an easy first step to embracing a new metal color.
The resurgence of rose gold as an option presents yet another opportunity to introduce your customer to metal options that perhaps she hadn’t considered. Rose gold, like yellow gold, comes in various shades, of course, and there will almost certainly be one (or several) that flatter your customer, whether she otherwise favors warm yellow or cool white metal. Perhaps an event celebrating “roses and daffodils” and featuring both pink and yellow gold would be a fine way to celebrate spring and bring customers into your store to try some fresh new colors.