Consumers opened up their hearts—and wallets—this Valentine’s Day, showing jewelers some love on what is traditionally the second biggest gift-giving holiday of the year.
Among the items cited as frequent sellers: Pandora and other brands of charms; diamond staples like studs and pendants; silver; and that Valentine’s Day perennial, engagement rings.
The happy jewelers credited the love-ly results to the improving economy, Valentine’s falling on a Friday, and a desire from men to go beyond the traditional holiday gifts of chocolates and flowers. Others, however, said business was hampered by spells of bad weather and a still shaky consumer mood. Even so, while some said sales were only slightly up from last year, very few told JCK they were actually down.
Here is what jewelers told JCK this year about their Valentine’s sales.
How were Valentine’s Day sales?
“Better than I expected. My sales were double what they usually are on the 13th, 14th, and 15th—but the rest of the week was slow. Most of my sales were from female self-purchasers, which surprised me.” —Andrea Riso, owner, Talisman Collection, El Dorado Hills, Calif.
“It went very well. It was one of the better ones we’ve had over the last five years. We had snow the day before Valentine’s Day, so we had a little glitch there, but it didn’t seem to hurt business. They either rushed in on Wednesday or they came in on Friday.” —Ann Wagner, owner, Ludwig’s Jewelers, Chambersburg, Penn.
“Our Valentine’s Day business was very good. The last three days we did excellent, but otherwise before that we were wondering if anyone was going to come buy anything.” —Robert Moorman, Jr., Carroll’s Jewelers, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“Best Valentine’s Day we ever had. Sales were up 57 percent year over last year for the period Feb. 1–14. Guys in North Dakota have been cheap at times! But they were very generous this year.” —Allan Torrington, owner, Knowles Jewelry, Minot, N.D.
“We were a little down—about 5 percent below last year. I talked to other jewelers around the country, too, though and they said their Decembers were a record low, so we figured that this was just starting out to be a slow year.” —Conner Buxton, owner, CM Buxton Jeweler, Missoula, Mont.
“We were slightly ahead of last year. Valentine’s Day is not a massive spike in our lives. Last year was in line with expectations. There were a lot of engagement sales. Post Christmas was soft, but February is definitely a different vibe out there. People seem to be loosening up.” —Malcolm Koll, owner, Charles Koll Jewellers, San Diego, Calif.
“It was better than average. It wasn’t fantastic, but it was better than average.” —Vickie Wilson, The Goldsmith, Palo Alto, Calif.
“The holiday was excellent for us. Even if they weren’t buying engagement rings, customers are now ready to buy jewelry. In the past, it was much more of a flowers-and-chocolate holiday.” — James Linsmayer, manager of sales floor, Jewels by G. Darrell Olson, Phoenix, Ariz.
“We were up a little bit from last year. We don’t usually count on Valentine’s Day, but this year we sold a couple of nicer pieces so that made the average a little higher. I don’t think the economy is any better, but people are tired of not spending money.” —David Mell, owner, Goldsmith Jewelers, Lawrenceville, Ga.
It was one of our better Valentine’s Days. Sometimes it’s a flowers-and-candy year, but this year was jewelry year. Our sales started on Tuesday that week, and it was busy all week. Friday the 14th was our slowest day.” —Susan Wetzsteon, manager, Mikesell’s Fine Jewelry, Hamilton, Mont.
“In my area they are kind of cautious. We had a good Christmas but once Christmas was over they got cautious again. But [in the end] it turned out pretty good.” —Jim Truax, owner, Bulter Truax Jewelers, Selma, Ala.
“In the past, we’ve found Valentine’s Day to be a low-dollar holiday, as many spend under $200. But this Valentine’s Day sales were actually up over previous years. Clients seem to be a good mood shopping with us, with many splurging more than they did for Christmas.” —Jen Hankin, director of communications, Joint Venture Jewelry, Raleigh, N.C.
“Our sales were definitely up this year. All morning we had people banging on our door. Compared to last year, fewer men wanted [to buy] flowers and chocolates. They were more confident and wanted a more sentimental piece—an heirloom that could be passed on to their children.” —Diane Garmendia, owner, 33 Jewels at El Paseo, Santa Barbara, Calif.
What sold the best?
“My hot seller was slices—aquamarines and tanzanite. I sold exactly zero hearts. I also sold a whole lot of gold and diamond shamrock pendants. I private label them. I also did very well with affirmation jewelry—I have these necklaces that say ‘Imagine If’ and ‘Insist on Happiness.’ I also had an 80-year-old woman come in and buy this huge amethyst ring to wear for a Valentine’s Day lunch.” —Andrea Riso, owner, Talisman Collection, El Dorado Hills, Calif.
“We had those dancing diamonds that Simply Diamonds makes [the Heartbeat Diamond collection]. Those were very popular. Pieces from the 24 Karat Rose Co. were very good sellers, too. We sold lots of rose gold.” —Andrew Castiglione, owner, Castiglione Jewelers, Gloversville, N.Y.
“We have a line called Southern Gates, which is a silver line. The designs are based on the gates and ironwork down in Savannah and Charleston. That was a big seller.” —Ann Wagner, owner, Ludwig’s Jewelers, Chambersburg, Penn.
“We sold across the board. We sold some engagement rings, some diamond studs, some Pandora, some watches.” —Gene Poole, owner, Hudson-Poole Fine Jewelers, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
“Diamond fashion pieces have been selling: diamond three-stone rings, bracelets, and pendants with 0.75 ct. stones sold more so than at other times. Pandora always ranks high, too, and their product keeps selling; ladies like the beads.” —Allan Torrington, owner, Knowles Jewelry, Minot, N.D.
“We sold a lot of sterling—we sell Chamilia—so those sales ranged from $300 to $400. Others were spending $5,000 to $7,000, so there was nothing in between. Part of those bigger sales were bridal and the other part were fashion. We sold a lot of diamond pendants with the moving diamonds…we call that our Rhythm of Love line.” —Craig Stephan, owner, Kelly’s Jewelry, Columbus, Neb.
“We sold a lot of diamond fashion jewelry, diamond engagement rings and Forevermark, but we also promoted our own product, ‘Eternal Fire.’ It’s our own style and brand.” —Kathy Corey, vice president of merchandising and personnel, Day’s Jewelers, Waterville, Maine
“We sold diamond tennis bracelets, three diamond pendants, some colored stone pendants, four custom diamond rings (some were redesigns) that averaged about $5,000 apiece, and the rest of the sales were in sterling. We sold some Charles Garnier pieces in their Constellation collection. They have a nice price point!” —Susan Wetzsteon, manager, Mikesell’s Fine Jewelry, Hamilton, Mont.
Did you do any different promotions this year?
“We sent out email blasts with a different piece of jewelry each day, for a week, and out of six days, we sold four of the pieces, which I’d say is pretty good.” —James Linsmayer, sales floor manger, Jewels by G. Darrell Olson, Phoenix, Ariz.
“We gave away a box of candy if they made a purchase, and people seemed to like that. Nothing fancy, but people seemed to like that.”—Vickie Wilson, The Goldsmith, Palo Alto, Calif.
“It was the first time we ever painted our windows with hearts and ribbons and diamonds, and it brought people into the store.” —Robert Moorman, Jr., Carroll’s Jewelers, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“We offered a free gift with purchase and upped our Instagram and Facebook posts to be cute and romantic.” —Diane Garmendia, owner, 33 Jewels at El Paseo, Santa Barbara, Calif.
“Four-karat gold roses given away based on purchase level, and we were fairly aggressive in ads and bought into Olympics network airtime on NBC. Someone at our church said they saw our ad during the Olympics.” —Allan Torrington, owner, Knowles Jewelry, Minot, N.D.
“We followed up with many clients who shopped with us during the Christmas season with add-on ideas, such as a necklace to match the earrings she loved, or a bracelet that worked well with the ring. We sent out emails at the beginning of February with pictures and descriptions of jewelry we thought would be a perfect fit for the client. We also capitalized on the shop-local movement. As a small local, family-owned business, we love supporting other local companies. For Valentine’s Day we added a few local gift lines, such as local honey, tea, and chocolates. It proved to be a really easy add-on to jewelry purchases, and our clients enjoyed our one-stop-shop attitude.” —Jen Hankin, director of communications, Joint Venture Jewelry, Raleigh, N.C.
Additional reporting by Victoria Gomelsky, Jennifer Heebner, Brittany Siminitz, Emili Vesilind, and Alexis Williams