Marriage equality is good for humankind. But, specifically, it’s a boon for fine jewelry retailers, who are enjoying an ever-widening demographic looking to commemorate matrimony with bands and bling. We’ve been heartened to see so many retailers reaching out to the LGBT community through smart, clever promotions. But now one of the biggest independently owned jewelry chains in the country, Ben Bridge Jeweler, is marketing to the demographic by stocking a jewelry collection whose very reason for being is to celebrate same-sex marriages.
The Seattle-based chain, which operates 70 stores primarily in the western United States, announced on Friday that it has added Rony Tennenbaum Jewelry to its bridal cases in its Tacoma and Spokane, Wash., locations. Tennenbaum—an LGBT wedding jewelry designer who creates elegant engagement, wedding, and anniversary rings—has been designing jewelry for same-sex couples for more than 25 years. But the pickup by Ben Bridge marks the company’s first-ever chain retailer account.
Photos courtesy of Rony Tennenbaum
“I think they are a great opportunity because Washington state has had legalized same-sex marriages for a while,” says Tennenbaum. The designer has been wholesaling for only two years, and although he’s received a few unpleasant reactions to the mission of his collection, he says the majority of the responses from retailers have been “so, so positive and supportive.” Most retailers “recognize the need for the niche,” he says of LGBT wedding jewelry. “They just don’t know how to approach it.”
The company’s marketing—which speaks explicitly to the LGBT community, of which Tennenbaum is a part—is easily digestible for retailers. And his designs, which tweak traditional bands and diamond rings in stylishly subdued ways, speak to his many years of serving the gay community. “I really bring that level of comfort,” he says. “Someone is going in to Ben Bridge looking for Rony Tennenbaum has probably done their research on the brand and knows that Ben Bridge is a supportive company.”
The designer introduced his own collection after recognizing the need for LGBT wedding jewelry that went beyond rainbows and triangles. “Over time, I gathered all this material and info from couples that I work with,” he says. “I know for a fact that lesbians don’t want the diamond ring that sticks up. They want something more durable. But oddly enough, everyone eventually, at the end of the day, wants a little bling.”