Six out of the nine jewelry design firms I met with today unveiled lower-priced pieces in light of the economy. All companies aim to meet a $2,000 retail price point, which reinforces JCK findings about the need for more jewelry under $5,000 (read about it in the recently published “To Brand Or Not To Brand” in the Winter 2009 issue of JCK Luxury magazine).
New pieces still feature precious stones and FG VVS diamonds, but are set in 18k white gold instead of platinum to keep prices down. Suggested retail prices start at $1,000, and all merchandise is made in the USA.
18k gold and diamond necklaces range in price from $960-$1,210.
Aquamarine, diamond, 18k gold ring retails for $8,200. Bonus: It’s made here at home!
The Sticks and Stones collection of long drop earrings are 18k gold, but feature drusy, quartz, labradorite, and opal instead of pricier stones. Suggested retail prices start at $3,100.
Opal and gold.
Drusy and gold.
New diamond mountings are less expensive due to the use of 18k gold instead of platinum, and fewer diamonds. Suggested retail prices start at $1,500 instead of the $5,000 seen in more flush times, and numerous styles exist in the $1,500-$3,000 range.
The use of 18k white gold is “helping tremendously to give customers an option,” says Claudia Kretchmer, who is also expanding more into point-of-sale fashion. With an established bridal business, Kretchmer encounters more brides returning for companion pieces to match wedding sets. These fashion pieces start at $1,900 for diamond and gold earrings, and many more pieces hover at the $2,000 mark. The use of interchangeable components also makes designs more versatile, thereby helping to close sales.
With the prices of colorless stones sky high, Tamara Goldfiner has opted to use more semi-rough-cut diamonds. Slices and beads are opaque, but feature warm brown, red, and yellow hues. Suggested retail prices start at $7,200 for a pair of stud earrings with colorless melee accents.
At $43,000, these earrings do not fit into the category of a quick sell today, but boy, they are beautiful! The colors are so uncommon and rich, and the length is wonderfully dramatic.
Stardust Diamonds also unveiled new 18k white gold pieces with multiple small diamonds set to mimic the appearance of one big stone. The look will play out in pendants, earrings, rings, and more. Sorry, folks, no pictures because the pieces are being trademarked (you’ll see the jewelry in the magazine in the coming months). Prices for these new items start at $2,000.
Meanwhile, the companies that buck the less-expensive-is-better trend are Siera, Jack Kelege, and Gumuchian.
For Siera, chocolate diamond pieces are new and start at $15,000. The new Fire collection features ombré colored sapphire jewelry starting at $5,000 (sorry, the line is in Miami so no pictures, but again, these will be in JCK magazine in the near future). However, Siera has long maintained a wide inventory of 18k white gold bridal mountings with suggested retail prices starting at $1,000.
Chocolate diamonds in gold; pieces start at $15,000.
Chocolate diamonds in gold.
Meanwhile, Jack Kelege’s platinum and DEF and VVS – flawless goods are nearly impossible to make cheaper. That said, the designer claims he’s made a few smaller mountings that retail for less than $6,000. Kelege aims to add value to more purchases by supplying buyers with original signed sketches of their jewelry. Typically, this offer would only be available to purchasers of jewelry featuring larger stones, but now the keepsakes are okay for buyers of 1 ct. t.w. center stones and up. No pics, sorry.
Finally, Gumuchian bucks the price-point focus by offering consumers another (still economical) offer: custom redesigns with old jewelry. Says Myriam Gumuchian Schreiber, custom work is not something she typically seeks out, but redesigning old pieces enables retailers to make a sale without buying inventory. Similarly, consumers needn’t spend a lot to get this new treat because they are repurposing items they already own.
Gumuchian bucks the frugal trend by unveiling fabulous new pieces with price tags well above $2,000. Says Myriam Gumuchian Schreiber, “You’ll never see me make a silver line.”
More styles in rose gold are another new offering.