Retail jewelry store owners take great pride in their communities. This takes many forms, from helping local charities to even creating jewelry to commemorate their cities, states, or even the states’ natural resources. In the final part of a three-part retailer profile series, Retail Details looks at store owners who have created jewelry lines that honor the places they call home.
When Bill Cronin was making his way across the country in the late 1970s, he emerged from flat, nondescript flyover country to the majestic mountains of Colorado. When he opened his store in Boulder in 1980, the nearby Flatiron Mountains were just outside his window, providing a constant source of inspiration. The year Cronin opened his store was the same year he crafted his first Range Ring. Over the next 30 years, the owner of Cronin Jewelers has developed an extensive collection of Range Rings to include pendants and bracelets and some unique spinoff products for those who appreciate mountain ranges from all over the country.
The mountain range map that gives Range Rings their unique look
The “range” in the Range Ring design comes from the pointed features of Eldorado Springs Range and the Boulder Range. Cronin’s rings have a distinctive quality to them. But it’s the attention to the topographical details of the mountain ranges captured in his rings. Variations on the theme also give Range Ring buyers many choices, including an open sky or a mountain skyline as a backdrop in a variety of styles.
And as proud Cronin is of the quality and craftsmanship required to seamlessly solder three fabricated pieces together to make a Range Ring, the store owners admits that: “The mountains sell the rings. People who live here or visit here love the mountains and the lifestyle choices they offer them. People who enjoy the mountains typically have very active lifestyles with sports such as hiking, skiing, or biking.”
Range Rings start at $700 for a basic gold band. Pendants and bracelets have been created as well based on the original master mold for the Range Rings. Custom Range Rings have also been made in platinum and gold set with diamonds. “I’ve created Range Rings that retailed for as much as $10,000 to $20,000,” says Cronin.
Range Rings sell well with both locals and tourists. Cronin tweaks ad copy in print ads to capture both markets. But Range Rings mostly sell well with people living in the area. He also has a lucrative out-of-market following not only for the Range Rings with topographic features of mountains ranging from the Aspen to Yosemite.
Although Cronin is pleased that Range Rings represent a strong portion of his overall jewelry sales, in branding terms he has discovered that the Range Rings can be too much of a good thing. “We’ve been pigeonholed as a jeweler that only sells Range Rings,” says Cronin. “We’re also known for our high-end custom jewelery set with colored stones and diamonds of superior quality. We have to maintain a careful balance of how we present ourselves to the public.”