As Prices Rise, High-End Jewelers Double Down On New Merchandise


Bypass rings and deco-inspired styles were among the top trends at day 1 of Luxury.

While the soaring cost of goods such as groceries and gas dominates the national conversation, buyers at the Luxury show, which opened to invited guests on Wednesday at The Venetian Expo in Las Vegas, seemed to take the matter of inflation in stride.

“Nobody’s even talking about prices,” Yehouda Saketkhou, owner and founder of Yael Designs (LUX412), told JCK. “There’s a very positive vibe. Retailers had a good past year, they haven’t been to shows, they need to source merchandise.”

“Consumers are spending on fine jewelry,” Saketkhou added.

As if to prove his point, he showcased a new range of art deco–inspired styles, including a swingy pair of diamond earrings set with no-heat yellow sapphires that retail for $78,026.

At Rahaminov (LUX622), a Los Angeles–based firm known for its impressive selection of large diamonds, no one brought up the topic of rising prices, even as people tacitly acknowledged that they would need to factor the cost of replacing goods into their buying strategies, said Melanie Goldfiner, the company’s director of business development. “People understand,” she said.

She displayed a tray of two-stone bypass rings featuring fancy-shape gems set in yellow gold, and said they were a hit with retailers. “We’ve been doing them for years, but we’ve seen an uptick in interest, so we’re doing more,” Goldfiner said.

Rahaminov pear shape diamond bypass ring
Bypass ring with 4.08 cts. t.w. pear-shape diamonds in 18k yellow gold; $88,000; Rahaminov (LUX622)

Elsewhere on the show floor, medallions on trendy gold chains—featuring spiritual symbols such as celestial motifs and zodiac signs—were a clear-cut trend, with Gabriel & Co., Dilamani, and Doves (LUX823) all ­incorporating new styles into their collections.

“Pendants and necklaces are moving,” said William Dilamani, CEO of Dilamani (LUX505), highlighting his new range of 14k gold medallions, including zodiac symbols and mountain motifs with diamond-capped peaks. “Layering pieces is in fashion—the more the merrier.”

Dominick Gabriel, co-owner of Gabriel & Co. (VER2504-05), whose Bujukan ­collection of 14k yellow gold jewelry is meant to be layered, said his design ethos this year was all about paying homage to the bold gold styles of the 1980s.

“The ’80s were a phenomenal era of art and music,” he said. “Ask jewelers that were around back then and they’ll tell you it was a great time to sell jewelry.”

Pearl dealers might say the same thing about today. At Tara Pearls (LUX901), where principal Sonny Sethi showed off a new collection of bracelets and necklaces with magnetic clasps, aptly called Magnetic Embrace, high-quality and higher-priced South Sea and Tahitian pearls were in demand.

“All kinds of better goods are selling,” he said, adding that he has great expectations for this year’s show. “People haven’t been to market for a long time, and they want to know what’s going on.”

The enduring appeal of heart-shaped gems and motifs was a through line at Lauren K (LUX601), whose selection of heart-shaped pendants—in malachite, opal, morganite, pink sapphire, and aquamarine—competed for buyers’ attention with her new range of Sprinkle rings (marked by bezels set with tiny smatterings of diamonds and gemstones).

“It’s not quite no diamonds, but having just the sprinkle makes the piece feel a little more modern,” said Leah Jover, managing director at Lauren K. “The micro pavé look may have been a little bit played out.”

Lauren K orange garnet pink sapphire ring
Duet ring with 1.12 ct. pink sapphire and 2.15 ct. spessartite garnet in 18k yellow gold; $4,450; Lauren K (LUX601)

Lauren K founder and designer Lauren Kessler, a longtime Luxury exhibitor, also showed off a range of cocktail rings set with orange gems—“a new focus for us,” she said. “I never really did orange before. Mixed with pink, it’s so fresh.”

Equally novel was the demantoid garnet that Omi Privé (LUX702) used as both center stone and accent gems for a new statement ring. The bright green garnet, together with blue-green Paraiba tourmalines, saw tons of interest on day one, said Natalie Rodrigues, the brand’s marketing manager.

Across the show floor, a busy scene greeted retailers, many of whom appeared to be intent on filling in merchandise that had been ­depleted over the past year of booming sales.

“They are very into stocking up,” Dilamani said, referring to his retail clients. “We’re at the lowest unemployment rate in years, everybody has jobs and they’re good paying. Price points are going up, but they’re very comfortable spending.”

So comfortable, in fact, that in a central showcase at the Tara Pearls booth, Sethi ­proudly displayed a museum-quality melo melo pearl from Vietnam valued at $1 million. Weighing a staggering 183.22 carats and accompanied by an entire book devoted to it by GIA, the rare orange pearl is not the stuff of your average trade show transaction. But if someone made Sethi an offer, would he sell it?

“For the right price!” he said.

Top: Deco earrings with 11.05 cts. t.w. yellow sapphires and 2.5 cts. t.w. diamonds in 18k yellow gold; $78,026; Yael Designs (LUX412)

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By: Victoria Gomelsky

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