Like many in industry, Vishal Kotahwala had an inventory of diamond Journey-themed jewelry long after its time in the spotlight ended during the Great Recession. The sinuous trail of diamond-set Journey styles was one of the last campaign pushes from J. Walter Thompson, the ad agency once employed by DeBeers to drive awareness to the diamond category, but lackluster demand led to excess inventory that sat for years in cases and vaults nationwide. But that scenario changed earlier this year for the CEO of Royal India, a manufacturer based in New York City, who decided to convert old Journey styles into ear climbers once he learned of the concept and their popularity.
“At first we converted about 10 pieces, then we converted another 50 pieces, and then we ran out of Journey pendants that would be appropriate to convert, so we made new styles for the Vegas show and subsequent JA New York, Atlanta, and IJO shows,” says Kotahwala. “We have sold over 200 pieces of ear cuffs/ear climbers over the last four months. Initially, we wanted to reengineer our old styles but then realized there is a good market for them.” –
The key to the conversion: the mechanism that holds the piece on the ear. “We went through many iterations to get the best backs,” he adds.
The ear climbers are offered in 18k white, yellow, and pink gold, and with black rhodium, in diamonds and colored stones. The retail price for a single climber starts at $600.
As for customers, Kotahwala says that some know instantly that a conversion has taken place, but most don’t or don’t care if they do because the final product is a fresh sight. “It is a new item, which makes them excited,” he says.
Journey pendant in 18k gold with 0.3 ct. t.w. diamonds converted to an ear climber by Royal India, $2,800 for single as shown
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