We made a list and checked it twice. Deck your halls and stock your shelves with these glittering, sure-to-please pieces. Plus: Tips to get your store staffed and spiffed up for the season.
1. Hot Statement: Uncommon and Highly Personalized Jewels
From stone slices to titanium to meteorite, the time is right for the unusual—particularly as the economy is picking up. So think custom! “Jewelry with a story and purpose is motivating people to shell out thousands,” says Karen Christians, a nationwide jewelry instructor and owner of Cleverwerx in Boston. “People want to be involved in the process of their creation.”
2. Hot Alternative to diamonds: Colored Stones
Don’t get us wrong—we love diamonds! (See “The Ice Storm.”) But they’re not to everyone’s taste…or budget. Look closely at color if customers still want gold but not the price (Italian designers have been replacing metal with stone to reduce prices), a big stone look for less, or to simply “meet the increasing demand for differentiation,” says Dharmesh Kothari, president of Syna Inc. in Fort Lee, N.J. “Colored stones have personality and make a piece of jewelry more alive,” observes Yehouda Saketkhou, owner of Yael Designs in San Francisco. Examples: moonstone, opal, and Paraiba tourmaline, which have been making a splash in the market for the past year.
3. Hot Giftables: Stackables, Convertibles, and Beads
The bead leaders weigh in on hot holiday sellers: the sterling silver and garnet sleigh charm by Pandora ($40); black-rhodium-plated silver beads with Swarovski crystals from Chamilia ($65 each); and Trollbeads’ Faith, Hope & Charity silver bead ($23). Meanwhile, others look to stackable and convertible jewelry—like pendant/brooch combinations—to provide versatility and longevity of wear.
|? Freshwater pearl and tourmaline necklace with labradorite, amethyst, and lemon quartz removable clasp (converts to brooch); $1,295; Bounkit, NYC; 212-244-1877; bounkit.com; baubles rings in 18k gold with amethyst, rubellite, and rock crystal; $750–$3,900 (sold separately); Syna, Fort Lee, N.J.; 201-585-2021; synajewels.com|
4. Hot Look: Layering
Less used to be more, but from the runways to the red carpet, the piled-on look of necklaces—lariats, tiny little pendants, opera-length strands—layered one on top of another represents the essence of chic. “The trend is for things that are long and hanging and wrapped around the neck,” affirms celebrity jeweler Neil Lane. And those in the know aren’t limiting layering to the neckline. Says Lane: “Now they’re taking necklaces and wrapping them around their wrists.”
|? Tiffany Garden collection pendants and necklaces in 18k gold with peridot, citrine, amethyst, and diamond accent; $700–$900 (sold separately); Tiffany & Co., NYC; 800-526-0649; tiffany.com|
5. Hot Category: Bridal
Expect this perennial best-seller—which accounts for up to a third of jewelers’ business—to be ever-important in the coming months. While the economy is picking up, it’s still not back to pre-recession status—and won’t be as robust as before anyway—so engagement rings are poised to be a great combination holiday gift and very visible mark-the-date symbol for marriage. House of Baguettes vice president Joe Sengul reports that 95 percent of his new pieces at JCK Las Vegas were bridal mountings starting at $1,500 in 18k gold with melee. The hottest-selling center stone cuts of the moment: cushions and Asschers.
|? Mounting in 18k white gold with 0.36 cts. t.w. diamonds; $710; Sylvie Collection, Plano, Texas; 800-992-3426; sylviecollection.com.|
6. Hot Diamonds: Black and Brown
They say persistence pays off. Twenty years ago, champagne diamonds were laughed at. Now that advertising and education have made brown and black stones a hit, the jokes have stopped. You’ll find them cheap at chain stores, pricey at posh boutiques, and accessorizing America’s most fashionable (Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City 2).
|? Geometric earrings in 14k white gold with 1.38 cts. t.w. black and colorless diamonds; $4,358; Le Vian, NYC; 877-2LEVIAN; levian.com|
7. Hot Colors: Blue and Green
The colors du jour were evident on the spring runways (Style.com calls Carolina Herrera’s Prussian blue “bold”) and Pantone’s radar (turquoise for summer and green for fall), as well as in the new collections unveiled during Jewelry Week 2010 in Las Vegas. To please on-trend shoppers, jewelers can count on blue topaz for its abundance, emeralds for their opulence, as well as a host of other stones. (See The Look: Green Zone.)
|? Lucky Animals Tortue ring with diamonds, tsavorites, and blue sapphires in 18k white gold; $12,950; Mathon Paris, France; 33-1-4244-1717; mathon-paris.com|
8. Hot Style: Pendants
The pendant necklace is perhaps the easiest of all gifts—because there’s no sizing involved. “You need to know a minimal amount of information about the person,” observes Helena Krodel, director of media and special events for Jewelers of America. Among her criteria for purchase: selection of an initial or symbol for the design and a metal. Chain length is typically 16 or 18 inches, she notes. (Click for a passel of pendant ideas.)
|? Circle pendants in a proprietary platinum alloy with 0.25–1.0 ct. t.w. diamonds; $399–$999; 585 Platinum for GM Diamonds, NYC; 212-764-1809; gm-diamonds.com|
9. Hot Metal: Silver
The rising cost of gold and a poor economy inspired traditional goldsmiths and trendy young designers alike to work more in silver—sterling, fine, with gold accents, and blackened. Johanna Trotter is in the know; asked about the best-sellers, the director of Buyers International Group says: “Silver with micro pavé, silver with unique textures and finishes, silver and enamel, and big silver cuffs.”
|? Rhodium-plated sterling silver earrings; $350; ELLE Jewelry, Dallas; 888-507-3553; ellejewelry.com; Dot ring with rose quartz in oxidized sterling silver; $175; Reinerland, NYC; 646-418-9818; reinerland.com; fan pendant in sterling silver with diamonds and orange chalcedony cabochon; $1,240; Belle Brooke Designs, Los Angeles; 213-488-9470; bellebrooke.net|
10. Hot Price Point: Under $2,000
According to industry analyst Ken Gassman, the U.S. has begun a period of slow retail recovery. Total jewelry sales for the 2009 holiday season were up 15 percent, and he predicts sales gains of up to 7 percent this year. “It is easy to see that consumers are shopping down,” he maintains. “They are opting to buy jewelry that is less expensive.” Gassman counts on the $399–$699 price point to do well, while designers like Puja Bordia and Reena Ahluwalia are expecting purchases in the $800–$2,000 range.
|? Jaipur bangle in 18k gold with semiprecious stones; $990; Marco Bicego, Trissino, Italy; 866-4-BICEGO; marcobicego.com; Green With Envy earrings with 1 ct. t.w. diamonds in 14k white gold; $1,725; Shah Diamonds, NYC; 800-222-7424; shahdiamonds.com|