Fashion and Jewelry Are Not Forever

When De Beers proclaimed "A diamond is forever," the strategy helped diamonds withstand economic pressures, changes in social attitudes, and the promotion of competitive luxury products.

But forever is not so fashionable in jewelry—and that’s a good thing. It isn’t even so fashionable in furniture anymore. The luxury brands Armani Home and Versace, for example, have migrated into furniture design (Italian brand Diesel is not far behind), and some predict that customers will treat their lines of furniture like fashion clothing and discard them at the end of the latest fashion cycle. Discarding luxury products because of fashion-trend status creates demand for new products. Here are four ways to capitalize on fashionable luxury jewelry:

1. Promote upgrading wedding rings. Help your customer understand that trading in a wedding ring that does not accurately represent her social status or economic clout does not discredit her or her commitment. Just as their love and relationship have grown over the years, and she has grown as a person, it’s entirely appropriate for her wedding ring to reflect who she is now.

2. Carry jewelry that complements fashion trends. Selling jewelry starts with a well informed and contemporary approach to fashion, tasteful applications of accessories to fashion statements, and complementary approaches to fashion outfits. See my blog "Memo to Merchandisers" at www.jckonline.com to read about some current approaches.

3. Learn to market trendy luxury jewelry more assertively. Start by helping shoppers understand that jewelry is a fashion statement. Whether she’s feeling daring or conservative in deciding what to wear, there’s jewelry to complement either mood—or any other.

4. Take jewelry in trade for salvage value. You won’t lose money if you pay only for material value. And you can apply the value of traded-in jewelry as a down payment on new jewelry, which helps the customer justify and afford the purchase. By offering to take jewelry in trade, you help make her as comfortable moving fashion-dated jewelry as she is purging fashion-dated clothing. Differentiate your offerings from competitors who cannot or will not accept trade-ins. Accept that women will be motivated buyers of jewelry based on its fashion value and that jewelry purchases need not always be acquisitions to be held forever. —Tim Malone