“There is a whole audience—some who are my customers and some I’d like to make my customers—who love Heather Moore designs,” says Yeager, who initially had reservations about the cost of the personalized charms and pendants. (In 14k gold, open disc charms start at $500.) But after seeing clients on Facebook mention their Moore gold jewelry, she realized that was less of an issue when customers could see the value of immortalizing “personal history on jewelry,” she says.
In early May, Yeager planned a two-day trunk show featuring a Friday cocktail reception and a full Saturday of sales. Moore—who is based in Cleveland, just 30 minutes from Yeager’s store—brought about 500 pieces of sterling, 14k and 18k yellow, rose, and green gold necklaces, charms, and rings. Sale prices ranged from $500 for a gold-framed sterling disc to $8,000 for a channel-set, diamond-accented charm.
Since the designer’s niche is hand-stamped charms with wedding dates, kids’ names, favorite songs, and more, roughly half of all orders are specially made (by seven longtime steel industry workers from Cleveland, no less). “We make all of our own stamps,” says Moore, who acquired her first stamp set at a yard sale at age 13. Bone pendants, dog tags, and discs inscribed with poetry, flowers, and letters round out the collection.
Moore initially charged for her in-house ads, complete with professional photos and clever promos (one shows a vintage black-and-white shot of her dad sporting a football uniform and a black eye, with a tagline touting graduation gifts); services are now gratis for clients. Not surprisingly, Yeager already has another Moore event booked for fall.
Houston-based designer Katy Briscoe loves the bold and unusual. Petrified wood, horn, healthy cuts of cabochons, and hand-carved stones in her signature Byzantine Glam 18k yellow gold settings comprise her signature look, which relies heavily on classically inspired, raised patterns like columns and spirals. “It’s ‘big girl’ jewelry,” she says.
Take the $11,000 heavy gold cuffs that feature naturally shed Kenyan water buffalo horn. “They’re all very different in color, from caramel to dark brown. Some are almost white,” she says. “I love the earthy feel and how nature creates things for me to enhance with a little gold frosting!”
The Texas native worked behind the counter for David Webb, among others, studying how “beautiful bracelets were made,” she says, before opening her own design business in 1994. With retail prices starting just under $5,000, the collection tops out around $30,000.
Long faithful to Saks Fifth Avenue as her sole wholesaler, Briscoe recently appeared at her first-ever trade show at Couture 2011, on the hunt for new accounts. “There are lots of wonderful cities where Saks isn’t located, and I’ve had calls for years from retailers saying, ‘I wish I could carry your jewelry!’?” she says. “It just felt like it was time.”