The Retail Jewelers Organization held its annual spring buyers’ show Jan. 16-19 in Albuquerque, N.M. Some 145 stores—a decrease of 19% from last year’s spring event—turned out to shop and attend educational seminars coordinated by industry consultant Charlotte Preston. Among the presenters was the Diamond Promotion Service’s director of training Jay Lell and The Platinum Guild’s Angelique Crown. Attendance by exhibitors was also down slightly—116 vs. last year’s 121.
“Many of our members told us they just weren’t traveling this year,” says RJO president Bob Morrissey. “But in spite of the decline in attendance, we’re delighted that overall show sales increased 45% over last year’s spring show.”
Despite news reports linking tanzanite to terrorists, the stone was in demand. Just hours after the buying floor opened, Joe Fawley of Val Collection/Allure Designs had two pages of orders for tanzanite jewelry. “Stones of less than 1 ct. are selling very well,” he said. Rick Romero of jewelry liquidator Wilkerson & Associates received an order for 20 large tanzanite slide necklaces right before the show. Anticipating the same appreciation for tanzanite among RJO buyers, he displayed at least a half-dozen trays of small-carat-weight tanzanite rings.
Other noticeable jewelry trends included large, round freshwater pearls; diamond- and CZ horseshoe pendant necklaces; numerous karat gold creations; titanium wedding bands; and some silver-and-semiprecious designer-look jewelry.