Jewelry fashion ‘tooned’ to the marketWritten by Scott McKimmy | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The jewelry market, like so many in the fashion industry, often looks to the stars to predict the next hot item or trend for an ever-so-fickle buying public. What appears on television’s “Entertainment Toight” or on the cover of Vogue magazine may quickly find its way to a local retail-display case just waiting for buyers looking to impress at the next social event.
Among typical trendsetters are Jennifer Lopez, Paris Hilton and Tweety Bird.
Yes, Tweety, the amarillo antagonist made famous in Looney Tunes cartoons in which he repeatedly thwarts capture by the famished feline, Sylvester, now sports his own jewelry line. Accompanied by the slogan, “Fine jewelry for hot chicks,” Tweety attempts to appeal to Baby Boomers and Generation Xers raised on healthy doses of cartoon antics who now want to relive their younger years, said Jeff Jaffe of Harold Jaffe Jewelers.
Much like the quick wit and impeccable timing Tweety employs to escape Sylvester’s stomach, Jaffe said D’Annunzio Group International, the line’s designers, launched the Tweety Fine Jewelry Collection in response to a “strong” trend toward yellow gold.
“It does pick up the yellow-gold trend; it is done with some colored gemstones, and there’s a lot of yellow sapphires that they use,” Jaffe said. “It’s beautifully done fine jewelry with a touch of whimsy. So what happens is it’s for people who have a fond memory of that time of their youth when Tweety was around.”
The Tweety line took flight during Harold Jaffe Jewelers’ Yellow Carpet VIP event in September in hopes that shoppers would take under their wings the idea to bring Tweety home for the holidays. Guests enjoyed yellow cuisine, “Tweetytinis” and a premiere viewing of the line’s pendants, rings, earrings and bracelet charms.
A similar event by Licata Jewelers in October featured a couture — or high-fashion — line known as Hearts of Fire. The collection highlighted about 20 one-of-a-kind pieces designed for special occasions such as a photo shoot for publication or the Oscars or Emmys presentations, said Nick Licata, co-owner. One pair of earrings on display, for example, dangled from the lobes of Jane Seymour while she showed her fancy footwork on “Dancing with the Stars.”
Himself an award-winning jewelry designer, Licata compared recent trends toward yellow gold to a fading fad for Circle of Life pendants. He also related his father’s advice years ago about the endurance of platinum – the most precious metal – a trend that ebbed because of a saturation of sterling-silver knockoffs that temporarily devalued platinum in the public’s eye.
The cycle continues … full circle.
“You see the stars wearing it or you see it in a magazine, and it’s going to evoke some kind of trend,” Licata said. “[Circle of Life] spun off into probably one of the most popular pendants since the Past Present Future pendant a few years ago. But every year it changes. This year we’re seeing a big trend towards yellow gold in fashion jewelry, but in diamond jewelry, it’s still platinum. ”
However, the rising prices of precious metals demand lighter weights to create “more practical pieces,” Licata added. In bridal jewelry, the trend has moved toward an “Edwardian” throwback look, with white-on-white schemes and very small stones. With advances in technology, designers can call for settings with extremely fine prongs that have tensile strength nearly equal to their larger counterparts. The result has created more intricately detailed pieces than ever.
“Technology, I would say in the past five or six years, has helped the jewelry industry tremendously,” Licata said. “I have been playing with CAD software since almost high school, and we’ve been implementing it in jewelry design.”
David Cameron, president of Broer-Freeman Jewelers, disagrees, saying he sees a trend in the opposite direction that has been “taking on a life of its own.” More customers have been asking to reset diamonds in new pieces as upgrades for their current jewelry. The call for colors has been predominantly white gold, yellow gold and rose,
he added, with emerald also doing very well.
Yet, so far customers have been thinking twice before laying down the credit card to make their purchases.
“I’m finding it to be that people are still being extremely cautious, which seems to be a mood out there,” Cameron said. “There are not too many places setting records, but we are all pretty optimistic. We’re finding our customers to be pretty upbeat.
“We’re still seeing an extreme interest in white gold and platinum, and despite the fact that gold and platinum are prices are going through the roof, we’re getting a lot of it.”