Jewelry is sweet icing at coastal stores that rounds purchases or stands alone as desirable gift buys.

June 22, 2023
Photo: Christopher Appoldt

Dainty, stackable, custom. These jewelry trends are enticing customers in gift shops across the country that recognize big sales can come in small packages.

Offering a selection of baubles, bracelets, rings — including for toes — anklets and earrings offers guests a simple way to buy gifts, keepsakes from a trip or an indulgence for themselves.

At Artisan House in Northport Village, New York, Co-Owner Ron Meyer is constantly refreshing jewelry inventory to maintain an eclectic mix.

Centered in a historic shipbuilding port on Long Island with a tight-knit community that buys local, Meyer and Co-Owner Randi Johnson stock jewelry that appeals to locals and visitors alike. And right now, rings are all the rage.

Stackable rings by Center Court allow customers to personalize a look with a range of price points. They can mix and match bands, create a look that suits their taste, and even collect the rings so they can swap out bands to match different outfits or moods, Meyer says.

“We carry a good amount of these and are constantly keeping the selection full,” he says, adding that it is also appealing to a younger audience — a demographic the shop is working to attract. “They’ll buy them two or three at a time and then come back in with their friends.”

Jewelry hung on driftwood makes a creative display at The Tabby Shore Gift Boutique.
Photo: Caitlyn Ryan

At The Tabby Shore Gift Boutique in Beaufort, South Carolina, Owner Jessica Mangano supports Lowcountry locals by showcasing jewelry artists from the region. “In a town full of talented people, tourists want to go where they can get something that is made locally,” she says.

While many of these artists sell on consignment Mangano also carries wholesale brands. After four years in business, Mangano has expanded the shop’s jewelry collections. Trending styles include gold-plated pieces, everything dainty and infinity jewelry.

She says, “I love that these pieces are so easy to accessorize with anything — you can dress is up or down, it doesn’t matter.”

Trends and classics for every taste

Offering a mix of jewelry styles at price points from $50 to $200 gives guests an opportunity to stay on a budget or splurge at Artisan House. Meyer and Johnson shop gift shows and seek out vendors from sources like Faire, where they can test new lines in small batches.

“We see how it does, and if we like it we continue with it,” he says.

What’s going over with customers lately? Acomo necklaces and earrings in solid sterling silver are top sellers. “We literally sell them every day and get them in pretty quickly,” says Meyer.

Bali Beach Bracelets and Pura Vida offer a beachy look that goes over with teens. And the shop’s mainstay brand, Ocean, is a line that customers seek out, so Meyer displays these items in a dedicated case. The most popular motifs are mermaid-inspired, with turtles a close second. The shop also offers jewelry with nautical themes like anchors, compass roses or waves.

At T’s Toe Rings and Gifts in Newport Beach, California, ocean motifs are also popular, including turtles and whales’ tails. But what customers really go after are the right-priced stackable toe rings — bands with twists on the outsides or middles.

“We strive to provide the best customer service and we guarantee our toe rings. If there’s a problem, we’ll take care of it for you.” — Tanya Dudukian, T’s Toe Rings and Gifts

Owner Tanya Dudukian’s approach to jewelry is to make it accessible and fun. Items range from $3.95 for bracelets to $50 for stacked, solid toe rings, with jewelry ringing up at price points everywhere in between.
Keeping costs in line encourages customers to buy more, says Dudukian.

“I have people come in and say, ‘You have the best prices at the beach,’” she says. Volume is what makes T’s Toe Rings and Gifts jewelry profitable, she adds.

At the same time, quality is also a factor. Unlike most gift shop toe rings that are adjustable, Dudukian only sells solid rings that must be fitted. They’re more comfortable, won’t pinch and she maintains, “You can leave them on year-round and even wear them in your boots — I’ve had mine on for 25 years!”

A line that’s really moving at Tabby Shore is Indigo Ridge Jewelry made right in town. “She uses tiny gemstones and mixes them in with gold-plated detail,” describes Mangano. “Earrings that are really selling are cascading gemstones and all of her pieces are very lightweight and dainty.”

Another longstanding trend is the concept of customization. Tabby Shore offers pieces by Elu Cook Designs, a glass artist who works in oceanscape colors and materials. Customers can select delicate stud earrings that hold a pinch of the coastline.

Give-back makers are also appealing to guests, says Mangano. “We try to partner with as many give-back makers as we can,” she says.

"It’s nice when you see something that keeps turning. That keeps the passion going.” — Ron Meyer, Artisan House

For many customers, whether they’re visiting town or local, wearing a symbol of home is a priority. That’s why Tabby Shore carries Clouter Creek Designs oyster jewelry.

“Our waterways are covered in oyster bed, so oysters are a whole way of life down here,” says Mangano. The line’s delicate earrings and necklaces are fashioned from oysters harvested from the creek, polished and rimmed in gold leaf. “They are a beautiful staple in the shop,” she says.

Eye candy displays

Rather than presenting jewelry by line, Meyer takes a mix-and-match approach, instead categorizing products by type. Brands are interspersed and presented on T-rods (necklaces) or spinners (earrings).

At T’s Toe Rings and Gifts, solid toe rings that require sizing are among the unique jewelry pieces available.
Photo: John Glover

“We group like motifs together like nautical, fireflies, butterflies, mermaids,” Meyers says, relating that most shoppers are enticed by styles they like, not necessarily the brand.

The exception is his Ocean line, which is displayed together in a case. A central table showcases 4Ocean eco-friendly jewelry and glass cubes at the register give customers an easy impulse add-on for their bags.

Display and service differentiate T’s Toe Rings and Gifts from other shops on the beach. Because Dudukian’s shop is only 269 square feet and guests’ toes must be sized, she maximizes the space by keeping toe rings in glass cases. There’s a sample of every style and about 30 options.

Mangano displays jewelry by collection and artist. She also borrows pieces to accessorize mannequins and coordinate with the shop’s seasonal theme. Currently, Tabby Shore is showcasing spring/summer coral, soft mint and muted turquoise. Overall, “the shop is set up so you can make a circle — we have a little bit of boutique and a little bit of gift.”

What’s the key to keeping jewelry collections fresh? Highlight trends while offering classics and presenting products in an appealing fashion. Think like your customer. And watch how they take in the collections and give them plenty to explore.

“We currently have a lot of coral, soft minty turquoise and mostly gold plating.” — Jessica Mangano, The Tabby Shore Gift Boutique

“I tell people to look up, down, left and right,” Meyer says of the floor-to-ceiling displays throughout the quaint Artisan House shop.

And as an owner, noticing and restocking go-to jewelry products is a gratifying prospect. “It’s nice when you see something that keeps turning. That keeps the passion going.” Meyer says.