Customers of all ages love souvenir jewelry that showcases themes and colors of the destination they visited.

Dec. 15, 2023

Everyone has a distinct taste when it comes to jewelry — some people like big, flashy pieces to make a statement, while others prefer simpler styles to pair with their outfit. Kids, on the other hand, tend to enjoy vibrant colors with their jewelry, along with animal themes. With that in mind, destination retailers should stock a variety of souvenir jewelry styles and price points to match different tastes.

Most jewelry at Northport Village, New York-based Artisan House appeals to women, but the store makes sure to stock some options for men as well. Store Owner Ron Meyer says men enjoy the store’s sterling silver rings from Center Court and strappy leather or rope-like bracelets from Anju.

The retailer stocks jewelry that appeals to people of different ages. Meyer says teens and young adults love stacked rings by Center Court. With pricing tiers and numerous styles, guests can customize a look that appeals to them (and their wallets).

Kyle Sweatman, founder of wholesaler and retailer Island Pearl Traders in Harrison, Arkansas, explains that it’s important for retailers to diversify their jewelry offerings to appeal to a wider audience. “From a buyer’s perspective, it is easy to keep things themed; however, jewelry should stay diverse with multiple metal types and price points,” he says.

Texas Goods Company offers souvenir jewelry with southwestern themes to remind tourists of their time in the Lone Star State.

Paul Meyer, vice president of sales and marketing at Phillips International’s Cool Jewels in Hallandale, Florida, notes that consumers have less disposable income available to spend on souvenirs this year when compared with past years. He says, destination retailers need to be smart about the souvenir jewelry they keep in stock so as not to waste inventory space.

“Retailers should be analyzing what should be and should not be on the sales floors,” says Meyer of Cool Jewels. “Ultimately, if customers are going to be more conservative in their spending, which we’ve seen, then [retailers] need to make certain that products they have out there are paying for their floor space.”

When retailers strategically stock souvenir jewelry that customers love, these souvenirs can be very profitable. Sweatman adds that jewelry can be a top-selling souvenir category.

“People like what they like, and jewelry sells,” he says. “When I worked [in retail] at Silver Dollar City, almost every single shop had some jewelry in it. Jewelry was probably the No. 2 gift category, right under apparel.”

Sparkle and shine

Souvenir jewelry style preferences differ from region to region, store to store. Some destination retailers, like Boulevard Souvenirs in Memphis, Tennessee, profit most by selling shiny and showy pieces. The destination retailer focuses on selling merchandise related to the Memphis music scene.

“Our world is Elvis, and Elvis was ‘blingy,’” explains Renae Roberts, owner of Boulevard Souvenirs. “For us, as long as it’s blingy, shiny and bright, it’s good to go.”

Roberts notes that her customers enjoy souvenir jewelry with fake diamonds that spell “Elvis” and flashy gold guitar pendants to remind them of their time in the city.

Sometimes, carrying local gemstones is a hit for destination retailers. Any souvenir jewelry featuring the Montana sapphire sells well at Montana Gift Corral, which has five stores in and around Bozeman, Montana. “We carry the Montana sapphire in necklaces and earrings, and it doesn’t matter. If it has a Montana sapphire, people love it,” says Cassi Miller, creative content coordinator at Montana Gift Corral.

Destination retailers also want to be mindful and offer some playful souvenir jewelry to appeal to kids. Miller says Montana Gift Corral sells a set of dinosaur-themed jewelry for kids that is priced at about $12.

Regardless of customer style preferences, Meyer of Cool Jewels says he has noticed an uptick in interest in any kind of jewelry that features semiprecious stones, which includes all gemstones besides diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Think agate, amethyst, garnet, rose quartz, turquoise and lapis lazuli.

According to Meyer, jewelry that features semiprecious stones crushed to form various animals, plants or landscapes is popular.

He adds that more customers want additional education about gemstones, as well. “People are used to getting information at a touch of their fingers; people are becoming more educated about various topics,” he explains. “Now, they’re making a purchase on an attractive product, and semiprecious stones and their specific meanings are a little bit of a mystery to most people.”

He advises retailers make sure they offer educational cards or some form of information near souvenir jewelry displays to educate customers on the types of stones used in the jewelry, the characteristics of the stones and any meaning behind them, as providing this information boosts sales.

“An educated consumer becomes a wonderful customer,” he says. “They can appreciate the value and meaning behind each piece that’s created.”

Location and occasion

Customers like when souvenir jewelry clearly ties to the destination they visited, but fitting a name drop on a necklace or bracelet can be tough. Instead of having a name drop on the actual jewelry, Meyer of Cool Jewels suggests that retailers include that information on the packaging.

“A lot of retailers might wish to have their own private label, so we can provide their name and logo on the hang tag for them,” he explains.

In general, offering souvenir jewelry that matches the themes of the destination will be enough to remind customers of their time spent in that place.

Montana Gift Corral customers love the store’s regional jewelry, so Miller tries to work with wholesalers in the Rocky Mountain area as well as local artists near Bozeman for these products. Some of the store’s souvenir jewelry includes information cards on the product that talks about where it was made.

Since Northport Village is a historic shipbuilding port on Long Island, tourists love the sea-themed jewelry at Artisan House. The store carries the Ocean Jewelry brand, which is a hit with tourists. Some of the biggest sellers from that brand feature mermaids or sea turtles.

Amy Petreikis-Lynch, owner of Texas Goods Company in Dallas, says her customers enjoy souvenir jewelry with Texas themes: a cactus, cowboy boots or the outline of the state of Texas.

“They’re silly, but people get a kick out of them,” she says of the themed jewelry. “They can make a great souvenir for people.”

She adds that tourists visiting Dallas want to take home southwestern-style souvenir jewelry — think dangly woven beaded earrings and pendants in warm colors.

Offering jewelry for special holidays and times of year is also important. Petreikis-Lynch says her store often sells out of statement jewelry that match specific holidays.

“People love statement pieces that can make or break your outfit,” she says. “We sell a lot for parties and events. For fall, we loaded up on football-style earrings. … For New Year’s, we sell a ton of champagne bottle earrings.”

Sustainable styles

More customers want to make purchases that make a difference, so destination retailers might want to consider stocking some souvenir jewelry that ties to sustainability and conservation efforts. In the last two to three years, Meyer of Cool Jewels says he has noticed a spike in interest in products related to conservation efforts.

Cool Jewels carries three conservation jewelry lines, including the 1 Tree Mission line.

“We have seen an interest in the environment and addressing climate change as well as the condition of our oceans and the well-being of precious wildlife more so than ever,” he says. “In general, many people want to leave the world a better place. You can’t go more than a few days without hearing something related to global warming.”

Meyer notes that Cool Jewels offers three conservation-specific souvenir jewelry lines, including its 1 Tree Mission line, its Live Love Protect line and its Clear Seas Project line. The wholesaler’s new fashion-forward Semi-Precious Stone Expressions line and its established Elements line also provide funds toward preserving wildlife habitats.

Additionally, customers want good quality souvenir jewelry that is made to last. Petreikis-Lynch says she likes to stock high-quality souvenir jewelry that won’t turn skin green and that her customers can keep in their wardrobes longer.

“Sustainability is big,” she says. “They want top quality, waterproof and pieces that last a long time.”

Keep in close sight

Many destination retailers agree it’s wise to keep souvenir jewelry on or near the cash wrap to catch peoples’ attention.

Texas Goods Company offers souvenir jewelry with southwestern themes to remind tourists of their time in the Lone Star State.

Miller says Montana Gift Corral’s storefronts like to keep souvenir jewelry displayed around the cash wrap with some higher end pieces, such as those containing Montana sapphires, showcased in locked cases.

She says, “Most of our jewelry is in pre-lit cases. We’re big on lighting. Our staff are fabulous at merchandising things. It’s definitely eye-catching.”

Retailers also like to display souvenir jewelry in very visible areas as a way to keep a close eye on it. Although souvenir jewelry isn’t nearly as expensive as what traditional jewelers offer, prices can range from $12 to $100. Pieces that feature semiprecious stones can be more tempting for theft.

“We keep jewelry close to our [checkout] counter,” Petreikis-Lynch says. “We don’t lock it up, though. We want customers to freely try it on. But we keep it up there so we can keep an eye on it while also letting people have free range.”

Having staff engage with customers as they try on jewelry near displays also helps to deter theft, according to Miller.

“We try to combat [potential theft] with kindness,” she says. “The best form of theft prevention, we’ve found, is if someone holds [jewelry] in their hands, we’ll ask if we can get it wrapped for them. We find that asking kind questions seems to deter people.”

In addition to deterring theft, talking to customers as they browse the souvenir jewelry section is also good customer service, which can help boost sales.

Meyer of Cool Jewels says retailers who want to boost souvenir jewelry sales should find ways to go the extra mile in this category.

He concludes, “Merchandise correctly, stay up to date on trends and always have best sellers available.”