When it comes to jewelry, popular trends are shining for stores nationwide. While some current interests – such as a revived interest in gold – are mentioned often, others are unique to each store.
At Reflective Jewelry, in Santa Fe, N.M., handmade jewelry crafted from ethical sources is the signature of the shop. Owner Mark Choyt said the importance of “fair trade gold and supporting other initiatives that benefit communities are both important to people today. I think that’s one of the biggest trends in jewelry, the sourcing of materials. There is growing concern about that.”
The 500-square-foot boutique shop, is positioned within an overall 2,500-square-foot space that includes an in-house design and fabrication studio. The store employs three extensively experienced goldsmiths who are skilled in using hand tools that are very close to those used over a century ago.
Among the most popular jewelry sellers for Choyt are animal motifs. “Aside from our fair trade gold wedding rings, animal designs in necklaces,
such as the mountain lion motif, are the top sellers.” The unique design of these items, as well as the store’s regional location, add to the appeal of these animal designs. And, to display these and other items, Choyt primarily groups displays by stone. “Thematically, we’re pretty coherent since we do design and fabricate our jewelry ourselves. So, we tend to group by stone choices.”
In Gilbert, Ariz., at Barnes Fine Jewelers, 15-year Sales Associate Casey Perzanowski, speaking for owner Paul Barnes, has a firm idea of changing and current jewelry trends. At this family-run custom jewelry, diamond rings, necklaces, and bracelets custom-designed by the store have been a draw for customers since 1995. The store has been recognized as “Ultimate Jewelers” by the Retail Jewelers Organization. According to Perzanowski, “We find this year that bar-style pendants, the rectangular, narrower pieces, are doing very well now. The other big trend is for single solitaire pendants.” She added, “There is at least one standout in jewelry every year, I’ve found. And this year, those are the pieces that really are trending. I have several requests for them every day. Last year, it was bracelets. This year, it’s necklaces in those specific styles.”
Overall, the most popular jewelry sellers for the store are those necklaces, and one consistent standard jewelry item. “Along with the necklaces, engagement rings are always very popular. They always are around the holiday season, when we get a lot of requests for both engagement rings and family rings.”
As far as display strategies go, Perzanowski said, “It depends on the type of jewelry. Wedding and engagement rings, as well as men’s wedding bands are all grouped in one place. Our colored stones are also positioned together, such as pearls and opals; a lot of our other colored stones are also together. Diamonds are generally separate but we do have a few cases of mixed jewelry as well.” Creating an attractive display that catches the eye is the key element.
Creating a vibrant and attractive display by category is also the main-focus of display at the approximately 900-square-foot Lake Oswego Jewelers in Lake Oswego, Ore., according to shop Manager John Kim. At this family-run jeweler, “We group by categories such as an engagement area, a consignment area, a colored stone section, and fashion jewelry – all in different cases.”
Like Michael Choyt at Reflective Jewelry in New Mexico, Kim noted a real trend in yellow gold returning as a jewelry must-have. “It’s really coming back in style this year,” he asserted. Other trends include “Geometric shapes – they are really big for us, both in terms of stone cuts, and settings that are cubes or triangles. Those designs are very popular right now.” And speaking of popular items, Kim said, “Rings and necklaces are the most popular form of jewelry that we see. Diamonds are more popular than colored stones for both. With earrings, the diamond stud earrings are super popular, but then they always are. That is a classic tradition that doesn’t seem to fade.” The store, which began in Portland in the 1930s, has long been known for custom jewelry design, particularly for its engagement rings.
In Phoenix, Ariz., at one of Hyde Park Jewelers seven locations, General Manager Bill Eckles said current trends at the 2,800-square-foot store include stackable rings and colored diamonds, including Argyle pink diamonds. “There is just a lot more interest in colored diamonds. We also see more interest in shapes other than the classic round brilliant when it comes to engagement rings,” he reported. “There is also a real uptick in requests for yellow gold again, which is both surprising and nice to see.” Also popular: “We’re seeing lots of stackable rings,” he noted.
The most popular jewelry sellers of all types are colorful, Eckles stressed. “For us, it’s definitely the rainbow products: sapphires and emeralds, mixtures of stones. This is true for rings, pendants, and earrings. Very colorful jewelry seems to be something that people are really gravitating toward.” He offered one caveat about this trend. “It’s hard to see what the trend will be by next year, though; right now, most people are purchasing gifts.” The store groups jewelry for display by categories, and finds this the most appealing for customers.
John Atencio, founder and owner of John Atencio jewelry stores in Denver, Colo., explained that the overall trend he sees currently is that “Less is more. More fancy shapes but simpler mountings.” In business for 40 years, Atencio’s jewelry is all hand-designed. His most popular items are “Diamond rings, and stacking gold and silver designs.” And when it comes to display, all six of his stores, which range in size from 600 to 1,500-square-feet, design their display cases “to best showcase” how a piece of jewelry is to be worn.
The 1,500-square-foot Tabula Rasa Essentials in Manhattan Beach, Calif. is known as a “lifestyle gift shop,” according to Owner Maureen McBride. While jewelry items are an integral part of a high-quality, unique merchandise mix, it is not the only type of item she sells. Her fashion jewelry line includes cuff bracelets in turquoise and crystal, as well as simple necklaces in silver and gold-fill that reveal the geographic coordinates of the small beach city. “We are always seeking innovative, cool, stylish items,” McBride said. The store supports artisan-created works, and when it comes to the most popular jewelry in her store, McBride related that selecting trending designers and their pieces is based on her customers’ own lifestyles. “We are so close to our customers,” she said.
She called displaying jewelry attractively “always important. It should be eye-catching and accessible. Each piece or collection tells a story.” Along with in-store displays, McBride also shows her jewelry online. “Social media is key, as it’s the best way to reach our broadest audience with beautiful photography and great stories.”
From a renewed interest in gold jewelry to simpler designs, vintage styles, and an interest in colorful stones, and unique, hand-made pieces, jewelry trends are wide-ranging throughout the U.S. But one thing is true everywhere: jewelry sales continue to shine.