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How to Design a Jewelry Gift
Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and birthdays are just a few times during the year that we are called upon to find that perfect gift. As jewelry makers, we usually make that gift. But how do you start? How do you make a piece of jewelry that you can feel confident someone else will wear and enjoy? While there are no guarantees, there are steps you can take to design the perfect gift.
Analyze the Person
Whenever I create a piece of jewelry for a gift, I first think about who I’m making it for and analyze that person. Here are some of the questions I ask myself:
Does she wear a lot of jewelry, a little, or none at all?
These questions are a good place to start in order to determine what type of jewelry a person prefers.
Pick an Item
Once I’ve answered these questions, I start to think about the type of item I’ll make. If it’s someone I know pretty well like one of my sisters, I feel comfortable making them a bracelet, for example, because I know they have about the same size wrist as I do. However, if it’s someone I don’t know as well, I usually find it safer to make earring, or a pendant. If it’s a man’s gift, and he doesn't wear jewelry (which often seems to be the case), then there are always Sketch an Idea
If it a very special gift and I don’t have some lightening bolt of inspiration hit me, I’ll often take a few minutes to sketch out my design ideas on paper. This way I can add or erase parts and pieces as I think out the design. Also, this allows me to put it down and look at it the next day to see what I think about it. If I’m making a gift that someone else is giving, I show him/her the sketches and work with him/her on incorporating what he/she likes about the different ideas into one design.
Make a Prototype
If the design is new to me and I’ve never done anything like it before, I make a prototype. I may not use the best materials to create this example. I’m just trying to get an idea of how I should make the piece and how it will look when it’s finished. If it’s a piece I’ve made before and I’m just using a different color scheme for example, then I will take the materials I plan to use and simulate the piece or even just set the materials up next to each other to see how they look together. I do this a lot when working with beads and find a bead board very helpful.
I hope these tips help you create the perfect gift for your friends and family. Though most people appreciate your jewelry making efforts, it’s always nice to feel that you’ve matched the gift to the person.
Emma Roberts Handmade Temperley London Pattern Dress
About Retail: A clothier embraces fine jewelry
By Michelle Graff http://www.nationaljeweler.com
Clothing business, jewelry business--Bob Mitchell doesn’t think either of these labels paints an entirely accurate picture of the kind of business conducted at his family’s five stores.
There’s a better word that explains what’s kept The Mitchells Family of Stores, a small, family-owned chain of specialty stores, in business since Ed Mitchell opened the first store in Westport, Conn., in 1958, with three suits to sell and a coffee pot brought from home to brew cups of joe for customers.
“We like to think we’re in the relationship business,” Mitchell said. “Our best clients come in here knowing they have the proper sales associate who can help them with everything.”
Mitchell is co-president of The Mitchells Family of Stores, which includes five stores under four different nameplates: Mitchells in Westport, Conn. (below), Richards in Greenwich, Conn., Marshs in Huntington, N.Y. and Wilkes Bashford in San Francisco and Palo Alto, Calif.
Though the store has carried designer jewelry for 20 years, Mitchell said jewelry really began evolving into a big growth vehicle for the company around 2003 when they expanded their range of fine designers and added loose stones to their inventory.
Today, their largest jewelry store-within-a-store is in their Westport location, where jewelry accounts for about 25 percent of the store’s total sales. The store also recently launched “Our Diamonds! A Guide to Our Best Kept Secret,” a direct-mail piece letting customers know about their burgeoning diamond business and encouraging them to come to Mitchells for their diamond needs.
One of the advantages of being a store like Mitchells is that the salespeople can try to tie jewelry sales into clothing sales, suggesting a necklace or bracelet that would complement the new dress a customer is considering. As a whole, though, the tactics the retailer uses in getting, keeping and satisfying customers aren’t all that different from those employed by jewelry-only retailers.
Mitchell said the staff is trained to leverage relationships, no matter what the customer is buying. Find out that shopper’s birthday and anniversary. Even if a female customer comes into the store for the sole purpose of selecting a new handbag, help her find a piece she likes in the jewelry department. Make a note of it so her husband can come back and buy it later.
“We really try to impress upon (our employees), ‘The more you know about people, the more opportunities (for a sale) that present themselves,” Mitchell said.
Mitchells’ approach is the same one adopted by another combination clothing-jewelry retailer--Lewis Hoffer, owner of Butch Hoffer’s in Beaumont, Texas.
Like Mitchells, Hoffer’s is one of the last stores of its kind still standing. It is essentially a small, family-owned department store that sells clothes and jewelry (as well as cigars in Hoffer’s case) that has survived and thrived despite the chain-store takeover of the retail landscape.
Their customers aren’t quite the same--Hoffer said Mitchells certainly caters to a higher-end clientele than his store--but that doesn’t change their approaches to keeping customers. “For us, the success is all about making friends. Jewelry, apparel it doesn’t matter. It’s all about making friends,” Hoffer said.
Another important aspect of Mitchells’ business is providing top-notch customer service. Mitchell said the company offers clients what it refers to as “closet cleans.”
It’s the fashion equivalent of a doctor making a house call, a practice from a bygone era of personal service.
A Mitchells’ employee goes to a customer’s house and literally roots through their closet, offering suggestions for pieces that need updating or alterations. Mitchells will do a similar sweep of the jewelry box, picking out pieces that can be reset.
It’s a service customers embrace and one that certainly speaks to the importance the store places on its connection with customers.
But just don’t take Bob Mitchell’s word for it. His father, Jack Mitchell, literally wrote the book on service, Hug Your Customers: The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results. The book, Mitchell said, is all about giving each customer that special “hug” they crave, whether it’s a closet clean or allowing them to bring their dog into the store, another practice embraced by Mitchells.
“I think that’s what people are looking for today,” he said.
Museum of Arts and Design sets selling exhibition
Anybody with a penchant for picking up unique pieces can head to New York’s Museum of Arts and Designs (MAD) this fall for its 11th annual juried selling exhibition of artist-made jewelry.
“LOOT 2011: MAD about Jewelry” is scheduled for Oct. 11 to 14 at the museum, which is located on Manhattan’s Columbus Circle. The gala opening for the four-day exhibition is slated to feature a lecture by Lois Sherr Dubin, author of the soon-to-be-published book Adornment: The Necklaces of Barbara Natoli Witt. Proceeds from the gala will benefit the museum’s exhibitions and educational programs.
According to the museum, LOOT has earned the reputation of “being the ultimate pop-up shop for contemporary art and studio jewelry,” where the public can acquire pieces from some of the world’s most innovative jewelry artists.
LOOT 2011 will feature new works from exhibit veterans Robert Lee Morris, who is also the event’s honorary chair, Droog designer Iris Nieuwenburg, Native American designer Pat Pruitt, metalsmith Anastasia Azure, Italian sculptor Giorgio Vigna and British artist Liz Hamman.
Artists making their debut at this year’s MAD show include Kara Ross, who was commissioned by First Lady Michelle Obama to create wood bracelets as gifts for visiting dignitaries, and metalsmith Andrea Williams, who crafts eco-conscious jewelry using Maine beach stones, sterling silver and Venetian glass.
063011_Henriques jewelry design: Jamaican artist and poet Anna Ruth Henriques, whose piece is featured above, is one of the artists making their debut at LOOT this year.
Over the course of the exhibition, LOOT Chair Michele Cohen and committee members Bryna Pomp and Nancy Olnick will served as jurors for the event, selecting winning designs based on craftsmanship, originality and range of materials. In addition, many of the designers will be at the museum during the exhibition to talk about the inspiration for their designs.
Hong Kong Jewelry & Gem Fair shows strong demand
More Chinese buyers than usual are attending the show. They and Indian buyers are the dominant force behind the purchases this weekend.
Traders that insisted on the high prices found that at times buyers preferred to buy down. Some wholesalers feel that they can get better prices for the high-end goods in Antwerp or Ramat Gan. Another reason for insisting on the prices was a desire to be able to replenish their stock with the same margins.
Others feel that prices will continue to rise and prefer to sell for 1% less and keep the money turning.
In general, the high prices are being maintained. Traders are currently unsure if prices will continue to rise or level off until late July and early September.
Silver group honors Classic Woman Awards nominees
Honorees of Traditional Home magazine’s Classic Woman Awards were recognized at a luncheon here Nov. 7 and presented with a sterling silver cuff (below) by jewelry designer Michael Galmer from American Estate Jewelry, among other gifts.
The cuff was presented to them by Michael Barlerin, director of the Silver Promotion Service (SPS), as a congratulatory gift. The Classic Woman Awards pay tribute to women who show exemplary volunteer efforts to better their communities. And this year, the honorees wore silver jewelry provided by the SPS for their appearance in Traditional Home.
“We could not be happier about the relationship with Traditional Home, with the magazine feature or with the luncheon,” Barlerin said. “We were also proud to be able to present these truly exceptional women a beautiful piece of jewelry in tribute to their extraordinary efforts for the benefit of others.”
Michael Barlerin, far left, speaks with some of the Classic Women Awards honorees about the silver cuffs they received at the awards luncheon.
The honorees appeared in the November/December 2011 issue of the magazine and were accessorized with jewelry from Bastian Inverun, Charles Garnier, Dobbs Boston, Links of London, Metalsmiths Sterling and Thistle & Bee, all SPS SilverMark partners.
Introduced in 2008 by the Washington-based Silver Institute, the SPS works to stimulate demand for silver jewelry in major international markets.
2011 Sept HK jewelry Fair exhibitor +25%
Fair which presents buyers with the opportunity to source from quality suppliers from around the world every mid-year."
The Sept Fair features 11 group pavilions namely Antwerp, Brazil, India, the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA), Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, mainland China, Taiwan and Thailand. The show’s 12 themed pavilions are also big draws at the June Fair. These are the Fine Design Pavilion, Fine Gem Pavilion, Hong Kong Premier Pavilion (HKPP), Jadeite Gallery, Fine Jewellery, Antique & Vintage Jewellery, Silver and Diamonds, Pearls, Gemstones, Mounting Jewellery and Jewellery Accessories, and Packaging, Tools & Equipment.
The Fine Design Pavilion and Fine Gem Pavilion – two of the highlights of UBM Asia’s flagship jewellery fair, the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, which is also the world's largest international jewellery trade show – are making their debut as added attractions at the June Fair’s 24th edition. These pavilions feature more than 50 internationally renowned jewellers with a tantalising spread of the world's finest loose diamonds, pearls, gemstones, jewellery masterpieces, bejewelled watches, invaluable antique and estate jewellery at the Grand Hall of the HKCEC.
A series of jewellery parades, featuring models showing off the latest collections of HKPP exhibitors, are also being staged at the HKPP Pavilion.
ICA and UBM Asia also formally unveiled the first International Gem Cutting & Jewellery Design Competition or "IU Awards" at a news conference held on the show’s sidelines on Thursday.
The Gemmological Association of Hong Kong is organising a seminar on "Tips for Buying Fei Cui (Jadeite Jade, Kosmochlor and Omphacite)" on June 25.
Jewelers Show sheduled for Mar. 10-11
The Midwest Jewelers Trade Show (MJTS) will be held March 10-11 at the Monona Terrance Community & Convention Center here and is still accepting exhibitors.
The “smaller boutique” trade show will offer approximately 95 booths. Corner booths cost $1,600, and inside booths cost $1,200. Draping, carpeting, an 8’ table, two chairs and a sign with the company name are included, as well as a listing in the show book and on the show’s website.
Exhibitors may order booths online or print and mail the completed contract to the MJTS. A list of exhibitors already committed to the show, as well as a floor plan of available booth space, can be viewed on the MJTS site.
The MJTS is also taking suggestions for seminars and speakers, which can be directed to Arlon Mason, event planner of the MJTS, at 608.513.8160.
Reduced rates have been offered by hotels in the area, including at the Hilton Hotel. A complete list, with a map of where the hotels are located in reference to the show, can be found here.
The MJTS is marketed to jewelers within a 250-mile radius of Madison, Wis. and “is traditionally well-attended by the retail jewelers,” according to Mason.
Silver jewelry:the fastest growing merchandise
With retailers reporting strong silver jewelry sales across the country, Michael Barlerin, director of the Silver Promotion Service (SPS), weighed in how to keep this trend alive throughout the holiday season.
“Based on the sales results I’ve seen throughout the year, I’d call holiday 2011 the season of silver,” Barlerin said. “It continues to be the fastest growing merchandise category, and continues to give retailers the best maintained margins.”
Barlerin shared with National Jeweler five tips retailers can use to maximize silver sales in the upcoming months.
First, he said, retailers should merchandise silver more aggressively by carrying large assortments of silver jewelry.
“Shoppers know that certain retailers are carrying plenty of diamonds, watches and gold, but they may not know about an assortment of silver that store may have,” Barlerin said. “Communicating to customers that they are a silver retailer is a very good starting point.”
Second, retailers should offer an array of price points for silver jewelry.
“One of the things happening in the market is a breadth of price points that are increasingly being sold,” Barlerin said. “Merchandising with an array of prices would be very important for a silver retailer, as higher price points are doing well.”
The third thing retailers can do to maximize silver sales is include a section of gem-set sterling silver or silver with treated finishes in their showcase.
“One of the things making silver so buoyant right now is the diversity of the looks,” Barlerin said, “so retailers should be capturing the fact that silver jewelry is available now, not just in exquisitely designed plain silver, but with colored stoned and treated finishes.”
The fourth tip comes in the form of display.
“Silver lends itself to a themed window better than other merchandising classifications,” Barlerin said. “If it’s the season of silver, a great window display with good silver jewelry product and silver ornaments or bowls will look good.”
Lastly, Barlerin said increased signage through the use of visual merchandising kits help jewelers to communicate that silver is in the store.
“I think a retailer should identify his silver jewelry more aggressively in the windows and store levels,” he said. “Signing silver is relevant.”
To assist with this, the SPS is making available silver point of sale kits to identified retailers and would welcome interested inquiries based on availability.
Overall, Barlerin said he looks forward to the results of a special year for silver, what he says is building the foundation for continued growth in 2012.
“The surge in silver sales is not just linked to the gold price,” he said. “There’s been a seat change in the role that silver plays.”
price of gold affect gold jewelry
The price of gold along with the sluggish economy finally reached a level where it is having a detrimental impact on gold jewellery sales in the U.S.
Gold jewellery demand in the U.S. fell 8 percent, year-over-year, to 21.7 metric tons for the second quarter of 2011, the World Gold Council said in its quarterly Gold Demand Trends report. However, in value terms, demand strengthened by 15 percent to $1.1 billion, which mostly reflects a 26 percent increase in the price of gold during this period.
This followed a 10 percent decline in gold jewellery demand in the first quarter of the year, the WGC said. In 2010, demand for gold jewellery fell 14 percent. And all of these declines have been reported long before the price of gold surpassed $US 1,900 an ounce.
The London-based organization blames the usual circumstances that have been plaguing the U.S. economy since 2008.
The report also noted that gold jewellery was facing “stiff competition” from silver.
This incredible price increase for the precious metal coupled with the difficult economy is leading jewellery designers and manufacturers to look at using lower-karat gold, creating designs that use less gold and substituting the precious metal with less expensive metals. In some cases they are creating their own metals. Even platinum is trading at an even pace with gold and may seem like a value by comparison.
Jewellery retailers are now earning much of their money buying back gold from consumers. And consumers have gone from buying gold jewellery to trading in their old gold pieces for cash from these same retailers.
Some in the industry are facing unusual choices. For example, Thierry Chaunu, has been charged with re-launching Marina B, an extremely popular luxury jewellery brand in the 1980s. The company’s inventory includes vintage jewellery pieces, including large 18k gold jewellery pieces that were made at a time when gold was trading at about $300 an ounce. So taking the current price of gold into consideration you’re talking about a six-fold price increase in cost without even accounting for the design, craftsmanship and vintage appeal of each piece. They are basically priced out of the larger market and left for those who collect Marina B jewellery.
Chaunu has found a creative way to use this jewellery to benefit the brand and the new jewellery they are making. These big, gold items will be included in a touring exhibition at Neiman Marcus stores, a luxury retail department chain that recently began selling Marina B jewellery. Chaunu told me that the exhibition is a way to show consumers the heritage of the brand.
This is true and it is indeed smart marketing. But I’m sure he’d rather sell those pieces than display them.
The jewelry making in china goes back almost 3000 years ago.Chinese jewelry designs with a religious and culture background, which subsequently found use in Buddhist religious ceremonies.
Bothe men and women used large and complex earrings in silver, bronze and gold.When you talk of Chinese jewelry the most popular material you think of is jade. Jade with its inherent properties of hardness and beauty was supposed to safeguard and impart both grace and dignity to the wearer. Ming jade or nephrite was predominantly used in Chinese jewelry bdfore the 17th century AD. Pearls were also very popular. In colors blue signified or royalty and blue enamel work was quite popular during the Ming Dynasty period.
Chiese jewelry symbolizing wealth and nobiliy was worn by both the sexes and headbands and amulets were very much in vogue. These accompanied the rulers to their graves along with artifacts in jade.