Rapaport Magazine


July 2007

By Amber Michelle
RAPAPORT... There seems to be a contradiction happening in the jewelry industry right now. On the one hand, we are seeing record-breaking prices at auction as rare colored diamonds and signed pieces from another era sell for breathtaking prices. This past year has seen sale totals and individual items reaching and surpassing highs set ten to 12 years ago. The high end of the auction market has made a huge comeback, fueled in part by money from Middle Eastern and Russian buyers with a penchant to acquire. The other part of the equation is that rare and beautiful sells. Jewelry that is beautifully designed and finely crafted as well as rare stones are being viewed in the same way as a Renoir, Van Gogh, or Picasso — consumers and collectors are looking at these pieces as art. And they are willing to pay top dollar for what is extraordinary.

On the celebrity scene, substantive style is replacing the blinding bling of recent years. Even the hottest hip-hoppers and Hollywood stars are opting for a more toned-down, sophisticated look replacing over-the-top sparkle with more subtle shimmer.

On the other hand, as the recent shows in Las Vegas indicated, the economy is impacting the jewelry market at the mid-level. Those with middle and lower incomes are hit more heavily by rising fuel and living costs coupled with a housing market that is cooling down, which obviously translates to less disposable income.

Then there is the fashion factor. Clothes changed quickly and dramatically in the past year, causing a shift in the way jewelry is worn. Clothes are very ornate — patterned and embroidered fabrics and jeweled accents combine with handbags that are heavy with metal hardware. Metallic leathers are also finding their way into pocketbooks and shoes, sometimes getting an extra hit of sparkle from faux gems. Yellow gold has roared back on the scene, its power to stand up to busy prints and ornamentation is stronger than that of a more demure white. The look for jewelry now is big and bold so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of patterns and adornment. One big piece of jewelry — a cuff bracelet, big earrings, a pendant or an oversized cocktail ring — can hold its own with fashion’s passion for elaborate embellishment.

Amber Michelle

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - July 2007. To subscribe click here.

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