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Retail Rap

By Phyllis Schiller
IS YELLOW GOLD JEWELRY TRENDING?

Ed Levin

The 4Cs are not the only things that make a piece of diamond jewelry a sales winner. In an ongoing series, Rapaport Magazine explores the “3Ws” — what’s selling, what’s not and why — by going straight to the people who really know — jewelry retailers. Each month, we ask a sampling of retailers to comment on the important issues that are facing the industry today. Here is what they had to say when asked: “Has there been an uptick in sales of yellow gold jewelry? Are you planning on stocking more yellow gold to accommodate it?”

ERIC BRANTLEY, GOLDSMITH
TREIN’S JEWELRY
DIXON, ILLINOIS
   “Yes, we have seen an increase. Yellow gold is starting to show a little more popularity again. We’re seeing it in both engagement rings and fashion jewelry. We never backed away from yellow gold completely, so we do have stock. We’re in the heart of the Midwest, corn country. By the time a trend gets here, it’s going out somewhere else. A lot of stores changed to stocking all white gold, but we never did. We never got rid of the yellow completely. Are we stocking more? Maybe a little, but not a lot, because we still have inventory. But there is an increase in interest.”

JOHN AHEE, VICE PRESIDENT
EDMUND T. AHEE JEWELERS
GROSSE POINTE WOODS, MICHIGAN
   “I would say so, but it’s happening slowly. We’re not really seeing an increase in yellow gold in bridal but we are seeing it in some designer and fashion pieces. I think there’s a lot more advertising and a lot more manufacturing of items with yellow gold, and with rose gold as well.”

CHUCK STEEL, OWNER
STEEL’S JEWELRY
VALDOSTA, GEORGIA
   “Here in our town, we’ve seen a significant uptick in yellow gold sales. We are definitely stocking more yellow gold and selling more, absolutely. It’s across the board in terms of categories of jewelry. It’s been quite good. The rose gold pieces are also doing well. The young ladies are driving this; it’s definitely a new trend. I think it’s going to continue to get stronger. We’re actually changing a lot of our purchasing to include yellow in just about everything that we do now.”

BRIAN S. MERKLEY, PRESIDENT
MERKLEY KENDRICK JEWELERS
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY
   “Louisville is a fairly conservative market. I’m definitely fielding questions about yellow gold, but our sales really haven’t picked up a lot in that area. We’ve always continued to carry some yellow gold, even when other jewelers went away from it. I have it covered with several designer lines — there are four or five lines that have pieces in yellow gold.”

STEPHANIE WEBER, PRESIDENT
WEBER JEWELERS
DAYTON, OHIO
   “We never stopped selling yellow gold jewelry. But I do think people are feeling that they are allowed to wear it again, so I would agree that there is trending toward it. This is the first year in the fall that we actually bought new product in yellow gold. We do a lot with estate and vintage, and I regularly buy yellow gold over the counter, but I would concur that there is a trend to embrace it again. People are realizing how beautiful things can be in yellow gold. Not in bridal so much, but in other jewelry. Some pieces of jewelry just look prettier in yellow than in white and vice versa. Some people just look better in yellow gold and they know it and appreciate it.”

MARK LEIGH, OWNER/GEMOLOGIST
LEIGH JEWELERS
VERO BEACH, FLORIDA
   “We did not see a tremendous drop in yellow gold because of the nature of our clientele. But we have seen that sales of yellow gold have improved during the past six months. We’ve always stocked it heavily. I think people have just gotten over their silver phase when gold became so high so quickly and it was a little bit of sticker shock for them. But now they have realigned their views on the prices of merchandise and gone back to traditional gold. My customers have disposable income and it’s affordable for them at whatever price, but it’s just that they had to justify to themselves that the increased pricing was the new normal and then they could be okay with it. We are heavily into designer brands and higher-end pieces and we’ve seen increased interest in yellow pretty much across the board. In the engagement area, it’s still primarily the white metal.”

ARTIE BENNOS,
OWNERSIMMS II JEWELERS
WINCHESTER, MASSACHUSETTS
   “No, we haven’t seen an increase, not really. Yellow gold does sell, but not in engagement rings. I do keep it in stock.”

JANET DELEUSE,
OWNERDELEUSE JEWELERS
TIBURON, CALIFORNIA
   “Yes, we are seeing an uptick in yellow gold. We stock more classic jewelry than fashion jewelry. We’re on the West Coast and customers are really slow to take up new trends. And in terms of gold jewelry — necklaces, bracelets, earrings — finally, they’re catching on with yellow. We keep a good selection of all types of gold jewelry, including rose gold. Our customers are starting to buy a lot of rose gold now. Engagement is still white, but I think that’s going to change.”

JOHN HAYES, OWNER
GOODMAN’S JEWELERS
MADISON, WISCONSIN
   “Oh yes, we have seen it. We’ve had special requests and custom orders. I’m stocking up, cautiously. I definitely think that yellow gold is trending, both in fashion and bridal. But fashion is slower than bridal for us as far as the number of pieces sold in gold because the prices are still a little bit tough on the pocketbook. In bridal, customers expect the price and that area has definitely been stronger.”

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - October 2013. To subscribe click here.

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