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Best of Show

Whether they traveled to New York, Tucson, or other venues across the country, retailers who shopped the first trade shows of the year were on a mission. More precisely, their clients sent them on a mission. Their task: to find great new twists on classics in different, textured metals or warm colors; to locate yellow and white diamond jewelry that looks more expensive than it is; and to stock up on fun items that can be personalized or send a sentimental message (such as conveying the love of a bride or a doting grandmother or a purring kitten).

Some favorites were carryovers from fall 2006 collections, indicating that they continue to have a life beyond a season or two. Case in point: Browns continue as one of the hottest trends from bronzed pearls to smoky gemstones, even brown gold. Warmer colors in the form of yellow gold or yellow diamonds also remain strong. Consumers crave the look but get especially excited when they find “expensive” looks at affordable price points.

charm necklace by Dominique Cohen
Coin style charm necklace in 18k yellow and rose gold by Dominique Cohen, suggested retail $3,400, (310) 859-7206.
bracelet from Marco Bicego

Making the Cut
“For us, the ‘Journey’ pieces for diamonds are still going strong. Tablet cuts are doing extremely well in this region. We can not keep them on the shelves. Topaz and garnet are two of the strongest selling tablet cut stones. As for now we are buying and bringing in new suppliers steadily.”
— Richard Velayo, Gleim the Jeweler, Palo Alto, California

Tablet-style gems in a stylish bracelet from Marco Bicego, (415) 249-3800.

Rings from Chad Allison

Elaborate Engagement
“Chad Allison is an amazing designer line. The wedding and engagement pieces will sell very well. He is very popular in this area. As of right now we only carry the engagement rings, but his sets and bands are just as fabulous. All the pieces are hand carved with intricate designs. I have seen most of the line and it is quite breathtaking.”
— Stacey Karatzas, Bayhill Jeweler, Orlando, Florida

Rings from Chad Allison’s new 18k gold and diamond bridal collection, (877) 947-7844.

Green tourmaline ring by Mark Patterson

Staying Classic
“I really did not see any new trends, but honestly I was not looking. It was the same old stuff to me. I sell classics, like pearls, sapphires, and rubies. Anything of that nature stuck out to me. I did notice that gold was becoming more popular, however micro-pavé and platinum were still huge. I saw a few more pieces in palladium but I have never been a fan of that metal. Cutting edge is what all the consumers want nowadays. My two favorite designers did not fail me. Both Stephen Webster and Mark Patterson had fabulous pieces.”
— Arthur Gaspar, A.H. Gaspar Jeweler, Santa Barbara, California

Green tourmaline ring by Mark Patterson, (714) 433-7904.

Mattioli’s 18k rose and chocolate gold link necklace

“I love Mattioli, the Italian jewelry line that introduced 18k ‘chocolate’ gold. It is just fabulous. Brown has been very saleable at our store and I think this line will be, too. In addition to the great designs, Mattioli is one of the few Italian companies with a U.S. office that you can call anytime and get immediate assistance and service. There is no lag time and that is very important. I continue to find pearls to be strong with more interesting product. I like all the new colors in pearls, such as the bronze pearls from Yvel. I also like the Mazza Company’s exquisite use of color gems, especially cabochons. Our clientele is quiet, understated, and classic. It might take more education to explain cabochons but they understand and embrace them.”
— Cindy Earl, Cindy Earl, Nashville, Tennessee

Mattioli’s 18k rose and chocolate gold link necklace, (914) 235-6261.

Cherie Dori’s 18k gold and yellow diamond butterfly necklace and earrings

Grandma Quotient
“We liked Barry Kronen’s ‘Babylicious’ collection, the latest custom jewelry concept, featuring 18k gold coins that permit our clients to put their own children or grandchildren’s profiles engraved on them. Besides the fact the collection looks great itself, it’s the type of thing that appeals to effusive grandmothers. While at Centurion, we also picked up some interesting diamond and gemstone flexible cuffs from William Levine. Another item we liked was the Henderson Collection’s large textured link bracelets in different metals and textures, some with gemstones or diamonds. We found some very pretty and different yellow diamond jewelry from Cherie Dori at the AGTA show. The pieces are appealing in both their style and price point.”
— David and Gail Friedman, Sarah Leonard Fine Jewelers, Los Angeles, California

Cherie Dori’s 18k gold and yellow diamond butterfly necklace and earrings, (800) 336-8816.

© Photo by Chris Trayer

Rahaminov’s 10 carat diamond and platinum earrings

Successful Pair
“We found many great new things at the Centurion and AGTA shows in Tucson. For instance, Rahaminov was a good find with their great colored and white diamonds. A favorite of ours were round brilliant diamond earrings surrounded by pavé. One of my best customers immediately bought a pair and called me from the east coast to tell me how wonderful they are. Yvel’s brown and champagne pearls also were good. Marco Bicego’s pearl and semiprecious gemstone opera length necklaces are special, too. We also picked up new diamond styles from Penny Preville and Jack Kelége’s new bridal collection.”
— Steve Polacheck, Polachecks Jewelers, Calabasas, California

Rahaminov’s 10 carat total weight diamond and platinum earrings surrounded by diamond pavé, (213) 622-9866.

Chocolate pearl necklace and earrings by Honora

Cool Chocolate
“Honora is the hottest line that I’ve ever carried. I like that they keep coming up with new and different styles. My daughter, who’s 13, wears it and so does my 72-year old mother. Anytime you can sell something for $60 to $70 in your store and it is real pearls and sterling silver, you just can’t lose. I really like the new chocolate pearls. It’s cool to have one more new color in the store.”
— Robert Diffin, Mendham Jewelers, Mendham, New Jersey

Chocolate pearl necklace and earrings by Honora, (212) 371-1515.

Earrings in 18k gold and diamonds by J.J. Marco

Beyond Basics
“We are not really like other stores, we do a lot of custom work and we don’t sell basics like ‘Journey’ or the circle pendant. That doesn’t work in our area. At the JA Show, we always find something we like at J.J. Marco. I think Makur has beautiful designs, I like that they always have something new. We do well with their red gold and openwork pendant. The new pieces, the square and the circle with squiggles of diamonds on multiple chains, are also really beautiful.”
— Steven and Gina Wallach, Wallach Jewelry Designs, Larchmont, New York

Earrings in 18k gold and diamonds by J.J. Marco, suggested retail $5,150, (212) 744-3202.

Méche’s 18k gold cat breed charm

The Cat’s Meow
“We had already brought in Méche’s dog breed jewelry line and have been doing well, especially when we teamed up with the local SPCA. Now we just added the new cat breed collection. If you know animal lovers, then you know they just can’t get enough. We had cat owners asking, ‘Where are the cat breeds?’ and so we asked the company for cats. Evidently we weren’t alone because Méche responded with a cute new cat collection.”
— Debbi Trango, Jolly’s, Raleigh, North Carolina

Méche’s 18k gold cat breed charms with diamond accents, (888) 624-7593.

locket from Talisman

Luxe Lockets
“Lockets, like those from Talisman, are a category we see being more important with our customers. They are looking for jewelry that has some sentimental attachment. With a locket they can add their own sentiments. Talisman’s lockets are fashionable, too, with matte, textured finishes that appeal to a contemporary customer.”
— Bob Rovinsky, Serago Roberts Jewelers, Northfield, New Jersey

Talisman Unlimited’s 18k rose gold locket with diamonds, (818) 888-3708.