JA Show Trends

January 30, 2003

JA Show Trends

The first major trade show of the year, JA New York, sped through the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City Jan. 26-28, eliciting reports from exhibitors of strong traffic and fairly good sales, especially among exhibitors who made appointments with their New York City-area jewelers. Among the trends:

Established looks dominated, with nothing much looking new. The symbol craze is waning, though crosses seem hotter than ever. Larger brooches and pendants, so popular last year with Hollywood stars and models, are making inroads in the jewelry industry, appearing in all-metal, enamel and colored gem designs. Beads of all kinds and in all sizes, especially colored gem and metal versions, also are still popular. Polpular chain links were diamond covered or all-metal, most often in oblong, oval or marquise shapes. Jewelry accented by rubber or silk cords or other details seem to get more popular all the time. Finally, flattened surfaces, much like Robert Lee Morris's dramatic pieces for Donna Karan's fashion shows, were in more showcases.

Precious Metals
Silver was hot wherever it was sold, a sign of the still-tenuous economic climate. But interest in gold was high too, with one supplier suggesting the recent gold price spike was causing jewelers to think about buying now, before the higher-priced goods filter onto the market later this year. Hearts and bridal jewelry still dominate platinum-intensive lines. Brushed metal beads, especially in organic shapes, were in abundance and enamel touches were everywhere.

Colored Gems
Pink and blue pastel gems complemented many showcases and were popular with retailers, according to exhibitors. The styles reflect apparel fashion's move toward pink and yellow for spring. But green gems, especially peridot, made a stand too. Turquoise and coral are still strong and are filtering into many lines for the first time, as this trend hangs on for a surprising third year.

Diamonds & Bridal
Flush-set diamonds were popular at booths selling bridal jewelry, especially among jewelers who have a base of active women customers. Modern, machine-set rings, increasingly in yellow gold, are a hot choice, says A.J. Tosyali, president of Benchmark, the bridal ring company in Tuscaloosa, AL. Tosyali and other bridal ring suppliers say gold is definitely back, but platinum remains the standard. Along with modern styles, brides are extremely interested in antique settings and diamond cuts, report exhibitors and retailers. These styles sold well too. In non-bridal diamond jewelry, exhibitors buzzed about a new Diamond Trading Co. program coming this spring that will heavily promote diamond right hand rings. Along with big rings, exhibitors featured chandelier earrings, cuff bracelets and three-stone styles in pendants and rings.

by Peggy Jo Donahue

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