Designer Jewelers Struggle To Maintain Their Customers
This particularly effects some of the big branded designer jewelry. An article in WWD notes that retailers have reported that customers are back to being concerned about what the piece is made of (which stones and metals) rather than being focused on a brand name. Many are seeking what they believe is a safe investment such as gold or diamonds.
Some brands are increasing their upscale lines as a way of staying afloat. One brand, Faraone Mennella whose gold earrings shown at right sell for $1,420 at Neiman Marcus, is now aiming higher with items like a $110,000 diamond cuff to be featured in Saks Fifth Avenue's holiday catalog. Other jewelers are taking the opposite approach such as Daniel K., which has until now sold exclusively diamonds and platinum but recently launched their lower priced Prêt-á-Porter line that features pavé diamonds and other gemstones set in gold (see our gallery of their pieces below).
One of the biggest trends in the last few years, the self purchase of jewelry by women, seems also to be shifting. The WWD article quotes Katey Brunini, founder of K. Brunini who says that the self-purchase has pretty much dropped out and many of her sales are now gifts. The gifts may be what continues to keep the market afloat in the U.S. because although the market is changing there will always be gift occasions that call for jewelry.
Gallery: Daniel K Pret a Porter