Reports from the year’s first fine jewelry trade shows around the world reflected a slow start to buying.
Suppliers of gemstones, diamonds and jewelry said sales were slow as retailers shopped for new ideas, but did little buying.
Retailers who attended—or chose not to attend in many cases—the year’s first shows in Vicenza, Italy; Tucson, Ariz.; New York and Orlando said they were still overstocked from the less-than stellar holiday season.
Like buying trends, new ideas in jewelry design and gemstones were hard to spot. Perhaps anticipating an economically sluggish first half, suppliers took the conservative route, continuing along with fashion trends from 2000.
At Vicenza, the first jewelry show of the year and, undoubtedly, the exhibit of trend-setting ideas in use of gems and jewelry, among the strongest looks was a long-term favorite. Filling the cases was diamond pave in white gold—a look that has become commonplace in recent years.
Colored diamonds, meanwhile, also continued to be seen. Champagne and cognac stones are still being promoted by not only leading jewelry designers, but also being seen more and more frequently in consumer fashion venues.
At New York and Orlando, meanwhile, the major trends in diamond jewelry were increasing numbers of square-cut stones—especially princess-cut.
Thanks undoubtedly to questionable consumer spending for the first half of 2001, diamonds were less statement-making than last year. This follows in line with a holiday season in which retailers reported a decline in sales of larger stones and a focus on quality in stones smaller than two carats.
The diamond line bracelet and three-stone styles (rings and pendants) being promoted by De Beers are favorites again for spring. The line style is carrying over, meanwhile, into dangling earrings with a drop of in-line diamonds. The most popular stones being princess for the line bracelets and oval-cut stones for the three-stone designs.