Bridal jewellery forms the backbone of most retail jewellers. Diamonds sales are driven by the need for engagement rings. Over the last decade bridal jewellery began a slow evolution. Online diamond sales are took a big bite of market share, driving margins lower. But there are developing influences on the bridal business that may cause a change your approach to this product category and discover new ways to find profits.
New business model
Known in the trade as “Brass and Glass,” sample lines made in gold plated silver or even base metals and set with simulants like Cubic Zirconia are replacing cases full of real jewellery. Unless they are exclusively custom jewellers, most retailers carry one or more lines of commercial engagement rings and wedding bands. The initial inventory investment in a line can be staggering and no matter how many items are in stock, special orders still make up a large portion of sales.
With Brass and Glass the initial cost to fill showcases may be less than the cost of just a few gold and diamond rings. There is no need to buy expensive inventory until a sale is made; freeing up cash to be able to stock the next money making change to bridal.
Alternatives to diamonds
Diamonds still dominate the engagement market but alternative stones are catching on quickly. More young couples are turning to coloured stones with Sapphire taking the lead. Ruby and Alexandrite are showing up in engagement rings as well. Once started, collecting coloured stones can become addictive. Get them into fine colour at the beginning of their marriage and you’ll have years of continuing sales as they match their wedding sets at other gift-giving occasions.
Coloured diamonds are buzzing right now with record auction prices capturing media attention. New treatments offer a variety of diamond colours at affordable prices. Lab created stones offer another new alternative to natural diamonds. Consumers are more accepting of modern diamond technology than you might think. It is only old-school stubbornness on the part of jewellers that gets in the way.
Forget the concept of bridal jewellery and starting thinking in terms of wedding jewellery. We have a brand new demographic opening up that is affluent and loyal. It could be the single, most profitable new market to hit the industry. We can’t call it bridal because there may not be a bride…or there may be two brides. Same-sex marriages are being recognized in more places in the US every day; an opportunity that jewellers should not ignore. Even Tiffany is going after this market. This is a chance for designers to break the bridal moulds and venture into new design concepts like men’s diamond engagement rings.Creative new styles and good marketing can capture these new wedding jewellery sales and make clients for life.
Engagement rings, wedding bands and anniversary rings will always be a dominant category for jewellery sales. New concepts and broader horizons will only make it stronger if you are willing to go for it.