Archive for the ‘Tiffany’ Category

Cue The Trumpets: Sterling Silver Jewelry is Here!

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Cue the Trumpets. Sterling silver jewelry is hereby recognized as a viable and dynamic jewelry category by the “Main-Street” jewelry buyer. Just ask Mike Foglesong CEO of

“Wait a minute”, says Foglesong, “There’s an illogic here. Numerous jewelry retail channels have already recognized silver jewelry for what it is; beautiful, creative and especially classy.“

Take Tiffany & Co., for example. Over the years, Tiffany has become a retail channel by itself. Their skilled management team pioneered silver styling, (i.e. remember the 3-pronged Tiffany setting), merchandising, branding, (i.e. Elsa Peretti, Paloma Picasso) and pricing. Silver jewelry has become a strong – if not major — part of their product mix. They’ve been doing their silver jewelry homework for decades.

Take major department stores, for example. Silver jewelry has become a department store staple. Just check Macy’s, (Judith Jack’s Victorian silver jewelry ‘look’), or check other department stores for popular designer brands. Silver jewelry has become an important showcase profit center.

Take the big TV shopping networks, OVC and HSN, for example. They both have a wonderful eye for combining semi-precious stones, (Malaysian Jade, Lapis Lazuli, Charoite, Blue Lace Agate, the list is endless), with silver. Some stones are even hand carved.

Take the direct sales, or shop-at-home, retail channel, for example. Several companies, selling silver jewelry in the consumer’s living room, have combined sales of an estimated $154 million, (The sales leader is Silpada Designs but new players, like Inspiranza Design and Morgan Dane Designs are not far behind.)

“Dare I say it?” Foglesong goes on. “I’ve developed a strong bias to silver jewelry”.

Cue the Trumpets. Sterling silver jewelry is hereby recognized as a viable and dynamic jewelry category

To be fair, he also owned a large karat gold jewelry manufacturer before it ran into the rather unpleasant Reagan recession – as it were. There were no stimulus packages those days.

He thought it would be interesting to look under the hood and compare karat gold jewelry to silver jewelry. Some of the contrasts may be a surprise. “Which brings us to another point”, says Foglesong, “these are my opinions and experiences. I give you the right to disagree with any of them.”

 Karat Gold Jewelry: With the price of gold now around $1,700 an oz. the gold component has a major affect on price. Obviously, the target customer is, um, older ladies with a higher disposable income.

Sterling Silver Jewelry: It’s no surprises that silver jewelry appeals, in general terms, to the younger consumer. Just walk into a high school or attend a wedding party, (chain link bracelet, disk dangle, silver neck chain anyone?), and it’s obvious silver jewelry is a staple.

Briefly, and in general terms, the customer’s purchase of a gold item can be a hand wringing, time consuming and emotion filled experience. (Uncle Harry where are you?) Whether its price, gold or concept related, the consumer’s decision-making process is profound.

Also in general terms, the consumer’s purchase of a silver design is, usually, on impulse. Gone are the days of wondering if a silver bracelet will turn a wrist green or if an earring will make you sick. Silver manufacturers have solved these problems through improved alloys and product plating.

“One last thought”, says Foglesong, “it should only be a matter of time, before watch companies offer silver watches.”

Silver Jewelry: After Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

I was walking up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue the other day and decided to drop in on Tiffany & Co.’s remarkable flagship store on 57th Street.

With all the talk of fluctuating prices, how does Tiffany consistently produce excitement and wonderful silver jewelry?

One of the TV hosts on the FOX BUSINESS NETWORK asked me the same question recently.

dreams-lady-leafBack to the store. I took the elevator to the second floor – “Silver and Porcelain”: the directory said. The doors opened to an organized confusion. This is where the action was, at least for now.

Customers, (mostly female tourists with an occasional New “Yhawka”), younger that those on the first floor, (none older than 35, I think) were huddled over the cases, sometimes two or three deep while they passed credit cards to the Ambassadors behind the counter.

Having been in the silver jewelry business for the last eight years, after a decade in the gold jewelry industry, I have a pretty good understanding of silver merchandising and pricing. What was all the excitement?

“With all the talk of fluctuating prices, how does Tiffany consistently produce excitement and wonderful silver jewelry?”

I took a hard look at their silver showcases.

In my estimation, the silver jewelry was merchandised wonderfully. Each case displayed a grouping of branded (i.e. Elsa Peretti, Paloma Picasso, Tiffany 1837, T&CO, Tiffany Signature, and many others), silver designs, especially pendants and bracelets. Prices ranged to cover all major price points.

I could tell from the tailored silver designs (all with a Tiffany “look’), the designing was done exclusively by (or for) Tiffany and probably manufactured overseas and in the US. From what I could see, the quality was very good.

Over the years, Tiffany has pioneered in styling like the well-known, 3-pronged Tiffany setting. There was innovative styling here too. Small total weight diamonds set on silver bracelets, woven silver bracelets, torque designs among others.

They had done their homework.