By Hannah Connorton
For most jewelers polled in this month’s Product Panel survey, silver jewelry accounts for a small percentage of sales but the category continues to perform well.
New York--Even with the price of gold dropping and yellow pieces trending, silver jewelry sales continue to be strong for jewelers around the nation, and they’re stocking more of it as well.

This is part of what National Jeweler gleaned from its recently reintroduced Product Panel, a monthly feature in which jewelers from around the country share details on a specific category in their stores.

This month focuses on silver jewelry sales and is based on the responses of the approximately 200 retailers who participated in our poll.

Here are some highlights from the survey.

More than a quarter of the jewelers polled (32 percent) said silver jewelry accounts for 0 to 10 percent of overall sales. Twenty-five percent of respondents said silver makes up 10 to 15 percent of sales, followed by 15 to 20 percent of sales (20 percent). This means that for 77 percent of those polled, silver jewelry comprises 20 percent or less of overall sales in their stores.

Only 4 percent of retailers said silver equates to more than 40 percent of their store’s sales.

Though silver remains a relatively small slice of a jeweler’s business, sales in the category do seem to be on the rise.

When asked about their silver sales over the past three years, almost half of the survey-takers--46 percent--said the category is increasing as a percentage of overall sales, and they are continuing to stock more of it as well. About 33 percent of survey-takers said their silver jewelry inventory volume has “increased somewhat” in terms of dollar figures over the past three years, followed by the 14 percent who said inventory volume has “increased significantly.”

Around 38 percent of respondents said silver sales have stayed about the same over the past three years, while only 16 percent said they have declined.

20160225 PP-Graphs

Not surprisingly, margins on jewelry made in silver, which as of press time was $15.19 an ounce, also continue to fare well for jewelers.

About 67 percent of retailers said their overall gross margin on the metal is 50 percent or more, followed by a margin of 40 to 50 percent (17 percent of retailers) and 30 to 40 percent (7 percent of retailers).

Only 9 percent of respondents said their gross silver margins are 30 percent or less.

When asked which silver jewelry brands and designers were their best-sellers, the top brands listed by survey-takers were Gabriel & Co., Pandora, Frederic Duclos, Charles Garnier, Thistle & Bee, Ed Levin, Lafonn, Officina Bernardi and John Hardy.

Other retailers said they don’t carry brands, with some noting that they sell their own custom silver lines.

Jewelers also reported that what does well in their stores specifically is “anything with large discounts,” “generic sterling silver with genuine gemstones” or “repeated sales of a small handful of designs.”

National Jeweler’s Silver Product Panel Survey was conducted between January and February of 2016 and polled approximately 185 retailers nationwide. Of the respondents, 90 percent owned one store, 9 percent owned two to nine stores and the remaining 1 percent operated 10 to 49 stores.

Get the Daily News >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.