By Michelle Graff
New York--Nearly half of jewelers polled recently by National Jeweler and Jewelers of America said their engagement ring and wedding band sales are on the rise, with custom pieces performing particularly well.

When asked about the trend of their engagement ring sales over the past 10 years, 46 percent of poll-takers said they have increased in that timeframe, while 31 percent said they’ve stayed the same.

Overall gross margin on engagement rings ranges from 31 to 50 percent for more than half (56 percent) of those surveyed, which could be attributed to the current volume of jewelers leaning more heavily on their custom business. 

“For us, our custom-designed engagement rings can incorporate a customer’s loose stone diamonds or be built from scratch,” one jeweler wrote when asked an open-ended question about their store’s top sellers. “We are our best brand by a long shot!”

Another survey-taker noted: “Overall our custom work is always our bestseller, repurposing grandma’s or mom’s old stones or providing new stones, making something custom and not charging prices as high as large chains. The personal attention paid to our customers has been a benefit to us.”

When it comes to specific brands, many jewelers listed Gabriel & Co., Simon G and Tacori as among their best-sellers. The dominant style for engagement rings, meanwhile, appears still to be the halo.

20160420 margin charts

Wedding band sales have trended in a similar direction: increasing or staying the same over the past 10 years for 79 percent of retailers while decreasing for 22 percent.

Alternative metals such as tungsten, titanium and stainless steel remain popular, particularly for men’s bands, while Stuller and Lashbrook were among the brands listed as bestsellers.

One respondent noted that, “In men’s bands, alternative metals are always the bestsellers. That leaves more money to spend on the lady and, as we all know, that’s who the men have to keep happy.”

And even more margin is made on wedding bands than on engagement rings.

Seventy-four percent of respondents said that their overall gross margin on wedding bands is 41 to 50 percent (38 percent) or more than 50 percent (36 percent).
“In men’s bands, alternative metals are always the bestsellers. That leaves more money to spend on the lady and, as we all know, that’s who the men have to keep happy.”
Bands, however, comprise a decidedly smaller percentage of a jeweler’s sales than engagement rings, indicating that perhaps many retailers are missing an opportunity to make another sale.

Nearly 60 percent of survey-takers said engagement ring sales make up 21 percent or more of their overall sales while only 31 percent reported the same for bands. 

National Jeweler and Jewelers of America conducted the Product Pulse survey between March 28 and April 13. Approximately 200 jewelers responded.

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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.