By Brecken Branstrator
At the recent Smart Show in Chicago, Michael Bungert of Uneek Jewelry said that the company’s Lace band collection, which is lighter and crafted in 14-karat gold, was a top seller. Pictured here is the company’s “Branscombe” open lace diamond band in 14-karat white gold.
Chicago--Based on the activity at the April Smart Show, many retailers still are shopping for price-point driven jewelry, especially when it comes to diamond fashion pieces.

The show opened Saturday in Chicago for education sessions, with buying activity kicking off on the show floor Sunday and ending Tuesday.

A number of exhibitors reiterated a sentiment that has been a theme at jewelry trade shows as of late--that retailers are buying price-point jewelry.

Michael Bungert of Uneek Jewelry said many retailers were looking for “price-point fashion jewelry,” especially fashion-forward diamond jewelry that’s geometric in shape or form, in the $500 to $2,500 range at retail.

The brand’s “Lace” collection, launched in Las Vegas last year and featuring openwork filigree and scattered accent diamonds, is “one of the hottest collections” that the company has debuted, he added.

“It’s feminine. It’s frilly. And we deliberately made it lighter in (metal) weight and lighter in diamond weight,” to keep the prices down, Bungert said. He also said they are finding that the collection has appeal outside the bridal market, with many of the rings selling as right-hand rings.

Uneek also launched its stackable rings without any diamonds and those too have been doing well for the company. Those pieces were launched in response to market demand, and without the diamonds in them, they too became price-point pieces, Bungert said.

When it comes to stone shapes, rounds still reign, with ovals increasing in popularity. Bungert said that of all the fancy cuts, ovals are “by far creating the most excitement.”

RELATED CONTENT: 6 Takeaways on the Current Bridal Market

For Alan Nacht of Bernard Nacht and Co., the popularity of bridal was nothing new, and the buyers at the Smart Show that came to the booth still were looking at estate and vintage bridal, especially pieces with intricate designs and details such as filigree and milgrain, Nacht told National Jeweler.

Buyers were shopping for bridal on the lower end of the price spectrum, generally picking up pieces in the range of $1,250 to $2,500 at wholesale.

Additionally, Nacht said they had been doing well with color at the show, especially with yellow sapphires and some peridot, in more traditional, classic ring styles.

At Frederic Duclos, Karen Duclos said that rose gold still is doing very well for them, especially when mixed with other metals, as well as the brand’s newest, updated sterling silver pieces that mimic a wire wrapping look because it’s “fresh” and updated, she said.

“Stores generally want to do some two-tone and some all-silver selections,” she said. “They rarely want to take all of one or the other.”

The fact that most of the pieces from Frederic Duclos retail for less than $500 allows jewelers to look more for the styles they want than to focus on price, Duclos said.

World Trade Jewelers, meanwhile, launched new additions to its Svelte collection to continue offering price-point fashion jewelry for buyers, with its slim open lines and wearable shapes. Styles like bar necklaces and ear climbers were doing well at the show.

The company also has launched a new line of jewelry featuring diamond clusters designed to look like bigger stones and offering a bigger look than the traditional Svelte pieces. While Svelte will remain its core line, Adriene Pernice said, these new pieces with a bigger look have been very well received so far.

Over at the Eva Stone booth, meanwhile, Rafael Szyszko said that they are very happy with how their first Smart Show had been going as of Monday afternoon.

When it came to what had been hot at the booth so far, Szyszko said that many buyers were really liking their pieces with rough diamonds, as well as the brand’s textured, structural rings.

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.