Interview With Amy Elliott – JCK Trends and Future of Jewelry Industry
In episode #142 of the Joy Joya Jewelry Marketing Podcast, I share my interview with Amy Elliott, Contributing Editor for JCK and writer of the JCK blog All That Glitters. I chat with Amy all about the trends she noticed at JCK Las Vegas 2021, where I had the chance to meet her in person for the first time. To see the transcript of the interview, keep scrolling below.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 0:00
Hi, I’m your host Laryssa Wirstiuk. Through this podcast, I aim to empower and inspire jewelry entrepreneurs and innovators, so they can thrive by doing what they love. I’m passionate about digital marketing for jewelry brands, and I’m excited to share my passion with you.
This is Episode 142, and today I’m going to be sharing my interview with Amy Elliott, contributing editor for JCK and the writer of the JCK blog called All That Glitters. In this episode I chat with Amy all about the trends she noticed that JCK Las Vegas 2021 where I had the chance to meet her in person for the first time. Amy is a writer, editor and brand storyteller who specializes in fine jewelry and fashion. And she’s a former staff editor at the Knot Bridal Guide, Brides Local magazines, Brides.com and Lucky. She was also the engagement rings expert for About.com so she knows a ton about bridal jewelry, even though she gets tired of talking about it, according to her. I’m so excited to share this conversation with you.
But before we get to today’s episode, I want to share some marketing related news and insights from the past week that caught my attention. So one article I saw from Yahoo was all about the piercing parlor or piercing party trend. So you may have heard of a brand called Maria Tash. Maria Tash sorry if I’m saying it incorrectly. This is the most global and original of the luxury piercing parlor jewelers with eight stores around the world and even more to come. Piercings as a fashion trend has totally snowballed nationwide with lines out the door, and many jewelers have taken the opportunity to even piece shoppers’ ear lobes with precious metals and stones. This is all the rage right now. And the market is huge. It’s an exciting space. And it transcends any demographic because many different age groups, both men and women love piercings. And it’s something that people have been wanting to do after being cooped up for many months. It’s something fun, it’s a way to add color and sparkle to your face. I love that this is a trend and that it’s only growing.
So one article from JCK was all about the diamond retailer and wedding jewelry seller brilliant Earth, and that they recently filed for an IPO. The filing values the company at $100 million. But the number appears to be a placeholder. The Brilliant Earth group said quote “There can be no assurance as to whether or when the offering may be completed. Or as to the actual size or terms of the offering”. It’s pretty interesting to see a company like Brilliant Earth filing for an IPO. They have really heavy advertising costs. That’s the one of the number one ways that they acquire customers. And I think what they’re doing is trying to really expand their physical footprint. So currently, they have 14 showrooms and the showrooms yield approximately $8,000 in sales per square foot. If you don’t know a lot about Brilliant Earth, they really pride themselves on tracking their diamonds, and ensuring that they’re ethically sourced. And as they say, “Beyond conflict free”. So it’ll be really interesting to see the growth of this company, and how that growth or lack of growth influences the diamond industry, the wedding jewelry industry in general.
Finally, I saw a really great article from AdAge about social commerce versus ecommerce, and how the lines are really blurring between the two things. So for some social commerce is not necessarily separate from ecommerce, especially as these new platforms are really stretching to be more than just photo sharing or tweets. I think a lot of social media platforms are starting to think of themselves as ecommerce platforms as well to better service their business users who are selling goods online. Social commerce is growing rapidly. A lot of people think it’s becoming the holy grail of marketing, even as TikTok and other social platforms build out their shopping features. Many retailers actually still prefer doing business on their own sites. So on one hand, these social platforms are trying to accommodate retailers. But on the other hand, retailers are sort of pushing back and saying that they want to be able to capture and own customer data. So there’s a little bit of friction there. Because if they truly give in to social commerce, if that’s their main sales channel, if that’s their main mode of selling, they don’t necessarily have access to all the customer data because that social platform kind of manages that whole interaction. Regardless, product discovery is still and always will be a huge part of the customer journey. And social media platforms really help facilitate discovery. I mean, how many times have you learned about a new brand on Instagram or learned about a new product on Instagram or on TikTok or on Pinterest? These social media platforms are without a doubt part of that first step in the customer journey. So social platforms are really taking that into consideration and trying to figure out how they fit into that piece of the puzzle. Well, if consumers are actually discovering products on my social platform, why can’t I be with that customer throughout the entire buyers journey and allow them to not only discover the product there, but also to check out and maybe even make future purchases. So I think that this is a really hot topic to pay attention to the blurring lines between social commerce and ecommerce. And I’m really interested to kind of keep my eye on it and see how this evolves over time. And also how shopping habits evolve over time? And how are people going to be buying products through holiday and beyond.
If you want to get the links to the articles I share in this segment of the podcast, you can sign up for my email newsletter by visiting joyjoya.com/signup, and you’ll get a digest with the links whenever a new episode drops. Okay, let’s get to my interview with Amy and talk all about the trends in the jewelry industry.
Hey, Amy, thanks so much for coming on the podcast. I’m so excited to have you as a guest today.
Amy Elliott 6:32
Thank you so much for having me, Laryssa. It’s great to be here.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 6:35
So tell our listeners a little bit about how you got into the jewelry industry. First, like why don’t you give us some background information.
Amy Elliott 6:44
So I’ve been covering jewelry for most of my career. I started out in wedding magazines. And I worked at the Knot. I worked at Bridal Guide, I was one of the founding editors of Brides Local magazines, which no longer exists. But I was you know, staff editor at various print magazines and websites. And during that I had occasion to cover jewelry mainly in the engagement ring and bridal space. And at Bridal Guide, I was a young editor 26 years old, and I had a column called All That Glitters, which also was the blog, the name of my blog at JCK. So it all came full circle, but that really gave me an opportunity to educate myself as well as readers. So I really learned a lot about the jewelry industry in producing that column. And made lifelong friends, honestly, in the industry, some of the publicists that I was working with and I still hear from on a regular basis now. And so that’s sort of where I guess I cut my teeth jewelry wise.
And then I always kind of worked it into like I had, you know, like executive editor role at brides but I always you know, we were short on staff. So I pulled in all the jewelry for cover shoots, so I just always kind of kept a hand in. And then I was at Lucky magazine. And I got to know like the fashion jewelry side of things and like all these cool, cool girl I guess fine jewelry in a fashion context, the Zoe Chiccos of the world, like those people came on my radar, because before I’d been covering mainly, you know, like Simon G and Tacoritm and Megan Thorne and, you know, prominent bridal ring designer. So this was a chance to I was exposed to kind of fine jewelry as fashion and then I went freelance and have worked for a number of fashion brands as a jewelry copywriter.
And then when I was five months pregnant, JCK asked if I wanted to write there, All That Glitters blog. And actually, they had asked me at the time, it didn’t have a name, but they wanted me to create style content for them. And actually, I should back up I worked for About.com as their engagement ring expert, the site no longer exists. Welcome to publishing. But it was it is now Th Spruce. But it was you know, I covered so much engagement ring content for them. This is probably around 2016. And so that’s sort of how I kind of re entered that sort of marked my re entry into the world of jewelry reconnected with colleagues and designers and, you know, just kind of re entered that world. And so that’s how I mean I had known Victoria Gomelsky, my editor at JCK for years but I think just the work that I was doing was more visible and it’s they asked me to write that blog. I jumped at the chance, because I really wanted to cover jewelry in a more holistic way in a way that touched all aspects of the industry. And that was in 2016.
And I’ve kind of evolved the All That Glitters blog on JCK to be, I call it style and culture. I’m very interested in where jewelry intersects with history and pop culture and current events and art and music. And so I’ve kind of found my groove, and I think i’m also known people who read my blog. I think know that I cover designers and designer collections are some of my favorite topics to cover doing a deep dive into you know, what inspired you how you made aesthetic and creative choices and that kind of thing. So that’s sort of a very, very long answer to your question, but it’s involved so many mediums and pitstops in the bridal worlds and online and this doesn’t exist and that doesn’t exist, but here I am, and I’m very happy to be you know, an established voice in industry.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 11:11
That sounds like such a fun journey. And side note, I used to love Lucky magazine. That was like my favorite magazine of all.
Amy Elliott 11:22
I was only there for like a year and a half but it was great. So yes.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 11:28
So since you’ve seen so much jewelry and you like have been exposed to it all. How would you describe your own style, and what do you personally gravitate to in jewelry?
Amy Elliott 11:40
Well, as evidenced on my blog, I really like big bold, glamorous jewels like I love you know I’m extra very extra I like really opulent, beautiful colorful, just high jewelry is like my favorite. So I always say I’m very drawn to like the GLAMAZON in the room. My lifestyle does not support that inclination. I’m a mom living in Connecticut now. So I’ve had to evolve my jewelry style, as many of us have during the pandemic era, but I’ve had to kind of evolve it so as where we sit today. I like vintage jewelry. I love estate jewelry. I’m a big collector so I do have a lot of estate pieces. And I have been wearing a lot of necklaces. I’ve been collecting charms over the last year. That was never really my thing. I had a charm bracelet that I never wore but now I’m like wearing them on necklaces and that has been a really fun thing to collect. So I’m interested in pieces that like aren’t out of place at the Pre-K drop off. You know I try to wear things that sort of fit with the tenor of my new life. And I also have like a stack of bracelets that I wear that are sort of golden diamond chain bracelets because they’re their lights, I can layer I can act and I can keep adding to them. Two big things that I collect right now are like charms and layerable necklaces, gold chains of course. I’m definitely a gold person over a silver person, but I do love silver Southwestern jewelry. I would say my tastes are very eclectic.
I do generally like to have things be a little bit on the glamorous side so and I believe in investing you know investing in quality. There are some designers that I love and covet and have you know added to my collection. I love coral. I’m wearing a coral giant coral pendant. Very cool. I picked this up at the antique antique show in Vegas. And I saw that has I guess my jewelry style has evolved over time. I mean I definitely have like big love big giant gold earrings like giant 70s door knocker gold earrings. I just I love gold earrings of all kinds and but I’ve just I’ve evolved it to be more layerable a little more casual, a little more like something I can wear to the grocery store and not look ridiculous because I did live in New York for 20 years before moving to Connecticut so you know some of my jewelry would be a little bit more acceptable you know at a press event or a party in New York, but I no longer live that way. So I have to wear things that are more compatible with with the way I live now.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 14:51
I like the idea of you starting like a jewelry, fashion blog, just showing you like out and about in Connecticut at the grocery store. Wearing like some crazy statement.
Amy Elliott 15:05
I’m just like, I’ll have a quarter pound of the lean ground beef. And here’s my diamond rings, my diamond stacking rings. Perfect.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 15:17
So Amy, we met in person at this year’s JCK Las Vegas Show. I’m curious, how long have you been attending this trade show? And how have you seen it change and evolve over the years?
Amy Elliott 15:29
That’s a good question. I probably have been attending it since 2007, 2008, I think that was maybe my first show on staff at these wedding magazines. And so when I covered the shows back, then you’d go around with your ad sales rep for the magazine. And, and so that’s just a different way to cover a trade show they, a lot of times the editors will go around with the reps, it’s kind of like an icebreaker. And the editor does their thing, looking at jewelry snapping photos for what they might want to call in for a shoot. And, and then, you know, your editor can talk to the PR person and the sales rep can talk to whoever’s in charge of advertising. Publishing has changed so much in the last 10-15 years that like I don’t and, you know, I’m freelance now. So I don’t really, I’m not really involved in those kinds of interactions anymore. And in a way, it’s very freeing, I can kind of just cover the news organically and talk to jewelry designers and just kind of do my own thing and not be tethered to a sales objective, which is nice. And so I don’t, I don’t know, like, I don’t know, what kind of business is being done at trade shows as far as selling itself as far as far as selling, you know, advertising space, I don’t even know if that happens anymore. So I would imagine that’s one way that it’s changed.
It’s, it’s weird, because if we have not we had not been to Las Vegas, you know, in like a year and a half. So in a way it felt like coming home, it felt very familiar. It was like, okay, I got it took a minute to like, get my sea legs trained my eyes to like really, like be focusing on these small details, my face hurt from smiling, like all these get my feet hurt, like, you know, all these familiar trade show kind of things coming back to me. It’s, it honestly feels very familiar. But you’d have to ask somebody, like, I think it would be more interesting to ask a vendor, you know, what, what they have observed, from, you know, just from the perspective of like, you know, writing orders, and, you know, are people buying on the spot? I mean, I don’t know, I don’t know. I mean, I did I can say that at this show, I saw retailers with, you know, at a booth with like, trays piled with jewelry, like their selects, that they want to different than being set aside for immediate delivery. I don’t know the business is being done that way previously, or as much because a lot of times I think the tradeshow was a venue for networking, for face time, for seeing what’s out there seeing what’s new. And just kind of browsing and maybe not committing, picking up a line. So, but I the vibe at this year’s Vegas shows was much more intentional. And like, just like, I’ll take that, I’ll take that. I’ll take that. I’ll take that like, like, it was just it felt a little bit more like that it felt more alive. I don’t know, just transactional, it felt more transaction.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 18:59
Yeah, I heard that from a lot of vendors also that people that retailers came there with, like specific goals in mind, because they haven’t been able to buy for, you know, a year and a half. And it’s hard to buy stuff online. So being able to see the pieces, okay, we’re good. Like, let’s get what we need here.
Amy Elliott 19:17
They needed inventory, they need it very, very badly. So um, so I will say I think there’s younger, a lot more, a lot younger and newer voices on the scene than when I covered the shows 10 years ago was always kind of like the usual suspects. And you know, kind of jewelers and designers that were like maybe in their 40s and 50s kind of hitting they’re hitting their stride and now there’s like a second tier of like the new generation or the next wave of designers in their 20s and 30s showing collections so there wasn’t a whole lot of young, really young people kind of you know, investing in in the trade show format, and whatever, like, I don’t think there was a lot of that going on 10 years ago. So, um, but all in all, it’s like riding a bike, it feels it felt very familiar. It felt like, Oh, I know, I’ve been here before, I know what’s going on here. And some people, you know, I stopped by the Simon G booth. I mean, I’ve known Zee from Simon G for like, I mean, we both basically grew up in the industry together as I was 20-something young editor at our wedding magazine, he was, you know, working for his dad, Simon G, one of the biggest bridal brands out there, and you’re just like, here we are, like, he’s the successor to the brands, and, you know, I’m, you know, just have been, I’m still covering jewelry, but in it at a different level. And so, it’s, you know, it still is a venue for connecting and forging connections of people and networking. But just a little bit different. And it’s just, there’s more stuff to see, definitely.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 21:11
So how do you personally prepare for the show and decide, like, who you want to see to make the most out of your experience?
Amy Elliott 21:19
Um, I, this year, and years past, I have put together a schedule of people that I wanted to see, and people usually reach out to me and like, want to talk appointments, and I kind of build my schedule around that. And you can’t just like walk into the Mikimoto booth, like you have to, like, you can’t, you can’t just like you can’t just like so some of those guys, like you just like, okay, like, like LeVian can just like show up at their door, like you have to be, you know, that needs to be a formal appointment, there’s a sort of, so there’s so for some people where it’s sort of formal, you know, I kind of like, slot those guys in. And then this year, especially, I was like, I don’t want the pressure, like, I just want to be able to like walk and see what I want to see. And I did want to support the JCK vendors. Because, you know, as I did go to the Couture show and saw a lot of my friends and you know, obviously the design there is incredible, and I’m so editorial and so important for all editors to see, but I just have it, they’re these, they’re these sort of JCK vendors that have just been going to the show for years, like Casey designs, or Shy Crestions, and, you know, like, I just wanted to see them and handle their pieces, because it had been so long. I guess I spent a lot of time at the Luxury and JCK shows this year. Seeing, you know, basically our vendor partners who, you know, invested in that that show and I there were some newcomers who had never showed before ever.
And so this girl Stephanie Urbaetis and her and Nina Nguyen is a good friend of mine, and I saw her collection. And so I I always keep an open mind. And you know, the best case scenario, I mean, like the shows that I go to in New York, I never make appointments, I just browse. And, you know, chit chat, and, and just, you know, if I can find an opening, I’ll go in and ask to, like, try pieces on and take pictures. So that’s like the most usually a kind of trade show experience. And this sometimes it’s like a little bit intimidating. I mean, sometimes people are really rude. And you’re just like, okay, you know, I’m not trying to sell you ad space, or I’m just I like, okay, like, you know, so sometimes that’s a little bit, but again, that’s like, just part of life covering trade show. I mean, I’ve been having those interactions for 20 years now. So with various people so, um, but I guess at this point, it’s a little easier for me to cover the shows because I just the names are more familiar to me. You know, that people are probably follow on Instagram, you know what I mean? Like, Oh, I know those guys, or like, How do I know that? Oh, yeah. Like, we covered them, or one of my colleagues covered them. And so I just you kind of as an editor, you have to have kind of this encyclopedic, like memory of, of who does what you know, like, and so it’s just a memory bank of people we’re seeing who have made an impression on you in some form or other So, but I did make a point I wanted to see. I want to just, I wanted to some of these vendors JCK don’t have PR firms, you know, they have an unlisted PR so I just it was important for me to like go and connect with their marketing people to like put a name a face to the name and encourage them to reach out to me when they have new pieces of consideration.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 24:56
Yeah, definitely. I love Nina Nguyen I loved her booth and everything like I was vaguely familiar with her stuff. And I think I talked about this on last week’s episode. Like, I loved seeing it in person and handling it and seeing all the different elements and how they can be interchangeable. And it was really great to see. I also thought it was interesting how you said people are rude to you. I don’t know what I never had a trade, a press badge before for a trade show. So I was there representing my podcast. And I feel like a lot of vendors, like just kind of looked at me like they didn’t want to talk to me.
Amy Elliott 25:37
Yeah, there is, like I said, it was very transactional, their focus was very much on, you know, closing sales. I mean, I tried to go to the jeweler booth, like several times, and it was always just like, like, she like Melanie was just like, you know, just hand over fist like working with working with clients. So yeah, I mean, it’s fine. Um, but yeah, like Nina is sort of the queen of convertible and versatility and, you know, wearing different things. And I think that was a big theme of the show in general, or big trends that emerged from the show was convertible pieces that can be worn different pieces that can convert to Hey, like, take this necklace apart, and you get two bracelets, you know, or take this, you know, this is a brooch that can be a pendant, and this on snaps to this, like these sort of engineering kind of mechanism convertibility things. But then also, like, you know, flip it over. And there’s you can, you can wear the enamel side facing or you can wear the diamond side facing or with a curb bracelet that’s like diamonds on one side and smooth on the other. So like, if you’re on the subway, you can flip it over, like a lot of sort of built in versatility, not so much. It converts to a whole new piece. But, you know, two looks in one kind of options. And I thought that was really cool and smart to sort of offer that versatility.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 27:01
Yeah, I noticed that too. And I’m all about it. I love it. So what were some other top trends that you noticed at the show this year? I think everyone wants to know, that’s what they’re here for.
Amy Elliott 27:13
Well, so I was like, so we have a show daily publication. And so I was actually like covering, you know, this topic like boots on the ground, like real time as it is happening. And the ones that stand out for me, you know, as I sort of prepared my thoughts for this conversation. And it was surprising, and but yellow diamonds was a big trend that people talked about. There was a lot of yellow diamonds just in cases. And so this is mainly in the bridal sphere. So I guess to back up, like bridal is a huge was a huge trend. Everybody has a bridal collection, everybody is being loud about their bridal and putting their bridal forward. And as a subset of that is this whole new category of yellow certainly knew, but for some people, it will be new, just a more of a concentration of yellow diamond engagement rings, I think today’s bridal consumer is looking for anything that like she doesn’t want what her mom had, like she wants it, she wants nothing to do with that. So in many ways a yellow diamond could tick that box. Because it’s you know, new and different and unusual for you know, somebody born in the 90s you know, and I think also just the positivity and joy that I really love the color yellow. It’s just one of my favorite colors. And I think that just the joy and positivity of yellow, which was also one of Pantone’s colors of the year. It was called. It was called illumination.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 28:59
Oh, illuminating, I think.
Amy Elliott 29:01
Yeah. Illuminating, but it’s a bright lemon yellow, so that that might have been a trickle down effect. But it just is so joyous and positive and uplifting and just like sunshine on your finger. And I think reach I think vendors wisely leaned into that and because it is one of those things, could you see it in a case you are just it’s gonna spark joy. You know, it’s because it so reminds you of sunlight and it’s whatever and Le Vian who is you know, an industry leader. And they are definitely into yellow diamonds. They were a big part of their trend report that they do every year. So a lot of just by osmosis, whatever they do kind of really trickles into trickles down into the zeitgeist. They definitely influence consumer behaviors, whatever Le Vian is doing definitely influences consumer behavior and appetites.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 30:03
So I just noticed in the summer issue of JCK they had a two page ad spread just for the yellow diamonds and I thought that was really interesting.
Amy Elliott 30:13
Yeah, definitely. It’s I mean they’re all about these colored stones that’s one of their core values is is these beautiful colored stones on top of diamonds etc. But they do yellow diamonds really, really well. But like also like Rahaminov had beautiful yellow diamonds and unique and if they were just kind of everywhere so I would definitely you know sometimes jewelry trends it takes a while for them to solidify and become you know, abundant but that definitely was sort of an insider’s trend that presented itself.
And I think hearts are a really big trend. Pendants in particular. Well there’s two things like tourmaline or emerald like you’re setting a bezel and it’s just a sweet little pendant. Or a hardstone or like an opal like a beautiful lapis or opal or malachite heart. You know maybe the size of a quarter that would be you know, a pendant that you could layer on to a chain or wear on its own or wear in a jumble. So that motif was pretty strong. And it’s not like the sexiest trend but just price point golden diamond jewelry was huge.
I mean almost every vendor had not every vendor but whatever a lot of vendors had pieces under $1,500 wholesale that you know, which means that if you are looking for pieces under $2,000 for your store, you know that retail for $3,000 for your store. There’s just an abundance of options from the chain, the diamond chain bracelets that I spoke of, to just pendants and bangle bracelets, stacking bracelets, those like very like delicate open cuffs so like wire cuffs with like little diamond tips or like a lot of options that are going to be like you know 800 wholesale or whatever or less or much less delicate stacking rings delicate little charms I mean even like Uneek had like a beautiful like golden diamond ring for like 250 wholesale so it’s I feel like a lot of the bigger companies are assorting their collections to include this more accessible price point. And that’s really good for the retailers too because it can help them attract a younger customer that you know when she gets the big promotion five years later she you know she’ll come in and be ready to like buy a more big ticket item so and I always like a bargain so I was excited that sort of excited me to see all these accessible, priced, golden diamond pieces.
And I still want to malachite again I love melkite so maybe I was looking for it but I feel like that was out and loud and proud. And a lot of places higher end beautiful rubellite tourmaline this sort of raspberry red, gorgeous, formal you know high end luxury tourmalines and then just like regular regular tourmalines you know greens and yellows and pinks like Lika Behar beautiful step beautiful silver stacking rings of the gold bezel and just tourmaline and just like so well priced. I feel like the consumer like knows what tourmaline is and is ready to invest in it.
An oh then just necklaces in general layering layering layering layered necklaces. And I think that I saw a lot of vendors kind of with the people working the booth or just on the bust you know on their stand you know just showing like the curations and how to curate like showing that. A look ready to go. It was really helpful I think for retailers to buy into that trend because they didn’t have to do like onesie twosie it was already presented for them and you know and it was really fun. I think I mentioned Lika Behar but she had emeralds which I don’t remember her doing emerald so felt really fresh and beautiful. And we just put together this whole story with you know, the girl working her booth was wearing black and we just put like three like long necklaces all at it just so it was so that is just a really addictive and fun trend.
And we had my editor had observed that like, you know, for a while, we were all talking about the big Zoom earring because no one could, you know, people to basically only see like the top, you know, of our bodies on a Zoom call. So, you know, earrings were kind of the thing that was moving. But now I think people are like, you know what, it’s, uh, you know, we’re still wearing masks, and it’s still a way of life. And so it’s actually kind of cumbersome to wear a mask with earrings on like, especially if you’d like to have a big giant gold ones like me, it’s like very hard. And so we basically my editor was just like, you know, the Zoom earring, you know, it’s like make away from the mask from the necklace. And I think that’s a big part of it, that necklaces are mask friendly. And with all this versatility and the charms and the pendant, there’s just a lot of ways, a lot of wardrobing opportunities for retailers to sell their clients on. You know, buy this and it goes with this and it goes with that. And then you know, and then you become a collector and you come in well keep buying more.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 36:06
So many good observations. So you had mentioned bridal as a general trend, and that pretty much everyone has a bridal line. Are there trends within bridal that you’re seeing in terms of like styles, popular diamond cuts, lab grown versus natural, what were some things you were seeing within bridal?
Amy Elliott 36:24
So it’s something that like one of my colleagues had, you know, covered fairly recently, but that I think we’re moving towards a bold gold look. That which is almost like a bomb ring, like a bomb silhouette, with the diamond kind of flush set flush mounted into it. So it’s sometimes they call it like a gypsy setting, but I don’t know if that’s okay to say and, but it’s that sort of 60s, very retro look, gold forward, inset diamond, probably an oval set, eastwest. That look, I think is emerging and feels different and fresh. Because the other like, the most popular thing with bridal is, and retailers hate it. It’s the super, super delicate, delicate, delicate band. Yes. And it’s just, um, you know, there’s just a lot of physics issues that look presents, because if you have a big honking diamond, you need a more substantial band. It doesn’t work with these like tiny little, like, dinky blade thin bands.
We’re sort of at a crossroads where it’s like, the customer wants, like a very like you know, again doesn’t want any she’s thinking about like her mom who got married, you know, got married with a big chunky platinum ring right and so she wants something that’s to her like delicate is like the antithesis of you know what, um, you know, what her mother might have so um, but again, I just don’t know how long the market can bear that because it just it presents so many problems with like repairs and just doesn’t protect the diamond as well so I don’t know that it’s but there’s but there’s plenty of that out there so like if you are doing right if you’re you know a retailer like looking to add bridal you know for the first time I would say definitely go on the slender side to start and then. And then alternative bridal in general. By alternative I literally mean like rose cut, you know, like rose colored diamonds or you know colored stones Montana sapphires, like that kind of thing. Like that’s still just like a hot category.
Again, part and parcel of this idea of like I don’t want my ring to look like anyone else’s and I definitely don’t want it to look like my mother’s so and I think just like fancy shapes or, you know, pears, ovals and solid or radiant cut diamonds I saw Kwiat debuted a proprietary cushion cut that I saw. But it’s more elongated and a little like sleeker and a little more elegant. It’s not like a fat plump cushion. It has very elegant contours to it.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 39:26
Amy Elliott 39:28
It’s beautiful. I mean, they you know, they’re, you know, industry leaders. I mean, they’ve been around since like 1902 or something. And so they debuted this proprietary cut, obviously based on customer feedback. I think the customer likes a cushion cut, likes it, it feels vintage and likes it It feels, you know, different from around diamond solitaire. So they just kind of improved on it and made it a little bit more modern. So those are some Ascher cuts. I think you know, it’s I think I think there’s a lot I think most jewelry designers that are creating what I would call, you know, what I would call like, cool, you know, “Cool Girl” engagement rings are going to have a number of these trends covered off on in their collections. So you kind of it’s like a one stop, you got to find like the one stop shop and then go from there.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 40:25
I’m kind of glad that you mentioned that the more chunkier retro looks coming back because I can’t even tell you how many times I scroll on my “jewelry Instagram”, as I call it. And I see these like, delicate little engagement rings with like little diamonds. And I’m like, “Oh, that’s gonna break so many times, or you’re gonna regret that.” I’m just like, that’s no.
Amy Elliott 40:48
Yeah. So it’s, um, and then, um, yeah, and so it’s a covered bridal for so long that it’s honestly not my favorite category to like, talk about or like, but I but those are some, those are some trends. And, and, and I think that this, this, I do think there’s a consumer that is, you know, I’m interested in like pink diamonds and yellow diamonds. And it’s like, interested in like, you know, investing like, buying the diamond for the engagement ring that’s going to like hold its value and has a rarity to it, like a built in rarity to it. And there’s definitely a sort of cohort of have bio consumer that’s interested in that. So that’s something to think about. And I think that’s something that guys if a guy is the one buying the ring, like they probably warm to that idea of like the rarity and like you know that they’re sold at auction and, you know, millions of dollars and all that kind of stuff.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 41:51
So since it’s your job to like pick out the most eye catching interesting things for your work, what makes something stand out to you like what is it about a piece that’s going to have that wow factor or catch your attention? And are there any examples of that from the show like specific pieces that really did that for you?
Amy Elliott 42:14
Um, you know, again, everybody has their thing. I love color. I love love, love color. And that’s usually what I respond to like that’s what makes my heart flutter. So you know, I think the first thing I posted on my personal Instagram was a rubellite, I believe it was a rubellite, like cocktail ring, a huge one from Pasquale Bruni. And it was just like, okay, like, things are things are looking up like I this is this feels on brand for me, like, I’m ready. Like, this is great. It’s really hard to say, but I will, I would say that the designer Harwell Godfrey. Lauren is doing extraordinary work right now. Like, I think she’s got a really strong voice. And just her sense of color. The weight of her pieces is just so luxurious. Like, I like I held one of her pendants, and was just like, I forgot what 18 karat gold felt like, like, I forgot what true luxury jewelry felt like. And just all the little details that she adds, like the backs of the pieces, and it’s just, it just feels fresh and new and modern and alive. Like I don’t, I mean, you know, but you know, if I’m, if I’m in a price point frame of mind, like for a holiday story, and I’m super excited about finding, you know, like, there’s this website, Stone and Strand and like they do mostly 10 karat gold, but like the price points are unbelievable. Like I refer my friends to them all the time. Like it’s just, you know, so it’s like, I get excited about like a great bargain.
But in general, like I just well, I also think about how it’s going to look on the screen. How is this going to pop? Is this going to pop? Like is someone gonna see this on JCK’s homepage and be like, what is that and click into it? Um, you know, so, I guess an editorial piece by definition is going to be like that Pasquale Bruni ring that I posted. It was almost like the setting was very much like unfolding rose petals and just like really intricate and conceptual and so like that, you know, by definition and the editorial piece is something you know, historically that was gonna like show up on you know, a model you know, in a fashion shoot like there isn’t a whole lot of that going on right now but it’s something with presence, something with color, something that shows you know, thought and careful considered intentional creative choices.
Storytelling, the storytelling element is really important. Like, um, you know, I don’t want to say like a collection could look like nothing in the case, but it certainly helps when like someone points out. So you know, the inspiration behind this is x, y and z or “Oh, this harks back to like the first ring that we ever designed.” And so this is the evolution of that because it’s our five year anniversary, whatever it is, like that gives me I always like buy all that stuff away or I write it down. Or I you know, those are those those that headline, you know, that had learned that hook. That’s the kind of stuff that that excites me, but like, the low hanging fruit for me is an you know, new collection. It’s new, no one else has seen it or it’s like coming in a couple of weeks. big, bold, beautiful color, like just a smart use of color.
Emily P Wheeler is another designer that has a really unique aesthetic. I love her inspiration points, like she’s got art going on and like surf culture going on and like it just it’s just extremely graphic and impactful. And Deirdre Featherstone is another one that I’m always just like, aha, like, that’s that those are sort of my, that’s those pieces are the ones that I like to cover. And so there’s a good story and newness, and then just like eye popping colors, or just an eye popping diamond story that’s going to come to life on, you know, on our mobile device or on the device on your device of choice, wherever you’re consuming contents. So that is that that is that’s that’s I think that’s I think I’ve answered your question really changed.
I’m sure some people like read my blog. They’re like, I don’t understand like how, like, Why did she cover this or like what, like I covered something so weird, like covered something before Labor Day like svedka, the vodka brand. They did a collaboration with this costume brand called BonBon wims. It’s so weird, but I just was like, I just love that like a vlog that about a company like hit up this like fashion jewelry brand. And everything’s made of resin, and the aesthetics aligned, and they collaborated on a jewelry collection. And like, you know, Ariana Grande wears their piece, whatever, like, whatever the strategy was for that collaboration. I just like I love that I love the thought given I love it that occurred to like someone in marketing, and they pursued it. And I like to give, I like to give airtime to thoughtful marketing initiatives in that way. But it was sure people were like, This is so weird, and like, not high end, but I just had to cover it because I was like, it’s juicy, it’s colorful. I don’t know, I just so you never really know what’s gonna, like, float my boat. But so that’s, that’s a perfect example. It was, it was it was a weird story. But I like totally wanted to cover it because it was so just the ingenuity really appealed to me.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 48:06
So what are your predictions for the next few months? Take us through holiday and into 2022? What are you seeing out there in the industry?
Amy Elliott 48:15
Ah, um, I don’t, it’s hard to say I mean, I, you know, a year ago, I was saying that, you know, the pandemic era was blind to really, the, we’re gonna see incredible design coming out of it. And I think to a certain extent, that is true that a lot of people use their downtime to really lean into the creative process, really refine their voice, you know, come up with like, great, great, great collections that are saleable, but also just compelling from an editorial standpoint. So I think that that we will continue to see exciting debuts from some of our talented voices. But, you know, I watched them I was at Melee, the show, which was in New York, and it was in the beginning of August. And like there were no white pieces at that show. Like there was not like the only person who had wild pieces was Ray Griffiths. And that’s just like, he doesn’t know how to do anything else. Like he only does about pieces. So he like the GLAMAZON like he was like, you know, the glamour like he was sort of like command central for glamorous jewels, but everything else there was pretty like I don’t want to call it commercial because that sounds bad. But just they were there to like move their collections and and and provide retailers with like, easy wins, you know, and and so I so like skaza has these chord bracelets with like a little diamond pendant with like a little diamond centerpiece, but like tiny and delicate and just like stacked on, like, just, um, you know, again, nothing that I’m like, Oh my gosh, it’s amazing. But like, it was it was thoughtful. And it was, and it was intentional, but like, they just, I don’t. So I do think that in the next is for holiday and going into 2022 I think that we will see more price conscious, private, excessively priced collections, or collections that are just easy for a retailer to sell. Like, here’s this green story I put together you know what I mean? Like, here’s this like, you know, look, I already curated it for you. Here’s the rain, here’s the earring is the necklaces of this, it’s all green. Tourmaline goodbye. Like it just I think you’re gonna see a lot of that. So it’s not the most exciting, but it’s but it’s, I think it will be successful. So I’m like, I don’t know if you know the store Gem Jewelry Boutique, they’re in suburban Chicago, where she’s like, just outside of Chicago. Like, I feel like she has it exactly right. Like she like, lets you go to her Instagram. Like, I feel like whatever she’s doing for the day is what people should be doing.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 51:14
Oh, that’s cool. I’ll have to check her out.
Amy Elliott 51:19
She just has the perfect mix of like, you know, well made fashion but like, a little bit like, you know, she has some like pretty high end important designers in her collection. Like it’s just, it’s wearable, it’s chic. And it feels like like, it just feels like stuff that like a normal girl can buy. And then they’re like, Oh, that’s the a tailor necklace is a little too pricey for me. But like you just bought the look of it. Like, it’s I don’t know, the whole experience just feels like that’s what alas store should be doing is is this sort of artful mix of accessible and stylish and maybe on the Demi find fashion side of things in some intermingled with the sort of, you know, fancier designer diamond for pieces.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 52:11
That makes so much sense. And I think people are starting to realize, oh, women like want to purchase jewelry for themselves. And they don’t necessarily want to do it like once a year or once every three years when they save up a lot of money. Like they want to be able to treat themselves semi regularly. So having those attractive price points for women who want to, you know, add to their collection and have high quality pieces. I think retailers are definitely paying more attention to that.
Amy Elliott 52:38
Like I was at the like the case, like the Liven boutique at JCK was like to like it was packed like packed, packed, packed, packed. And I couldn’t even get in there to like, look, and I am so like, you know, I’m one of the last days I was like, I want to see what people are like, what’s the big deal over here. And I’m like, I want like they just had some like they had, like they just had like celestial stars and celestial and moons. And then they had some agate pieces over here. And like they just have like, I was just they had all those boxes. ticked? Do you know what I mean? And like I’ve said that phrase a million times in this conversation, but like, they they just know that like, you know, a retailer, like for retailer, they’re just like, Okay, I know I need like some like celestial meaningful spiritual jewelry. Great. I’ll take a moon I’ll take a star, I’ll take a sun like I just like I feel like that kind of those kinds of pieces are going to move and be important for holiday. And then we’ll see I you know, I feel like I will say, you know, there’s a couple of things like you know, Elsa peretti is death and Aldo. And the Elder controlup book that came out is definitely you know, shining a light on 70s jewelry sculptural, glamorous, sleek, like, I feel like those two things that happened this year will maybe take hold start to take hold next year, whether it’s investing in actual like, you know, Elsa pretty estate jewelry pieces, or, you know, somebody like Ariana restart rifle, like could you know, she’s sort of designing in that vein of just like sculptural like metallic, beautiful pieces. And so I feel like that look as that look might have a moment soonish and then all sorts of Gucci movie coming out about the house of Gucci starring Adam Driver and Lady Gaga and I’m very excited. And I don’t know I don’t know if it’s gonna be you know, it’s I think Ridley Scott is directing it like I don’t know Town and Country wrote about it. Like I don’t know if that’s going to penetrate but that’s coming out in November. And I just feel like you should be ready for like a solid gold 70s moment, but I don’t know, you know, it’s maybe not for everyone. Gold is a fortune. I don’t know, but like that’s something that I think we should keep an eye on.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 54:59
Yeah, that’s so interesting. I’m gonna look out for that for sure. Well, thank you, Amy. This has been so fun. I loved hearing all your insights and getting the inside scoop from an editorial point of view. And I’m so glad that we had a chance to meet at JCK.
Amy Elliott 55:15
This was, you know, my favorite way to spend an afternoon so thank you so much. Pleasure to be here in chat with you.
Laryssa Wirstiuk 55:23
I had so much fun talking to Amy and all about the trends that we saw at JCK. If you want to check out Amy’s blog search for all that glitters on JCK online. You can also follow her on Instagram @aelliott718. What do you think about our conversation? Are you excited about these trends? I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can always email me email@example.com
Transcribed by https://otter.ai