Retailers discover antique & period jewelry resonates with today’s shoppers
Jewelers operating in a fiercely competitive climate must get creative when connecting with their core customers. Now the demographic of jewelry consumers and the reasons they buy are light years away from those in the 20th century. Then, jewelry sent a completely different signal than it does now. Years back, people wore their wealth. Fine jewelry, and lots of it bore evidence to the wearer’s affluence. It also gave a nod to the prosperous husband or male gift-giver of the female jewelry collector.
Who buys what and why?
That was then - this is now. Ask a woman today what she collects and why. You’ll often learn that jewelry is a beautiful means of personal expression for the female collector. It plays a huge roll in conveying her distinct style sensibility and taste. It can also imply a social conscience in some cases. And importantly, a large demographic of women dominates in the self-purchaser niche. How else can she guarantee acquiring exactly what appeals to her, outside of buying it for herself? Rather than flaunt her significant-other’s wealth, modern ladies mark personal milestones with pricey jewelry to commemorate a new job, the birth of a child, or a number of meaningful achievements.
Antique and period wholesale jeweler Tuvia and Dori Paul have owned and operated eFiligree Antique Jewelry (www.eFiligree.com) for decades. Their understanding of trending patterns helps them select the elite collection of authentic vintage jewelry they offer. Over the years, consumer tastes have evolved and so has eFiligree. Their wide array of quality items is carefully selected to boost retailer’s revenue stream all year long. Antique jewelry is completely unlike seasonal items. Red jewels peak in sales during Valentine’s month; engagement ring sales are brisk during the holidays, and pearl sales are strong near June when brides wear them and gift them to their bridal party. But antique and period items find their buyer all throughout the year.
Green is always a good idea
The jewelry trade is only beginning to acknowledge that shoppers also put their money where their social awareness lies. The current generation of luxury goods consumers seek out jewelry considered to be responsible by its method of manufacture or for not creating a negative impact on our earth. Upcycling precious metals; that is re-purposing previously manufactured metals into new items also holds sway with environmentally aware customers. When it comes to gemstones and diamonds, legions of shoppers take particular pride in preferring pre-owned stones harvested from older jewelry and then repurposed into their new pieces. In this case it’s as simple as their desire not to buy new jewels that leave a carbon-footprint by their manufacture. When shoppers are drawn to a case of glistening period jewelry, “That’s the time to reinforce the ‘green’ benefit of choosing these elegant pieces,” says Tuvia Paul. It may not have been what attracted the customer in the first place, but it can seal the deal when they realize their ethics are supported by antique and period jewelry.
Reaching a younger demographic
According to Dori Paul, “Retailers need to focus on a younger customer base as older patrons wind down their purchasing years.” One of the most effective ways of doing this is to respond to younger consumers sensibilities, she points out. “They may not relate particularly well to traditional diamond bridal jewels. But the desire to personalize their wedding jewelry often leads them to antique diamond and gemstone rings which offer charm and send a unique message about the couple.”
To the uninitiated, the thought of offering antique and period jewelry may seem like an appealing idea but not worth wrangling over the worn-out condition of those items which may be too fragile to wear. eFiligree’s authentic antique and period jewelry have been carefully vetted and expertly restored to pristine condition - something that only a seasoned vendor like eFiligree would know to do. Their jewelry is ready to take on a new life with another generation of jewelry lovers.
Tell me a story
Every brick-and-mortar operation or electronic merchant has to be keenly aware of changing consumer preferences - and interpret these directions accurately to keep their business humming. One of the most proactive responses to consumer demand that retailers can offer is a curated collection of antique and period jewelry. It provides endless story-telling opportunities for the sales staff to engage with the visitor. This creates loyalty to your store as customers gain knowledge by perusing period jewelry and discovering its place in history. Understanding the backstory in jewelry also creates confidence in that consumer’s purchase.
Delivering the story behind each piece - whether by an explanation of the period in which it was produced or why certain pieces symbolized an era is fascinating to the collector. In these scenarios, the retailer develops an opportunity to make a real connection with their customer. After learning the story of antique pieces, a shopper will discover they are drawn to certain eras, or jewelry types - even to stones that were popular at various times. This spark of interest is where the retailer has the upper hand. They can source those kinds of vintage items for the customer who knows that when they purchase the piece - it’s “One and Done”. Antique jewelry has a built-in sense of urgency to purchase because consumers know that with these items, tomorrow it may be sold, and there will never be another.
There will always be a place for modern manufactured goods, and certainly a place for contemporary bridal jewelry. But savvy merchants are discovering a solid revenue stream all year long coming from their antique and period jewelry collections. When your customer doesn’t have to shop all over town to find the broadest array of jewelry they’re interested in - including period pieces, then you’ve made a customer for life.