My daughter got married recently, so that gave me the pleasure of being the Father of the Bride. It was a very special experience, and I highly recommend it if you ever get the chance. But, there were a couple of things about the process I just didn’t understand.
First, the dress. Being in the jewelry industry, we’re all familiar with ultra-high sticker priced items. And, the wedding dress certainly fits that category. They can cost as much as the engagement ring! But, the wedding dress is a “one and done” proposition, while an engagement ring is worn every day for years, passed down a generation or two, then re-modeled or sold back to the trade generations later for even more than what was originally paid.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The dress was beautiful and my daughter was breath-taking, as are all brides. And, I didn’t mind paying the band, the photographer or the florist for their work that evening. But, somehow, I am stuck on the dress, which cost the same as an important piece of jewelry, but will only be worn once! Which leads me to my second unanswered question of the evening.
Why do jewelers lend out jewelry? Now, I understand the major fashion designers and Beverly Hills retailers who give celebrities pieces to wear on the red carpet. They get loads of free press in trade journals, publicity photos of the stars wearing their creations, and a chance to set a national trend. But, there were a couple of women at the reception wearing pieces borrowed from one of the retail jewelers here in town! What could that guy be thinking?
Traditionally, jewelry celebrates the most important days in a woman’s life – her engagement, her wedding day, major anniversaries, the birth of her children, etc. And, jewelry is also given to mark special holidays like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. Jewelers should be doing whatever they can to strengthen the bonds between jewelry and the special occasions in a woman’s life. One retailer runs a billboard campaign to drive home this very point. Last year the tag line was, “Really? Our first Christmas together and you bought me an I-Pad?”
The jeweler who lent the pieces to a couple of girls from the neighborhood won’t be getting any free publicity. And, someone who may have been inclined to buy a piece from him and learns of this, may now consider asking for a week-end loaner instead! Most women can tell you for every important piece of jewelry they own, on what occasion it was given, and that makes those pieces special to them. Or, they can tell you who they inherited the piece from, and how it helps keep that person close to their heart and in their memory.
My wife, Kiki, wears the diamond wedding band my mother wore for fifty years, and that my grandmother wore for forty years before her. And, Kiki has promised it someday to our future daughter-in-law. New families are buying their own future family heirlooms from smart retail jewelers. Why would any retail jeweler make important jewelry seem like any other commodity to be loaned out for the week-end?
Do you have questions about the jewelry industry and don’t know where to turn for answers? There are fifty members of The 24 Karat Club, and they are industry leaders and experts in everything from education, store design, insurance, publicity, and just about any area of our business you can think of. The list of members is on our web-site (www.The24KaratClub.com) and you should feel free to contact any one of us if we could be of help. Most of us are at the SJTA Atlanta Jewelry Show twice a year as well, and we’d be glad to talk to you about anything that might be on your mind. One of us might just have the information or idea you’ve been looking for!
If, however, you are looking for details on how to plan the perfect, magical wedding, you’ll need to contact Kiki!
Howard Kelrick is President of Finger Mate and a board member of The 24 Karat Club, SEUS. Finger Mate manufactures and installs expandable ring shanks and sells to retail jewelers throughout North America. Contact Howard at 954-458-2700 or e-mail Howard@FingerMate.com.