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Promoting Precious Metals

30 september 2009

Silver

Silver Marketing International has announced the expansion of the Silver Marketing Initiative's (SMI) "Designers of Distinction" program, a showcase of designers that together demonstrate the breadth and diversity of silver jewelry on the market, www.nationaljewelernetwork.com informs.

The latest designers to receive the designation are Cynthia Gale, Gurhan, Konstantino, Lois Hill, Robin Haley, Saundra Messinger, SeidenGang and Somers.

Michael Barlerin, director of Silver Marketing International--whose company had been appointed by the Silver Institute to develop and manage the Silver Marketing Initiative (SMI)--said in a media release that his team appointed a "Silver Search Party" during the Las Vegas jewelry shows to independently identity 10 to 15 designers for consideration.

The search party was composed of five well-known members of the jewelry media world: Cindy Edelstein, Hedda Schupak, Lorraine DePasque, Nancy Sindt and Victoria Gomelsky.

"At this stage of the program's expansion, our outreach has been to those designers who were recommended most often," Barlerin said in the release, adding that it is possible the SMI will announce additional Designers of Distinction in the future.

The latest inductees join the inaugural group of designers announced in late 2008: ELLE Jewelry, Leslie Greene, Paz Collective/Courtney Brown, Robert Lee Morris, Robin Rotenier, Scott Kay, Slane and Slane, Steven Lagos, Thistle and Bee, and Zina.

The initiative is part of Silver Marketing International's mission for 2009 to enhance the image and increase the sales of branded silver jewelry lines in the United States.

Platinum

Platinum jewelry isn't something retail jewelers ring up like mad at the register.

Sixty-three percent of panelists said platinum jewelry accounts for a mere zero to 10 percent of their sales, and the vast majority of respondents--95 percent--report that the metal makes up 20 percent or less of their total sales.

But when asked how the market has changed in recent years, it appears panelists have hope for the future popularity of this precious metal, which carries profit margins of 40 percent or more for 69 percent of survey respondents.

Youth movement

Consumer awareness of platinum has increased in the past five to 10 years, according to a number of panelists.

This seemed to ring especially true among younger consumers, according to several panelists.

"Young girls want engagement rings in platinum," one panelist wrote, while another predicted, "More young couples prefer platinum than yellow gold, it looks [like the] future is good for platinum jewelry, especially wedding rings."

Pricing play

After rising to nearly $2,300 an ounce in March 2008, according to Kitco.com, platinum prices hovered around $1,283 per ounce at press time.

Panelists were mixed on the best strategy for handling the metal's fluctuating price.

Several reported that they adjust the price of goods in the store to reflect the metal's market price, with one stating, "I do a lot more special order on platinum so I can adjust the price accordingly."

Others are just avoiding the metal altogether.

"It has been like a roller-coaster ride and has caused me to hold steady and not buy until it stabilizes," one panelist wrote.

Palladium

Jewelry Retailer reports that a palladium hallmark was introduced in the UK, which means that palladium has finally been recognized as a precious metal, www.israelidiamond.co.il says. In recent years the white metal, which is lighter and less expensive than platinum, has become increasingly popular, but the lack of a hallmark has stymied the growth of its full market potential until now.

Jewelry Retailer quotes the Birmingham Assay Office CEO Michael Allchin said: “There are already some stunning palladium pieces on the market; the re-assurance of a UK hallmark will give the consumer added protection and confidence when purchasing palladium jewelry and we expect this to be a significant growth area for the jewelry industry.”

Palladium’s recognized fineness standards will be 500 parts per thousand, 950 parts per thousand and 999 parts per thousand. A voluntary traditional mark for hallmarked palladium jewelry will feature the Greek goddess of war Pallas Athene, after whom palladium was named.