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Good vibrations: Smiles abound from both sides of the aisles at the Vegas shows

By Jacquie De Almeida

Chameleons are known for their ability to change colour.

So it should come as no surprise that Canadian manufacturer—Kameleon Jewellery—would venture into the yellow gold market as a complement to its sterling silver standard.

An exhibitor at JCK Las Vegas, Kameleon showcased a new line of 14-karat yellow gold JewelPops. It’s a reversal of the trend in recent years of companies turning to silver to satisfy the need for lower price points among budget-conscious consumers.

“We decided to do this because we have some customers that are interested in our line, but mainly sell gold jewellery in their stores,” said Allison Smith, the company’s media and communications director.

Lower gold prices are a welcome relief. A year ago, the metal hovered around $1635 US per ounce compared to $1250 at press time. Every little bit helps, exhibitors say, as they gear up for what looks to be a busy holiday shopping season, if official numbers are any indication. In May, the U.S. Conference Board reported consumer confidence was at a five-year high on the strength of the housing rebound. A healthy happy appetite for jewellery in the United States bodes well for the rest of the industry.

As the biggest jewellery buying event in North America, the Vegas shows appeared to confirm an improving consumer landscape, particularly for high-end goods. Busy aisles and a flurry of activity in exhibitor booths signalled a positive outlook, with everything from black rhodium to gemstone slices to two-tone rose and white gold jewellery enticing retailers to stock up. Brazilian druzy, hammered and matte finishes, and stones like opal also made their presence known.

U.S. designer Pamela Froman turned to Australian boulder opal for her latest collection. The combination of the ironstone matrix against the opal’s play of colour and Paraiba tourmaline in a two-finger ring creates a one-of-a-kind feel.

“Consumers are looking for something different,” said Froman from her booth at Couture. “They don’t want what you can find in every store. They want to be their own person.”

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