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Las Vegas lowdown: Cautious buying and high hopes for a turnaround

Hera Arkarakas of Toronto-based Hera Jewellery said her focus was on creating pieces that took the guesswork out of buying jewellery, while also providing the consumer with options on how to put a look together.

“Bracelets are a great seller in stores,” she said from her booth at Couture. “They’re a good gift item—very easy to buy for somebody else. We felt it was important to have a soft bracelet that gives you flexibility and also an expandable bracelet, so it’s easier for the consumer to find the right fit. Women now stack five, six, seven bracelets on one arm and they co-ordinate bracelets from different lines, mixing leather with silver and gold. It gives you the ability to create your own look.”

Hot trends spotted this year included opulent opal rings, pendants and rings featuring cutout geometric shapes, front-and-back earrings, and climbers. Stackable bracelets and layered necklaces also stood out. And it looked as if everything was coming up rose this year, with the blush-colour metal a standout-style in watches, bridal, and fashion jewellery. Dainty designs introduced by brands that traditionally sell oversized pieces were also noteworthy.

Creating jewellery for consumers with smaller budgets is important, but so is developing product that meets design preferences of a particular country or region.

“We downsized our designs to appeal to the Canadian consumer, which can be a little more conservative in terms of styling, although I can see they’re warming up,” said Carolyn Thamkul, executive vice-president and creative director of Belle Étoile. “We really listen to what our retailers say. A lot of our newest designs are based on feedback, especially in the Canadian market.”

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