Author Archives: ryanblair

Give Your Graduate The Gift Of Jewelry

This time of year, everyone’s mind is on the events of the holiday season.  Don’t forget those college graduates that generally receive their degrees this time of year.  Companies like Jostens have cornered the market on things like class rings, but why not give your graduate the gift of jewelry this holiday season.  We offer custom one-of-a-kind pieces that they’ll remember forever.  The great thing about jewelry is that it’s too precious to casually discard, and it usually invokes a fond memory of the person that purchased the piece for you.  For example, Rolex is held in high regard in the timepiece industry.  It is so prolific that once purchased, it is likely to be handed down for multiple generations.  I know you’re thinking that a watch isn’t practical in the digital age, but someday your college graduate may be a business professional, and a Rolex is not just a conversation starter, but adds sophistication to any occasion.  This year, give the gift of jewelry and let this moment, this memory live for eternity.

December Birthstones

If you like blue, you’re in luck.  December has 3 birthstones associated with it, all of which are absolutely stunning.

Tanzanite, as its name implies, was originally discovered in Tanzania.  An early substitute for the more expensive sapphire, tanzanite has come into its own in recent years to possess a beauty all its own.  Though far less common, those stones with a bit of violet color accenting the deep blue are more treasured among tanzanite enthusiasts.

The second of the December birthstones is zircon.  Though its etymology suggests Arabic origins, it comes largely from Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.  Most people are probably familiar with the colorless variant of zircon which was used as an inexpensive substitute for diamonds, but zircon is found in every color of the rainbow.  As folklore would have it, zircon also has the unique ability to ward off disease and injury.

Lastly, there is turquoise.  Cherished in the American Southwest and often found adorning bracelets and necklaces, turquoise is one of the oldest known gemstones.  Although it is known for it’s pale blue color, it can also appear greenish blue as well.  Turquoise is a more plentiful gemstone and can be found in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.

Give The Gift Of Jewelry

This holiday season, give the gift of jewelry.  As most of you know, this time of year is synonymous with shopping.  Some people will be knocking down doors in hopes of getting a TV for a low, low price, while some will patiently wait for Cyber Monday.  Instead of high end electronics that often need to be replaced every so many years, this year we’re recommending the gift of jewelry.  It’s a timeless gift, and probably the only type of gift where the giver doesn’t mind if, at a later point in time, you re-gift it to someone else in the family.  Let’s face it, bread makers make poor heirlooms.

November Birthstones

According to the American Gem Society, there are two November appropriate gems, topaz and citrine.  At first glance, neither of these is probably your favorite gem, but perhaps it would interest you to know that imperial topaz was worn by the Russian Czars of the 19th century, so even if it doesn’t reflect your favorite color, at least it was once worn by royalty.

In olden days, topaz was used to designate any gemstone with a yellow hue.  Nowadays, however, you can find topaz in a wide array of colors like pink, purple, and blue.  Citrine, the second of the two November birthstones, is often confused with topaz, but in fact, is an entirely different mineral altogether.  Topaz, specifically blue and pink topaz is more popular, but we say, “Dare to be different”.  So embrace your unique gemstones and wear them proudly!

Thanksgiving Jewelry

If you read our last blog, you know we discussed holiday jewelry.  You may be thinking, “What about Thanksgiving”.  It wasn’t an oversight.  Thanksgiving’s roots reside in more Puritanical times, where any kind of adornment would probably lead to reprimand for being too gaudy or ostentatious.  Times have indeed changed and there’s no social construct that would forbid you from wearing any kind of Thanksgiving jewelry, but Thanksgiving is often thought of as a more casual gathering.  Maybe this is because you’re surrounded by familiar faces, or it could be that you’re about to fill yourself to the brim with turkey and all the trimmings and you want to be as comfortable as possible; oftentimes just jeans and a nice shirt will suffice.  However, even though Thanksgiving isn’t known for its dazzling display of fine jewelry, we’d like to encourage you to think outside the box and be that one fashion forward person that really “wows” when you’re handing that gravy boat to Uncle Steve.  Happy holidays.

Holiday Jewelry

Halloween was not long ago, and soon, Christmas will be upon us.  We all go to parties or social functions this time of year, but those two holidays, specifically, are very different from one another.  Halloween is much more casual so maybe you’re shopping for some costume jewelry, whether it’s for a get together, or a costume party that you need a Dracula medallion for.

Christmas always seems to be a little more formal.  Winter, in general, seems to exude a little more elegance.  People wear bold red colors accented with gold jewelry.  Some business functions around this time of year can get pretty formal, and rightfully so.  December, or your holiday party, may be the one time each year that everyone mingles amongst one another, and new business may develop as a result.  Therefore, everyone wants to look their best.  For men, this means wearing those cufflinks, nice watches, and rings.  For the ladies, you’re probably wearing a nice dress, have your hair up, and you’re wearing a necklace, a bracelet, earrings, and a ring or two.

So, whether you’re having a howling good time at your Halloween bash and need some costume jewelry for additional authenticity, or you need to be dressed to the nines for an upcoming Christmas party, be sure you have the right jewelry.

Jewelers Becoming More Sophisticated

As the world becomes smaller due to an evolving global marketplace, so too must jewelers, even on a local level, become more sophisticated.  Whether supply or demand rises, the industry must remain flexible.  As Patrice Nordey, CEO of a consultancy group said, “The jewelry industry must figure out how to recognize a person as a single customer across borders”.  Now, more than ever, your marketing strategy in one country could affect your business in another country, especially with the growing middle class in China, Japan, and even as close as Canada.  These new times will also see a new customer take shape, a savvier customer with different expectations and perceptions of elegance and style.  Millennials are more pragmatic than their predecessors, so maybe they’re not the type to exhibit their jewelry the way their parents did, but certain situations, societal, professional, or otherwise, will dictate that a certain level of sophistication is called for, and maybe it’s that need to “look the part” at a social function that will call to them, specifically.

Investing in Diamonds

Diamonds carry a lot of meaning.  They are symbolic of everlasting love, and perhaps like your love, they can shine forever.  They’re not just for weddings or a proposal to be wed though.  Diamonds convey a sense of elegance and sophistication.  Because there is a lot of sentiment behind each diamond purchase, oftentimes customers will insist that their piece is one of a kind.   This is understandable because when something lasts forever, you want to be able to pass it down and you want that piece to be distinguishable from anyone else’s.  For this reason, many people have actually taken to investing in diamonds.  It’s a luxury good that offers a unique and durable product that can last generations.  Many people liken it to owning fine art.  Sure, you could own a Picasso, Renoir, or Monet…. but nothing shines like a diamond.

Lasting Value To Mark An Occasion

Why do people buy diamond rings?  Of course there’s the obvious tradition of engagement and wedding rings, and this time of year,  a lot of people are purchasing anniversary rings.  Why is this?  According to Gary Long, a jeweler in Stockton, California, “diamonds are considered something of lasting value to mark an occasion”.  That means that we, as consumers, feel that a diamond will endure, not just because it’s a very durable stone, but also because of the sentiment attached to a diamond ring.

Millennials are getting older now and the average gentleman that purchases a diamond engagement ring is 26.  Consumers have become more informed, shopping online and researching what type of ring they want, which means less time spent looking over a hundred rings, but also means that the customer knows exactly what they want and they are sure to get it.  The internet has revolutionized the shopping process in the sense that buyer can look on the internet and comparatively shop as opposed to going to multiple jewelers as they had to in the past.

At the end of the day, a purchase is for love of the diamond and for love of the relationship.  A diamond rings is really just a metaphor for the bond between two people.  It’s something that lasts and endures trials, tribulations, hardships, and love through generations.  It’s a keepsake that will last forever and whatever ring you have, we want it to be uniquely yours; a ring like no other.  Stop in and see us and let us help you find your forever ring that’s uniquely you.

A Token Of Your Love

Some people wonder why the standard rule exists that a man should spend at least two month’s salary on his bride-to-be’s ring.  Consider for a moment that, not only are you going to be with this person for the rest of your life, but she will ALWAYS have this ring on her finger.  Her ring is as forever as the two of you are.  It is for this reason that your engagement/wedding ring or even bridal set should be considered a symbol.  It’s a token of your love, dedication, and one of mutual sacrifice and selflessness for one another.
In fact many rings that are presented are family heirlooms, passed down for generations.  Some rings are modified or enhanced to reflect the tastes of the one who possesses the ring at that time and is passed down again to only be further modified, maybe with a more high-quality stone or maybe baguettes are added.  The fact is, you’re creating an eternal bond with someone with a timeless keepsake and heirloom that will hold its meaning for generations to come.  Make your ring shine as bright as your love for one another.

The Landscape Of Diamond Consumption

It’s no secret that the United States is the world’s largest diamond consuming market with a global demand hovering just below 40 billion dollars in 2014.  However, did you know that China is the second largest diamond market even though they buy a little more than 25% of what the United States buys?  After 2008 saw a dip in the U.S. diamond retail market, it rebounded nicely with approximately 2 percent growth year over year through 2014.  While the United States usually purchases diamonds for weddings and for gift-giving, the bulk of our domestic market is based upon the bridal market.  China buys less bridal jewelry and the men have a less significant role in the selecting of the jewelry, however, Hong Kong does exhibit highly westernized diamond purchasing behavior and often associate diamonds with long-lasting love.

An Unexpected Source Of Diamonds?

If you’ve ever seen the movie Blood Diamond, you may be under the impression that Western Africa is the leading producer of diamonds in the world.  In fact, we asked our intern today who she thought the leading diamond producer was, and she immediately said “Sierra Leone”.  As of the end of 2014, Africa has been surpassed by a country that most people wouldn’t think of when speculating where a diamond comes from.  Russia is actually the leading producer of diamonds in the world both by volume and by value, beating out number two producer, Botswana, according to KPCS.  Over the past year the global output of diamonds grew by 4 percent as the average price jumped 8 percent to $116.17 per carat.  Despite these numbers, overall global diamond production, in terms of volume, fell to 124.8 million carats.  


Like any number of other things, the price of diamonds is controlled by the market and the principle of scarcity.  There are a finite number of diamonds and a lot of people that want diamonds.  A number of additional factors are attributed to the final cost like cut, clarity, and so on, but everything begins with that one raw stone.  The next time you see light dancing off of that multi-faceted diamond, remember that every diamond has a story to tell and the most important one is yours.  Right now, you can take advantage of Hemming Plaza Jewelers’ Summer Savings Diamond Blowout and start telling a story that endures for generations.

Who Knew?! Earrings And Little Plastic Discs.


A Twitter user is burning up the internet with the astonishing news that the little plastic discs on the back of inexpensive earrings can be – wait for it – removed. “After my nineteen years of living I have now realized that you are supposed to take the plastic part off,” she reported breathlessly, and nearly 40,000 people have shared the news. “But not everyone was on the same page,” reports Woman’s Day, among several media outlets that have picked up on the issue. “Apparently the plastic part keeps the earring in place, especially if it’s one that tends to tip forward and is a little heavier than regular studs.” Indeed, some sources maintain that the discs not only hold the earrings in place nut can also prevent droopy lobes.


Three Trends



Ask any retailer and they’ll exclaim that blue is the all-time bestselling gemstone color. For the benefit of those who haven’t gotten around to the trend report in this month’s INDESIGN, I’ll clue you in that turquoise is the variation on the color that’s getting the most attention lately. It’s a stone that’s usually thought of as a favorite of patchouli-wearing bohemians, but it’s appearing in jewelry of every discernable style, from hippie inflected to vintage-inspired, and in collections that haven’t used the stone much in the past. For stores that want to feature the stone, but with a shimmering effect, look for doublets made with turquoise.


Long Necks

By now, no one needs to repeat the refrain that the 1970s is the decade that’s most influential on the fashion front. With fashion designers looking back four decades for inspiration, plunging necklines are becoming just as popular as they were during the days of disco. Look for jewelry that complements the newly exposed swathe of skin. Lariats, y-necklaces and tiered pieces that rest on naked sternums will be plentiful at the Vegas shows, and they’re easier to wear than structured collar necklaces.


Linked In

No category of jewelry is more enduring than pieces featuring links. Customers are gravitating to jewelry with the classic elements because they’re easy to wear and are workhorses in a jewelry wardrobe. In bracelets and necklaces, they’re updated with unusual shapes and accents like touches of gemstones. But look for them to appear in pieces that less commonly use link elements, like earrings and rings, too.

Men Are Becoming Jewelry Collectors

From the New York Times—When Tom Fitzgerald proposed to his boyfriend Jamie Holloway in March 2014, he unveiled a ring that was a far cry from the traditional diamond solitaire. The piece, created by the London jewelry designer Hannah Martin, is a modern interpretation of a signet ring, with an octagonal-cut sapphire surrounded by emeralds in white gold.

“Hannah was able to present our own version of an engagement ring,” said Mr. Holloway, a fashion public relations director. The couple, who now live in Los Angeles but who will marry in Somerset this August, will be among the first to take advantage of Britain’s recent legalization of same-sex marriage. And, as such, “we are making our own new traditions,” said Mr. Holloway, engagement ring and all.

Ms. Martin, who describes her collection as men’s jewelry that girlfriends want to steal, said orders for gay wedding and engagement rings are the fastest-growing sector of her business.

While she does not expect most men, gay or straight, to start sporting engagement rings any time soon, she has seen significant growth in the men’s jewelry category as a whole since establishing her business 10 years ago. “It’s become much more acceptable for the average man to use beauty products, wear jewelry and spend money on their appearance,” she said.

Statistics prove her point. There are no jewelry-specific studies but, according to Euromonitor, the global men’s wear market grew 4.5 percent last year, outpacing women’s at 3.7. And the research company predicts men’s wear sales will grow another $40 billion, to $480 billion, by 2019.

Stores are extending their men’s offerings accordingly, and that includes jewelry. Mr Porter, the male counterpart of the Net-a-Porter online store, has offered jewelry for several years, initially selling entry price point pieces from fashion houses including Alexander McQueen and Bottega Veneta. It has since expanded the category, in response to customer demand, to include fine jewelry from independent designers.

“Wearing jewelry made a specific statement not so long ago. But with time, it’s become more acceptable,” said Simon Spiteri, Mr Porter’s accessories buyer. “We’re seeing a lot of people wearing a bracelet with a Rolex watch and a three-piece suit. In fact, we’ve seen huge growth in bracelets across the board, from understated Le Gramme gold cuffs to something a little more flamboyant, like colorful beaded bracelets from Luis Morais.”

Mr. Spiteri added that the company planned to continue expanding its collection of what he described as “subtle, grown-up jewelry,” emphatically not the rock ’n’ roll or bling-laden male jewelry of yesteryear: “We are planning a lot more entry price point pieces for a younger market,” he said. “We’re also looking to increase our fine jewelry offering.”

Dickon Bowden, vice president of Dover Street Market, the high-concept fashion store with locations in London, New York and Tokyo, echoes the observations. “It’s becoming far more apparent that men are interested in purchasing jewelry from us,” he said.

The store, which last month became one of the few outlets selected to introduce the Apple Watch, offers an eclectic mix that ranges from the gothic-inspired jewels of Chrome Hearts to the clean lines of the Japanese brand HUM.

Mr. Bowden said that, of the patrons in the store’s three locations, Japanese men are the most daring: “In Japan, men are far more open to wearing jewelry than in London or New York.”

Stephen Webster, the London-based jeweler who introduced his first men’s collection, Rayman, 17 years ago, agreed that the Japanese market is large. And, in South Korea, “they’ll even buy jewelry we make for women. They are completely comfortable buying something, if they like it,” he added.

Russian men on the whole are conservative but, Mr. Webster noted, they are the biggest spenders among his clients, favoring his custom-made, bejeweled Russian crosses, which sell for as much as $50,000. “The men are so macho, but a flamboyant cross is acceptable,” he said. “And like all men, they love the bespoke service. It’s like choosing the finish of a new car.”

Different cultures

Notions about jewelry’s being effeminate still prevail among many in Europe and the United States. But in India, male appreciation for jewelry is nothing new: “If you see pictures from the past, the Mughals and maharajas wore more jewelry than the women did,” said Tarang Arora, chief executive and creative director of the Jaipur-based brand Amrapali.

Mr. Arora said men’s jewelry continues to do well in his home market as it is gaining traction elsewhere. The company recently added men’s pieces, including bracelets, rings and cufflinks, to its Dark Maharajah collection. At Harrods’ fine jewelry boutique in London, Amrapali’s largest market outside India, its men’s headpieces, cufflinks, bracelets and necklaces are displayed alongside women’s jewels.

Regardless of in-store locations, Mr. Webster believes that selling jewelry to men is about putting it into the context of their world. “You want to connect with the way they look at a watch,” he said, explaining that this love of mechanism and function was part of the inspiration for his new Ceramic Link bracelets, which come with detailed, interchangeable clasps inspired by classic cigar cutters.

Todd Reed, a Colorado-based designer, has experienced firsthand the growth in the men’s jewelry market. While he has always made men’s jewelry, last June he introduced a formal collection including dog tags, bracelets, rings and belt buckles that already has grown to account for 14 percent of his company’s total sales.

Mr. Reed said there is no typical male customer, a love of jewelry being less about someone’s age or particular style and more about an appreciation for design, whether it be for clothing, architecture or cars: “I have sold a $20,000 belt buckle to a 20-year-old kid and the same one to a 62-year-old executive out on the golf course.”

Mr. Bowden at Dover Street Market believes this eclecticism reflects men’s growing sartorial confidence and a wider shift to a more individualistic approach to fashion: “Things aren’t trend-driven so much these days. People are creating their own styles.”

Confidence is crucial, however, if you want to wear jewelry as a man, said the private London jeweler Harry Fane, who recently made his first men’s piece, a snake bracelet of carved horn with emerald eyes: “You have to have a bit of flair to carry it off.”

Even for a dedicated gem lover, it’s all about wearing the right jewelry on the right occasion. For example, Levi Higgs, who works for David Webb, the New York jewelry brand, has a collection of brooches. “I wear them regularly on a lapel to a museum event or party, but nowhere too casual,” he said. “I don’t want to overdo it.” And his most valuable, opulent piece, a large zebra brooch designed by his employer? “I’d only wear it if I wanted to make a larger statement.”

Mr. Spiteri hit a similarly cautious note during a discussion about the possibility of selling men’s necklaces on Mr Porter: “It’s more of a statement to wear a necklace. You can always hide a bracelet if needed.”

But Ms. Martin believes that the male psyche already has produced a change. Once a man becomes comfortable wearing jewelry, he becomes a loyal client, she said. “The male collecting syndrome kicks in — and jewelry becomes an extension of that.”