Silver's back—and so is its marketing apparatus

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					                  >newsfront                                                                                                                               DECEMBER
   Silver’s back—and so is its marketing apparatus
   By Lorraine DePasque

   NEW YORK—For 2009, silver is
   set to shine—and while the
   comparatively high prices of
   gold and platinum have given
   it a boost, the white metal’s
   heat goes beyond dollars.
      A new Silver Marketing
   Initiative (SMI), set to offi-
   cially kick off on Dec. 3
   with a trade and con-
   sumer media launch                                          The new silver logo for the Silver Marketing Initiative of
                                                               The Silver Institute.
   event in New York City,
   has fueled much of the               Silver necklace from Lagos’ “Columbus             in 1977, is certainly
   optimism. Not since                  Circle Collection;” suggested retail price is     one of the established
   2001 has there been                  $795 for 24-inch version or $995 for 32-          names. In the early
                                        incher. (215) 925-1693 or                                                     Earrings in sterling silver from Zina’s
   a structured marketing                                                                 1980s, Lagos and                          signature “Swirl Collection;” suggested
   effort in place for sterling                                                           about a half-dozen                        retail price is $120. (800) 336-3822 or
   silver jewelry, says Michael                  and rollout. “The                        others       became              Leslie Greene’s
                                                                                                                                    “Blisse” cuff with 0.40 carats of diamonds and
   DiRienzo, executive director                     words themselves,                     innovators         in                     antiqued texture; suggested retail price is $1,895.
   of the Washington, D.C.-based                     Savor Silver, are a                  designer     sterling                     (516) 829-8988 or Ring in
   Silver Institute.                                   brand communica-                   silver jewelry, creat-                    sterling silver with round diamonds on stems from Robin
      “We had been marketing                           tion line that will                ing a category that                       Rotenier’s new “Petale Collection;” suggested retail price is
                                                                                                                                    $595. (212) 768-1117 or
   sterling silver jewelry to the                     be used not only as                 some now call “bridge.”
   public between 1988 through                        the Web site name                   Despite his historical suc-        about the average retail price of             educating customers about the
   2001 under a division,                             but also in print                   cess in silver and his own         a sterling silver piece, while                properties specific to silver
   Silver Trust International,”                      and online media for                 effective Web site, Lagos joined   the 18-karat gold jewelry that                and, thus, generally erasing
   DiRienzo says. “Then,                            the campaign.”                        the Savor Silver site as well.     she is known for averages                     a number of concerns and
   for many reasons, it was                           Barlerin’s lengthy                     “People have been pound-        about $2,800. Like Goldstein,                 misconceptions; and encour-
   disbanded. But now,                            jewelry          resumé                 ing the gold and platinum          Greene believes that her silver               aging other jewelry designers
   we’re restarting those                         includes 15 years at the                drums for years, so it’s high      appeals more to a younger cus-                to believe in silver and push
   marketing efforts and taking                 World Gold Council,                       time to pound the drum for sil-    tomer than does her classic                   the creative envelope, perhaps
   a leadership role in promoting        where he was chief executive                     ver,” he says. “Remember, this     18-karat collection. That said,               making more one-of-a-kind
   silver jewelry in the hope of         officer for the Americas.                        is a precious metal—it’s not       Greene admittedly does make                   and limited-edition pieces.
   achieving greater market pen-           That experience was instru-                    copper. We sell silver to some     some edgier designs in silver,                   Even if more designers don’t
   etration and silver demand.”          mental in choosing the initial                   of the wealthiest people in the    which will usually appeal to a                do one-offs in silver, informal
      Key components of that strat-      10 designers to be featured                      country. So retailers have to      younger audience. So it seems                 polling shows that economic
   egy are the creation of a new         on the forthcoming consumer                      realize that if they don’t carry   the consumer is younger and                   conditions will prompt many
   silver jewelry consumer Web           Web site, which, synergistical-                  high-quality sterling silver       most likely, less conservative.               more—especially silver new-
   site,, along          ly, will include links to the                    jewelry—whether we’re in              Which begs the question:                   comers who usually choose
   with a new logo for the metal.        respective designers’ individ-                   difficult economic times or        Once the consumer site is up                  high-karat metals (18-karat
      “This is not a quality mark        ual sites. will                  not—their customer will go         and running and the rest of the               and above) as their medium—
   but, instead, more a mark to          not itself include e-commerce                    elsewhere to buy good silver.”     initiative is underway, will                  to use winter shows to pre-
   instantly distinguish sterling        for its debut, but consumers                        And exactly who is buying?      more conservative areas of the                miere collections in sterling.
   silver,” says Michael Barlerin,       who click on the designers’                         “Obviously, the silver on       country begin to increase their                  Proposals for more qualita-
   president of New York-based           individual Web sites can                         the new site will appeal to        silver inventory? Greene says                 tive trade research are, in fact,
   Michael Barlerin Associates,          either buy directly or find a                    younger, under 40, customers,      they already have.                            being reviewed and discussed
   the consultant organization for       retailer who sells the brand.                    but mainly because they’re the        “Our retailers know their                  as part of “phase two” of the
   the initiative’s development            The first phase of designers                   ones more apt to go online         customers and they are able                   SMI, Barlerin says. At this
                                                 on the site, 10 in all, is               to buy their jewelry,” says        to explain silver’s value to                  time, The Silver Institute is
                                                   a mix of established                   Andrew Goldstein, owner and        them,” she says.                              also considering ideas on
   Top trends in designer silver names and emergingjewelry artists. They
                                                                                          vice president of Beverly Hills,
                                                                                          Calif.-based Zina, specialists
                                                                                                                                “So much of silver’s poten-
                                                                                                                             tial is about value,” says
                                                                                                                                                                           industry-directed advertorials
                                                                                                                                                                           in selected trade media as
                                                   are: Elle, Lagos, Leslie               in silver for 25 years. The        New York City-based designer                  well as consumer co-op adver-
     Oxidized and blackened finishes               Greene, Paz Collective,                Zina pieces that appear on         Robin Rotenier, whose fashion-                tising programs for the second
     Extra-wide cuffs                              Robert Lee Morris,            will retail        forward design company was                    quarter of 2009. Sometime
     Diamond-accented anything                     Robin Rotenier, Scott                  between $80 and $500, and          founded in 1993. Rotenier sees                before that, however, as the
     Oversized pendants on leather                 Kay, Slane & Slane,                    consumers will be able to buy      the site as achieving three                   final step in SMI’s “phase
     or silk cords                                 Thistle & Bee and Zina.                directly from the designer’s       goals: underscoring to con-                   one,” it will launch a quarterly
     Feminine feeling overall, in themes              Steve Lagos, who                    site,        sumers that silver (like gold,                industry-focused electronic
     and ornamentation                             launched Philadelphia                     For Great Neck, N.Y.-based      platinum and palladium) is                    newsletter, Barlerin says.
                                                   design company Lagos                   designer Leslie Greene, $700 is    one of the noble metals;                                 —E-mail:

10 | National Jeweler | December 2008                                                                                                                               

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