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Articles from STAINLESS STEEL JEWELLERY (153 Articles)











Pastiche
Pastiche

Strength, durability and cost spur stainless steel jewellery

With its shiny, polished finish and resistance to tarnish, stainless steel is now a major jewellery category in its own right for men and women. TALIA PAZ reports.
Pastiche
Pastiche

Stainless steel is renowned for its unquestionable strength, durability and affordability. These qualities, along with a wealth of design options, have helped to improve the metal’s credence among jewellery retailers and consumers.

During the 1980s, items like stainless steel bracelets, rings and earrings became readily available and were particularly popular with the youth and male markets. A few decades later and the metal’s popularity isn’t waning; in fact, it is now widely accepted by male and female consumers.

Jeweller spoke with a cross-section of jewellers to gain a sense of the current state of the stainless steel category, whether there has been a notable change in perception and, ultimately, what sales opportunities are within reach.

Janis Martin, store manager of Maleny Jewellers in Queensland, suggests that the key to a successful stainless steel offering comes down to stocking designs that align with fashion trends and are updated regularly.

“We started stocking women’s ranges [in stainless steel] with Pastiche five years ago,” she says. “It started off very strong and went through a quiet stage, but with the release of their latest collections has picked up again.”

While stainless steel is not for every woman, Martin states she has noticed that more females are now open to the idea of the metal, owing to its affordability and providing it is a brand they trust.

When asked what pieces perform particularly well in store, Martin says that bangles are big sellers, with IP rose gold and yellow gold plating being popular.

Kagi
Kagi

“The majority of the stainless steel jewellery we do in the women’s range is IP rose or yellow gold plated. This is why it can be so popular – women can get the look of gold for a cheaper price.”

Brent Morrison, owner of Petersens Jewellers in Christchurch, New Zealand, has similar sentiments. He states that well-represented brands go a long way towards changing the metal’s perception across the female demographic.

“We’ve been stocking Kagi since 2010 and we find it to be a very popular product with our clients who enjoy the bigger pieces of jewellery for formal wear and things like that,” Morrison says. “The good thing about the range is that it’s easily adaptable – the colours change from season to season and the pendants can be placed on various chains. [The range] always looks fresh and it doesn’t date; it’s very user friendly.”

Thomas Jewellers, which has several stores across Victoria, is another retail business that has experienced success in selling the metal to women. Assistant jewellery buyer Anya Conway says she’s noticed a significant change in the perception of stainless steel amongst females. She credits this boost to women feeling more self-assured than ever with their fashion selections in the workplace and beyond.

“I think females are more bold and confident with their jewellery choices; they don’t go to work anymore just wearing their wedding ring or something basic. They want to be a bit more fierce in how they come across,”
she says, adding that daily fashion trends that trickle in from Hollywood also play a big part in promoting stainless steel’s standing.

Coeur de Lion
Coeur de Lion
Love Lockets
Love Lockets


 

Properties offer opportunities

Catherine Pevy-Trewartha is owner of My Jewellery Shop, a Gold Coast business that has been selling stainless steel jewellery for “many years”. According to her, the majority of consumers are lax on the metal’s benefits, meaning it’s still up to staff to offer explanations that will result in sales opportunities.

“I believe that the majority of consumers do not understand stainless steel jewellery so staff really have to explain the benefits – other than style – to sell it,” Pevy-Trewartha explains. “Customers are normally drawn to a style and then we explain that stainless steel is non-allergenic, lightweight and very affordable. For customers who are rose gold girls, it means they now have a far more fashionable range to choose from and they can mix their traditional pieces with those that are more on trend.”

Pevy-Trewartha says there are additional sales opportunities too: “Customers will often come in asking if we have earrings that are suitable for those with allergies and we can add on bangles to match.”

For Conway, one of the keys to stainless steel’s success remains its attractive price-point.

“In my opinion, people aren’t just buying one-offs anymore; they’ll do a jewellery shop a few times a year and start up their collection so I think a good price-point
is definitely something retailers need to source,” she explains.

Conway adds that the metal’s properties and fresh take on modernity are factors that should be actively promoted on the sales floor.

Cudworth Enterprises
Cudworth Enterprises

“If someone was coming in and looking for something different that they haven’t necessarily bought before, I would show them the stainless steel and explain that it doesn’t tarnish as much, is really durable and might come in a design that isn’t as old fashioned as the silver or white gold pieces – it’s more modern.”

It’s still a man’s world

This rings true for male consumers as well, according to Martin, who explains that stainless steel represents a huge part of Melany Jewellers’ men’s offering and that on-trend pieces at an affordable price is a top selling point.

Chris Mellon, director of Gary’s Leading Edge Jewellers in Woy Woy, NSW, has been stocking the stainless steel men’s range from Cudworth Enterprises for more than 10 years. Has stocking the brand helped with promoting stainless steel’s relevance to male consumers? Mellon says yes.

“I think it’s the presentation and the quality of the finish of the product,” she explains of the metal’s increased acceptance, adding, “A lot of the bracelets are going well, like the multi stainless steel and leather.”

Michael Granshaw is the director of Butterfly Silver, a 21-store retail business that has stocked stainless steel jewellery for approximately 10 years. Granshaw says stainless steel remains a steady performer – no significant increase or decrease has been recorded in the past few years – but stresses that it’s imperative to select products that will match the consumer’s profile and demographic.

“Male customers remain strong on steel but it depends on the product [as to] whether they choose steel or silver,” he explains.

Butterfly Silver
Butterfly Silver

Speaking of products, Conway says that stainless steel men’s wedding bands have recently increased in popularity: “We sell a lot of men’s wedding rings in the stainless steel category. Wedding rings normally came in yellow or white gold but now we get people from all different socio-economic backgrounds wanting wedding rings, and I think if men want to wear jewellery they’ll go for the stainless steel.”

It’s not just about wedding rings for Thomas Jewellers. Just like females, Conway says male consumers are now more confident and bold in their fashion choices, which bodes well for stainless steel.

“Even with males, wearing black and white suits and ties isn’t really a thing anymore – it’s really phased out,” she says. “Now, if men want to wear a different piece of jewellery to work it’s encouraged. It’s great to see their personalities shine through rather than keeping it so compressed.”

Forging ahead

In terms of guidance for jewellers wanting to improve their stainless steel business, Morrison advises making an effort to research what is available and what will ultimately work best for the store.

“I think if any jewellers are considering going into it then just start small; ask the consumers if they think they have got a market for it and go from there,” Morrison says. “We’re looking for a good brand that’s well represented.”

Attention-grabbing merchandise is another way to help improve stainless steel sales, Conway adds.

“What I’m all about is great and creative merchandising,” she says. “I think stainless steel jewellery are statement pieces so you want it to be displayed as a statement. It should be really eye-catching for the consumers that may not even have thought about buying stainless steel before.”

Stainless steel might still be considered a niche market within jewellery stores but it appears the metal has broken through a significant number of barriers over the past few years and is now earning its keep for men and women.

Retailers not yet considering the metal should note that stainless steel is providing opportunities for consumers looking to try new materials, keep up with trends and locate value in a saturated market. 
 

STEEL APPEAL

Suppliers spill the beans on the upcoming key trends and statement pieces expected to be hits with consumers.


“Definitely stainless steel and leather bracelets. Stainless steel jewellery is still strong for us and now we are mixing stainless steel with leather and carbon fibre. We also have introduced more IP colours.”
Darren Roberts, Cudworth Enterprises


 


“When considering both the general jewellery trends and the advantages of stainless steel, I think key pieces in the coming seasons will be large oversized jewellery designs with an industrial feel. The durability of stainless steel makes it a great match for these bold, eccentric designs, filtering from the catwalk to the consumer.”
Kat Gee, Kagi

 


“Stainless steel is not always going to be a choice for every jewellery piece; however, for the fashion conscious and the growing personalised jewellery trends that are very apparent in our current and future market, stainless steel is providing the quality piece, at the right price. The perfect statement piece in our collection is our extra large silver plain locket, filled to the brim with Swarovski crystals.”
Hayley Birtles-Eades, Love Lockets 

 


“Stainless steel pieces in rose and yellow gold will continue to dominate the market with their sharp price-points and radiant colour. We have also been focusing on adding natural gemstones into our designs. These have been very popular and we expect that white and black howlite will be key pieces with their marble look.”
Amy Bradley, Pastiche
 

 


“For winter, rose gold again is proving to be a hit. Retailers are stocking up on Coeur de Lion pieces featuring rose gold plating. These exciting items are also blended with unique materials such as sunstone, Swarovski crystals and crystal pearls, polaris and glass. Stainless steel allows for innovation in design, resulting in beautiful and colourful statement pieces that last.”
Ken Abbott, Timesupply

 











ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Talia Paz • Staff Journalist

Talia Paz is a staff journalist for Jeweller, and has more than three years' experience as a freelance journalist for national and international publications, covering a wide range of industries.









Tuesday, 23 April, 2019 10:31am
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