The first two days were the busiest at the Couture show, which took place from June 1 to 5; the last two days saw a visible decline in traffic. Overall, however, the number of retail visitors and jewelry orders either met or exceeded exhibitors’ expectations.
“Typically, several people will roll through requesting consignment, and that has really shifted,” said Lisa Nik, founder of the eponymous fine-jewelry brand. “I believe it’s a seller’s market for designers now in the jewelry space, which hasn’t happened for a long time. The big brands always get the orders because of production, but the smaller designers are now able to command orders, too, and this is what I always wanted for all of us. There’s a hunger for newness that we haven’t seen for a long time.”
The annual trade fair at the luxurious Wynn Las Vegas resort attracted more than 350 fine-jewelry designers and timepiece brands, primarily from the US, Europe and the Middle East. The show is open to pre-approved North American retailers.
“We’ve had very good business yesterday and today, [including] many appointments with independent jewelers and department stores. We are very happy,” stated Massimo Gismondi, group CEO of gem-centric brand Gismondi 1754 and gold-focused jeweler Vendorafa. Both Italian companies have exhibited for several years.
The US is Gismondi’s largest market, he continued. “So far, it’s better than past years, because we are increasing the US market significantly. The mood here is good.”
Emerald and diamond earrings. (Gismondi)
Geometric jewels and colored gems
Sweta Jain, founder of New York-based jewelry brand Goshwara, was surprised at the response to some of her pieces.
“We saw a lot of people asking for geometric stuff,” said Jain, whose work reflects her family’s heritage as gem dealers. “We feel that it’s almost a trend. I’ve been doing this for a long time, but I was surprised by the number of people who came asking for that.”
The Goshwara booth was visibly crowded throughout the fair. “We made lots of appointments, and almost everyone showed up,” she said. “We also had a lot of walk-ins.”
Other popular items for the brand were entry-point jewels and pieces with plenty of colored gems. “Everyone is looking for more color,” Jain reported.
The Sydney Evan booth was one of the busiest throughout the show. Rosanne Karmes, the fine-jewelry brand’s founder, was prepared for the enthusiasm buyers had for her fun, whimsical creations, which target self-purchasing women.
“We have four tables, and we have salespersons dedicated to the major retailers and [to] the independents,” Karmes said. “Everybody made their appointments. We are totally booked, and we had to squeeze more people in.”
Business is back, but cautious
Aron Suna of New York-based brand Suna was featuring platinum pieces as part of “Platinum Born,” a joint project with Platinum Guild International (PGI) that has already been well received among retailers. To encourage his retail clients to restock regularly, he said, he points out that some pieces are key to the collection. “We tell them, ‘You have great items, and when you sell it, you need to replace it.’”
Couture has always “been very good” for his company, he added. Business has returned to more normal levels since the boom during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, he now senses that buyers are being more hesitant.
“For two years, we had off-the-charts business,” he related. “Since 2023 [began], it’s a little bit quieter, but it’s back to the normal kind of good business. I think people are concerned about the economy, the political situation, the war in Ukraine, everything. It’s a little odd that the market keeps holding its own while the price of gold goes up…. Things are a little strange right now. I think people are optimistic but are being slightly more cautious than they were.”
Nonetheless, he declared, “the show is good.”
Main image: Sydney Evan jewels on display. (Sydney Evan)