Charms casting spells on
More moms to get jewelry
Cards and flowers will top holiday sales for Mother's Day as usual,
according to retail trade associations, but the growth category this year is
Jewelry is now expected to account for about 21% of gift sales, up from 16%
And the hottest items in jewelers' cases have been charms, accounting for
about 8% of all jewelry sold.
Charm bracelets, which tie together current fashion with the tradition and
sentiment that have been retail trends since last fall, can be found
everywhere, from high-end jewelers, such as Tiffany, to mass-market
retailers in malls.
"People are forgoing the frivolous and disposable in favor of the precious
and eternal" for the first Mother's Day after the terrorist attacks, says
Elizabeth Florence, executive director of the Jewelry Information Center.
"Jewelry is a gift which is an emotional salve," says Ken Gassman, an
analyst with the Jewelry Industry Research Institute.
Charms come in all shapes and materials -- some are simple silver or gold,
others are encrusted with gemstones, embossed or even glazed with photo
images. Charms can cost as little as $15 and can exceed $1,500. The
bracelets, sold separately, mostly range from $80 to $800.
Part of the appeal of charm bracelets for a mom is
that they start conversations, with each ornament telling a story, writer
Kathleen Oldford says. She details generations of stories in her new
book My Mother's Charms.
"You get an idea about a person, depending on what's
on the bracelet. It can tell you their passions and what their lives were
about," she says.
Oldford advises collectors to log who gave them the
charm and why to keep the stories alive, including tragedies such as Sept.
11. "It should be something that remembers a person for who they were or to
say thank you," she says, "so a firefighter's helmet, police officer's cap
or American flag."
John Desjardins, executive vice president of Marks Bros. Jewelers, which
operates The Whitehall Co., says his charm business has had double-digit
gains this year.
"The traditions of people, places and events lends to purchasing charm
bracelets," he says. "They memorialize things."
They can also solve future gift decisions. They are a gift that one can keep
on giving -- for any life event.
"We've seen a resurgence in any sentimental gift," Harriet Schreiner,
executive vice president of merchandising for Sterling Jewelers, says of
charm bracelets as well as lockets for photos, another piece of nostalgia.
Sterling is a unit of London's Signet Group and also operates Kay Jewelers,
JB Robinson and Shaw's Jewelers.
Consumer Mother's Day spending has increased as the day's observance has
extended to female relatives, stepmothers and friends. That's one of the
trends, along with jewelry buying, that is expected to drive household
holiday spending this year to $97, a 56% increase from $62 spent last year,
according to the National Retail Federation.
purchase jewelry for moms more than women do, are expected to boost their
spending 49% to $118 vs. $79 a year ago.