Diamond Shoes: Stuart Weitzman Marketing Genius

Weitzman being introduced at Mass Art for talk held April 2, 2019

What would you think if you saw a pair of shoes designed with one million dollars’ worth of diamonds walk across a stage? You might be clapping or oohing and awing, but if you were me, you’d thought what a great way to market to a younger group! Stuart Weitzman visited the Massachusetts College of Art & Design yesterday to give a talk about himself and his company. I want to look at a few topics dealing with Stuart Weitzman’s marketing strategy that can apply to all industries!

Weitzman’s beginnings

Weitzman talked about taking a more traditional path with plans to go to school and heading to Wall Street afterwards. A friend whose father owned a shoe manufacturing company saw Weitzman’s drawing skills (a hobby at the time) and encouraged him to draw some shoe designs to sell to his father. Weitzman was honest and detailed about his process, the designs he came up with were from researching the company he was trying to design for and thinking of what would appeal to the customer. The day arrived and Weitzman laid out his drawings for the friend’s father to judge. The father picked up one drawing and said, ‘Did you trace this?’. Weitzman could honestly say none of the drawings were copies and traced from another designer, these were all his. The man looked at the picture again tore it up, crumpled it and tossed it to the ground. He then took another drawing, turned it to its blank side and told Weitzman to draw that shoe again. Weitzman did and he was paid for 19 of the 20 drawings. The importance of originality was brought up after this, Weitzman estimated in his career, he had interviewed 15-20 designers and of those only 6 or 7 could replicate a design they had just presented to Weitzman from scratch.

Weitzman was an apprentice for several years and learned the ins and outs of the industry before starting his own business. This is when his true genius comes out, not in his designs but in Weitzman’s marketing strategy. He started by making custom shoes for celebrities. Weitzman had looked at department stores and saw how hard it would be to get his shoes some shelf space. Weitzman saw a need in the market for custom shoes for celebrities because most stylists focused on jewelry and dresses, celebrities at the time bought their shoes from department stores so it was not uncommon to see several celebrities with the same shoe. That all changed with Aretha Franklin the night she won the American Music Award in 1983. You can read more on it here. Look at that marketing! After that Weitzman was getting plenty of orders.

Publicity that got Weitzman into the celebrity designer market. Aretha Franklin pictured at AMA in 1983 with her designer shoes by Weitzman

Marketing to Celebrities

Then came 2005 and the hottest actress at the time was left for Angelina Jolie. For those that can remember the beginning of the Jen-Brad-Angelina drama. The divorce was not finalized until 2008 and Weitzman wanted his shoes on Jennifer Aniston. However, Aniston never shopped Weitzman’s store, so Weitzman found out the store she did shop at and collaborated with them to create a shoe for Jen. Jen liked it and the wedge espadrille was worn throughout the summer of 2009. Weitzman even got a two-page spread in People Magazine with Aniston’s many looks with the shoe in the early stages of the recession. This was all free advertising due to Weitzman’s marketing strategy.

Weitzman talks about the wedge he designed for a store that Jennifer Aniston shopped at

He did a similar strategy to get Kate Moss to model his shoes by working with Mario Testino to create an ad campaign.

Weitzman also noted how you can not overlook the marketing of smaller stars. Weitzman mentioned how a few years back his marketing team wanted him to stop making custom shoes for TV stars, but Weitzman did not see the harm in it. They may not have the star power of Kate Moss, but they did bring some visibility and you don’t know they could be a famous movie star one day. His belief paid off; the TV show that his company was working with was Suits, filmed in Canada and once had Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s current wife. Markle frequently wears Weitzman’s shoes along with her sister-in-law Kate Middleton.

Weitzman talks about how he got Meghan Markle as a client

Creating buzz with an original idea

Stuart Weitzman wasn’t done winning over the crowd in the auditorium he then talked about creating a pair of million-dollar shoes for the Oscars in 2002, worn by Laura Harring. He could have got a bigger name at that time to wear his shoes, but he knew a less popular star up for an award would want to show off the shoes to get more attention. These shoes were created with one million dollars’ worth of diamonds and gained a lot of attention! The celebrity that helped promote the shoes the most was Joan Rivers! Weitzman recalls watching Rivers interview Angelina Jolie and interrupting their talk to see the diamond shoes on Harring! This was no surprise to me considering how much Joan loved jewelry!

Weitzman talking about actress wearing $1 million diamond shoes

The talk wasn’t over yet, Weitzman brings out a couple of pairs of shoes one being the diamond pair he just talked about to be modeled by a lady in the audience. 

Audience member modeling Weitzman Diamond Shoes

Final thoughts

Weitzman really seemed to enjoy speaking to the group and ran a little over but was happy to take questions. After he finished and I was heading back to my apartment I caught myself going to his online store. I realized how effective his talk was and knew I wasn’t alone. A girl near me asked her friends, “How did they get Stuart Weitzman?” Weitzman may have been doing the school a favor but after his talk I think he had things he could benefit from by giving the talk. Besides the free publicity, his company is probably looking for fresh talent and what a way to recruit than by giving a speech like he did with all the celebrities and glittery events! I imagine many of the students in that auditorium will be dreaming of employment at Stuart Weitzman. To me Stuart Weitzman is more than a shoe designer, he is a marketing genius!

If you are looking to improve your business and marketing strategy reach out to me, data.inthe.rough@gmail.com. I would love to help you build a better business with my many years of experience as an analyst and consultant. Thank you for reading and I hope you return soon! If you’re in the Boston area check out Boston Design week, this group helped sponsored the talk that I am able to share with you.

Restraining Order on Auction from Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Fisher Divorce

Recently I saw an Instagram Ad by the company Invaluable, about looking at some of their auction pieces. They picked a few pieces from the estate of Elvis Presley to display to me. I have looked at some of Presley’s estate pieces on auction before. I looked at the auction in total and saw an interesting article from the past, a restraining order given to Eddie Fisher by Elizabeth Taylor! A little bit of research had me discovering that 55 years ago this month Taylor and Fisher were finally divorced. The exact date is March 6, 1954.

I’m going to look at some of the jewels Eddie Fisher bought for his second wife, Elizabeth Taylor. The story behind the jewels and the end of the marriage that lead to the restraining order on auction now.

Birthday Surprise

The story told by Taylor was that she and her new lover Richard Burton agreed to take a break from their affair about the time that Taylor was celebrating her 30th birthday. Burton did not send so much as a flower over to Taylor in recognition of her birthday. Eddie Fisher was aware of the affair his wife was having with her costar and wanted to try and save her marriage by buying some jewelry from Bulgari. The three pieces below consist of colored and white diamonds.

End of the Marriage

These pieces did not change Taylor’s mind about the marriage and soon she had left Fisher and wanted a divorce. In Taylor’s book, My Love Affair with Jewelry, Taylor claimed after the separation Fisher sent her the bill for the pieces. She did pay it. They are beautiful pieces that were seen from time to time on Taylor.

The Bulgari jewels that were the more iconic pieces of Taylor’s were the emerald pieces bought by Burton. The prices at auction for 5 of the Bulgari emerald pieces ranged from $3 million- $6 million. There was one emerald piece that was Bulgari but only sold for $1.5 million (buyer’s premium included). This emerald and diamond flower brooch. It was purchased by Eddie Fisher, you can read more on it here.

Elizabeth is wearing the brooch with earrings bought by Burton and you can feel the tension as Fisher tries hard to keep Taylor happy.  The brooch still did well above its $200,000-$300,000 estimate. For those interested the emerald earrings did 16 times better than the high estimate of $200,000!

The Current Auction

The restraining order has Eddie Fisher as the plaintiff with a signature by Elizabeth Taylor-Burton as the defendant. A restraining order filed after she married Richard Burton, which I found interesting. The end of the relationship with Eddie was frightening for Elizabeth. An article claims that Taylor woke up with a gun to her head by Fisher. Fisher didn’t pull the trigger saying she was too pretty to kill. Taylor left with her children after that. This is not the only restraining order, Heritage auctions sold one from around the time of this one several years ago.   

Will be interesting to see if anyone bids on the document and how much it goes for. What do you think of the jewelry Eddie picked? If you had the funds would you have paid the bill in the divorce? Thank you for visiting and I hope you visit Data in the Rough next week!

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Boston Arts and Crafts: Focus of MFA Jewelry Exhibit

Paris, New York, London, these are cities you might think of when you think of jewelry being created. The kind of jewelry that withstands the test of time that you see when you look at exhibits in a museum. If you read my 4-part series on the Evolution of the Jewelry Industry in America that covered the Colonial Era through the late 19th Century. I looked at the listing of jewelers and manufacturers in Boston and talked about how this helped fuel the Boston Arts and Crafts movement. And how Boston was a one time know for its jewelry

If you enjoyed those posts then you should visit the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) at Boston. The exhibit on view focuses on the Boston jewelers of the Arts and Crafts era. Since you may not be able to go my post is covering several of the items and themes that were on display.

The Featured Designer

Coming up to the exhibit the museum wanted you to know that these pieces are Boston made. The first piece you see is by Frank Gardner Hale that is on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. This designer is named a leader and advocate in the Boston Arts and Crafts movement. His work is featured throughout the exhibit and one of his pendants is used on the advertising material and banners for the jewelry exhibit. The necklace is a dramatic piece with lots of color.

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Gemstone Necklace, Frank Gardner Hale

You enter and more of Hale’s work is displayed.

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Display dedicated to work of Frank Gardner Hale

Here is the necklace I mentioned that is seen on the MFA’s promotional materials.

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Opal and Green Garnet Necklace, Frank Gardner Hale

There were different aspects of the jewelry making process that were featured in the exhibit…

The Design Phase

Some drawings of designs by Frank Hale were included. These drawings are done in graphite, ink and watercolor. Can you spot the opal necklace we just looked at?

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Jewelry Designs by Frank Gardner Hale

The Enameling

This media is featured through out the Boston Arts and Crafts movement. In fact, this is a defining style of Boston. Colors were chosen to mimic or enhance colored gemstones. The display read that enamels are created by heating powdered glass to a metal substrate.

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Enamel Display for Boston Arts and Crafts

The Inspirations

There are several types of inspirations two mentioned in the Boston Arts and Crafts movement were designers and historic periods. One designer that has inspired many a modern designer was also inspiring his peers at the time, Louis Comfort Tiffany. Tiffany is in New York but this Black Opal necklace from around 1910 was in the exhibit as a great example of how he used color.

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Black Opal and Demantoid Garnet Necklace, Louis Comfort Tiffany, made around 1910

Some historical times that inspired Boston Arts and Crafts jewelers included medieval Europe and Colonial America.

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Moonstone Necklace, Frederick Partridge, another designer mentioned as an inspiration, this designer was from London, England

Color

One aspect to note from the jewelry above is the use of color and materials. One item of information that I found very interesting is that the use of color distinct to Boston was due to the educational system at the time. Color Theory was part of the public-school education. I don’t think color theory was used much in my high school classes, mentioned in junior high but could have been elaborated on more. As a reader did you have a public-school education that covered color theory well? That training in color theory is what compelled the jewelers to design with less main stream stones so that the colors they wanted could be achieved! Below is one of my favorite pieces from the color display.

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Enamel and Citrine Peacock Brooch, Gertrude S. Twichell

Women Featured

One aspect of exhibits that are becoming more common are features on women in the field. The MFA included that aspect to the Boston Arts and Crafts exhibit. Works included Elizabeth Copeland, Josephine Hartwell Shaw, and Margaret Rogers. A few of their works in the gallery below.

There were a few other areas, but this is a good overview of the exhibit going on at the MFA Boston. The exhibit goes through March 2020, find more info with this link. Please let me know if you have seen it or are planning to go. Are there questions you have about Boston Arts and Crafts? I would be happy to answer what I can. Hope you return next week for more Data in the Rough!

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Enamel Peacock Box, Frank J. Marshall

Marina B adds E-commerce to their Website

Luxury and e-commerce have always been a little tricky. The brand wants to retain some mystery but still be visible to customers and aspirational buyers. Apparel has done better with adapting to social media and online sales, jewelry again has been slow to adopt new ways of doing business. Last month though Marina B updated their website and added e-commerce! If you follow David Webb, they also updated their website increasing their pieces offered that can be bought online. JCK covered it in an article from late January.

In this post I will look at some of the features on Marina B’s website, the product offerings and where they may move towards in the future with e-commerce.

The Website

The home page draws you in with Marina B’s bright colors a signature of the brand’s design. Scrolling through the page you see some of the three collections that are on the online shop: Trisola, Trisolina, and Luna.

Then you come to the Jewelry for Muses. I like seeing the celebrities that have worn Marina B through the years, but I think that this is one area that the Marina B team may want to reconsider next time. I would like to see those similar pieces when I click on the photo or see a place above devoted to ‘Who Wore It’ or ‘Worn by’. One site to consider is Kenneth Jay Lane (KJL) who has numerous celebrities wear his jewels. An example of how his site incorporates the story and the sale is Elizabeth Taylor and her famous pendant earring bought by Mike Todd. The Adverturine has more on the history, but here is the KJL version.

A photo of the celebrity wearing the jewels and the product for sale on the site.

Marina B could use Elizabeth Taylor as well who was a customer of Marina B. Marina could mention that the Portanova Diamond Ear Pendants brought in $572,500 at the 2011 Christie’s Auction. Then the website can show that variety as well as other variations of this classic showstopping earring.

A feature that I like as you scroll further is some of the Marina B book by Viviane Jutheau de Witt is available online. It is an out of print book that you can look for on Amazon or Ebay. Ebay is where I bought my copy!

You reach the end of the site to see where the Marina B boutique is located and the hours. Was thrilled to see that they are open to the public Monday through Friday! The picture is visually appealing and is making me consider a mini trip to NYC to see the space!

The Products

A quick look at the products online for sale. The table below gives the type and range of prices for the collection and types.

Trisolina is the largest collection ranging from price points of $2,150-$27,500. A few pieces from Trisolina.

The collection ranges from $1,400 to $27,500. The product mix is heavy on rings and bracelets/bangles. I would look at offering more earrings, they are so iconic and show off Marina B’s amazing designs and engineering ability.

Future of Marina B e-commerce

Overall, I like the site, major improvements from the last one. I hope to see more products and more of Marina B’s story come to the site. Also, I think the site should add a high jewelry section to really show the amazing creations that this house is capable of. Have you looked at the site? What do you like or hope to see improved? If you are looking at branching more into e-commerce or want to redo your online strategy give me an email and I’d love to work with you! Thank you for reading Data in the Rough!

The Added Costs of Jewelry at the Oscars: Looking at the Taylor-Burton Diamond

Lots of excitement surrounded Lady Gaga for wearing the Tiffany Yellow Diamond last worn by Audrey Hepburn. Several articles on seeing this stunning piece were covered by JCK, Independent, and Town & Country .   Lady Gaga’s jewelry and performance will be looked backed on for many years but you wonder if it’s worth the cost? Business of Fashion put out an article titled, Does Oscar Fashion Still Matter? (accessible only to BOF Professional subscribers) Drawing attention to some of the numbers a recent poll referenced in the article found 44% of Americans did not watch the awards show red carpet coverage. I was in those numbers. Of the 56% that did only 6% said they watched for the fashion. (This was a sample size of 2,203) So how much does the jewelry matter? And what is the cost to a jewelry house? I can’t get specific numbers of current celebs, but I want to look back at one of the most famous red-carpet jewel and star, Elizabeth Taylor at the 1970 Oscars wearing the famous Taylor-Burton Diamond.

Elizabeth Taylor presenting at 1970 Oscars

Brief Background on Taylor-Burton Diamond

The Taylor-Burton Diamond has been mentioned by Taylor in books and interviews. The cost of the jewel was disclosed at being $1,050,000 in 1969 bought from Cartier. Taylor wore this 69.42 carat pear with diamond set necklace to the 1970 Oscars accompanied by her husband and actor Richard Burton.

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor at 1970 Oscars, Taylor wearing Taylor-Burton Diamond

Taylor presented that year so many people got to see this piece on display. The cost of insuring it was $1 million by Lloyd’s of London. Taylor could wear the diamond out 30 days of the year, for all others it was locked in a safe. The diamond was sold in 1979 for between $3-$5 million to New York jeweler, Henry Lambert who sold it that same year to jewelry house Mouawad for close to $5 million.

The Added Cost of High Jewelry

Since the numbers are not available for the Tiffany Diamonds cost to be out, I will look at what it cost Elizabeth Taylor to wear that gem out.

I mentioned above the numbers from that time period, but I want to adjust them for inflation, so we see the price in today’s dollars.  You can check out other prices from the CPI calculator I found online here.

Tiffany Diamond Estimate

The Tiffany Diamond is 128 carats and valued at over $30 million by a CBS report. The diamond has not been out since the Audrey Hepburn stills for Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1962. My guess is that Tiffany bought an insurance policy for this event and if Lady Gaga did not already have jeweler’s insurance she likely signed off that she would be financially responsible if something were to happen. I found an article detailing more about celebrity jewelry policies here. This is one of the main reason stars don’t own their jewelry. The cost would likely be much greater than Taylor’s piece.

Tiffany Press

Will this really boost Tiffany’s bottom line? The reason for exposure at an award show is to create brand awareness to sell to those watching these shows. Since Tiffany is a publicly traded company, I will take a peak at their first and second quarter financials when they become available. I would be interested in seeing how the Tiffany Diamond is mentioned and displayed in the store with this new celebrity connection. What I wouldn’t give to see the numbers on the foot traffic over the year in the NYC Fifth Avenue store!

Final Thoughts

So far, the response seems mostly positive following Hepburn is a hard act, but Tiffany is trying to make their industry relevant which benefits more than Tiffany. If you are looking at new ways to market your product and need some guidance on how to measure its effectiveness. Also, if you need help making sure you are accounting for all your costs when launching a campaign or starting a new business venture. Contact me at data.inthe.rough@gmail.com ! Thank you for reading this post and for all the Elizabeth Taylor fans out there I didn’t forget Dame Taylor’s birthday tomorrow!  Return soon for more Data in the Rough!

How Jewelry: The Body Transformed Exhibit is highlighting the Public’s Interest in Jewelry

Do you consider jewelry art? What kind of jewelry? I think of jewelry as art but only certain kinds I really enjoy viewing. The JAR exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City was an art show to me. It was also the first time I went to the Met. I made the trip again earlier in the month to see Jewelry: The Body Transformed before it ends on Sunday February 24th. It opened in November, a short time for viewing, if you had to travel to see it. Jewelry featured in museums is becoming more common. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has their own jewelry focused exhibit that started in November 2018 as well, that exhibit goes into 2020 and I hope to see it soon!

For this post I’ll give some highlights from the exhibit, what I thought of it and look at how this might set the trend for many more shows focusing on jewelry.

The Exhibit

The exhibit was across 2 rooms with many different eras and styles covered. Below are only a few of the many pieces that have played a part in human culture.

Modern and Ancient Jewelry

Not everything was sparkly the bracelet on the left made in 1995 of Polyester and resin by Peter Chang, bracelet on right is from Thailand made of Bronze around 300 B.C.-200 A.D.
Both are earrings, the pair further back is from the 5th-8th century Peru of sodalite. gold, turquoise and shell; earrings closer are Polynesian, early 19th C made of whale ivory

Jewelry from Other Cultures

Chinese headdress with phoenixes and flowers from Ming Dynasty made of gold, rubies, pearls, cat’s-eyes, iron
Really enjoyed seeing this Jewish wedding ring from 17th-19th C made of gold and enamel, from either Eastern Europe or Venice
Indian carved brooch from the Mughal period, setting made later by Cartier

18th & 19th Century Jewelry

Bracelets with portrait miniatures, 1840, New York, gold, watercolor on ivory, on reverse is hair
Dress ornament, Georges Fouquet, 1923, made of jade, onyx, diamonds, enamel, platinum
Brooch with lotuses and pendant moonstones, with gold and enamel by Ferdinand Hauser, 1912-13
Some costume pieces were included my favorite by Yves Saint Laurent, glass, rhinestone, metal from 1983-84

Jeweled Accessories

Ceremonial neck armor, French, 1600, steel and gold
A more modern take on armor by Shaun Leane for Alexander McQueen, 2000
Silk Evening gloves by Elsa Schiaparelli, 1935-40
Jade dagger with sheath, Indian, 19th Century

Jewelry of Business

One of my favorite sections was themed Jewelry of Business and included Tiffany & Co, Marcus & Co., Lalique, Cellini, to name a few. These were successful businesses and many are still around. I did feel something was missing from the exhibit.

Rene Lalique, 1897-99, gold, enamel, amethysts,opals

What did I see missing from Jewelry: The Body Transformed?

One designer missing was my favorite, Faberge. I did not see anything of his work in the exhibit. He should have had items in the Business of Jewelry. The Met has a display of his work so after I was done looking at Jewelry: The Body Transformed, I found my Faberge section. See a photo of some of the Imperial Eggs below.

Faberge Eggs

The Future Exhibits

If Faberge had been included I would say this was a near perfect exhibit. I think that maybe the Met should look into creating a larger exhibit dedicated to the Russian goldsmith. For the future of exhibits I see more jewelry exhibits. Hillwood just finished their Faberge exhibit and I mentioned about the MFA current exhibit. I think that the interest is there museums and curators need to look at the business and workmanship angle to better educate the public on the artistry and craft of jewelry.

Thank you for reading and visit the exhibit at the Met if you are in the area. Please leave me a comment if you went or what pieces you liked from my post. Looking forward to posting more on Data in the Rough!

Jewelry Store Windows on 5th Avenue Welcoming Wealth and Prosperity

In my last post I mentioned that the Valentine Displays were a little lite on 5th Avenue. Several jewelry store windows were decorated for the Chinese New Year that started on February 5th. For this post I will look at a few factors of why that is and see if those were good reasons for the stores visual merchandising strategy. The two factors I am focusing on are spending for these holiday’s and the number of stores present in the USA and China.

Valentine’s versus Chinese New Year spending

Valentine’s is a major retail holiday in the us in terms of spending. The National Retail Federation put out some data on Valentine’s spending. Below are some highlights.

Notice the expected percentage celebrating in 2019 dropped to about 51% but total expected spending ($20.7 billion) increased versus last year. So that means spending per person is up. It’s worth noting that when breaking the data down by gender men outspend women on Valentine gifts.

Spending per person for Valentine’s Day is expected to increase 12.8% versus 2018 which comes to a total of $161.96.

Those are good numbers, but they do not come close to Asian countries celebrating the New Year. An article published this week by CNBC did a survey with several Asian countries to see on average how much they were planning to spend for this year. Below is a table summarizing the findings:

As you can see even the lowest average per person spend (Indonesia) is almost 5 times a US Valentine spender’s budget. China’s numbers were not available, but the total spend estimate was. The article is quoted at estimating China’s total spend at ‘just under $140 billion. in retail and catering services over the week-long holiday’. Above the National Retail Federation listed the US Valentine total expected spend at $20.7 billion.

This is no surprise about China’s spending power, they have over a billion people. But will changing the window displays in the US jewelry stores really make that big of an impact? What is the brand presence of these high-end jewelry brands in China?

Number of US stores vs Chinese stores

Walking down 5th Avenue and noting all the new year decorations in many of the jewelry store windows I decided to go online to get a count of the number of stores that these jewelry brands had in the US versus China. Below is the table with my research:

These numbers were found on the respective brands website and only include salons/boutiques not licensed sellers. Hong Kong (HK) is included with mainland China.

All but 2 companies have more Chinese stores than US locations. Tiffany and Harry Winston have more US than Chinese locations. Harry Winston has chosen to celebrate the Chinese New Year and from my previous post Tiffany went with Valentine’s Day.

Brand Strategy

Even though both Tiffany and Harry Winston are American-based brands, Tiffany has a more iconic American brand, so I think it made sense to decorate the stores for an American holiday. Harry Winston is probably hoping like many other stores that their New Year decorations will welcome in the estimated 6.15 million Chinese traveling abroad for the holiday. Tourism abroad is up for China, but the US has felt a decline, a report describing more of that is here. Tiffany is the only publicly traded company on the list so I won’t be able to compare sales results, but I will be interested in seeing Tiffany’s quarterly report for my own curiosity.

Finishing Remarks

The pig in the Chinese Zodiac signifies wealth and prosperity. Hopefully the Jewelry Industry experiences that this year. If you want to restart your new year and revamp your strategy send me an email at: data.inthe.rough@gmail.com . I wish all my readers lots of luck and prosperity in this new year. To end my post, I want to share some of the Chinese New Year displays I have been talking about. Enjoy the pictures below of my NYC window shopping trip last weekend!

Tiffany showing their Love for Valentine Window Display

Walking is great exercise and one of my favorite spots to walk is on 5th Avenue in New York City! I took a couple of days off from my routine in Boston to see some spots in New York City. I will tell you more about my trip in later posts but for this one I am focusing on the window displays of the jewelry stores I passed. I was expecting several Valentine’s Day displays since the holiday is this week and a big holiday for jewelry sales. When I was researching for this post, I was going to name a winner like I had in past posts on window displays. I can still name a winner and that is the Tiffany Valentine window display. The only issue is there wasn’t any real competition.

I want to share a few photos from the Tiffany Valentine window display and the few Valentine window displays I saw for the jewelry stores I passed. Afterwards I will see what this means in terms of trends and what you can expect next.

Tiffany Display

The theme seems to be around the marketing idea of #LoveTiffanyandCo with the shades of red and pink used in most Valentine’s Day window displays. I like the paint props to incorporate a few more colors within that group. Below are a few shots of the full window and some close ups of the jewelry.

Jean Schulmberger brooch

The displays above are nice, not a major wow factor but get the theme of Valentine’s Day gifts from Tiffany & Co across. Now we will look at a few other store displays

Other Jewelry Displays with Valentine Products

I am listing these displays as showing some pieces but are not displays with a Valentine’s Day theme.

There were some windows with a few heart shaped jewelry pieces like these diamond micropave hearts in rose or white gold from De Beers in the photo below. The De Beers site also has a Valentine’s Day section where I found these pieces if you click here.

There were also the displays with red hued jewelry like the rubies displayed in one window of Graff Diamonds.

Then you had a small mention of Valentine’s Day with a special edition piece like the one at Breguet. The window had one special edition watch for Valentine’s Day.

You might be wondering if the jewelry window displays on 5th had any theme? Many did not. There were some with some nice displays of a holiday but not of Valentine’s Day. The jewelry stores on 5th that had themed window displays, not including the Tiffany Valentine window display, were of the Chinese New Year!

Two New Years in the Same Year

The next post I plan on having will look at the Chinese New Year from the Jewelry Industry perspective. Tourism of the Chinese has been down in the US and I wonder what the window display strategy is of some of these jewelry houses. Thank you for reading and please comment if you find this post interesting or you have an opinion of Chinese spending and tourism in the US!

If you’d like to learn more about Tiffany window displays check out my past post on the book Windows at Tiffany.

2nd Annual Analysis of Town & Country Jewelry Awards

It’s that time of the year again! The 2nd Annual Town & Country Jewelry Award results are in! I analyzed some pieces of the awards last year and you can read it by clicking the link. I’m not going to go through all those points from last year. I want to only look at one main issue I had with the awards and focus on how the awards have moved forward.

If you are a subscriber to Town & Country magazine you probably got a cover like this with your magazine last week.

Anne Hathaway in a multi-colored dress with a long rose gold earring. The rose gold earrings are by Vhernier, named innovator of the year in the Town & Country Jewelry Awards. A great designer but this earring choice was not a great statement of things to come.

The other cover on newsstands was no different in the jewelry department. This time rose gold and jet earring by the same designer, Vhernier.

There was something missing from the cover that I noticed immediately, compared to last year. Here is the last year cover if you don’t remember or if you haven’t read the post from last year.

See in the right-hand corner in red? It is the call out of the Town & Country Jewelry Awards! When I first saw this magazine, I was concerned that the awards were a one-time thing. For me that would be upsetting since I just renewed so I could receive this issue! I think for the Jewelry Awards Issue the accessories should be a bit bolder.

I was pleased to see a change in the voting. Instead of a small panel like last time (where 2 of the judges also won in the Media Category) this time more than 200 ballots were cast among Jewelry designers, collectors, T&C editors, industry experts and influencers. I was not on that list but the editor’s letter by Stellene Volandes mentioned the voting logistics in the first line. I really think this is better than leaving it to a select few that may have other interests involved. For me this issue got off to a better start.

Emmanuel Tarpin behind the scenes from Instagram account

The Categories

A list of the winners to discuss below:

I like that there are 12 categories, not too many but not too few. I do subscribe for the jewelry so I want to see plenty of it. A nice addition to the magazine was some of the categories also have finalists. For colored stones Chopard won, below is a stunning and colorful pair of earrings. The runners up were Irene Neuwirth and Martin Katz.

Chopard Earrings

Some other categories to highlight:

Bulgari’s Wild Pop Collection: Bulgari is using more color in their creations and channeling the 1980’s. I was fortunate enough to walk by the New York store on 5th Avenue and catch some of their masterpieces.

Bulgari Necklace

Tiffany’s Save the Wild Collection: I have been watching this collection since it launched in 2017. Tiffany has animal themed jewelry like the elephant brooch below from their website, in which Tiffany is donating 100% of the profits to the Wildlife Conservation Network, which includes the Elephant Crisis Fund. You can learn more on their website. What I love about this collection is the price range $250-$35,000, so you do not need a lot of money to own a piece of jewelry that gives back to nature.

Tiffany Diamond Elephant Brooch

One category not listed is for social media influencers. Again, I was glad to see the social media panelists no longer choosing the winners. I think that category was unnecessary given how little is proven on how much influence social media has on branding and shopping.

One more amazing Chopard piece from their website

Let me know your thoughts on the magazine. Is there a category you would like to see? I would like a few emerging designers, Town and Country does a lot with main stream, well known jewelry houses, that I think introducing some new faces would help make the magazine feel like a better source of what is happening in the world of jewelry. If you would like to see how to measure social media and its influence in your business send me an email and we can talk about your strategy and business goals. Return later as I get back into a more regular schedule of blogging on Data in the Rough! Thank you for visiting!

Jackie Kennedy’s Cartier Watch returns to Christie’s but not for Auction

From my last post, I mentioned going to New York at the beginning of the week to buy a book at Tiffany & Co and to see the previews of the auctions at Christie’s and Sotheby’s. As I wait for the dust to settle on the auctions, I want to point out a piece I saw while at Christie’s that I had seen before. I went to view the Exceptional Watches at Christie’s after seeing the Magnificent Jewels. I like historical pieces and found a few watches that were owned by famous people. One was a pocket watch owned by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt; the other a Cartier tank watch owned by former first lady Jackie Kennedy.

You may remember this watch featured prominently in articles a little over a year ago when it was auctioned in June of 2017. It also made headlines when the highest bidder was identified as Kim Kardashian. I will be honest, that news did not make me happy. Seeing this watch that belonged to a classy, dignified woman now owned by a woman that would not know class or how to spell it if her life depended on it was a bit depressing. Imagine my surprise and delight to see the watch back in the case at Christie’s on Monday!

I shared the find with my friend and fellow blogger Jill of Everything Just So, who wrote an amazing article on Jackie Kennedy’s Cartier watch when it was auctioned last year, click here to read her piece and see some great detailed photos!

I went back online to see if I could find more details to Jackie Kennedy’s Cartier watch and came up short. I decided to write Christie’s about seeing the watch and got the answer I was looking for. It was for sale but is not being auctioned. It is going through Christie’s Private Sales to find a buyer. I would need to contact a specialist if I was interested in purchasing it, I did not go any further in my contacts, so I do not know what price the seller is looking for or why it is for sale.

Here are some details from the auction in June 2017.

As you can see the watch went for over 3 times the high estimate (buyer’s premium included).

If this was an investment piece, I feel it is a little early to turn it back to the market. I have looked at some articles on investing in watches. This one answers the question Are Watches a Good Investment? I know that luxury goods like handbags are a way to diversify your investments. The other article I looked at lists 12 Things to Consider before Investing in Watches. The last point being patience when selling.

I hope this watch finds a better home. My hope is that the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum purchases it and lets the world share in another piece of Camelot history.

Let me know your thoughts on Jackie Kennedy’s Cartier watch. Do you invest in watches or other luxury goods? Return for more Data in the Rough, as I look at the auction results with a deeper analysis next week!