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Untarnished Style

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Despite its individualistic elegance, silver has always been valued in relation to the demand for gold. But as consumers turn to buying their jewellery online, designers and wholesalers are seeing a greater appreciation for the more versatile and affordable precious metal. – By Kirsten Ehrlich Davies

Silver has been a staple of the jewellery industry since the Bronze Age, when the first silversmiths discovered the art
of cupellation, extracting silver from lead. Every era in history has found a new way to make the most of this elegant precious metal, from the silver rings used as the world’s first currency in ancient Mesopotamia to the elaborate Gothic silver necklaces of the 1990s.

With the unique versatility to be suited for chunky curved designs with clean gleaming lines, delicate jewellery pieces and intricate designs, silver is the surprise winner of today’s market, appealing to customers with its unique range of
affordable designs.

Increasing demand

There is currently an increased demand for silver, with many companies specialising in unique and creative silver designs experiencing an additional boost of consumer attention during COVID.

Daniel Bentley

Jo Tory of Najo says that the industry at large has seen a surge in demand for silver during COVID. “I have seen shifts in the demand for gold plated silver jewellery, with sales increasing significantly,” said Jo.

The Najo brand was originally inspired by the beauty of Mexican jewellery, and features original affordable designs with clean lines and curves, accentuating the beauty of the precious metal.

FV Jewellery

Helen Thomson-Carter of Fabuleux Vous (FV) Jewellery says that she has observed a significant increase in silver sales over the past three years. “Some of that will be due to our unique designs and greater brand exposure,” said Helen.

“Silver is perhaps seen as more of a ‘fashion’ item than gold, this so has doubtlessly also driven a greater demand.”


“When women want that real statement piece, it is so affordable in silver.” The FV Jewellery brand has been inspired by a passion for sharing stories and commemorating special moments through fine sterling silver jewellery at an affordable price point.

Daniel Bentley from Daniel Bentley Jewellery says that he has observed an increased focus and understanding that silver is a beautiful metal. “We’ve always seen silver as a metal that you can experiment with, create heavier and more sculptural pieces of jewellery without the cost constraints associated with gold,” says Daniel. “That suits our clients who like bolder, modern designs without compromising quality.”

As a highly experienced jewellery designer and artisan, Daniel is dedicated to crafting unique and memorable jewellery pieces of the highest quality. He and his wife Lene, also a jewellery designer, have built their business into an internationally renowned brand.

Stones & Silver

Cheryle Roberts from Stones & Silver says that the affordability of silver and the modern designs available have increased the demands for silver jewellery. “You can now buy a quality piece of silver jewellery at a reasonable price, giving your consumer the ability to swap, change and keep up to date with the latest fashions and trends,” says Cheryle.


Stones & Silver are suppliers of one of the most extensive wholesale jewellery collections in Australia, featuring 925 sterling silver and gemstone jewellery to Australian and New Zealand retailers. Vina Lambert from Vina’s Jewellery says that her business uses recycled silver which appeals to environmentally conscious customers.

“Silver jewellery is the jewellery for new generations,” says Vina. “It effortlessly suits any occasion, and allows us to keep up with the newest fashion trends without spending a fortune. “Recycled sterling silver is as good quality as non recycled sterling silver, no purity is lost in the process of recycling to make new silver products.” As a jewellery designer, Vina is committed to building a brand that represents elegance and style, while committing to sustainability and quality.

Bianca from Bianc says that it has been interesting to observe the transition of sterling silver from being considered a cheap alternative to gold to being seen as a high-quality metal in its own right.

Bianc

“I think the new generation seeks jewellery that is high quality and long-lasting, yet still accessible and versatile, and sterling silver ticks those boxes,” says Bianca. “When I launched Bianc 10 years ago, I was solely designing sterling silver pieces. Since then, I have noticed the increased number of people placing more value on sterling silver. I think this is because our customers and stockists understand the material and its essential place in the jewellery market.”

Bianc is a fashion-forward jewellery label featuring contemporary designs with clean lines and quality finishes, and stocked in more than 200 locations across Australia and New Zealand. Ted Pevy from the Jewellery Centre believes that silver has become more fashionable due to offering a wider variety of styles than most collections.

“The younger generation is embracing silver due to its versatility and wide range of styles, but it continues to be popular with the older generations as well,” says Ted.

“Silver answers the higher demand for fashionable and global styles, and the demand for better quality.” However, not everyone in the industry is seeing an increased demand for silver jewellery. While Searay has an exquisite range
of sterling silver items, Ron says that silver is losing its appeal in the eyes of younger consumers.


“Silver jewellery has always been a costeffective way for the younger generation to wear on-trend designs,” says Ron. “However, at Searay, we have seen a significant shift in demand away from silver jewellery and towards 9k, 18k and platinum made jewellery, especially when it comes to gift buying and sentimental purchases.”

Searay


Ron believes that advertising terms such as “high quality” are too vague for the millennial market.

“Let’s face it, Millennials are ‘woke’. What makes it high quality? No doubt, for the consumer looking for something glamorous that they’ll wear on occasion, silver made designs such as those below, match their intent perfectly.”


Searay is a leading Australian jewellery wholesale brand with an extensive range available to retailers in Australia and New Zealand.

Affordable and versatile

The affordability of silver gives customers more flexibility of choice and more freedom to experiment with designs and styles. Melinda Carey from Georgini says that the affordability of Georgini’s designs gives consumers the opportunity to collect on-trend pieces or something unique for a special outfit.

Pastiche

“Our affordability also creates the opportunity for stacking, layering or ear curation with multiple pieces designed to
work together,” says Melinda.

“Layering is an expensive look to achieve in gold, but attainable and stunning in silver.” Melinda says that the lower price point of silver can draw customers into the store, leading to the option of landing bigger sales. “It is always amazing to sell $1000 gold items in-store, but it is essential to have products in the Georgini price category,” says Melinda.

“Georgini’s price points start at $39, with most pieces being between $99- $199, so it is an easy online purchase. If you do not have this in-store, you will miss out on sales, especially gift-giving times. You also miss out on the opportunity to connect with a new customer who may come back to you for that big piece.”


Georgini is one of Australia’s leading jewellery brands, combining modern elegance with fashion-forward design with a core range of the finest rhodium-plated sterling silver, semi-precious stones and cubic zirconias.

Amy Bradley of Pastiche says sterling silver has had a desirable status for many years, due to a number of factors.
“The beauty of the material, the desirable price tag, the colour complements all complexions, sterling silver is suitable for sensitive skin, plus consumers know they can trust the quality of silver products,” says Amy.

DPI Jewellery

“The Pastiche silver range has always been and will continue to be a staple as a material that is great to work with and a product we love.” Pastiche is an Australian designed jewellery brand, specialising in innovative and on-trend designs crafted in sterling silver and stainless steel. Justin Meath, General Manager of DPI Jewellery says that sterling silver has become “the go-to accessory for everyday wear.”

“It has transcended beyond being just for “kids” and is showing up on people of all ages in diverse styles and a range of designs,” says Justin. “It’s fashionable, affordable and accessible for consumers.

Ironclay

“Over the last two seasons, sterling silver has definitely increased in popularity, particularly items such as earrings and hoops, or gold-plated sterling silver.” Daniel Bentley from Daniel Bentley Jewellery says that the current online sales have boost there has been a significant increase of interest in their silver collections during COVID.

Silver Style

While silver is suited to many different jewellery items, it is particularly popular for earrings. Justin says that at DPI Jewellery “earrings and hoops are the best sellers for sterling silver.” “We have also seen an increase in demand for sterling silver chains in varied styles and lengths, in both silver and gold plated,” Justin said.


Helen Thomson-Carter of FV Jewellery agrees that earrings are the most popular sterling silver purchase, while necklaces, rings and bracelets sell at an equal rate. FV Jewellery has a wide range of sterling silver earrings, including designs set with pearls and precious stones.

Bianc and Georgini have also seen silver earrings trend very successfully. “Especially our drop hoops…” sayd Melinda
at Georgini. “Every time we release a new design, it become a cult item!” “All Georgini jewellery is rhodium plated, giving it the look of platinum or white gold or 18ct rose or yellow gold plated, making it affordable luxury.”


Amy from Pastiche also nominated earrings as the leading product in their sterling silver range. “Our customers are loving all earrings at the moment from big, statement earrings, everyday hoops and huggies, and of course our selection of studs which are always best sellers,” says Amy.

DPI Jewellery


“We also see high sales in our necklace designs, with an equal interest in delicate choker styles to the thicker chain style necklaces that have become very popular since the beginning of the year.”

“Earrings are always a great impulse buy, but pendants and chains are popular too,” Ted says of sales at Jewellery Centre. The Jewellery Centre is a wholesale business, supplying gold and silver jewellery from Europe, USA and Asia to all Australian states, New Zealand and most South Pacific countries.

However, Cheryle says that rings are the top seller at Stones & Silver. “Rings continue to be everyone’s favourite,
when it comes to silver jewellery,” says Cheryle. “Our collection ranges from fine layering style rings to chunky gemstone set rings, of which we carry in over 40 different stones!”

Pairing silver with gemstones

Part of the versatility and beauty of silver is its ability to complement any gemstone. The challenge is to keep the jewellery item within the established price point. Ted says that birthstones are a constant seller at Jewellery Centre.
“Pendants with natural garnet, natural blue topaz and natural amethyst are also consistently popular,” says Ted.


Daniel Bentley says that only natural gems are used in his brand’s silver jewellery. “Most of our gems are specially cut for us to complement our unique designs,” said Daniel. “These include semi-precious, stones and cultured pearls, the most popular is sky blue topaz, and golden citrine.”

“We source our gems only from trusted suppliers to ensure they are conflict-free. We are very proud of the fact that our production house is a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council. This gives our clients peace of mind when they purchase from us.”

Pastiche

Melinda says that while they are constantly exploring new opportunities for the brand, the first priority is to keep Georgini’s products affordable. “We love our cubic zirconias in silver,” said Melinda. “Our highest quality Georgini cubic zirconias look like perfect diamond sparkle; only a trained eye can tell the difference! We also add pops of colour in blues, pinks and greens, and the demand for our green nano has been great, so much so that we are releasing a unique Christmas earring in this colour.

“We source our gems only from trusted suppliers to ensure they are conflict-free. We are very proud of the fact that our production house is a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council. This gives our clients peace of mind when they purchase from us.”

Melinda says that while they are constantly exploring new opportunities for the brand, the first priority is to keep Georgini’s products affordable. “We love our cubic zirconias in silver,” said Melinda. “Our highest quality Georgini cubic zirconias look like perfect diamond sparkle; only a trained eye can tell the difference! We also add pops of colour in blues, pinks and greens, and the demand for our green nano has been great, so much so that we are releasing a unique Christmas earring in this colour.

“We love colour – our stunning collection ‘My Colourful Life’ combines sterling silver, blue topaz, rhodolite garnets, green amethyst, black onyx and a fresh water pearl. Our unique collection ‘Maria’ combines sterling silver with fresh water pearls, seed pearls, sapphires, rubies, garnets, tourmaline and peridot.”

Cheryle of Stones & Silver says that gemstones are the perfect match for silver. “Gold often clashes with the stone, but there are not many stones that clash with silver,” Cheryle said. “I think the silver really makes the gemstones pop, so they become the hero in the piece. Perhaps the most popular and beautiful combination with silver would be larimar.
The silver settings promote and highlight the beauty of this much sought-after stone, allowing it to show its true colours, which everyone loves.”

Bianca from Bianc says that labradorite is a favourite with silver customers. “A lot of people are becoming more adventurous with colour and introducing into their everyday wear,” says Bianca.

Cheryle of Stones & Silver says that gemstones are the perfect match for silver. “Gold often clashes with the stone, but there are not many stones that clash with silver,” Cheryle said. “I think the silver really makes the gemstones pop, so they become the hero in the piece. Perhaps the most popular and beautiful combination with silver would be larimar.
The silver settings promote and highlight the beauty of this much sought-after stone, allowing it to show its true colours, which everyone loves.”


Bianca from Bianc says that labradorite is a favourite with silver customers. “A lot of people are becoming more
adventurous with colour and introducing into their everyday wear,” says Bianca. “We have also had great success pairing yellow gold pieces with organic pearls, aventurine, mother of pearl and cubic zirconia details.”

Holding out through COVID

COVID has been a challenging time for the jewellery industry as production, manufacturing and delivery were disrupted, and bricks-and-mortar stores were closed during lockdowns. However, online shopping and intensified social media marketing have helped jewellery businesses survive and thrive during COVID, so now they can plan ahead for Christmas.


Melinda says that Georgini experienced no issues with stock, and the company has experienced an increase in sales, both online and instore. “Our established supply chain and efficient ordering systems mean we are always in stock
of best sellers and in-demand items,” said Melinda.

FV Jewellery


“Our Christmas Release Noel Nights will be ready for delivery in October, and our Special Commonwealth Games Collection will hit the shelves in November!”

Jo Tory from Najo said that 2021 went far more smoothly than last year. “There were some delays in manufacture and production at the end of 2020 but since then everything is back to normal,” said Jo. “Equally, the shipping times were very protracted last year, but have also gone back to normal. Najo is totally prepared for Christmas trading. We predict it will be a huge selling season. We offer next day delivery!”

Cheryle mentions that while online trading has increased during COVID and lock downs, most reports on consumer confidence and habits suggest that customers cannot wait to go back to the shops.

“Customers love to actually see, feel and try on pieces, which very much suits our more one-off style pieces,” said Cheryle. “The COVID pandemic has certainly thrown some challenges at the industry. Thankfully, having been in the business for over 18 years now, we have built great relationships with our overseas suppliers, so getting stock in over the pandemic hasn’t really been an issue.”

Cheryle says that Stones & Silver is fully prepared for Christmas, seeing the bumper trade show did not go ahead.

“Lockdown has given us time to analyse and to ask our customers what they really want, which in turn has inspired some wonderful new designs. This has resulted in brand new lines and exciting collections that we cannot wait to show our customers,” said Cheryle.

“As a result, we have a showroom full of beautiful jewellery, and our Reps and Agents are topped to the hilt. We are really looking forward to seeing retailers open up everywhere and getting out to visit our customers. We really hope all of our retailers have a great Christmas sales period, after such a trying year again. And as we are a stock service wholesaler, we aim for dispatch same/next day via Australia Post.”

Justin from DPI Jewellery says their customers have been very understanding and supportive throughout the entire pandemic. “We are fully stocked and ready for this Christmas, having just launched our new 135-page catalogue, complete with new items in all ranges, and our updated website,” said Justin. “We are looking forward to helping our customers stock up with new items for the festive season.”

DPI Jewellery


Bianca said that Bianc experienced an increase in silver sales due to online trading through COVID. “We haven’t faced any major backorder delays, although there have been slight delays in the arrival of our stock, because we ensure all
our stock is in for the season before we release new collections,” Bianca said. “As always, we try and hold stock for the Christmas rush so that we can best service our customers with fast deliveries.”


Pastiche also saw sales rise during COVID. “We believe people need little luxuries to cheer them up through lockdowns and can’t spend money on holidays at the moment,” said Amy. “At least they will be dressed and accessorised to impress when travel opens up again!” “We have just launched our new Elia Collection in time for Christmas sales. All items are stocked and ready to be dispatched with all new orders received.”

With Christmas around the corner, silver should be able to continue its winning streak as the precious metal of choice during lockdown.