Kate Middleton's sapphire ring spawns imitators cheap and dear

By T.L. Stanley on Tue Nov 23 2010


Media execs are predicting a glut of TV, online and mobile viewers for the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April. It's already turning out to be a boon for the bling industry, though, with knock-offs of her now-famous sapphire engagement ring popping up this past weekend on QVC—for the recession-friendly price of just $39.54! Dubbed the Princess Simulated Sapphire Ring and designed by Kenneth Jay Lane, the QVC copy features a "blue oval gemstone surrounded by small round diamond-looking stones" with a silver band. Well, you can't expect much for that price, and though that hasn't turned off shoppers—within the first hours, some 22,000 people ordered the ring, QVC says. So, look no further, gentlemen, and disregard those Kay Jewelers ads. Fire up the tube and turn your gal into an erstwhile princess. If you have a little more change in your pocket, there are other options. For example, Natural Sapphire Co., a New York business that's been around since the '30s, says it's busy with custom orders to replicate Middleton's 18-carat ring in white gold. Customers are coming from all over the world, the CEO says, for doppelgangers mostly in the $1,000 to $2,500 range. The original appraises at somewhere around half a million dollars, not counting sentimental value. (It belonged to William's mother, Princess Diana.) Since guys can be princes at bargain-basement or top-dollar prices, there's really no excuse for a sweater this year.

Wedding industry bends over backwards catering to millennials

By David KIefaber on Wed Nov 3 2010


Millennials, ever the iconoclasts, tend to favor personal style over luxury (good thing, because we're probably all screwed for life financially), and this preference even crosses over into traditional money-pit expenditures like weddings. Strangely, they still value marriage over careers and financial success, and the wedding industry is scrambling to mass-produce the kind of unique individualism that twentysomethings demand. Jewelers are doing their part by letting customers design their own engagement rings, and by marketing those new options accordingly. Slogans like "Your love is unique, so too should be your engagement ring" (which sounds like a line of dialogue from Pride & Prejudice) and "Personalize your special day your way" demonstrate which way the wind is blowing. I'd like to see wedding advertisements shy away from the corny white-lace motifs they've been using since time began and delve into more subcultural flair, but even that effort is moot if rings still cost north of five grand. A luxury item is still a luxury item, no matter how customizable it is.

Designer to market new line of Lego jewelry at non-Lego prices

By T.L. Stanley on Tue Aug 10 2010


In case you didn't get your fill of Legos as a child, an upscale designer is creating some pricey jewelry to remind you of your construction projects of yore. (My "buildings" were more reminiscent of toppled Inception sets than science fair champs, but that's neither here nor there.) Lisa Taylor and British retailer Selfridges will launch a line of Lego rings and other block-based trinkets later this month, according to the New York Daily News. Expect more product by Christmas, with some of the simple items going for about $75. (The blocks are interchangeable and quite likely to be sold separately.) There will also be some primary-colored Lego-inspired nail polish. Whimsical? OK. Nostalgic? For sure. But I can root out a mood ring from any thrift store to color me happy that I didn't spend big bucks for a plastic doodad. How much would you be willing to pay to feed your inner kidult?

They sure make nice jewelry from old aluminum cans these days

Posted on Wed Apr 14 2010


Years ago, downtown hipster boutiques in Manhattan started selling handbags made from old license plates—cute, but a real bitch if it starts a run in one's chiffon dress. Recycled fashion recently got another boost with the 2009 debut of a Vassar, Mich.-based family outfit called Cangles, which, as the same suggests, makes bangle bracelets out of aluminum cans. (Finally, the perfect solution for those who hate the taste of Mountain Dew: Now you can wear the stuff without having to drink it.) Cangles is one of those green startups that's not only found a plausible use for some of the 36 billion cans that end up in landfills each year but also gives a hefty percent of its profits to Michigan-area charities. It's also given us a new marketing wrinkle: eco co-branding. The jewelry company got together with the Save the Earth Foundation, which now features its Earth logo as a charm on the recycled bracelets. (A portion of sales will go to benefit the foundation's educational and research efforts.) So, ladies, now you don't have to feel as guilty about buying jewelry, because it's not shopping, it's recycling.

—Posted by Robert Klara

HBO continues 'True Blood' marketing bonanza with jewelry line

Posted on Mon Sep 21 2009


None of the vampires on True Blood can wear silver, but the rest of us can (as long as we're not undead in any way). If you want to show your devotion to the hit series and have anywhere from 60 to 1,300 ducats to spare, HBO's licensing division and Udi Behr, chief designer for Love Peace and Hope, have some merch for you. There's been plenty of evidence during the series' two seasons of the Kryptonite-like power that silver has over vamps. It even figured heavily into the just-aired second-season finale that saw would-be fiancé Bill dragged off by an unknown attacker before Sookie could accept his marriage proposal. Cliffhanger! No such worries for any of us humans with a hankering for sterling silver, teardrop rubies, leather cuffs and bangle bracelets. There's even a patented fang-like clasp. The jewelry line had its first public introduction this weekend as part of the swag-a-thon around the Emmy Awards. For us mere mortals, it's available here.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Forever your brand: Is there anything that Paula Abdul can't do?

Posted on Wed Jan 28 2009


If celebrities can become bona-fide brands in this world, they can rebrand, too, right?
  Case in point: Paula Abdul. Now 47 years old, Abdul started as a Los Angeles Lakers cheerleader, taught Janet Jackson to dance in the late '80s, launched a singing career in the '90s, then found a totally new identity as an American Idol judge starting in 2002 (where she plays the compassionate foil to the show's cold-hearted snake, Simon Cowell). Now, between stints as a reporter for Entertainment Tonight and her Jan. 3 MTV cheerleading special, she's apparently found time to ... be a jewelry designer!
  Abdul is slated to appear on the Home Shopping Network on Feb. 22 to hawk the latest baubles in her Forever Your Girl Collection. The mostly-under-$100 pieces are all purportedly "inspired" by her early-'90s hit singles, though how an earring imitates a song must be one of those trade secrets.
  According to her publicist, Abdul "has continued to successfully reinvent herself and her brand over and over." Uh ... straight up.

—Posted by Robert Klara



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