In what sounds like it could be the inspiration for a great jewel heist movie, Zales is taking its partnership with Vera Wang into consumers’ living rooms. It's offering an innovative mobile engagement ring customization experience, sending mockups of the sparklers anywhere in the U.S.
Zales, owned by Signet Jewelers, already offers the option for customizing rings. But with the mobile tool, it hopes to make the experience more rewarding. The services costs $200, which is refundable. That covers a kit that includes three center stone settings, three ring mountings, a ring sizer, and bands in both rose and gold tones.
Customers get to try the rings for seven days before making the return.
"We're one of the first in the fine jewelry industry to introduce a revolutionary service like this, further showcasing our stance that technology is the future of shopping," says Jamie Singleton, president of Kay, Zales, and Peoples, all owned by Signet Jewelers, in its announcement. "Our customers are already loving the option to customize their own engagement ring, and this program provides a new avenue to connect with us whenever, however, and wherever they prefer."
The new service comes as diamond jewelry is making a dazzling comeback. Diamond prices have been relatively flat for more than a decade, impacted by changing consumer tastes, concerns about unethical mineral sourcing, and a surge in lab-grown diamonds. The pandemic didn't help, with prices hitting a record low in July of 2020, reports Edahn Golan, a diamond industry analyst.
His analysis shows that U.S. jewelry sales in May rose to $8.57 billion -- a record high for May. And year-over-year, sales gained 109.3%, up 52% over May 2019. So far this year, the U.S. jewelry market has rebounded 41% compared to 2019.
Signet's results prove that enthusiasm is as solid at the local shopping mall as it is for high-end pieces. In earnings results released last month, the company beat its forecasts. Second-quarter sales climbed to $1.8 billion, an increase of $900 million compared to the comparable period a year ago, with an impressive gain of some $423 million from the comparable period before the pandemic.
Same-store sales advanced 97%, and ecommerce sales grew by 25%.
Based in Hamilton, Bermuda, the company attributes its strong performance to product newness, better value, and "always-on marketing."