For some women it's handbags, for some women it's shoes. For me, well, put me in front of a big, beautiful pair of earrings and I'm a gonna. (In fact, I'm a gonna buy them). Yes, I am not afraid to stand up and say, my name is Danielle, and I love jewelry.
Actually, I am more of a jewelry window shopping addict (than a jewelry-buying addict, I like to blame the economy) but when I do buy something, it's extremely empowering. There's no doubt that receiving jewelry as a present is wonderful, but the experience of buying something for yourself is in a different league altogether.
Despite all the marketing and effort supporting women buying jewelry for themselves, however, for many females, the experience is still intimately tied up with their intimate connections with men. Most females of my acquaintance, for example, would not dream of buying diamonds for themselves. It's a case of remaining diamond-less until Mr. Right hands them a ring rather than Ms Right Now buying herself something.
These are all highly educated and self sufficient women, yet they have been conditioned to believe that a diamond is forever, but forever does not begin until a man comes along and says so.
In many ways, there is plenty of good for the industry in such an assessment (and I fully accept that my experience does not speak for everyone). Assuming that women still aren't buying jewelry for themselves, there is a huge, untapped sections of the market just waiting to be mined.
Although it's preferable, it doesn't have to be diamond jewelry that women should be encouraged to buy. If retailers begin with the premise that any jewelry women are buying for themselves is better than no jewelry, why not start with something that perhaps women will feel less awkward buying for themselves and build it up from there?
Engagements, weddings, anniversaries and childbirth are all classic jewelry giving opportunities, but why not encourage women to buy jewelry for themselves for events such as a promotion, a child going off to college or even retirement, or any of the hundreds of reasons you can think of for women to celebrate in their lives.
If you remain unconvinced about the potential of this market, make sure you read this month's focus, which was written by IDEX Online Analyst Ken Gassman. Once again, he has sliced and diced the numbers to come with a compelling overview of potential female jewelry buyers, and his results might just surprise you. Hopefully, they will encourage you to get creative in thinking about how to make the most of this audience in your area.
It's going to take work to get women to feel that they can and should buy themselves jewelry. No doubt some of this will be done by the bigger companies (building on the groundwork laid down by the Right Hand Ring campaign, for example) but it can also start from the ground up at individual stores or chains.
With the current state of the economy making the jewelry buying pool – seemingly – smaller than ever, some out the box thinking might just help you see that there is still a huge amount of potential out there. She might just come in a different guise than you are used to.