The mystery of the ocean’s jewel
The floating cities around the world can capture a mix of different cultures, national conceptions, specific aspects of regions and different characteristics of jewellery appreciation on a global scale.
The unique experience of being a Brand Ambassador for several prestigious jewellery companies opened my eyes and my heart to a united jewellery world with so many subtle distinctions.
I would like to emphasize the differentiation in jewelry taste between different continents and cultures and the secret of adapting to a different climate for each country.
The extravagant blue-violet tanzanite, “Le Jardin” spectacle of the vivid green emeralds, fiery rubies, feminine peachy morganites, clean azure aquamarines and a rainbow of diamonds were all playing their main role on the cruise ship scene.
OCEANS OF SWAG
Jewellery taste and the cruise world
In the early 20th century the New World was trying to capture the uniqueness of Paris, the capital of the artistic universe. American heiresses, celebrated actresses, self-made millionaires were travelling across the Atlantic to arrive at the source of haute couture and royal jewels. The demand for the famous crown jewels was increasing substantially in the ‘Land of Promise’ therefore famous jewellery brands were brought to New York. In those times elegant ladies of the high society in America had a very special taste in jewellery, they were not wearing many pieces at ones as the ladies of royal courts of Europe did. The "beau monde" of America was deeply in love with the royal crowns of Europe which they desired, especially to demonstrate their social status.
Times had changed and I personally believed that the new trends in jewellery have changed drastically concurrently many influences are keep coming back.
The impressive nautical designs of the biggest new ships in the world were hosting the fantasy of a lifetime. Glamour combined with simplicity in an spacious dining room that occupied three decks on the back of the vessel, an average of ten specialty restaurants, large promenades and gardens, sophisticated bars and lounges with 150 degrees ocean views, big theaters and high-end stores, pools, spa and recreational areas all this filled with spectacular entertainment and refinement. In the middle of it all was the fine jewellery boutique. Red carpet and sophisticated jewellery designs exhibited in natural colored cabinets were creating the vintage nautical style. Some shops had the traditional porthole windows that gave you the sense of time travel. Vast styles of jewellery and different well-known brands were all to be found here.
Cruise line guests are inspired to indulge in a memory — which ranges from luxury purchases such as fine jewelry, Swiss timepieces and leather accessories to affordable luxury in the form of beauty products, spirits, accessories or branded cruise apparel. One of the biggest retailers that you find on renowned cruise liners (Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, Carnival Cruises, Norwegian Cruise line, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Kristal Cruises) is Starboard Cruise Services.Guests are free from busy days back home and here can finally enjoy spending time discovering both new and classic brands. The quality of the products, the relationships with the sales advisors and the guest experience combines to create a uniquely entertaining and memorable shopping experience at sea. Another Global Retail company from the United Kindom Harding Retail collaborates with Carnival, P&O, Seabourn, Siversea, Azamara, Carnivnal , Cunard , Fred Olsen and others.
Dufry swiss based travel retailer with shops in airports as well you could find them on P&O cruises, some of the Norwegian vessels and operating all ships from Holland America cruise line plus several ships on Carnival cruise line.
All these retailers are showcasing high end jewllery brands like Bulgari, Tiffany & Co, Cartier, Le Vian, EFFY, Kallati, Sophia Fiori, Forever Mark, Columbian Emeralds, John Hardy. Renowned brand names like Cartier, Tiffany and Bulgari will only be discovered on big and new ships or perhaps smaller and older ships that are selling in Asia.
The retailers on board are in partnership with different high end jewellery brands and invite them to display their collections in trunk show regime. The trunk shows are coming with their own host that is in charge of its own collection, prices, discounts marketing ,events and so on.
Launching several offerings, including several first-at-sea brands was a fantastic challenge. Representing Navaratna or Paragon Couture NY brought me new experiences on board some of the most important or biggest ships.
American taste in jewllery
"The discovery of Tanzanite", "Navaratna and the lore of gemstones", "Jewellery design", Columbian and Zambian Emeralds, "Mozambique and Burmese Rubies" were some titles of the interesting seminars on the floating city. Displaying an exclusive jewellery collection on cruise ships in America I have noticed how both ladies and men had an interest in large gemstones with bold settings. Cruisers were attracted to come to ruffles and contests like ”Guess the carat weight “ or “Spot the real diamond” where the focal point and the star of the night was exhibited in cleverly crafted window display. Visual merchandise it’s an important part of the jewellery business but on a cruise ship thing are a bit different in this area as well. Every cruise has different guests and different vibrations. One route from New York to Caribbean or form Civitavecchia Rome to Canary Islands was not enough to create an opinion of what type of customers we will have on board that week. We had to check the statistics to verify the ages, countries and numbers.
On Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchors society included every guest that travels often and arrived at different stages of the membership. Why did we need that information? The type of events we were hosting were depending directly of the nationalities we had. If we had American people and Australians, we knew that we have to make fun and engaging contests and events to give them flyers; if we were about to have many Europeans of an older crowd the seminar would’ve been longer and in this case will organize less contests with ruffles. Longer cruises in America were also creating big crowd in jewllery seminars and so many people were jewllery educated and had not only a passion for gems, they knew gemology and how to appreciate a stone. Conversations with them were fantastic you felt you are in a dream land of jewels and gems. The jewellery display would be full of intricate modern designs in America and simple but evocative designs in Europe. Shaped displays with clear lines and creating symmetrical focal points was about to be made around Mediterranean, Baltics, Canary Islands. Crossing the Atlantic numerous jewellery pieces were filling the cases and props or graphics were used to attract the attention on pictures or discounts. On the other hand advertising discounted materials was not allowed and considered unappropriated on British cruise ships like P&O in European waters.
Cruisers making their way to dinner or Broadway shows, were passing by the jewellery shop to participate to the interesting and fun events. Trying their luck at the end of the night around 50 people were gathered in the jewellery shop to find out the answer and win the price! In those fantastic nights people were having fun and laughing with a glass of bubble in their hands while admiring the majestic jewels.
From the first day of the cruise on the embarkation day when everyone was queuing to embark in a fantastic sea journey to the Caribbean or to Bermuda, you could spot some people that would be interested to buy jewellery, men and women wearing their adornments bought from other cruises or from their personal jeweler back home. While standing in line to the mandatory drill and waiting for the Capitan speech you could feel the joy and the excitement of a new adventure with new two thousand or tree thousand people onboard. In the first days of the cruise during lunch or coffee hour I was meeting people around the ship and spreading the word of my marvelous jewllery collection. They loved the sparkle so they will always end up visiting me in the jewllery shop to admire the trunk show collection.
In American and Caribbean waters the demand for big intricated jewellery designs was high. The preference of deep powerful colors was a familiar fact therefore the shops displayed all those highly priced colorful jewels in the front glass cases. I should highlight two clients categories in American waters: young ones that preferred the simple and modern styles and the more mature and elderly people that preferred affirmation pieces.
Many of my clients were ending up buying the memory of their life, a remarkable opulent 20ct tanzanite neckless or a 10ct emerald ring along with other small pieces for every day wear. They loved to mix and match and play with colors. The love for the miraculous extravagant Tanzanite was at its apogee and the tanzanite pieces were the 'Queen of the play' on American cruises.
You could sense a deep appreciation for colored diamonds, morganite, aquamarines, paraiba tourmalines, blue and yellow topaz, citrine, rubies emeralds, almost everything, with strong hues and powerful colors. Of course, there were the ones that treasured the classical white diamonds but they had a keen for rose gold and white gold instead of the tradition yellow gold. Guests in this part of the world always preferred 14ct gold instead of a higher karatage as they desired strong settings and bold mountings. Unconventional people as they were they would always be searching for statement pieces that could show their achievements in life. Dressing up with their formal attires during formal nights was a spectacle of color, casual outfits could be seen as well but always accessorized with some outstanding pieces of jewellery.
European cruises & jewellery
"Historical jewels", "Vertical integration" and "Coloured gemstones" were a few topics of the entrancing seminar provided on the European cruises. On a sea day people were pleased to come to one of this talks and filling up big lounges. For one hour everyone was contemplating to distinctive gemstones that appeared during the presentation worn by beautiful models.
The highest echelons of jewellery design and adornments that only pay homage to history were to be unveiled at the end of the exhibition in the fine jewllery boutique when the red velvet cover falls.
The unveiled piece was sometimes the "Titanic blue", an extravagant 32ct Tanzanite pendant that sparkles in similitude with the ocean's colors in the night.
The European cruises were particularly different, then the American ones, here the taste for jewellery was the complete opposite. The perennial favorites like pearls , earing studs, white diamonds in tennis bracelets and infinity rings were always the stars of the cruise. Guests here had a high interest for classical diamonds rings and for the traditional ruby and emerald rings. The gold alloy preferred here is18k or 24k. After the seminars the interest grew vertiginous. People on this cruises were very interested to know about the history of the gemstones and lore, about the fantastic journey of our brand and interesting facts about the findings of a new gem around the world. They had more patience to attend longer seminars, the age could've been another factor, in Nordic European cruises we always had an elderly crowd.
Elderly British and American people loved art, Faberge eggs and the delicate jewllery pieces. They favored monochromatic palleted like the Edwardian or Garland style with 'white on white' diamonds settled in white gold or platinum. They would admire the big stones but they would always choose paler shades of aquamarines morganites and white diamonds or fiery rubies and clear green emeralds. Collaborating with the art gallery was a success here. Champagne events with fine jewllery pieces and art were encapsulating the sweet taste of our cruisers.
On shorter Mediterranean cruise the interest for long seminars was decreasing and the fresh and modern jewellery style was more appealing.
Cruisers here payed attention to the television retail commercials and come to us for discovering more about the collection. The morning show was my favorite show to talk about those blue tanzanites, emeralds and rubies in the collection.
Another fantastic territory where jewels are most appreciated as such a diverse experience for me with so many cutting-edge jewllery consumers.
Discounts and prices have a different conception depending where you are located in the world. Asia occupies the first place in the charts for the fondness of playing with pricing and well-known brands. When I say Asia I am referring at cruises from China, Singapore to Japan, Malesya, Thailand South Korea. Cruise guests in this part of the world are very brand driven and jewllery houses like Cartier, Tiffany ,Bulgari are sough after. We will find here gem lovers that are typically interested in tanzanites and alexandrites.
On Asian cruises the presentation about the brand and gemstones doesn’t take long and the customer's decisions are usually made straight away contrary to Europeans that need their space and time and it might take some time to decide on a jewellery piece. As per seminars, people had almost no interest to attend to those kinds of events, language barrier could play a role as my lectures were in English and about that 90% of the guests were not English speakers therefor I always had a translator. The fashion show was record breaking and was something that interest them completely. Chinese guests were filling the promenade of the ship that looked so glamorous being enthusiastic about the famous Fashion show of the cruise. On the runway were showcased famous brands with bags, shoes, formal dresses and the icing on the cake the famous jewelry pieces sparkling around the entire ship in the alluring parade.
The style in jewellery here was based first on the history and the name of an well-known brand. Trying to buy brands life Tiffany’s Bulgari was one of the main purpose. The style was usually directed to simple bangles and infinity bracelets, simple eternity diamond rings but sometimes color was attracting their eyes. In Japan brooches are still very practical and ornamental used. They are decorating ladies' ceremonial kimonos and also holding the folds of clothing in place.
European and American consumers have been surrounds by jewels for a long time, China on the other hand having restrictions of brands due to communism it has been more difficult for them to have an open market, that s why I believe appears this inclination for brands. Cartier the king of jewelers started to entered the market very late,1992 in Shanghai. Since 1990s booming Chinese economy created massive opportunities for luxury brands, many developing strategies were made to adapt mutating Chinese consumers.
The Romanov Splendor includes jewllery masterpieces, Faberge eggs, bracelets and broches some of the most beautiful wonders of the world. All these masterpieces impressed European ambassadors and rulers so much that they were mentioning all this treasures in their memoirs after visiting Russia’s Imperial court. Until the1917 when the Revolution started and the Russian royal court fled to Europe caring their most precious jewels the Russian market was a spectacular market for jewels with great taste and big demand.
Nowadays the Russian cruise market has people from all over the world interesting in buying their precious Russian style jewels. Americans, Europeans they are all so attracted to the Russian Bazar organized in the first days of the cruise. This event has so many attendees and Matryoshka dolls and Lacquer boxes are the most south after. People coming from all over the world they are more inclined to buy Russian emblematic pieces then jewllery.
The significance of Fabergé eggs can be interpreted in several way. They firstly can be appreciate for their craftsmanship materials used and appearance and for the family memories that represented to the Romanovs. In the same time their fragility and extravagance can symbolize the family's imperial privileges.
During the one week cruise the brand ambassadors are organizing several lectures about Matryoshka dolls, Lacquer boxes, Amber and Faberge with a duration of 35-40 min. These lectures are the pillars of a successful business. The big theater is occupied with one thousand people that are invited to attend the presentation.
A unique collection is displayed on different ships like Fred Olsen, Disney, Viking, Cunard, Ritz cruise line. If we are talking about Kristal Cruise line and their world cruises the story is very different; here an independent fine jewllery boutique is on board, the jewels are all exclusive and very high end.
This experience gave me a global perception for the beautiful jewellery industry and today's jewellery flavor worldwide.