Dan Scott
Brand Architect


The very mention of the word sparks excitement and visual impact. Everyone has their favorite color and everyone has a reason why they cherish it so. As humans, we have a very strong psychological connectivity to all colors that has been proven through decades of science and medical research, some color associations that will utterly surprise you.

Using color in jewelry designs is obvious, yet jewelry brands today may be missing a wonderful opportunity to create a true point of difference with a branded color that moves past the incase or packaging. This story will help you understand how powerful color is from an emotional standpoint, and how designers may best embrace color as a way to elevate their brand, while adding a critical component of story telling to their designs.

"Color is what sets the tone of the largest and well known brands in the world. The Hermes orange or Coke’s red, research indicates that 80% of visual information is related to color. This is why precious and semi-precious stones can be an enhancing brand indicator. Color conveys information. Some of the top jewelry brands and new innovative designers have incorporated these subtle color elements in their collections.

This is a very smart way to add more of a brand story, provenance and value to each design,” noted, Deborah Scarpa, renown brandsmith and history of luxury jewelry clients. When one thinks of color within our industry, Tiffany’s robins egg blue, or perhaps Cartier’s Rogue Red may come to mind.

There are clear and deeply branded associations with these color shades, yet with utter respect to these legendary and celebrated design houses, there isan unused advantage to utilizing branded color as a consistent brand trait on or in their fine jewelry.

Some had a vision of color fused with design as part of their branding strategy early in their jewelry careers. The concept is to utilize precio u s an d s emiprecious colored gems or colored diamonds to work in harmony with their brand, typically within or around a jewelry designer’s logo or insignia, as an important brand identifier.

RED quickens one’s pulse:

Roberto Coin, has a signature gemstone, the ruby, set next to his laser inscribed initials. Why the ruby, and why is the stone set on inside, verses the outer design of his offerings?

While Roberto Coin launched in 1977, it was in 1996 that his designs, while diverse, were each branded by a red ruby. Inspired by an ancient Egyptian legend, each Roberto Coin design features a“hidden” ruby - Coin’s expression and offering for long life, health and happiness.

The red ruby legend stems from the ancient belief that when a ruby touches your skin it exudes a mystical and positive energy to its wearer. Moreover, it is the dense vibrancy of the actual red color that people instantly respond to.

Dating back 1340 BC, in Egypt and confirmed by the Royal Library of Alexandria, red colors were long associated with love and passion in personal adornment as a symbol of adoration.

As an interesting sidebar, the very first wedding band came from Alexandria Egypt, and worn by Queen Nefertiti.

Her band was pure red, created from rich, red safflower petals as used to dye palm leaves, cut, tightly wrapped, then woven into a band.

Of course, once Egyptians discovered how to set colored stones, lavish headdresses, necklaces and statement rings were worn by Queens and Pharaohs.

Viewing the color red, through the measurement of electronic brain waves and monitoring heartbeats, actually spike one’s pulse - instantly increasing when the human eye views red.

Depending on where that red color is placed, it has a powerful positive or negative connection. Be it the beauty of a red rose, or anger that results in “seeing red.”

We naturally respond dramatically to colors, especially primary colors. Those emotions may be leveraged for jewelry brands, at least for those that know how.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something BLUE.

The adage is quite old, but the relativity for today’s bride rings true today. There is a level of superstition connected to “something blue,” denoting sustained happiness and longevity within the marriage, when worn by the female in some capacity.

Vera Wang, in association with Zales launched “Love by Vera Wang” a bridal jewelry collection, enhanced by sapphires set into all of her most recent designs.

“The ability to incorporate this superstition in to my Love Collection with the use of a sapphire, I hope, will culminate in a timeless ring that will be treasured for an eternity,” stated Vera Wang when asked why she design swith sapphires.

I was doing some secret shopping, which included Zales,and was surprised at how well trained the staff was on Vera’s product. The engaging salesperson explained, in great detail, why the power of the blue sapphire was such a romantic and desired component that makes up each Vera bridal design.

This is where color in jewelry takes on a creative, elegant and enriching ability in story telling. It also provides recognition that the item is authentic and instantly “certified.”

The untold allure of the GREEN peridot.

A color story soon to resonate in a very individualistic means was crafted by a first time jewelry designer, Cathy Beck. Based on the love of her second born, Emma, she selected the child’s August birth stone, the peridot, to be featured on the outside of each of her designs.

This is a collection that has a strong story, personalized story on it’s own merit, due to the nature of her custom offerings. Cathy Beck will soon reveal a collection that offers complete flexibility in personalizing the selection of any gemstone, in any shape, cut and in any wearable size, complimented by a halo of naturally colored diamonds, precious or semi-precious gems or hand craved metal motifs surrounding the center stone of choice.

Other options offer a dome of vibrant colored gems, or the sheen of sterling or gold - a wide variety to literally design your own ring, pendant or earrings- all with dramatic results, and all within seconds. While “interchangeable” jewelryhas been readily available for many years, this is a patent pending design that allows for the most amount of personal expression in extremely well executed jewels.

Yet, each of these designs maintains a consistent branding element: Around, faceted peridot, which sparkles on the outside of all her jewelry.

“I selected the peridot because it’s close to my heart, as it is my daughter’s birthstone. The allure of the peridot is a rich and seldom told story,” noted Cathy Beck of Cathy Beck Jewels.

She is certainly correct. In fact, the peridot has a fascinating history, in nature and culture. It is one of the oldest known gemstones, with ancient records documenting peridot mining as early as 1500 B.C.

It is especially connected with ancient Egypt, and modern day historians have revealed that Cleopatra, known for wearing what was first thought to be emeralds, is now confirmed to be peridots.

Peridots are close, in one key sense, to diamonds. Most gems are formed in the earth's crust, but there are two exceptions: the peridot and the diamond, each formulated much deeper in the earth.

For the peridot, tectonic or volcanic activity brings it to our surface. Natural diamonds, by contrast, are formed much deeper in the earth’s mantle, under extreme pressure and high temperatures.

The brilliance of diamonds and their own color “projection.”

The value of adding a color story brings newfound romance and aspiration to a jewelry design, and proven to strengthen the equity of the brand namesake. One international powerhouseuses a single diamond, offering a spectrum of color from its faceted light refractions, as their brand mark. That brand is Movado.

Renowned for its iconic museum dial and modern design aesthetic, Movado utilizes a solitaire diamond in many of their time pieces precisely at the 12 o’clock mark, symbolizing the sun at high noon.

Designed in 1947 by Bauhaus - influenced artist Nathan George Horwitt, the Movado watch dial has been acclaimed for purity of design and historic in the world of time keeping.

Horwitt's Movado dial was selected as the permanent design collection for the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1960, when it became the first watch dial ever awarded this distinction. Known today as the Movado Museum Watch, this highly branded watch face is seen as an icon of Modernism.

While the timepiece company has recently moved to metal spheres to carry on the legacy of the solitaire diamond, it still employs the diamond concept and is known for such branding success.

Think of the potential that designers could bring to market with one or multiple colors enhancing and literally colorizing their brand. Perhaps this may carry over to in-house brands for fine retail jewelers as well.

True Brands

Sadly, there are a very few, true jewelry brands. This is most evident when one compares jewelry iconic brands to notable brand names in fashion, cosmetics and fragrance. There are even fewer jewelry brands that grasp the importance, impact and consumer connectivity that colored diamonds or precious / semiprecious colored gemstones offer, especially when related to history and a story.

Those that do gain a form of expression that are literally part of the jewelry and the brand. I’ve used the word “brand” a lot in this feature. You may have noticed I didn’t use the word “marketing.”

This is due to one simple fact: they are two completely different things. A brand is a promise, an essence, the “soul,” if you will, of a product or service.

Marketing is the execution of strategic planning, tactics, pricing, positioning and placement. Without a brand, one has an empty offering and no matter how strong the marketing may be for it, without a “soul” it will be short lived, if it has the ability to live at all.

Give color to your brand and bring a new life, vibrancy and the importance of story telling to your designs. Color comes in many types of gems, yet the rich symbolism and deep emotion that each convey, ignites a story…some as ancient as time itself.

Dan Scott is a brand and marketing advisor. Often billed as a “Brand Architect,” since many of his projects have been actual launches or the building of brands.

Scott's key brand launches include QVC America, where he was one of twentyhired pre-launch and remained for eight years. He was on the launch team for Chanel's Allure fragrance and VeriSign's Global Voice Registry.

He was responsible formultiple branded elements for Scott Kay, Inc, as their former CMO of a decade, and most recently creating the brand equity for Hasbro's Scrabble Jewelry collection, now written into the script of ABC's Pretty Little Liars series.

He is on the advisory board of the esteemed CMO Council, on the editorial board for the Journal of Brand Strategy and holds a Masters degree in Marketing from NYU's Stern School of Business.

He is available for marketing consultationat info@danscott.com or www.danscott.com