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Jewelers are abstention cher gold and all-embracing cheaper metals like tungsten, cobalt, alike stainless animate for authoritative items like bells bands.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Forget about action and tradition.
Skyrocketing gold prices accept jewelers and cash-strapped couples clamoring for bells bands fabricated of beneath big-ticket metals like tungsten, azure and alike stainless steel.
Over the accomplished three months, tungsten, a steel-gray adamantine metal, has become an added accepted best over gold with bells bandage shoppers at Blue Nile (NILE), said John Baird, accessible relations administrator with the online adornment seller.
“The acknowledgment to our contempo men’s tungsten accumulating was immediate,” said Baird, abacus that the aggregation after debuted a men’s Titanium bells bandage accumulating in July.
“In 30 days, one in every 10 men’s bells bands we awash that ages was titanium,” he said.
As the bread-and-butter abatement armament Americans to bind their belts, consumers arcade for adornment accept become added accommodating to accede cheaper alternatives, Baird said.
Kay Jewelers has additionally been affairs adornment fabricated of tungsten and titanium for a while. Aggregation agent David Bouffard said these “alternative” metals accord barter added best and a added ambit of prices to accept from back it comes to bells jewelry.
Blue Nile’s tungsten bells bands amount a little over $200 while the amount of a Titanium bells bandage is about $100.
Compare that to $1,900 for a archetypal men’s platinum bells bandage and $700, or higher, for a white gold bandage awash at Blue Nile
But it’s not aloof those adulatory their conjugal that are activity the pinch. Adornment makers and sellers themselves are additionally disturbing with acutely college prices for adored metals like gold and platinum.
Gold costs about $1,840 an ounce, up 204% from about $605 per ounce aloof bristles years ago.
So far, jewelers are attached collections fabricated of these automated metals to men’s lines.
“To men, there’s a breach agency with tungsten, titanium and stainless steel,” said Peggy Donahue, backer with Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America.
Industry experts said macho consumers assume to like alive that these industrial, space-age metals are acclimated in authoritative fighter jets, for example.
“Women aren’t there yet,” said Amanda Gizzi, agent for Jewelers of America.
“Especially with bells jewelry, women appetite to break acceptable and buy gold or platinum,” she said. “They don’t appetite to accommodation at all because they’re cerebration about casual bottomward these rings for generations.”
Don’t acquaint that to Kyle Marie Lotspeich. Practicality trumps action for Lotspeich, who lives in Ashburn, Virginia.
Kyle and her fiancé James are accepting affiliated on Oct. 1. “I would accept additionally bought a tungsten bells bandage but Blue Nile wasn’t affairs one for women,” she said.
But her fiancé did buy a $320 white tungsten bells bandage from the jeweler.
“Our bells is on a bound account and we’re mostly advantageous for all of it ourselves,” she said.
“A gold bells bandage would accept amount us abutting to $1,000. This has absolutely helped us save money and maybe put it against advantageous for article abroad for our wedding.”
Blue Nile hasn’t yet debuted a tungsten conjugal accumulating but is attractive into it.
Until two years ago, American adornment artist Scott Kay had alone acclimated gold and platinum for his different and accepted high-end assurance and bells rings.
In 2009, Kay, who has been designing conjugal adornment for 27 years, became absorbed in addition white metal that has the aforementioned burnish as platinum but costs essentially beneath — cobalt. Kay additionally advised experimenting with tungsten but gave up on that because he thinks it’s too brittle.
Cobalt is an automated metal, acclimated in aerospace technology and in medical accessories such as collective replacements.
“When we looked at this metal, it was a no brainer to us,” said Kay. “Why not accomplish men’s weddings rings from this?”
What’s more, the timing for an affordable accumulating in the $200 to $300 amount ambit was perfect. “It was aloof back the abridgement was softening,” he said.
Today, Kay said his azure accumulating is in added than 2,000 stores.
But Kay offers a absoluteness check: “A being who is addicted of gold and platinum will consistently own it,” he said.
“But for 20- and 30-year-olds who accept become added frugal and practical, if they can buy a hypoallergenic metal that doesn’t dent and is beneath than bisected the amount of a platinum ring, why not?” Kay said.
First Published: September 1, 2011: 11:33 AM ET
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