For decades, Hollywood starlets have worn jewelry that they did not own to the Oscars and other high profile events. This jewelry is lent to them by famous jewelry artisans because what the starlets wear gets lots of coverage on TV and in magazines.
One of the newest and most interesting trends in the jewelry trade is something similar. It is the rental of fine jewelry to the general public for short periods of time. A handful of jewelry rental companies have come into being in the last decade or so that rent fine jewelry, usually for 5 day periods of time. There are also several retail jewelers that have opened rental departments within their stores.
These companies have discovered that there is a demand for rental created by the fact that it is prohibitively expensive for ordinary people to purchase jewelry for a specific event. If she is attending a wedding, charity event, holiday party, corporate event or any situation where she wants to impress and not be seen wearing the same, old jewelry, renting is far more affordable than buying. Many rental customers are women who deal with clients on a regular basis in sales, real estate, banking and wealth management.
Some rental companies (Flont, for example), charge membership fees ranging from $59 per month to $379 depending on the cost of the jewelry she wants to rent. Others, such as Adorn, do not assess membership fees and are single event rentals. These companies report that about 10% of their customers end up purchasing pieces.
There is concern and debate within the trade as to whether this trend is a threat or benefit to the high end retail jewelry trade. Flont’s founder and CEO believes they are creating future clients for the retail trade because renting the jewelry leads to enhanced appreciation of it. “You never rent the engagement ring,” she says. “And you can’t get away from the personal touch of buying an anniversary band.” She’s probably right about that.