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Display colors and what not

Hi Orchidians:

I am re-posting this since I got only one response. I am looking to
upgrade my display system to the Stuller busts and whatnot. I work in
mostly silver, palladium, and gold. My question is, since I only have
4 cases to upgrade, should I do 2 cases in a light/cream color and 2
cases in black or should I just go with one color? I want the display
to be very professional. Any colors I should stay away from?


My question is, since I only have 4 cases to upgrade, should I do 2
cases in a light/cream color and 2 cases in black or should I just
go with one color? I want the display to be very professional. Any
colors I should stay away from? 

Just one color. The displays should recede into the background,
visually, so what you notice is the jewelry.

What to stay away from? No beans or rice.


If the light cream is in leatherette or similar, I think that’s
miles above black, especially if the black is velvet. Black
leatherette can be classy but its got to be high quality material.

If you have the case colors all chopped up, it draws attention away
from the goods and onto the color difference. You do need to avoid a
strictly monochrome look. With cream you can play with subtleties.
With black almost everything is a contrast, again drawing attention
away from the goods. Plus black can give funny reflections on the

If there were a lot more than 4 cases I’d say you could then use
different colors but only if the case colors were grouped in some
valid way. Like color X for one type of goods, color Y for another.
This works better when there is a physical separation between the
cases. But for just four cases I think a uniform but not rigid color
scheme is more pleasing to the eye and sets the stage. You can still
vary the trim from one case to another. Maybe cream with very light
celery trim in one case and cream with very light brown in another
etc. Of course the accent colors should all be compatible amongst

You should make sure the cabinet colors will work with your display
material choice. I walked into a jewelry store once where everything
was red. Sorry, I meant R!E!D!!!. carpet, walls, cases, displays.
Really did not give a good impression i.e. it was cheesey. Then
another store was all decked out in malachite formica, cases walls
etc…it made me dizzy. I don’t know what people think sometimes.
Maybe they think, “I want to be noticed”. Maybe its better to sell.

Hi Kennedi,

I’m no expert on display, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
What I have found in my research on the subject though, is that
ideally you want the jewelry to be the center of attention, not the
display. The outsides of our display cases are faux painted to match
our interior walls, which are two different shades of the same medium
green with black accents and stenciling. The interiors of the cases
are lined with a light ivory colored textured fabric, which matches
some of our furniture. This kind of makes the cases disappear into
the background. The display props we use are white with dark red
colored wood accents (from Stuller, which we are slowly phasing out),
and a light ivory with light green accents from a couple of different
display manufacturers. These colors are easy to maintain, except for
the white which gets kind of dingy rather quickly, especially when
handled without wearing gloves.

Stay away from black (or other really dark color) as it is a major
pain to keep looking good. Every little piece of dust and fluff
shows. Even fingerprints and scratches on the glass show up with a
lot more clarity over a black background. For jewelry that looks it’s
best on black, like opals, use small black display props or velvet
covered pads sized for individual pieces. In any case, according to
the experts, avoid using bright or contrasting colors except as
accents or accessories as they can draw the eye away from the
jewelry. They also recommend using different levels in displays.

You can use almost anything to make props. We (my wife actually) use
drift wood (from Thompson Lake in Maine) a lot, and even add
hand-tied flies to some displays. We also use antique perfume
bottles, compacts, silk flowers, ribbons and jewelry boxes as
accessories in the cases. These get changed out at least seasonally.
We have one case that gets a lot of attention in which we have some
old tools along with bits of scrap, unfinished pieces, test pieces,
beautiful hand-made wooden jewelry boxes, loose stones, crystals and
a couple of dops with half finished stones. It shows who we are and
what we do. It is also a great conversation starter, people love to
ask about how stones and metal were weighed using the old carat
balance, or how old that torch is. It adds to our credibility when I
tell them that beat up, heat scarred old torch is the one I learned
with, back when it was state-of-the-art equipment.

Like I said, I’m no expert, we don’t sell a lot out of our cases. We
are a custom shop, and the jewelry in the cases serves more as a
spring board to custom work than anything else. But people do comment
on the cases, usually positively, so maybe all that reading paid off
at least a little bit. It could also be the creativity and
tastefulness of my better half, which is far more likely.

Hope this helps,
Dave Phelps

Just my opinion, but I think a uniform color looks best. That
integrates your collection. No display should call attention to
itself. Personally I prefer light cream or a neutral, warm tone. I
know a lot of people like the high contrast you get with black but
since there are so many cheap black displays out there, a pale tone
could give your work a richer tone, especially if the fabric has a
luxuroius look. Just MHO.


My personal opinion - everything should match. I hate a
’hodge-podge’ look, where there’s some of this, some of that… If
you get 2 colors, make sure the busts are identical in form, so it
looks cohesive. Keep in mind that it’s a theme, over the idea of
’silver would look good on these, but gold would look better on

That’s just my 2 cents…
Lynn Chatt, Tenn. (Where its hot and humid… 100+ today! A/C can’t
even keep up…)

IMHO, when I walk into a jewelry store, I see that most tend to use
light/cream colors to show off silver, gold, etc. Multi-stone,
beaded and chunky jewelry seems to display better on dark/black
backgrounds as seen in department stores. If the majority of your
work is the former, stick with one color and go light. If you do any
of the latter, then I would make at least one case black. This will
give you an option to show off ALL your jewelry to it’s best
advantage. Again, IMHO, I think doing evenly light and black might
just look like you couldn’t make a decision.

I’ve always heard there’s art in asymmetry, elegance in balance. I’m
an artsy kind of person and since I do a pretty even mix of both
silver/gold and multi-stone, beaded, I have displays in both black
and white and mix them depending on the jewelry itself. But then
again, I don’t have a B&M store and only do craft shows. Your
mileage may vary.


Hello Kennedi,

I have received your request regarding your cases and displays in
your store. I am happy to tell you that Stuller has a program that
may greatly benefit you! Our Case by Case program offers you the
ability to completely customize your cases. For product
please visit our website:

Our new Case by Case custom display technology brings the ultimate
in showcase flexibility. A working render mode allows you to see
displays in the color you select, while a running tally provides
pricing, style, number and capacity of the displays selected.

This program features three different design styles - Cologne,
Contour and Designer. We can see which one would best compliment the
aesthetic of your store, or we could mix and match pieces from each
style to give you what you want. Our system offers preconfigured
showcase layouts in both ring and mixed jewelry; or I could build one
from scratch for you. We have over 200 display components to
customize and over 50 color/fabric choices. There are three price
levels for every showcase selection and/or individual component, and
the prices are based on the fabric option chosen. For a $600 minimum
order you can dress up your showcases, and with only a 6-week
production time with final order approval, your store can be spiced
up in no time!

Stuller is the first to offer digital customization for display
layouts, and we are certain you will find exactly what you’re looking
for in the perfect showcase. There is no cost and no obligation for
us to have a consultation to discuss your needs, or even for me to
design a showcase for you. We can even set-up an online meeting where
you can see what I am building as I am working in it, and you can
change anything you would want in real-time. For more -
and for free fabric samples and product flyers - you can contact me
by phone at 1-800-877-7777 x3661, or via email I look forward to working with you!

Catherine G. Walker
Custom Display & Packaging Consultant
Stuller, Inc.

I think your displays should be black… your white metals will be so
eye catching and your yellow gold will look “rich” against it. You
should take into consideration how the rest of your retail space
looks, such as style of decor and colors used elswhere. I know there
has been out there about using colors wisely and what to
avoid. I don’t remember where to find it and no one responded to my
request for help. Good luck with your choices. patty

Hi Kennedi,

I would try to stay with one color unless you really work up your
whole display to use the chosen colors in a complementary fashion.
Otherwise it will not look professional. This is hard to do with the
stock colors that most displays come in.

One thing about black is that the smallest speck of dust stands out
on it. So even though it is a dramatic background you need to develop
really good cleaning methods and habits or it will look dirty.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts

Hi James,

You know in the past I would have said that keeping one colour
background display would be the way to go, and a cohesive colour
scheme is a good thing.

However, I work part time in an art store, where we do picture

If you want your pieces to snap, you match the display with the
piece, with the best colour match. One colour selection does not work
for all pieces.

The best place to see what I mean is to go to a good art gallery,
and look at the moulding and mount board selections.

I do agree with you that black is a pain, but so is any solid
colour. As a picture framer of fine art, good cleaning habits are a
must, and I think that goes for people displaying anything.

There is nothing worse than fitting up a frame, sealing the back,
only to find that the staples in the back of the frame have dislodged
a piece of backing, then the whole frame has to be undone and cleaned
once again.

I was thinking of making some box frames to act as displays for the
pieces I make, just small frames with a 4" x 4" display area, bit of
perspex on the top of the box to allow more light to accentuate the
pieces there in.

I’ve seen a lot of resin cones, and I sort of like them, but I would
prefer them to be made from glass. Wondering how many people use
transparent displays?

Regards Charles A.

Display colors have always been a concern of mine. After trying
black, beige, and other denim looks, I settled upon my best choice.
I made fitted table covers out of navy blue panne velvet. They fit my
tables like a glove. They do not wrinkle. Each table wears an
"overlay" of a lightly textured light gray fabric. it is slightly
shiny- just a little. All of my busts and display pads are grey. It
is a beautiful color scheme that gives the looker the image I want
them to have.

For me, black didn’t look good with sterling and casual textured
earth tones didn’t fit the style of my work. Display is super
important. I also add a natural hunk of mineral to the mix here and
there. I think it is just a subtle reminder that my work is all
genuine gemstone and cabs. (A large agate, crystal, etc.) Whoever
said skip the stones, beans and rice is exactly right. It steals the
attention from the jewelry. I believe that many people spend a great
deal of time designing props and gadgets to display their beautiful
jewelry and the lookers feel like they have way to much to take in at
one time so they look at the “stuff” rather than your work.

Oh, it has taken me a few years to figure all this out.

Jean Menden

One thing to consider when using black. Just as white reflects light,
black sucks it up.with a light background the light is reflected onto
the pieces black does just the opposite it reflects black. You might
like this or you may find that you need twice as many light to make
your pieces stand out.

Dave Owen

In our store and when we were on the road, we use white faux leather
displayers. We covered the floorboards of our cases with upholstery
fabric that is blue with white in a textured pattern. For us, this
breaks up the starkness that all white has, without drawing too much
attention from the jewelry, and it coordinates with our general
decor. Since we both work at our benches and run out front to work
with customers, sooty fingerprints are a real pain, but they are
easily removed from the faux leather with alcohol wipes. We have
been trying some of Stuller’s “orolite” displayers, and they clean
super easily and blend very we with the faux leather.

We used to have a lot of cool driftwood, sand dollars, starfish, and
seashells in our displays, but sometimes they distracted attention,
and people kept wanting to buy them The last straw was when a lady at
the Tucson shows loudly accused me of murdering innocent starfish for
my display. Sigh.

Peggy Wilson
Harbor Jewelers

The last straw was when a lady at the Tucson shows loudly accused
me of murdering innocent starfish for my display. 

The correct response is to say “Yes Madame, I will remove it
immediately, and could you please remove your leather shoes, I’m
sure Bessie was innocent too”.

Yep you’d lose the sale, but sometimes it’s worth it :wink:

Regards Charles A.

I would order in some displays of each color you are considering to
see how your jewelry looks. Your lighting will also effect how the
display looks. I would also think 2 colors might be essential to
really highlight the strengths of 2 different colors of metals. You
do not want your white metals to look yellow because they are
reflecting creamy warm colors or to lose the yellow of gold in
black. I think your display will still look cohesive, if the display
stands are the same shapes even though the colors are different.


If the light cream is in leatherette or similar, I think that's
miles above black, especially if the black is velvet. Black
leatherette can be classy but its got to be high quality material. 

Black seems to show every speck of dust too.

Then another store was all decked out in malachite formica, cases
walls made me dizzy. I don't know what people think
sometimes. Maybe they think, "I want to be noticed". Maybe its
better to sell. 

I’ve noticed that stores with gaudy decor often have owners with
gaudy clothing.