All that glitters is gold on Mother's Day

Sandra Pedicini / Orlando Sentinel /

Published May 12, 2013 at 05:00AM

ORLANDO, Fla. — Whitney Court usually buys her mom flowers for Mother’s Day, but this year she’s selected a gift that won’t wilt: a silver necklace.

It cost $165, about double the price of a dozen roses delivered. But Court, a nanny who lives in Celebration, Fla., said she’s working more hours and feeling more financially secure.

“I’d rather spend a little bit more money and get her something she can keep than something she’s going to throw away in a week,” Court said.

More than a third of Americans plan to join Court in buying jewelry as a Mother’s Day gift, according to a National Retail Federation survey — the highest percentage in the survey’s nine-year history. Spending on necklaces, bracelets, rings and charms is expected to total $4.2 billion, up from $3.7 billion last year.

In general, spending on jewelry in the U.S. has been on the rise after dipping during the worst of the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009. Sales reached $71.5 billion in 2012, compared with $67.3 billion in 2011, according to the Jewelers of America trade association.

“It seems to be the storm has passed, and everyone’s in better mood,” said Elliott Leavitt, owner of Swalstead Jewelers in Orlando.

Mother’s Day still pales in comparison to Christmas. Though December generates almost a quarter of the jewelry industry’s sales, May accounts for only 8 percent.

Retailers are trying to squeeze a little more out of the holiday, though.

“We’re definitely seeing an increase in jewelers putting money into marketing and advertising to get the word out,” said Amanda Gizzi, Jewelers of America spokeswoman.

Charms have become particularly popular, Gizzi said.

Mom’s value dips below $60,000

Moms might not like this Mother’s Day message: You’re not valued as much as a year ago.

According to the 2013 Mother’s Day Index, Mom’s value in the household slipped to $59,862. That’s down from $60,182 in 2012 and $61,436 in 2011.

The cold, hard cash facts are courtesy of Insure.com, the consumer-oriented insurance information site that devised the index. It uses a list of common household tasks, such as cooking, yard work, cleaning, and handling family finances, and calculates the value with wage data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Average wages for typical Mom jobs have been dropping, pushing down Mom’s annual value,” said Amy Danise, editorial director of Insure.com.

Most mothers who were surveyed by Insure.com place their own value under $40,000 a year. Insure.com interviewed 500 women with children age 12 or younger living at home. A similar question posed to 500 men by Insure.com also placed mothers’ value at less than $40,000.

— Steve Rosen, Kansas City Star