Kentucky Derby: Famous for Hats, Now for Charm Bracelets from Kay Jewelers

When many people think of the Kentucky Derby, they often picture the large, intricately designed hats worn by female spectators to the famous horse race. But there’s more to Derby Day fashion than hats, as shown by a recent deal between Churchill Downs Inc. and Kay Jewelers.

Since 1875, the Kentucky Derby has been one of the foremost horse races in the United States and throughout the world. The Derby is commonly referred to as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” and the “Run for the Roses” for the blanket of roses draped over the winner.

Kay, the largest national jewelry retailer in the United States, released a Kentucky Derby collection in their Charmed Memories charm bracelet line, whose products are handcrafted in Italy. Churchill Downs, the owner of the track used for the Kentucky Derby, announced the line less than two weeks before the race took place.

Churchill Downs’ president, Kevin Flanery, said of the partnership with Kay, “We’re in the business of creating memories. Everyone who comes to the Derby leaves with a special memory. … Now, not only can you have that memory with you in your head. You can have something tangible to share for years to come.”

Charm bracelets became popular in the 1950s and 1960s when American teenage girls wore them as markers of life events, and in recent years, they have resurfaced because they allow the wearer to customize the bracelets to suit her unique tastes. In addition to Kay, other manufacturers such as Pandora offer similar product lines of charms and beads for bracelets.

Kay’s Kentucky Derby line includes six different charms in shapes such as horses, horseshoes, a Derby hat, and a mint julep, a popular Derby Day drink. The charms are made from sterling silver and their prices range from $34.99 to $59.99. Like the other Charmed Memories accessories, these charms and their bracelets can have any other beads and charms added to them by the wearer.

For an event like the Kentucky Derby, the partnership with a jewelry manufacturer specializing in keepsakes is sure to draw attention from business experts. However, both companies declined to comment on the financial aspects of the deal at press time.

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