The Pantone Color Institute tends to be the jewelry industry’s gold standard when it comes to color forecasting and it recently announced its 2023 Color of The Year: Viva Magenta (Pantone 18-1750), a color that descends from the red family with pink and berry undertones.
Plumb Club Members are certainly taking note of this as we head into the New Year, but they’re also tuned into other colors that are trending. What are they? We cover a good many of them in this special report.
You’ll see that some TPC members are leaning into jewelry set with classic emeralds, rubies, and sapphires, while others are getting “fancy” with pink, yellow, blue, and even green diamonds. And speaking of green, that’s the must-have color at this precise moment, alongside a spectrum of blue hues that alternately recall the ocean or a midnight sky.
Read on for more valuable insights about the stones to stock up on now and later—perfect timing if you’re headed to the Tucson Gem Show in the new year.
What’s Hot Now? Cool Blues & Greens (And Gems Are Only Part of The Story)
The demand for colored stones of any kind is an all-time high. Just ask Ryan Akhavan, sales director at Ryan Gems: “My experience has been that every decade or so, a new timeless elegance re-emerges, which I think is fair to say is happening with gemstones,” he adds. “For example, Elizabeth Taylor owned some of the most beautiful gemstone jewelry and that retro charm is being appreciated again.”
More specifically, a number of Plumb Club members report increased demand for gems in shades of blues and greens: blue topaz, turquoise, opals, emeralds, and tourmalines.
The feedback aligns with trends that are either emerging or well-established across the industry at large. “Sapphires of all colors continue to do well, and Montana sapphires have been selling well among better gem dealers for upwards of five years now,” reports Jennifer Heebner, editor in chief of AGTA’s media & the CPAA’s #thisispearl digital magazine.
One of Wilkerson’s recent best-sellers is a sapphire-and-diamond clover pendant “because of the quality of the sapphires, high sell-through rate, and a competitive price point,” says Scott Smith, express sales representative.
“We are seeing a high demand for tanzanites and emeralds,” says Francis Brown, accounts manager at Sandeep Diamond Corporation. “People are gravitating towards the tried and true, gemstones that are well known overall.”
At Samuel B, “We’ve been seeing a lot of sleeping beauty turquoise, blue topaz and amethyst,” says Nicole Benham, director of operations. “We usually have a lot of blue topaz and sleeping beauty sales leading up to December.”
Turquoise styles are also doing well at Chic Pistachio’s Aurelie Gi, according to Kat Whitacre, national sales director.
Meanwhile, several jewelers are reporting inquiries for green gems after J. Lo got engaged with a green diamond, according to Heebner.
For Brevani, a division of Color Merchants, the trend translates to peridot: Between J.Lo’s green diamond and Megan Fox’s emerald engagement ring, green has definitely been having a moment,” says creative director Allison Peck.
Many shades of freshwater and Tahitian pearls cover off on the blue/green trend nicely, but the big news over at Imperial, according to business development director, Kathy Grenier, is a new collection that pairs pearls with colorful enamel.
Kicking off with a tonal blue story, new colorways are slated to be announced in January. The possibilities are limitless since “we are well connected with specialists to execute this very cool new way of adding color to our pearl world,” she says.
At Asian Star, the product development team is seeing similar success with their Opa collection, which combines gold, diamonds and ceramic. Named for the Greek word for “Cheers!”, “the collection advocates the ritual of celebrating everyday life with joyous colors,” explains Nancy Almeida, general manager of marketing and corporate communications.
She reports a strong customer response to styles in a luminous deep blue and peacock green.
“Both have a balancing effect, elevating and complementing any ensemble, which also allows the wearer to experiment with layering of pieces,” she says. “They’re very distinctive, elegant colors created for a more discerning, individualistic wearer.”
Colored Diamonds Are Dominating News Headlines—Now What?
Colored diamonds are rare and costly by definition so it’s hard to speak about them in terms of trends. Fancy color diamonds represent less than .01% of the total diamonds mined in the world—that’s about 1 in 10,000.
Whether pink, blue, or yellow, they are traditionally the domain of the luxury consumer or connoisseurs in search of collectible, one-of-a-kind jewels.
But colored diamonds have been making headlines of late, from Jennifer Lopez’s green diamond engagement ring to a seemingly endless supply of extremely rare—and rather large—stones arriving on the auction block.
This fall, “We saw Sotheby’s sell the Williamson Pink Star, a 11.15 carat flawless fancy vivid pink diamond, for $57.7 million, during a twenty-minute bidding flurry, establishing a world auction record price per carat for any diamond or gemstone,” notes luxury brand consultant and social media influencer Tracey Ellison (a.k.a. @thediamondsgirl on Instagram). “It’s further evidence of how strong the market is right now.”
The same auction house will be selling eight fancy blue diamonds—with a combined total value of more than $70 million—across its Magnificent Jewels auctions over the next year. And Dec. 7 may be a sunshine day, when the largest internally flawless diamond ever graded by a gem lab, a 303.3 ct. treasure known as the Golden Canary, will headline the Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction in New York City.
“Of course, very, very few are able to ever consider purchases like that,” says Ellison.
But with all the buzz around colored diamonds in general, consumer awareness is at an all-time high. This presents an opportunity retailers might capitalize on, especially since boulder-sized stones worth millions are far from the only game in town.
In fact, Mark Funk, vice president of sales and marketing at Color Jewels/Cirari, a leading supplier of important colored diamond jewelry, who reports that increased exposure of colored diamonds “have helped greatly in the overall sales of colored diamonds. We have also seen a slight uptick in color gemstones for engagement rings as well.”
As such, it’s a category his company is prioritizing as there seems to be significant demand from consumers and retailer partners alike.
“We believe we have been leaders in the color diamond category for the last two-to-three years,” he adds. “Our yellow and pink sales have grown significantly and our blue and green have come online nicely, while they are still a smaller piece of the total.”
On a macro level, Gemological Science International (GSI), is “seeing more everyday jewelry with fancy-colored diamonds—featuring more commercial than collector diamonds—and our clients are sharing with us that their customers are excited for the option to have something other than near-colorless diamonds to express their mood and individuality through their jewelry,” says Debbie Azar, GSI co-founder and president.
Interested in adding colored diamonds to your retail mix for the first time? Fancy yellow diamonds might be the color to start with, as it’s more widely available than rarer blues and pinks. A number of bridal suppliers and designers surfaced yellow diamond engagement rings during JCK Las Vegas 2021 (a bright, bold breath of fresh air after a prolonged and gloomy peak pandemic era) and JCK Las Vegas 2022 further fanned the yellow flame. Meanwhile, enthusiasm for the warmth of yellow gold also remains high.
Even if your customers may take some convincing when it comes to a colored diamond, there are still ways to respond to their being in the spotlight. Ellison’s advice: “I am seeing two trends emerge strongly: Beautiful ombré rings and semi-precious gemstones [like citrine or morganite].”
Alternatively, the inclination to wear a colored diamond engagement ring is a very individualistic and distinctive choice, a way to go against the grain in the most glamorous of ways. With this in mind, offering a strong customization program, one that lets the customer feel like a celebrity designing a bespoke piece, “gives the jewelry an intimate and emotional meaning, which is what jewelry is really all about,” says Ellison.
Looking Ahead, TPC Members Talk Pantone’s Spring/Summer 2023 Color Predictions
It may be winter, but many Plumb Club members are already focused on Spring/Summer 2023 fashion trends and palettes. The Pantone Color Institute recently announced its 2023 Color of the Year, Viva Magenta, but back in September, during New York Fashion Week, it pinpointed a collection of hues that will be the most visible, desirable and in-demand this spring.
Bright, electric colors, as well as juicy citrus shades and tropical greens top the list.
Beetroot Purple (Pantone-18-2143 TCX) is “an emboldened fuchsia hue depicting the fruits of nature” according to Pantone and its projected popularity aligns with some Plumb Club members’ product lines.
The industry has been talking about an overarching hot pink moment since JCK Las Vegas.
“I’m personally loving this new pink trend,” says Valerie Fletcher, vice president of design and product development at ODI / Original Designs. “It does have a little throwback to the neon/punk pink, but without being too retro. It feels contemporary and couture. It’s definitely not your mother’s poodle-skirt pink. And it’s not feminine—it’s a gender-non-conforming power pink. Unfortunately, I can’t pull off a whole Barbie Pink ensemble, but some rose gold and pink enamel stack bands? Yes, please!”
ODI / Original Designs launched Polar Pink at JCK Las Vegas, a line of fashion jewelry made with Greenlandic pink sapphires (a follow up to the brand’s successful Lovefire collection of Greenlandic rubies). “We did some test stores throughout this year, and the sell-through of Polar Pink was better than the rubies,” adds Fletcher. “The price point is much lower than the rubies, and we are doing more trendy, contemporary looks, so it reaches a whole different audience. And it’s still the same story of caring for the environment and giving back to the community around the mine.”
The Pantone spring forecast also pointed to a handful of soothing blues, blue-gray, and something called Skylight (Pantone-12-4604) that is a “pure and watery cleansing aqua” according to Pantone.
“Pantone color palettes always inspire me,” says Theresa Namie, merchandise manager at Ostbye. “The blue palettes have been so popular in wedding colors, including “Bridgerton Blue” and has me thinking white gold and aquamarine. I used these colors for this year’s bridal book because of the popularity. Most of our birthstone stackable ring would fit in nicely with the coloring and can tell their own story as well.”
At Brevani, a division of Color Merchants, “What I’m finding interesting about the 2023 palette is that there isn’t a shade of purple within the forecast and amethyst happens to consistently be our number-two best-selling color, with number-one being blue topaz,” says the company’s creative director, Allison Peck.
Meanwhile, she and other Plumb Club members are naturally “fired up” by Pantone’s Fiery Red (Pantone 18-1664) from the Spring/Summer 2023 lineup. “I see that translating to ruby and in the past few months I’ve absolutely seen an increase in our ruby jewelry sales,” adds Peck.