Silver Sales Soar

A new survey from the Silver Promotion Service (SPS), promotional arm of the Silver Institute (SI), shows sales of silver jewelry grew in 2018. Now in its tenth year, the study measures the sales performance of silver in jewelry.

More than half (52%) of jewelry retailers polled reported overall sales growth in their silver jewelry inventory, with the average store growth in 2018 for silver jewelry sales 16%. According to survey results, Silver jewelry sales, as a percentage of their overall jewelry sales were on average 24% of their unit volume and 18% of dollar value.

Silver experienced the best inventory turnover rate in 2018 for 51% of retailers polled (12% said diamonds, 14% bridal and 12% gold). A majority of retailers, at 84% say they’re optimistic that silver jewelry sales will continue to grow.

Total physical demand rose 4% in 2018, driven higher by a recovery in retail investment (bars and coins), plus further gains from jewelry and silverware, reported SI. The modest increase in these sectors offsetting a slight contraction in silver used in industrial applications. Silver jewelry fabrication increased almost 4%, with North America and India accounting for the bulk of the rise in demand, offsetting falls across East Asia and Europe.

Big, Bold & Colorful

Bold, beautiful and colorful is the framework for 2019 accessorizing in the U.S. and silver remains a top metal choice for fine jewelry manufacturers to create innovative designs for price points that sell. Recent runway shows suggest a return to maximalist jewelry, after many seasons of dainty necklaces and classic hoops ruling the accessories scene.

Color, size and quantity are key design directions in fine silver jewelry, says Gloria Maccaroni, director of brand development for the Silver Promotion Service. “You could say that 2019 is almost a trip back in time to 1989 as far as fine jewelry fashion goes. Brighter colors, bold chains, stacks of bracelets.”

Among the leading style trends in silver jewelry are re-imagined choker necklaces. “Chokers came back into style several years ago,” tells Maccaroni. “They continue to be a huge trend. But the look is for larger chokers, not the daintier, more elegant styles. Large chain, thick material chokers were seen often at the shows. Also seen, the layering chains of different types and lengths.”

Maccaroni advocates silver as the best metal for larger-than-life looks at price points that sell. Just like necklaces, the layering of bracelets of a variety of styles is a key trend, the more the better. It’s all about extra, adding to the story, which is what makes charms and nostalgic jewels so popular.

Many of the recent runway collections showed strong wrist adornment against the oversized clothing and bold colors trending for spring, cites Maccaroni, and not just bangles stacked. She spied more cuff and link bracelets mixed in that speak to a boho-chic way of styling.

“Bracelets are especially sought after in silver because of the cost of gold for a significant piece,” says Eddie Wess for EMA Jewelry, New York City. Styles from bolo and cuff to bangle and link are popular, with diamonds and gemstones.”

Statement earrings — large silver hoops and earrings that dangle are exciting a category that is mainstreaming the unmatched pair to explore design and signature style. “Try combining a hoop with a nice sized stone, charm or disc,” suggests Maccaroni. “Chunkier chains and layering inspire big earring looks.”

Evergreen is silver with diamonds; also fresh, silver with neutral gems like lemon quartz, moonstone and pearls. Maccaroni cites that some of the most popular pairings have matched silver with blue enamel or gemstones like blue quartz and topaz. Moreover, silver combines nicely with pearls, a popular pairing for Imperial Pearls, of Providence, Rhode Island, in statement rings and necklaces set with gems like blue and white topaz.

Shapes & Silhouettes

Silhouettes are elongated and sometimes voluminous, with negative space or hollow interiors to keep it light. Market research by The Futurist for The Plumb Club finds circle, triangle and bar shapes preferred in styles, including Y necklaces, stud earrings, and oversized rings with custom cuts of geometric-shaped gemstones, diamond accents, and pearls. Iconic symbols and motifs include celestial bodies, like the sun, moon and stars.

In addition to oval, circle and square shapes, floral, leaf, wave and organic forms in silver, solid and openwork, are popular in dramatic styles like pendant choker necklaces, dangle earrings, and bold, wide rings, Eve Chiles has reported for the brand Breuning, in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Combining gold and gold plating with silver is an important trend, Chiles cited, with two-tone and tri-color designs important. Maccaroni also cites trends for blackened silver with brushed white silver, as well as textured silver in styles from hammered and repoussé to etched and granulated.

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