And the “Metal” Goes to…
Silver Style Staples
The mystique and splendor of silver have captivated our minds and inspired our imaginations since the dawn of time. This brilliant precious white metal has been used throughout the ages to commemorate historic milestones and mark important achievements, events and moments in our lives.
In many early cultures, silver was thought to be the metal of the moon. Reflective in nature, it is said to have the ability to mirror one’s soul, bringing the wearer of silver a sense of self-awareness, calm and balance. Some believe that silver allows us to tap into the moon’s positive energy and its ability to foster enduring relationships. As one of the brightest stars in jewelry design today, silver offers an almost limitless array of styles and price points.
“Silver allows the designer to craft pieces that are bold, unique and on trend, as well as timeless classics at price points that fit every budget,” describes Gloria Maccarone, director of brand development for the Silver Promotion Service (SPS), a marketing arm of the Silver Institute. “Silver jewelry provides the perfect balance of art, beauty, style, and value. With looks ranging from daring to delicate, blazingly bright to softly textured, silver jewelry offers more possibilities than any other precious metal.”
Key themes in silver jewelry include more color, interesting links, personalization, and styles that lend themselves to stacking and layering, says Amanda Gizzi, spokesperson for Jewelers of America. “I see designs in the silver category appealing to two distinct audiences: the first time jewelry buyer and the mature, self-purchasing woman.”
“Oval, circle, square, floral, and organic silver forms, solid and openwork, are popular in dramatic styles worn close to the neck and more delicate pieces of different lengths that can be layered,” says Eve Chiles for the brand Breuning, based in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Bracelets run the gamut from bangle and cuff to stretch and bolo. For EMA Jewelry, New York City, bolo styles with diamonds in infinity, cross, and line motifs and tennis bracelets set with gems like blue topaz, white sapphire, and created opal are popular, says Eddie Weiss for EMA Jewelry, New York City. He calls out the manufacturer’s silver starburst earring also among its bestsellers.
The trend for layering is inspiring consumers to experiment with their jewelry to create their own style statements, which Maccaroni believes is influenced by trends seen on runways and red carpets. She also cites an emphasis on hoops, both oversized looks and unique design twists on classic styles, and a continuation of ring stacking, but with a fresh focus on bolder “cocktail looks” set with colorful stones and rings on many fingers.
Chiles says the use of gold and gold plating with silver is prevalent, with two-tone and tri-color designs important. Blackened silver continues to be popular, especially paired with diamonds for a bold contrast or mixed with 18K gold for a modern two-tone look, says Gizzi. Maccaroni also sees trends for blackened silver with brushed white silver, as well as textured silver in styles from hammered and repoussé to etched and granulated.
Trends for Men
Silver happens to be a very popular precious metal for men, too. There’s an uptick in interest and demand for menswear, especially silver fashion cufflinks as more young men are back to wearing French cuffs. Maccaroni also sees a big demand for men’s silver bracelets and band rings trending, describing the category on the verge of major growth.
“To me, it is a metal that presents infinite possibilities,” describes Jonathan Goodman Cohen, president, and CEO of IB Goodman, Newport, Kentucky. For this men’s jewelry manufacturer, they have found that the shape and the feel of the piece is very important in creating pieces that top the “I never take it off” list. “A design should never be just driven by visuals, and being aware of feel and form throughout the process makes a much stronger final result.”
As an example, Cohen cites a new, oxidized silver cross the company added to its collection that pays tribute to these key subtleties in silver jewelry design. “The oxidation in the piece provides a slight sheen that denotes a rough yet fine aesthetic, and can be layered with other pieces to create an entire look,” he says. “The cross also has a unique form and texture that I associate with the concept of a touchstone. The element of a good-looking product that asks to be handled instead of simply admired creates a new level of connection for the wearer.”
Alisa Bunger concurs that there is growing demand from retailers for consumer-friendly, affordable menswear that pays attention to handcrafted detail. The director of sales for the B88 Division of Prime Art & Jewel says the Dallas-based manufacturer is seeing great success with its Ethos collection launched last fall. She says bracelets are among its bestsellers, followed by dog tags, in styles that are not overly flashy—pairing silver with leather, hints of gold, and gemstone inlay for accessories men can live in.