Colored gemstones and cultured pearls are top product categories for 2019, and the most exciting thing happening in this segment is that there’s more demand for more varieties of gems and pearls than ever before, a trend with longevity.
Colored stones and pearls are benefitting from the great variety of material in this product category. The diversity is fueling several design directions in fine jewelry for 2019, reports Paola De Luca, Founder and Creative Director for the luxury marketing firm The Futurist, publisher of TrendVision.
Among the top trends forecasted by TrendVision are multi-stone combinations that are powerful and hypnotic; minimalistic aesthetics where colors, shapes and patterns are complementary; and organic gems and shapes, particularly with interesting inclusions and painterly patterns.
De Luca describes the gems in trending jewelry designs as “artsy”, “organic”, “archaeological-like” and “talismanic” — offering escapism, beauty, and meaning in what is a complex, challenging and uncertain world. She indicates talisman and symbols as a megatrend in jewelry that appeals to both women and youth who are leading the major cultural movements of our time, with gemstones serving as important conduits to storytelling.
Research by the Los Angeles-based MVI Marketing finds that women who buy fine jewelry for themselves, particularly younger women, want to see more variety in color and fashion styles represented in fine jewelry stores. “They say they are interested in more color to go with their outfits, with at least one quarter of self-purchasing women expecting to buy fine jewelry containing a gemstone or pearl at least once in a year,” reports CEO Martin Hurwitz.
To underscore color’s growing appeal in jewelry design and its impact on the market, just look at the increased use of colored stones in engagement rings and wedding bands. “Today, it’s not at all unusual to see a colored stone set as the primary gem in an engagement ring,” says Gem Market Analyst Stuart Robertson for The GemGuide, gem market news and pricing guide. “We’re even seeing more of a focus on the color and not the variety of stone.”
In fact, JCK’s State of the Industry Jewelry Report for 2018 identifies alternative engagement rings as the No. 1 product trend for nearly one third of jewelers polled, with 66 percent considering them to be in their top three. For 22 percent, purple gems were among the favorites.
Colors & Shapes
Allison Peck, for the NYC-based Color Merchant, says she is seeing color, specifically semi-precious, as a huge category this holiday season and moving forward. “I’ve really been seeing color across the board sell, and not specifically in one color,” she says.
“Also, fancy cuts and different settings add a wow factor to classic designs,” says Peck, like Color Merchant’s latest gemstone rings with elongated ovals and marquises set east to west, or classic bold gem pendants framed in a mosaic of different diamond shapes. “Semi-precious stones in more statement-making and interesting pieces are selling. Consumers today do not want something typical or usual, they want something that makes them feel special and stand out.”
Like colored stones, the variety in type, shape and color of pearls on the market continues to inspire more companies to create finished jewelry with cultured pearls. Kathy Grenier, Vice President of Business Development for Imperial Pearl in Providence, Rhode Island, uses adjectives like modern, beautiful, and wearable to describe the kinds of pearl jewelry trending today. She specifies shape and color as top draws, noting examples like baroque and Keshi, and a greater emphasis on Tahitian pearls, as well as pearls mixed with other gemstones.
Cynthia Speight, Marketing Manager for IB Goodman, Newport, Kentucky, refers to a new collection for women, Zé Inlay, featuring iridescent blue-green abalone pearl, opalescent pink and white mother-of-pearl, and exotic hardwood inlay in thematic designs, including nautical motifs, wildlife, flowers, organic shapes and spiritual icons. The pieces are set in silver or gold, some with diamond accents, at great price points for self and gift purchase, she says.
Pearls have become a go-to design element in modern jewelry, with Mastoloni’s latest collection offering a great example: 18K yellow gold and diamond earrings in “paper clip” shapes holding a 6mm-6.5mm white, round freshwater pearl, cites Dana Cali, Marketing and Communications for Mastoloni, New York. Called “Gem Clip,” this iconic silhouette has a cool, edgy vibe. “It’s simple and chic, confident and playful,” she explains, “teetering between informal and formal.”
JCK’s State of the Industry Jewelry Report for 2018 also finds pearls in modern jewelry designs among the top three trends for 21 percent of jewelers and gem beads 12 percent.