Gold remains the most popular precious metal in fine jewelry.
Zoom-worthy styles in earrings and necklaces lead gold jewelry trends for 2021. Popping color and pearls, key design directions in gold jewelry also embrace sleek lines, geometric patterns, and lots of links in the mix.
Fashion influencer The Zoe Report expects a continuation of trends from 2020 in 2021 — “timeless, comforting staples that spark happiness.”
Gold remains the most popular precious metal in fine jewelry, bridal and fashion, including everyday wardrobe essentials like stud and hoop earrings, and chain-link necklaces. Simple, classic styles with a twist sum up the latest in gold jewelry trends.
“As gold prices increase, so too does its desirability,” says Amanda Gizzi, communications director for the Jewelers of America. “People see gold and see not only the beauty, but the value.”
At the height of gold fashion right now are chain link styles, with the paperclip design a bestseller, reports Cora Lee Colaizzi, marketing director and senior merchandiser for Quality Gold, Fairfield, Ohio.
Trending since last summer, the paperclip chain link as a design element showcases the diversity that can come from even the simplest style, points out Gizzi. “Designers are creating exquisite earrings, necklaces, and bracelets using paperclip chain links to make timeless, yet trendy jewelry for women and men.”
During holiday jewelry TV spots Gizzi illustrated the trend with several examples, including the 14K-gold and diamond paperclip earrings of Brevani. The New York City based brand’s bestselling paperclip earring was featured on The Bachelorette.
Also popular in chain right now is a throwback to the 1970s with the resurgence of Cuban link design elements, reports Jonathan Cohen, president IB Goodman, Newport, Kentucky. “Initially adopted in bold neck chains, the design element lends itself to an array of jewelry for both men and women.” He explains that the bolder link look is the perfect canvas to set diamonds when used as a design element for styles like earrings, rings, and cufflinks.
Another trend to watch from the ‘70s is the gold nugget look as a design element, adds Cohen, noting that its initial rise to popularity was in response to the new wealth created by the oil and gas boom in the south central U.S. For younger consumers today, nugget jewelry designs may seem like a “new bold, gold fashion statement featuring quintessential gold elements and expressing a statement of distinction and wealth,” says Cohen. He notes that while this design element may be reminiscent of rugged masculinity, it is, in fact, very much a unisex look.
The latest in gold jewelry trends reflects clean lines, open metalwork, and geometric shapes, particularly interlocking circles, finds Colaizzi. “These gold jewelry styles remain popular because of their simplistic design. They can be worn with anything, dressed up or down.”
Colaizzi cites Y-style gold chain necklaces among the bestsellers, perfect for layering. In fact, the top gold jewelry trend is more about how you style your gold jewelry. “People are layering everything — necks, wrists, fingers and ears!”
People wearing gold chain are layering more delicate and open link styles, combining lengths and link types, and adding charms, medallions, and pendants to the look. Bezel-set gemstones, gem beads or pearls on chain are all part of the mix.
“It’s a bit like modern sleek meets boho fashion,” describes Theresa Namie, merchandise manager for Ostbye, Minneapolis, Minnesota. “A lot of designers are reflecting back on 1980s designs.” She cites floral and geometric patterns, and different chain link designs are among the leading silver and gold jewelry trends. “Most of these styles will be reflected in collar length pendants and drop earrings for the best look for waist-up dressing.”
Gems & Pearls
Vogue hails in its Spring 2021 jewelry trends report that color at the neck will make us look more alive than we feel after back-to-back video calls. The fashion magazine proclaims color, popped in necklaces and earrings, the news of the season.
Namie is seeing that translated in birthstones. “Millennials are creating their own designs using pendants, earrings, rings set with birthstones that would fall into the fashion category,” she describes. “We have a few bestselling designs in birthstone jewelry that can be mixed and matched to create unique looks that are wildly popular — layering pendants, even several bezel earrings climbing up the ear, and stacking rings.”
Pearl earrings have been a particular favorite, especially styles that offer enormous versatility, says Dana Cali, marketing and communications for the New York City-based pearl house, Mastoloni. “Women want jewelry that is versatile enough to wear day and night, for any occasion.”
Popular pearl designs set in gold are more simplistic in nature, says Cali, including classic studs with interchangeable diamond jackets, pearl-studded hoops, multi-pearl, open abstract and caged pearl designs.
Movement and light also are reflected in the pearl and gold jewelry collections of Honora, featuring freshwater pearls in open, geometric designs; dangling gold bezel accents and diamonds-by-the-yard; and embraced in golden cages.
When it comes to gold, yellow gold has been trending for the past couple of years as a more prominent color in jewelry design, reports Cohen. “That fashion trend combined with the increased value of gold seems to motivate consumers to wear jewelry in yellow gold versus white gold in non-bridal jewelry.” He also notes that for some time now, 10K gold has been widely acceptable in men’s jewelry as a way to economize on metal costs.
Outgrowing Quality Gold’s big annual gold book, Colaizzi shares that 10k gold now has its own edition. “The past two years demand has increased for items made in 10K gold, as metal market prices have been on an upward trajectory, exceeding $2,000 an ounce in August 2020. The shift in the behavior of the buyer isn’t new to those of us who have witnessed other economic downturns and crisis. When gold prices increase and remain high for a length of time, buyers shift from higher karat to lower karat options. In 2019 and 2020, as the market price went up, 18K and 14K items became more costly. This triggered consumers to seek options to meet their aspirational needs at prices they could afford. Demand for 10K gold jewelry is high for women and men.”
Colaizzi explains there are benefits to 10K as an option. “It’s more durable than its higher karat cousins, which makes it more resistant to scratches, scuffs and dents. It is a good option for someone who is seeking jewelry that is long lasting and can be worn daily. It is a good option for the price conscious. Basically, the decision to buy 10K gold or any other karat gold item comes down to customer preference and budget. Manufacturers and distributors follow the market and demand for the various karat options closely. If gold prices remain high, 10K options will be continue to be more in demand.”