Holiday 2021 Gift Guide

Jewelry is hailed a top gift for holiday 2021 by several major market research firms in their seasonal forecasts.

Leading lifestyle media is listing which styles are likely to shine the brightest this season.

Town & Country touts foolproof hoops, classic watches and modern pearls. The publication advises that you can’t go wrong with a personal twist on a tried-and-true jewelry. Among the favorites: diamond studs, pearl jewelry, twisted cable cuffs and bangles, color gemstone cocktail rings and statement pendants, simple gold hoops, and monogrammed signet rings and initial necklaces.

“We like monogrammed anything, elevated friendship bracelets, and the kind of better-than-basic baubles that can be thrown on top of anything and make someone feel 100-times better, because isn’t that all you really want for your loved ones anyway,” the article professes.

Etsy’s Marketplace Insights 2021 Holiday Trends report shares big spikes in product searches for certain products in 2021, April-June, over the same period in 2020. The artisan ecommerce site saw a 91% increase in searches for chunky gold, 44% increase for pearl earrings, and 35% increase for birthstone jewelry. Noteworthy was a whopping 2,142% increase in searches for carnelian jewelry, which has taken off as a TikTok trend, attracting shoppers with its poppy-red hue.

Etsy touts that classic casual jewelry styles such as these are “easy-yet-thoughtful gifts,” expecting birthstone jewelry and custom name and initial jewelry to be key holiday bestsellers this year. It also saw a 29% increase in searches for brooches year-over-year for the same time, expecting larger-than-life pins to be holiday showstoppers, perfect for in-person parties or above-keyboard dressing.

The site also expects the holidays remain prime time for proposals, with top ring style searches including fancy bands, vintage gems, re-envisioned classics, horizontal stones, and affordable diamond alternatives.

Jonathan Cohen, president of IBGoodman, known for its men’s collections, reported that men’s diamond rings in larger total carat weights up to 3 carats have been bestsellers for the brand. IBGoodman launched a trade campaign touting men’s diamond solitaire engagement rings; something Tiffany began promoting with new marketing in June. Cohen expects to see more attention paid to diamond solitaire rings for men this holiday season.

Valerie Fletcher, vice president of design and product development for Original Design Inc., says ODI is seeing higher than usual orders for bestsellers like classics in gold and silver, fashion basics, core bridal, and anniversary programs. She says infinity symbols are outpacing hearts.

Creating Choice
 Lab-grown diamonds continue to capture an ever-growing consumer base for both bridal and fashion fine jewelry. Cora-Lee Colaizzi, director of marketing and catalogs and senior merchandiser for Quality Gold, cites lab-grown diamond bridal a dominate category, second to loose lab-grown diamonds, with lab-grown diamond stud earrings expected to be the holiday gift favorite.

Quality Gold introduced new designs with lab-grown color gemstones. “The market wants it, they want the choice,” Colaizzi says. The latest created gems, combined with lab-grown diamonds, include created ruby, morganite, alexandrite, opal, and paraiba tourmaline, which she says has been a huge hit with retailers.

“There’s room in the market for both natural and lab-grown diamonds,” advocates Parag Desai, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing for SDC Designs that carries both. The lab-grown diamond category has great return on investment, he says, and jewelers appreciate the choice in core basics like engagement rings, eternity bands, and studs that can be customized with different shapes, sizes and setting orientations in its Crafted Carats line.

For Richline Jewelry, lab-grown diamonds and gold have been their biggest performers, says Moss Makhoulian, senior vice president product development and merchandising for the Berkshire Hathaway Company. The company launched the brand, Grown with Love in 2018 at Macy’s, JCPenney and some independent jewelers, and a white label for Helzberg Jewelers, who has been riding a wave of success with this category.

Golden Opportunities
Yellow gold is Richline’s dominate category, says Makhoulian. “We do very well with manipulations, tubing and chain, and with diamonds and gems applied.” He expects paperclip link chains will be the stars this holiday season.

The Leslie brand by Quality Gold has been doing phenomenally well cheers Colaizzi. “Well made, stylish gold jewelry is in high demand. Layering continues to be a big trend in gold jewelry, and yellow gold is No. 1 as high rhodium prices have impacted demand in white gold.

Colaizzi concurs that the paperclip link look remains a top seller; stretch gold bands and bracelets are popular, removing size as an issue; and hoops, pendant chains and charms are staple goods every jeweler should have.

Adding to that Fletcher says the Cuban link is popular, reflecting the “boyfriend” look that’s trending, including ID plates, padlocks and signet rings. She underscores that meaningful jewelry always wins, citing ODI’s new Spiritual Journey Collection that combines mystical and religious symbols like the Hamsa, Ohm, and Star of David with the classic diamond Journey wave.

Cultured in Classics
Cultured pearls are expected to be a holiday favorite in classic, light, fun designs with freshwater pearls, finds Sarah Cuidon for the pearl house Mastoloni. Retailers visiting Mastoloni at The Plumb Club during JCK Las Vegas were buying pieces like pearl station necklaces, sweet pearl hoops, wrap pearl rings, and designs mixed with diamond bezels, she shares.

Buyers were drawn to Mastoloni’s budding floral designs, says Cuidon, which represent new beginnings and a feeling of hope. Regarding strands, people were drawn to multi-color, multi-variety pearl combinations, affectionately called “Indecision Necklaces.”

Simple, clean, modern pearl designs are in demand. The pearl house Imperial launched at The Plumb Club a new Akoya pearl collection, set in gold and accented with diamond sparkle. She describes the designs as classic with style. Think pearl solitaire rings with diamond halo, Y-necklaces and drop earrings.

Colaizzi says that pearl jewelry sales are up for Quality Gold and there’s interest in men wearing pearls, which the company highlights in new brand assets showing pearl bracelet styling for men.

“There is something for everyone to love,” says Kathy Grenier, vice president, business development for Imperial. The brand also launched a signature display for its fastest turning Akoya pearl jewelry. Grenier says the compact, user-friendly presentation provides jewelers with a competitive advantage.

Color is Personal
Similarly, Samuel B. launched its latest display for its bestselling birthstone jewelry program, which has been well received at recent trade shows. Shares Mathew Behnam, vice president of sales and marketing for the designer brand. The 70-unit presentation is designed with a small footprint, best angle for product viewing, and stocks 14 popular colors.

“We have taken a great deal of time to make sure our custom displays are not only attractive, but are easy for sales associates to take products off and put them back on, and sized to fit most showcases,” says Behnam.

Desai finds a hunger for colorful jewelry as consumers search for things that are unique and express their individuality. SDC Designs launched a 14K gold collection, Colore Oro, which he says is very modern in its use of not-so-standard cuts and sizes. The line features natural diamonds and color stones like ruby, blue topaz, amethyst, garnet, and green quartz. He expects this to be a popular self-splurge for the holidays, as people look to add more color to their life.

“We continue to see month-to-month increases in e-commerce and in-store business, especially in special occasion categories like bridal, meaningful gifts, and those that can be personalized,” reports Andrea Hansen, brand consultant to Uni Creation for its Girl Up Collection, with motifs advocating empowerment.

Hanson cites very strong demand in the collection’s “stars” assortment in gold, and new gemstone necklaces. We’re pleased to see how customers are choosing to buy and wear jewelry that speaks of their values, beyond their personal style choices.”