When it comes to diamond jewelry, keywords like fancy cuts, composite settings, two-stone, and stackable bands describe some of the strongest trends on the market today. These trends speak to consumers’ desire for customization, personalization, meaning, and bang-for-the-buck.
Maren Pfister, merchandise manager, Ostbye, Minneapolis, Minnesota, offers an overview of diamond jewelry highlights: “Popular trends for bridal include oval cuts, modern styling with twisted shanks or asymmetrical bands, delicate silhouettes, and stacked bands with engagement ring to create your own unique look. Trends for fashion jewelry include layering pieces like necklaces and band rings, yellow gold jewelry, two-stone jewelry, and studs with earring jackets.”
Diamond “bolo” bracelets have been very popular, a new style introduced last year that has continued to gain momentum, says Nick Parekh, president of Laxmi Diamond, New York. He notes that new takes on classic diamond bracelets have been selling well.
Many diamond manufacturers hail fancy cut diamonds the trend to watch. “Fancy shapes are really hot,” says Alok Mehta, owner and CEO at IDD, New York. “What’s nice about fancy shapes is that you can offer a traditional look with a unique center in a fancy shape, a great way to personalize a piece. Ovals and cushions are among our bestsellers, with interest for emerald cuts rising.”
Rebecca Foerster, executive vice president of strategic planning and marketing, Leo Schachter Diamonds, New York sees fancy shapes as a key trend for 2017, and early adopters who expand their presence in this category will reap the benefits. Joseph Green, executive vice president of sales, Leo Schachter Diamonds, say retailers already doing that cite an upward trajectory for a variety of diamond shapes. “Princess cuts are obviously still an important player in this space, but ovals and pears are trending up, and to some extent marquises.”
Realizing the forecast by the Huffington Post in 2014 that cluster or composite settings would be the next big engagement ring trend, this product has become an important category in bridal. Setting smaller stones to look like one big diamond is a popular bang-for-the-buck style for millennials, many with less to spend than their parents because of staggering college loan debt and a competitive job market.
According to Mehta, the diamond composite business is very strong, citing the success of IDD’s Fairytale Diamonds, featuring its patented Forever Lock™ setting technology. “Our Fairy Tale Diamonds combine the over century old design of invisible setting with today’s technology resulting in pieces with the look of a much larger carat weight, at an attainable price, and without fear of stone loss.” He describes Forever Lock™ as a multi-step process using hand matched and calibrated diamonds that are locked into place in a frame of precious metal.
Retail giant Signet will push two-stone jewelry in its national ad campaign, like it did last year when it introduced its Ever Us collection. “Signet will be investing a lot in this campaign and plans to drive the two-stone message through this holiday season,” says Mehta. But he advocates independent jewelers not compete with Signet by pushing their own storyline.
“We’ve created a different take on the concept that we call 2BeLOVed (The Joy of Us), with complete marketing package for our retailers,” says Mehta. The concept goes beyond one diamond for your best friend, one diamond for your true love, to incorporate any relationship that celebrates the joy of a lasting love. While rings are bestsellers, he does see other jewelry styles, particularly pendants and earrings gaining in popularity. The brand also makes a line of two-stone bangle bracelets. New takes on the design incorporate two-tone gold.
Parekh notes that while he does believe two-stone is a strong category, three-stone remains the most popular style in engagement and anniversary rings. Foerster concurs that the bigger diamond look across the finger is a favorite.
Diamond bands are huge, one of the hottest trends in the market today, hails Phyllis Bergman, CEO of Mercury Rings, a division of Interjewel Group, New York. “You can tell a story with bands. Changing bands offers a unique way of wearing your jewelry, and can change the look of an engagement ring. Diamond band with color stone, plain band with diamond, mixing bands in different colors of metal: how you style it, makes it unique.”
Millennials don’t want something different, says Bergman, just unique to them. That’s why bands have been so popular. “There are so many different relationships, same-sex, living together but not married—engagement means a big decision because it costs a lot of money. Bands enable people to do great things, without a big spend. Bands are also multi generational and can celebrate many occasions. My customers are doing a great job with diamond bands.”
Diamond bands are popular, as a part of the all diamond look brides seem to want, says Bergman—diamond center with halo and diamond shank framed by diamond bands. She says platinum is a strong seller, noting that Mercury has a lot of platinum programs going out for fourth quarter.
Overall, Mehta advocates jewelers, especially independents, to be creative in their marketing and not try to compete with what the majors carry. “Work with your vendors to offer different qualities and sizes of diamonds, different shapes, and special collections unique to your store and customer base.” While there’s no denying consumers are price conscious, they want good value.