Relax, Reflect & Play for Spring

Calming, curious and creative, the Pantone Color Palette for Spring 2016 consists of softer, comforting tones, with brighter, vivid hues that offer respite from the daily grind and our 24-7 obsession to be connected.

“Colors this season transcend cultural and gender norms. Vivid brights give way to excitement and optimism, though quiet stability prevails in the palette,” tells Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Technology plays a huge part in people feeling like they want to stop the world and get off.” Because our culture is surrounded by so much uncertainty, she sees continued desire for colors that transport us to happier places where we can unwind.

The top 10 Pantone colors for 2016 include softer, comforting hues like blush pink Rose Quartz, yummy smooth Peach Echo, airy sky blue Serenity, and refreshing aqua infused Limpet Shell; along with richer, more vibrant tones like lively navy Snorkel Blue, bright springy Green Flash, free-spirited crimson Fiesta, and sunny cheerful Buttercup. The ideal transitional neutrals to round out the mix are earthy, grounded Iced Coffee and delicate distinctive Lilac Gray.

For the first time since Pantone hailed a Color of the Year in 2000 two colors were named for 2016: Rose Quartz and Serenity. “As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are more prominent,” says Eiseman. “Together Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness, order and peace.”

Gem Palette
Gem families that come in a range of colors complement Pantone’s palette beautifully, particularly sapphire, tourmaline, garnet, topaz, quartz, beryl, and spinel. Other popular gems found in these shades include diamond, moonstone, pearl, opal, zircon, and “ite” stones like tanzanite, iolite, apatite, labradorite, morganite, and kunzite.

Gem houses like Color Craft and The Greenwood Group, both in New York, hail the stones of the moment to be in blue, green and blush tones including turquoise, morganite, and amazonite, aquamarine, peridot and opal. “Pantone colors are important at retail, as consumers see them everywhere, from fashion to makeup to home design,” says Color Craft’s Todd Wolleman. “With this in mind, we’re able to create strong product and color recommendations.”

Demand is especially strong for morganite and opal gems, concurs Eddie Weiss for EMA Jewelry, New York, who says these trends bare out in the numbers. “Morganite falls in the color range of Rose Quartz and Peach Echo. And, very popular for us has been Ethiopian opal, for its outstanding brilliant flashes of color, revealing many of the hues in Pantone’s palette.”

Sapphire and turquoise will be especially popular this season with the introduction of colors like Snorkel Blue and Limpet Shell expects Amanda Gizzi, director of public relations and special events for Jewelers of America. “With the focus on hues like Fiesta and Green Flash, ruby and peridot will also be popular beyond their birthstone month. Of course, the color Rose Quartz will bring its namesake gem into the spotlight!”

In fact, Atlanta-based jewelry designer, Sara Blaine, a Benchmark partner, is using rose quartz in her latest collection with other softer, soothing tones like pink mother of pearl, as well as gems in shades of denim blue. She notes that the Pantone colors guide her fashion sensibilities, but she follows her intuition when designing. “Important for me is reaching all age groups, being able to blend new pieces with old, and mixing different metals, textures and gems in my designs.”

Michael O’Connor, jewelry stylist to the stars and Reelz Channel style correspondent, also anticipates the softer pastel shades in fashion will evoke greater interest in richer, saturated color stones in accessories. He expects to see more statement pieces with sapphire, tanzanite, iolite, and paraiba tourmaline that create vibrant pop of color.

Design Directions for 2016
Fashion trends influence how people accessorize and also play a part in jewelry trends themselves. Design details trending for Spring 2016 include lace and weave, pleats and ruffles, flora and fauna, architecture and geometric patterns.

“One of the biggest trends shaping up for the season is geometric designs in a variety of renditions,” cites Gizzi. “There are pieces with repetition of patterns, but with more fluidity like lace, but in more structured geometric designs like cubes. Design concepts are flowy and tend to feature cutouts that form negative space.”

Linear designs, says Blaine, conveys a taller, thinner look that’s great for layering. “This is what all women want! Mixing different lengths with different patterns and textures to create their own style. “

O’Connor hails floral a staple of spring fashion, but for 2016 it’s showing in unusual color combinations, the kind that make you stop and say, “I wouldn’t have thought of that, but it looks great together.” Animals, birds and nature-inspired objects that have a fun vibe are also important.

What’s most striking on the runways, especially for 2016, are new ways of wearing jewelry. There’s much more experimentation with what jewelry can be, as dramatically expressed by Givenchy who decorated its runway models with far-out face jewelry set on cheeks and chins and suspended from nostrils and earrings from lobe to upper cartilage in gems like sapphire and ruby.

Also expect wearable tech to be key in fashion and accessories, says Mark Hanna, CMO for Richline, New York. He notes that fashion is fueling the next stage of wearable tech in interactive clothing. But the category is also expanding in smart jewelry and watches in the industry. “The opportunity for jewelers to service and sell such items is going to be lucrative,” he says, noting that Richline is launching a branded collection first quarter 2016 that used both consumer and retailer-partner insights to target relevance where function meets fashion.