Top Jewelry Trends Revealed at JCK 2022
The trends revealed at the 30th edition of JCK Las Vegas in June run the gamut from delicate, demi-fine to bold and chunky styles set with diamonds, pearls, and colorful gems and enamels. And yellow gold continues to shine.
Among the coveted styles are diamond essentials like stud earrings, line bracelets, and by the yard and Rivera necklaces; spiritual and celestial symbols; and vintage inspirations, notably from Art Deco, 1980s, and late 1990s (Y2K).
Layering jewelry remains a key style trend, with the thought of ever returning to wearing a single necklace again unimaginable, says jewelry blogger Tracey Ellison @thediamondsgirl, in a JCK Talks trends panel during the show.
Currently the ear is the premier space to decorate, with curating the adornment on one’s ear a major trend, and earrings the bestselling category next to bridal.
“I’m seeing trends become less important in some ways,” describes Beth Jones, a fashion blogger and creator of B. Jones Style, also on the panel, alongside JB Jones, co-founder of the NY Jewelry Week and Amy Elliot, JCK contributing editor. “I’m seeing more people focus on the things they really love.”
The panel sees great freedom in how people are wearing their jewelry today, mixing luxury and essential everyday pieces, aka high-low dressing, as well as “dopamine dressing,” evoking happy through color and glamour.
Gold in Trend
“The trend is gold, specifically yellow gold,” reports Theresa Namie, merchandise manager for the manufacturer, Ostbye. She describes popular looks harkening styles from the 1980s and 1990s minus the doorknocker earrings. She cites link designs in all fine fashion jewelry, and solid gold flexible bracelets in demand.
“Our new designs for fall offer a fresh take of the bold gold era,” Namie shared prior to the show. “The gold market is unpredictable compared to the market a decade ago. We’re hopeful that we will not see much fluctuation for the fourth quarter. Regardless of the gold prices, consumers are still buying fine jewelry.”
Cora Lee Colaizzi, marketing director and senior merchandiser for Quality Gold, concurs: “People will always have reasons to buy fine jewelry to celebrate and commemorate. Engagements, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, retirements are still happening.” She notes that gold has been hot for the past 18 months.
Laurel Ross, an independent account executive for Quality Gold’s Leslie’s Gold brand, says the big trend in gold is link jewelry. Big chunky links are still popular, particularly in fancy styles, with demand for the paper clip not waning.
The JCK Talks trends panel cites styles like the Cuban, San Marco and Mariner popular, and the snake chain coming back. Moreover, Ross reports lightweight stretchy bangle bracelets and rings that fit everyone at affordable prices are among the bestsellers.
On the delicate, demi-fine side of the chain, link trend Brevani is finding great success with its signature Dashing Diamond styles of pierced diamonds, hailed a showstopper at JCK this year. Jordan Peck for the New York-based brand, under the Color Merchants umbrella, says retailers were stocking up, preparing for a good holiday season.
“The line is fun, unique and customizable,” says Peck. Available in round and fancy shapes, these pierced diamonds without setting appear to be floating and constantly in motion, therefore always catching the light. A favorite is the brand’s triple layered clasp allowing to wear one, two, or three layers of diamonds that never get tangled in one necklace; as well as a variety of earring designs floating diamonds from hoop, chain and link styles, and pearl studs and pendants.
Delicate, demi-gold essential styles that can be layered, mixed and matched are particularly popular among 18 to 35 year olds, says Alisa Bunger, vice president of the Dallas-based Chic Pistachio Group (CPG), with the 14K recycled gold jewelry brand Aurelie GI and silver and gold plated line Ania Haie for Gens Y and Z. Symbolic charms like heart, key, evil eye, initials, zodiac, and celestial motifs are favorites to hang from earrings, chains, and on safety pin-like brooches.
Play by Ear
The largest growth category for the Leslie’s brand is earrings, says Ross. “New earrings make a new outfit.” Earrings are still seeing the impact of how people dressed during the pandemic, which inspired many folks on virtual meetings and events to select accessories that could easily be seen on video, “Zoom dressing.”
“A lot of bigger earring styles are selling, primarily in yellow gold,” Ross cites. The JCK Talks trends panel hails hoops of all types and in large sizes in demand, cheering that big hoops take 10 years off the wearer’s age. The panel also mentions the popularity of multi ear piercings, with the top of the ear popular to adorn, and ear cuffs a coveted style.
In fact, Retail Dive recently reports that “ear piercing is the next fun retail trend,” as a range of retailers (like CVS and Five Below) are capitalizing on ear piercing services to get people in store. Trends in piercing are opening ways retailers can respond with a variety of products to build loyal customers.
The “curated ear” trend incorporates multiple piercings and different types of jewelry, creating a customized look unique to the wearer, explains Bunger, with the 14K-gold jewelry brand Aurelie GI and sterling silver- and gold-plated line Ania Haie geared to Gens Y and Z. The trend is to mix and match earrings — dainty diamond studs, hoops, and cuffs.
“Mainstream America wants to be in on this trend,” Bunger says. “Piercing parties have become events/experiences for friends to get together.” CPG helps retailers throw their first piercing party and teaches them how to do these events on their own and find certified piercers in their area.
The HBO hit series, Euphoria, has played a big role in the trend for multiple piercings and body chains and jewelry, notes blogger Beth Jones. Also on the radar, she says is statement jewelry like large-scale animal pieces, mixed metal styles, and puffy, chubby hearts.
Silver, Color, Pearls
Silver is on the verge of a reemergence, reports the panel of bloggers. With the current high cost of gold, the mixing of metals is trending, and the desire is growing for something new after a few years of chunky gold. Bunger notes that the Ania Haie silver line, retailing from $40 to $140, was on fire at the JCK show, filling a niche at retail for quality silver design for a younger audience.
Silver set with pearls continues to deliver great style at affordable prices, says Kathy Grenier, vice president of business development, Imperial Pearl, Providence, Rhode Island. “Silver is a place for us to play.” Like the brand’s latest collection of black Tahitian pearls set in black rhodium with white topaz. The designs are more chain centric and a bit bolder and gender neutral.
Grenier also shares that top quality Japanese Akoya (lab-certified Hanadama) pearl jewelry set in 14K gold remains a high performer. At JCK retailers were also interested in Chinese freshwater pearl jewelry in geometric designs, link styles like the paperclip, and organic, freeform designs. She cites pearl rings with small diamond accents in demand, and pearls combined with gems like tanzanite and morganite and colorful epoxy resins desired.
Fran Pennella, public relations for Mastoloni says the New York pearl house, is tapping into the charm trend in its latest Fascino and Marina collections. Showstoppers she cites like Chinese freshwater pearl bracelets with diamond and yellow gold star and crown charms; pearl pendants set with diamond heart and sunburst charm accents; and undersea motifs like crabs, shells and starfish.
“Pearls continue to capture a variety of consumers, with something for everyone,” Pennella says. “Every day, approachable pearl jewelry is what’s in.” Echoes Grenier: “Modern, fresh designs with a bit of sparkle and the focus on the pearl.”
In our quest to get happy post pandemic, color stones continue to capture our attention, with show buzz about sapphire, turquoise and opal gems, as well as colorful enamels, resin and ceramic.
New Plumb Club member and leading diamantaire and siteholder, Asian Star, had great success bringing the Amaira by Farah Khan Atelier line of colorful Italian ceramic and 18K-gold jewelry to the U.S. market. “This is our first Plumb Club, and the response has been tremendous,” says Stuart Marcus, vice president of sales and merchandising for the company in Chicago.
Bunger also spies neon color enamel in hot pink and lime green in jewelry everywhere and expects this trend to last through 2023. Other manufacturers like Imperial are playing with pearls and vibrant blue epoxy resin.
Moreover, lab-grown diamonds continue to capture more market share. Tom Pautz, Quality Gold’s director of sales for lab-grown stones, expects the category to capture 30% to 35% of the diamond market in the next five years. He cites lab-grown diamond stud and hoop earrings, line bracelets and necklaces as fast turning products, but engagement rings remain the strongest category.
Men’s jewelry, too, presents enormous opportunities. Quality Gold believes in the category enough to add to its prestigious brands IBGoodman, a founding Plumb Club member company and the country’s premier men’s jewelry line.
While Quality Gold does not plan to make many changes, it’s eager to dive into the brand’s design archives to bring back some of its most popular styles. For IBGoodman, its bestselling category is men’s rings, and now being a part of Quality Gold, will soon include in the mix lab-grown diamonds for men.
The men’s jewelry sector is valued at $6.5 billion in 2021, up 17% compared to 2020 and nearly 4% versus 2019, according to the market research firm Euromonitor International. The sector has been growing steadily over the 2015-to-2021 period (save for the pandemic fallout) at a compound annual growth rate of over 3%. As men buy more jewelry, it will have a strong impact on the overall fine jewelry industry, which has primarily focused on women. The more unisex and men’s fine jewelry being created and offered, the more men will be wearing fine jewels in daily life and for special occasions.