Top Ten Tips: Color, Customize and Cut

Imagine you could know exactly what styles, shapes, stones and settings will convert a browser to a buyer – a maybe to a definitely – and ‘I’ll be back’ to ‘I’ll take the set’. Read on and imagine no longer. This month’s Top Ten Tips takes a look at the colors, settings, gems and trends that are defining 2012’s jewelry super-sellers.

Minimalist style is a trend that returns again and again in revamped versions. In 2012, pristine white reigns supreme. Serene and elegant, its neat simplicity can work well in a host of settings and designs. From icy diamonds set in platinum to milky opal in silver, white is set to brighten up stores and sales throughout 2012.

Set It In White
From gemstones to diamonds, white is still the metal color of choice. Platinum and white gold remain chart-toppers, but their decade long price climb has resulted in silver being more and more accepted as a setting for fine jewelry. What is often contentiously referred to as an ‘alternative metal’, the shimmering white hue of palladium has also become an accepted option. It’s also worth remembering that palladium is in fact a ‘precious metal’. Perhaps the time is long overdue that the industry stops considering it as an ‘indie sibling’ and acknowledges its rightful place in the setting hierarchy. If haute couture designers are featuring titanium, tungsten, white enamel, and even stainless steel in six figure pieces, then it’s really no longer a case of ‘acceptance’ – it’s a case of not missing the train. After all, necessity is the mother of reinvention.

The Setting Style
If pave is prince, then the pave halo setting is definitely king. While the classic solitaire, three-prong and pavé settings remain crowd-pleasers, this year there’s no doubt that when it comes to diamond settings, the ‘headline’ act is the halo setting. This setting elevates the diamond above a “halo” ring of diamonds that sits atop the metal band. Some halo settings have taken a step into trend-forward sensibilities, with the diamond halo not completely surrounding the center stone, providing negative space that attempts to further enhance the center stone’s sparkle.

Gems Supreme
White topaz, drusy quartz, rock crystal, and milky opals are just some of the gems that are making sure that white rocks the runways and the fashion pages. The mixture of white gems and diamond accents are another style super-seller – but if we’re laying bets on what will be the mega-hit of the year, then all bets are on pearls, notably pearls with diamond features and other gemstone accents.

Affordable Color
As the prices of many traditional color gems continues to rise, lower-priced alternates with a strong market supply are gaining more traction and consumer acceptance. For example, price-conscious consumers prefer a larger garnet or spinel over a much, much smaller and more expensive ruby.

The Shape Of Things To Come
Gemstones are crying out this year to be cut as a ‘cab’. Technically, cabochons (cab) are not really “cut,” rather they are shaped and then polished. It is thus a much simpler task to produce a cabochon than it is to cut a faceted gem with many faces.

Back To The Future
Memories may be lighting the corners of consumers’ minds. Misty water color memories of the way things were. But memories are also influencing the shapes, styles and cuts of clothes, décor, jewels and more throughout 2012 and into 2013. For gems and diamonds, one major retro influence is that of the re-emergence of the cushion-cut (with an updated twist). Look for the modern cushion-cut (a square cut with rounded corners and large facets) featuring 64 facets.

Make It Unlike Any Other
If there’s one trend that’s defining this era – it’s that of ‘differentiation’. With sites such as Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest providing platforms for millions of consumers to express their ideas, dreams, desires and ‘dislikes’ – self-expression is entering its belle époque. Jewelry-wise – that means every store should be offering consumers the same – a way to create and self-express through customized jewelry. From design your own, to charms, initials and engraving, make sure your consumers can truly express yourself.

Birthstone Families
Another trend that’s turned the corner from old-fashioned to en-vogue is that of spellingout a name or expression through gemstone initials. She’s his DEAR (Diamond, Emerald, Amethyst and Ruby pendant/necklace). She loves TED (Tourmapne, Emerald, Diamond).

Gemstone Pendant Necklaces
Pendant necklaces featuring neutral or opaque gems such as champagne quartz, pink morganite, green quartz, pearls or opals are slated to be promoted to the upper management of 2012’s jewelry super-sellers.

Bang For The Buck
We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again, and most likely, we’ll say it a few times more this year. The one over-riding trend in all jewelry categories is ‘bang for the buck’. A big look at a pttle price. Large gemstones (albeit lower-priced gems) – large ornate settings (in cost-conscious metals) – splashy color combinations with negative spacing. Make the ‘wow’ with the style – not the price.

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