Victoria Gomelsky, editor-in-chief of JCK Magazine, shared the buzz on the show floor at JCK Las Vegas in June, highlighting jewelry trends that champion individuality. In a JCK Talks presentation, Gomelsky describes accessorizing to be more about personal expression than following style rules. She says women today mix and match, fine and costume jewelry, with reckless abandonment. Here are Gomelsky’s top callouts for 2018:
Modern Pearls, aka not your grandma’s strand, have become fashion favorites. Gomelsky cited baroque/organic shaped, larger, edgy pearls popular. She also mentioned styles in ombre color ranges, mixed with gemstones, long necklaces and bold earrings. Pearls are adored for their adaptability, not only with clever links, clasps, and enhancers that can transform a look, but also in their ability to layer with other pieces, chain to leather.
Dana Cali, marketing and communications for Mastoloni Pearls, New York, says baroque pearls are striking a cord with people for organic shapes and large sizes that create unique statement pieces for attractive prices, “No two pearls are alike. They provide one-of-a-kind looks, even for production lines. We can’t keep them in stock!”
Pearl brands like Honora and Imperial cite the popularity of pearls in sterling silver designs, often mixed with different gemstones, but report growing demand for karat gold styles, and with diamond accents. Kathleen Ross, Creative Director for Honora, a Richline company, advocates pearls empower every woman to come out of her shell and discover her own unique way to glow, a hot ticket item for self-purchasing women.
Classic colors used in not so classic designs are popular, particularly emerald slices and cabochons, as well as gems with cool inclusions and color patterns. Gomelsky especially likes rainbow styles, and said the use of color stones is becoming a staple in engagement rings and stackable bands—not only set with sapphire, ruby and emerald, but also other gems like morganite.
Corinna Bhasin, general manager, F.D. Worldwide Merchandise Group, New York, reports color extremely popular for bridal, particularly morganite for engagement rings and set in rose gold, a trend with staying power. Neil Shah of Shah Luxury, New York, notes that color is trending in custom design work, particularly sapphires and color diamonds as center and accent stones.
Luxe for Less
Gomelsky cited a luxe-for-less trend that embraces several directions, including products using many smaller diamonds, diamond slices and raw diamonds; more negative space and lighter metals; more variety in color stones, especially semi-precious gems; and lab-grown diamonds, particularly in fashion jewelry.
In fact, Gomelsky said lab-grown diamonds are attracting a lot of attention this year, particularly when it comes to fashion jewelry. At JCK Las Vegas this year, the show had for the first time a pavilion dedicated to the category, with 13 companies exhibiting. Among them, Quality Gold promoted its True Origins lab grown diamond brand, which it showcased in the Plumb Club among its many product offerings.
Cora-Lee Colaizzi, director of marketing and senior merchandiser for the Fairfield, Ohio manufacturer said that not only were retailers curious and asking questions, many were signing on, too, for loose and jewelry. “We want our customers to love their choice, whether its mined diamonds or lab-grown. There is no right or wrong answer; it’s all about options.”
Colaizzi reports that younger consumers and millennials, raised on the advancements in technology and choices afforded by them, are approaching this jewelry category with an open mind and like having another choice, and also are drawn to the price points. In mined diamonds, she cites great demand for bridal priced under $3,000.
Because of the personal nature of jewelry styling today, it’s not surprising that jewelry with personal meaning rises to the top of the trends including cool signet rings and monograms, new takes on lockets, and celestial and spiritual motifs. Gomelsky described the trend for pieces that speak to you, as consumers continue to layer and stack in ways that tell their own unique stories.
In its latest “I am a Woman” campaign, Original Designs created diamond designs that empower women in their messaging that compares the qualities of a woman to that of a diamond—strong, unbreakable, unique, full of fire, multi-faceted, brilliant. Popular designs include diamond-shaped pieces to remind women that they have all of the qualities of a diamond; ladder pendants and rings, using baguettes as the rungs, symbolize upward motion and success; wheel-shaped designs signify forward motion; and stones set with the culet face up represent changing the power structure, describes Valerie Fletcher, vice president of design and product development for the NYC-based manufacturer.
Supporting greater demand for fine diamond jewelry, in gold and silver, Quality Gold released a new diamond book dedicated to fashion and core items that are resonating with self-purchase women. Colaizzi cites demand for baguettes, and also birthstone jewelry in different shapes including cabochon.
From alternative metals to platinum, there is more demand for men’s jewelry. Colaizzi cited more interest in diamonds, and an affinity among men for rose gold, with the wrist captivating attention and bracelets among the bestsellers in this category. She mentioned that the younger generation is more gender fluid, and there is growth for more unisex styles.
Bhasin cites the men’s category a growing market segment with lots of opportunity for retailers. In fact, diamonds are not only a girl’s best friend, but she says guys like them, too. To accommodate the trend, F.D. Worldwide is introducing more styles with diamond accents particularly in the bracelet category. She also sees a great affinity among men for rose gold.
Colaizzi notes that leather styles mixed with silver or stainless steel and gemstones like agate, lava, gray jasper and tiger’s eye are popular.