A panel of social media jewelry savants — and one INDESI GN editor — parse the latest in jewelry trends
BY BETH BERNSTEIN
Published in the July/August 2013 issue
Take five jewelry bloggers who are passionate about their subject matter— add one editor/ blogger who has also been dubbed a “jewel-a-holic” (that would be me) — and you wind up with six women who can’t stop chatting about trends, items, motifs, shapes and gems seen at the recent Couture and JCK shows in Las Vegas. The conversation between Monica Stephenson (idazzle.com), Danielle Miele (gemgossip.com), Robyn Hawk (thedailyjewel.blogspot. com) Natalie Bos (jewelsdujour.com) and Jean Z. Poh (delivermediamonds.com) and yours truly (instoremag.com and bjeweled.wordpress.com began in a press room at The Couture Show, then, a few days later, continued on a six-way Skype chat.
When we met during the shows, we started off in agreement about what the big stories in jewelry trends included:
BODY JEWELRY: Jewelry for the hands, single rings that decorated multiple fingers and chains that wrapped around the body.
OPAL-ESSENCE: Opals of many variations made an appearance. Some shapes were cut to fit the wing of a butterfly or petal of a flower, while others were rough-hewn and free-form.
TECHNICOLOR: Many designs included a vibrant palette in inverted-set gems and a mix of cuts, all in one piece.
GEOMETRY RULES: The return to the art deco trend in the more fluid “Gatsby”-inspired pieces evolved into looks that were architectural, streamlined and geometrical.
PURE FANTASY: Fanciful flora and fauna and ornate pieces that have a fairy-tale presence and a larger-thanlife scale.
ONLY ONE FOR ME: One-of-a-kind pieces have grown in popularity and were a big draw at the shows.
MONICA: So this is just a chat, not a video call? Darn I got all dressed up.
BETH: Monica, you can send us a photo.
ROBYN: Ha! I just ran and brushed my hair.
BETH: Let’s take one trend at a time. I want to start with what we are calling “Body Jewelry.” Do you think it will sell in fine and which designers and categories?
JEAN: Mid-knuckle rings are coming on strong.
ROBYN: Two-finger rings as well as full-finger rings that bend with the knuckles.
NATALIE: Ear cuffs. Wendy Yue had a really cool bird motif.
MONICA: Jacquie Aiche body chains.
DANIELLE: Yes, her chains were drapey and lovely.
ROBYN HAWK: Danielle, you are too young, but those chains were huge when I was a teen! Belly chains and anklets in the summer.
MONICA: We need more body chains! Why did they go out of style?
BETH: I wore them once back in the ’90s. Mine were very simple and never came off. Women “of a certain age” once draped them around our waists and now wear them as long chains around our necks. But maybe that is the idea: To sell as interchangeable pieces. A diamonds-by-the-yard chain for the waist that also doubles as an elongated necklace? But let’s talk a little more about rings. Colette had full-finger rings like those that Robyn is talking about as well as climb-up-the-ear earrings. Will this trend translate into sales in the fine market?
NATALIE: Women are looking for unconventional ways to wear jewelry, so I definitely think the body jewelry will sell.
MONICA: Wendy Yue’s and Colette’s designs are pretty major — and really high priced, but the smaller versions will sell well.
ROBYN: It will sell if more designers continue to do it and it is publicized enough. But, of course, with body jewelry you have more metal and therefore the price-point issue.
JEAN: I think body jewelry will have limited success in the fine jewelry market, but once it trickles down into the mainstream costume jewelry market, it will sell well.
NATALIE: I agree with Jean’s point. I’ve already seen some of the ear-cuff-type pieces at lower price points featured in fashion magazines and online.
BETH: Yes, that is why I think the simpler, the better to start with. Show the high-end trend (as in Wendy Yue and Colette) and then how it translates into more wearable versions like Zoe Chicco and Jacquie Aiche and others who have both been selling these designs at more self-purchase price points.
MONICA: People are looking for unique ways to express/adorn themselves. Body jewelry is less permanent than tattoos!
ROBYN: Good point, Monica!
BETH: I think the rings are great because if you don’t want to invest in a lot of stacking rings, you want a cool look to save time and you can have it done for you, it’s a great purchase.
MONICA: For body jewelry, my trend prediction is that the Zoe Chicco, Jemma Wynne and slightly less dramatic multi-finger rings will make their way into some fashion-forward wardrobes.
NATALIE: I agree that the rings will be the best-sellers in the body jewelry category. They’re the easiest to wear.
JEAN: They are more versatile and women are already comfortable experimenting and pushing the limits as far as rings are concerned.
ROBYN: I think we are in agreement that rings are definitely the most saleable.
"For body jewelry, my trend prediction is that the Zoe Chicco, Jemma Wynne and slightly less dramatic multi-finger rings will make their way into some fashion-forward wardrobes." MONICA STEPHENSON
BETH: Moving on to our next trend: Opals. Everywhere and every type!
NATALIE: Yes, big bold opals in unusual designs.
DANIELLE: I’m seeing them everywhere — fire opal, boulder opal, black opal ....
ROBYN: Seeing many free-form. Very few calibrated sized and shapes.
JEAN: Wendy Yue for opals, definitely!
BETH: And Katey Brunini. And, I also loved Katherine Jetter’s rings.
MONICA: I saw tons of opals last year, but they are having another moment. Boulder and fire opal, mostly. I saw them at almost every designer’s booth I stopped by.
ROBYN: Erica Courtney had stunning boulder opal pieces.
DANIELLE: We are seeing a lot of opals in antique jewelry as well.
NATALIE: Goshwara also had some fabulous white opal rings.
BETH: They are also being cut to form the petals of a flower or more free-form and organic shapes such as those in Jamie Joseph’s line.
JEAN: Yes, in terms of trends, free form, lots of asymmetry.
BETH: I also loved the opal designs when mixed with moonstones — it’s very magical how the rainbow moonstone and the opals shift in color. Like those at Lauren Harper.
DANIELLE: I just think designers and retailers sometimes forget to stress the limited durability of opals and how they shouldn’t be worn every day.
MONICA: Yes Danielle, those very large, slab-style stones don’t seem totally safe to me.
BETH: Interesting that opal and emerald (the Pantone color of the year) were everywhere, yet are the two gemstones that are the least durable and also two of the hardest to set.
NATALIE: Good point, Beth.
MONICA: I thought that large, free-form, one-of-a-kind gemstones in general were everywhere, not just opals. I saw stones that defied description and definition. Very unusual specimens, but used in fantastic finished jewelry — not just for rock hounds.
I saw tons of opals last year, but they are having another moment. Boulder and fire opal, mostly. I saw them at almost every designer’s booth I stopped by.” MONICA STEPHENSON
BETH: I think we are moving on to our next trend: Color! I think there is a “happier” palette this year. And there is every type of cut imaginable. I love when they are all mixed together.
JEAN: I saw a lot of kunzite. Paraiba tourmaline and emeralds are still quite popular, but most designers at Couture were using slices.
MONICA: I’m sliced out.
BETH: I am totally sliced out too! I will never be rosed out ....
JEAN: I adore rose-cut diamonds!
DANIELLE: Lots of opaque or semi-translucent stones.
BETH: Cabochons mixed with faceted mixed with rose cuts. Combining cuts and shapes is definitely where the action is in gemstones.
JEAN: Sylvie Corbelin mixed rough and cut stones, diamonds and colored, all colliding into a stunning effect.
MONICA: Lauren Harper and Pamela Huizenga used mixes of cabs and rose cuts.
DANIELLE: Round full-cuts, set upside down! And, spiky!
NATALIE: The spiky trend is going around.
BETH: Also the inverted set gems.
MONICA: I’m a big fan of spikes, even in stone culets.
ROBYN: I believe that those “upside down” gems are actually a specific cut where the cutter is just faceting from the girdle down with a flat bottom.
BETH: What about geometric shapes that are actually art deco inspired, just not in the same way “Gatsby” jewelry has been done?
DANIELLE: Octium! They use octagons in their designs, which look incredible
MONICA: Lots of negative space with this trend — very open, which I am really hearing about now.
JEAN: Which is a savvy way of also keeping cost of materials down.
BETH: Yes, I do like the use of negative space. Anyone see Ileana Makri’s new geometry line? Fantastic!
ROBYN: Not necessarily geometric, but several pieces that were assembled with repetitive shapes also worked!
BETH: Nam Cho’s earrings that were all baguette cuts worked great with this trend. Also in gems, the streamlined, linear movement in emerald, baguette and Asscher-cut stones looked great, particularly when all these types are mixed together.
BETH: Let’s segue into the world of fantasy motifs. Many were made from incredible gemstones, taking the shape of everything from flowers to butterflies to snakes and even monkeys.
NATALIE: Loved the work by Paula Crevoshay — I’m a sucker for orchids, and her jeweled ones were breathtaking.
BETH: I am also an orchid person and every single version she showed me seemed to be more dreamy than the last.
ROBYN: This is my favorite trend: Nature, from organic to grotesque. Love the bugs, snakes, flora and fauna. All huge.
JEAN: Dragons too!
DANIELLE: Great mini snake rings at Ileana Makri.
NATALIE: I love her snake rings; they make serpent motifs look super cute.
DANIELLE: I know! I hate snakes but love snake jewelry.
MONICA: I’m an equal opportunity animal jewelry lover.
BETH: I hate spiders, bugs and snakes in real life, but I let them crawl all over me in jewels and gold anytime! I actually collect antique snake motifs, in rings mostly.
MONICA: Wendy Yue’s monkeys — their expressions were all completely unique.
NATALIE:I love Yue’s monkey ring with the opal belly.
This is my favorite trend: Nature, from organic to grotesque. Love the bugs, snakes, flora and fauna. All huge.” ROBYN HAWK
ONLY ONE FOR ME
BETH: We haven’t talked about one-of-a-kind yet.
DANIELLE: Women are loving exclusivity!
MONICA: Yes, this is a time of total self-expression.
JEAN: Being that my business is bespoke jewelry, I think one-of-a-kind is what consumers are craving after too many mass-produced pieces in the market.
DANIELLE: Once all women had to have a Cartier Love bangle to be in with their friends and to show their status. We’ve changed to desire something no one we know owns or wears.
JEAN: Clients want less commercial; they want personalization, something that reflects their own aesthetic. High-net-worth individuals don’t just want exclusivity, they want the one and only!
BETH: Personalization, exclusivity, self-expression, anything that allows you to be who you are — not who your friends and peers are — or aspire to be. I am all for having my own style, although I wouldn’t mind mixing in a Cartier Love bracelet.
DANIELLE: Well said. Same for me.
NATALIE: I think this is partly why opals may be so popular among jewelers at the moment. No two opals are exactly alike and they can more easily create one-of-a-kind pieces with them.
MONICA: Yes! Personally, I love what Monique Pean is doing with mammoth ivory and dinosaur bone as well as other fossilized materials. One-of-a-kind and super cool.
BETH: Did anyone see Bibi van der Velden in JCK’s Rising Stars? She had some incredible mammoth ivory as well as really beautiful fantasy garden motifs.
Clients want less commercial; they want personalization, something that reflects their own aesthetic. High-net-worth individuals don’t just want exclusivity, they want the one and only!” JEAN Z. POH
Natalie Bos’ journey into fine jewelry is a colorful story. Originally from Florida, she studied economics at the University of Pennsylvania and trained as a professional figure skater for Ukraine. A social media enthusiast, Natalie took on a few consultant positions to help jewelers promote their brands online. This early working experience ignited her passion for all things jewelry and inspired her to build jewelsdujour.com, a website devoted to sharing her passion and helping her audience discover important historical and contemporary jewelry.
Robyn Hawk (a.k.a. @AFly- OnTheWall on Twitter) is a 20-plus-year veteran of the jewelry and gem industries. An early adopter of social media, she has consulted in the field for the last seven years and is employed by several companies as social content curator. She writes eight blogs on topics from the Tucson Gem Show and celebrity jewelry to educating her readers on historic gems and jewelry. (Daily - dailyjewel.blogspot.com; Historic gems - historicgems.tumblr.com; Celebrity jewels - celebrityjewel.tumblr.com; Gem shows - tucsongemshow.blogspot.com; Reviews - flyviewsandreviews.blogspot.com)
Danielle Miele launched her career in the jewelry business in 2008 when she began her successful blog, gemgossip. com. A self-proclaimed “collector since she was 4,” Danielle’s blog focuses on jewelry trends, antique and period jewelry, celebrity jewelry, and exclusive designer interviews. It is also a hub for gemstone and jewelry education. Danielle’s full-time job consists of appraising jewelry for Walton’s Antique Jewelry (Franklin, TN), where she has been under the apprenticeship of Michael Walton for three years.
JEAN Z. POH
Jean Z. Poh is director of strategy and design for Jean & Alex (jeanandalex.com), a fine jewelry atelier that specializes in bespoke jewelry. Each one-of-a-kind piece is designed specifically for the client and is handmade in the company’s studio in Manhattan. Jean also writes a jewelry blog called Deliver Me Diamonds (delivermediamonds. com) that covers topics relating to costume and fine jewelry, styling tips, trends and collecting.
Since 2008, Monica has been writing about jewelry from an insider’s perspective on her blog idazzle.com. She began in the industry working for guild-level independent jewelers buying, selling and appraising precious jewelry. She was a key member of the leadership team that launched the Amazon. com jewelry store. She is passionate about telling the stories of fine jewelry designers, illustrating trends in the market, and emphasizing the significance of adornment to readers. Monica is also the editor of the Contemporary Jewelry Design Group’s website, www.cjdgjewelers.org.