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Gems are always in fashion, but each season the runways see a new take on the glimmering accessories and set the tone for the rest of us. Even if you can’t make it to a fashion week in New York or Milan, as a designer, you need to know what customers are excited about after the world’s biggest designers have spoken.
Designers know and work toward what we’ve all accepted as a universal truth—great jewelry is needed to bring an outfit to a new level. No look seems truly complete with a lack of accessories. It seems amateur and unfinished, meaning any dress or blouse that walks the runway needs a ring or a pair of earrings, and those pieces need to be as original as the clothing. If you want to enter the world of design or hold the place you’ve created for yourself, it’s important you respect the intricacies of design and be aware of what’s trending and why.
As you add to your own collection of gemstones, you want a broad range of colors and shapes to work with so you can respond to all the different shifts and trends in gems and jewelry. However, this year, you can play big and bold just like the top designers who sent wild looks down the runway this year.
Chunky and funky were the theme of this last round of collections, specifically when it came to the jewelry. Some designers sent out pieces that defied definition or appeared as a hybrid of several pieces all at once. No neck, wrist, or earlobe was spared, as model after model made audiences gasp with their new twists on accessories.
Pearls. Pearls were a hit for a lot of designers, and many used them to help make their pieces look more expensive. Look for pearls in unique colors such as berry baroque or lemongrass to bring your own pieces into the now. Then incorporate them into heavy, complex pieces. Let them tangle and knot, as needed, to make them more modern and fun to wear for all your customers.
This year, pearls are hanging in multi-strand necklaces that vary from the choker to pieces that go as low as the waist. The Chanel line had a particularly fun look that combined pearls with street wear in a way that almost made them look tough. The overall effect is one that feels very easy to do and fun to wear as well. Don’t let your customers settle for a t-shirt and baggy pants; add some great pearls to give them attitude and a little rhythm.
On top of big, beautiful pearls, other designers reached for faux jewelry as a means of dressing up their evening wear without making it exclusive to the extremely wealthy. Faux fine pearls and diamonds walked the runway in collections by Moschino and Gucci to show audiences the fake stuff does all the work of the real gems without taking anything away from the look. A flat edge on both helps them lie flat, giving the faux stones a completely new look that brings them into the outfit in a new way.
Onyx. Both went big with their designs, making sure to truly celebrate the false gems in a way that makes them look precious. Rock and roll designer Alexander McQueen made sure to get in on this idea and made some truly beautiful chokers and earrings without any precious stones or metals—just everyday pewter and a little black onyx to make it gorgeous.
Geode. Statement necklaces were everywhere at Fashion Week, and Givenchy’s runway was no exception. The always bold designer took a slice of a geode—a rock that has colorful crystals inside it thanks to a naturally occurring air pocket—and hung it around a model’s neck on an oversized chain as a finish to a smart black suit. The result was beyond stunning, as a suit became more chic, feminine, and fashion-forward than ever before.
Several of his outfits paid homage to the mysterious beauty of the geode. They flattered geometric prints, as well as long, swinging coats, bringing a great touch of color to everything in the collection, and made us all remember how fascinating a stone can be.
Raw stones. Overall, the message jewelry makers need to take away from their counterparts in the fashion world is that now is the time to be big, edgy, and raw. McQueen loves to work with raw stones and little skulls and to even incorporate leather into his looks, and he isn’t afraid to add a touch of masculinity to his jewelry. Designers everywhere can take a note from the big, heavy jewelry of the runway—this is yo0ur year to make those looks you’ve been shying away from and to really have fun.
Beyond the runway, some exciting things are happening in jewelry design. Right now, the color on everyone’s mind is green. Green is resonating with a lot of designers and customers and, luckily for all of us, diverse shades of green can be found in many different stones, from turquoise to green onyx, to classic emeralds.
Green stones. A huge variety of designers love to work with green stones, as the green represents a lot of different things—youth, energy, and vitality are all embodied in a green stone, making them particularly inspiring. Green is also a direct reflection of the world around us. Green comes with names such as moss, sea, jungle, and lime—all in the natural world around us—and can help us feel more connected to nature.
Perhaps we respond to green the way we do because we are hyper-aware of the earth. It’s the subject of great debate and a lot of emotion. All our love, doubts, and fears of the world around us can be encapsulated of the color green.
Turquoise. One designer, Christina Debs, loves to work with greens and has some great pieces that feature the color and show off its natural fabulousness. Green has made its way to the customer, appearing in statement pieces like this dragonfly arm cuff that embodies the magic of the color.
Turquoise bracelets with more natural raw-cut stones also take on the glamour of green in a very different way that still celebrates the tone. These stones are representatives of different hues on the green spectrum and, as a designer, you can pick and choose what shade or cut speaks to you to show your point of view.
Tourmaline. Beyond color, the cuts of gems and how they are being used are also worth considering in your next round of designs. Big, loud rings are also popping up on and off the runway in ways that show off the gorgeousness of different stones like emerald and pink tourmaline.
Colored diamonds. Many designers sent their models down the runway with several rings on one hand, (or rings that encompassed more than one finger), to continue the trend of cool, chunky pieces that take a major departure from soft, feminine pieces. Colored diamonds in large cuts are also here for you as you take on new and exciting looks. Whenever you work with rings, try for some celebrations of big stones and large, fun designs to adorn your customers’ fingers.
Earrings are also growing in size as well as importance. Bigger, heavier pieces are worth exploring, and you can put large, dangling stones on your next round of earrings that go as low as the shoulder.
Again, colorfulness and boldness are the looks of the day. Go for large links of gold or heavy silver hoops, tassels, or dripping gems that celebrate the accessory for what it is—a great piece to wear on your ears. Make sure they hang low and compete with long hair or shine beneath an updo to be truly on trend and celebrate the joy of jewelry.
Even if you don’t follow trends as a jewelry maker, you will start to notice some unique looks this year from your fellow jewelers and your repeat customers. Gems are really having a moment, so get ready to go big.
Another great trend that you can take on in your own shop is the ear cuff. A small step away from the earring, the cuff goes around the edge of the ear or sits on top of it in a way that’s very flattering and inventive. They follow the curves of the ear and take advantage of the space between the top of the ear and the skull to add a touch of elegance, and you should definitely have some in your shop.
This first ear cuff is a great design that puts diamonds on top of finely worked gold. This isn’t a project for beginners, so, if you haven’t formed a lot of complicated pieces, this will take some practice. If you’re feeling ready, have at it, and then be sure to wear it so your customers can see how great it looks once it’s on.
Many ear cuffs have a fun, playful detail on them, such as these, which add a little wing to the top of the ear and then send shiny strands cascading behind the ear and down the neck. The look is very on trend and a lot of fun. Your regulars will love it.