What are the most important jewel trends of 2013?
The jewellery lexicon gained a new turn of phrase last year, and if you’re a lover of baubles you surely heard it: arm party. Referring to the vogue for wearing stacks of cuffs, bangles and colourful friendship bracelets up and down the arms, the term is – pardon the pun – a handy way of summing up the exuberant attitude towards jewellery that defines the current moment in fashion.
From the media blitz surrounding Pantone’s 2013 colour of the year (emerald) to the hotly anticipated release of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great
Gatsby (and its dripping-in-diamonds art deco styling), the attention being heaped on jewellery of late is undeniable.
Take the knuckle- and double-finger rings that started to appear in droves in 2012. Designed for women unafraid to make a statement, the rings elevated the look of heavy metal hardware – on your fingers, yes, but also around your neck in dramatic collar- or bibstyle necklaces, and of course in fierce stacks of bangles covering nearly every bit of your forearms – to most coveted status.
Bejewelled armour, however, isn’t the only thing trending in the jewellery universe. We’ve identified 10 trends that will guide the conversation in the year to come:
TREND 1 The Colour: Green
Pantone, the famed colour authority, began to anoint a Colour of the Year in 2001, but the 2013 selection, emerald, has touched off a frenzy of media coverage that’s made past colours seem pale in comparison. Conspiracy theorists might attribute the unbeatable PR to some shady manoeuvring on the part of Gemfields, the London-based mining company that’s making a name for its Zambian emeralds with a new advertising campaign starring actress Mila Kunis, but the truth is that a rich shade of green perfectly embodies the zeitgeist. “Lively. Radiant. Lush… A colour of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony,” according to Pantone. For jewellers – including Bulgari, Chopard, and Cartier, all of whom are besotted with emerald – May’s birthstone makes another compelling statement: cha-ching.
TREND 2 The Gemstone: Boulder Opal
Irene Neuwirth, a Southern California-based designer known for her carefree, beach-babe style, was among the first designers to bring boulder opal to the attention of discerning luxury consumers, and now the material is popping up everywhere. Boulder opal boasts opal’s signature play of colour, in addition to an aesthetic all its own: an ironstone matrix that can look like a rich brown slab of mahogany wood inlaid with opalescent pebbles. The ubiquity of the gem – check out Houston-based Emily Armenta’s chic boulder opal bangles – in no way suggests that designs that incorporate it look alike. On the contrary, one-of-a-kind colour combinations are boulder opal’s most fetching characteristic.
TREND 3 The Cut: Cabochon
For a few years, sliced gemstones (diamonds, rubies and sapphires, in particular) ruled the jewellery scene. This year, however, slices have been supplanted by the cabochon, the term for gems that have been cut and polished but not faceted. Whereas the cabochon’s smooth round shape (the word is derived from the Middle French caboche, which means head) was traditionally reserved for stones with inclusions that made them unsuitable for faceting, the style has popped up in high-end collections in recent months, suggesting that the once lowly look is seizing its moment in the sun.
TREND 4 The Period: Art Deco
Originally slated to open last Christmas, The Great Gatsby, a film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic novel of 1920s decadence, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, is due to bow this summer. Expect the art deco mania accompanying its release to hit a crescendo in the months to come – “and not just in jewellery,” says Jennie Ma, the fashion and beauty editor for the bridal website TheKnot. com. “Plates, settings, wedding style. We think Art deco is going to be everywhere.” The straight lines and white sheen of Jacob & Co.’s amethyst and palladium double-strand necklace demonstrate how designers are putting a mode rn and classy spin on jewellery’s hands-down favourite era.
TREND 5 The Fashion: Mod
Every season has its muse. Some years, fashion takes its collective cues from the bohemian free spirit epitomized by Talitha Getty, circa 1969 in Marrakech. Other years, Brigitte Bardot’s va-va-voom curves, or Audrey Hepburn’s modern femininity inspire the season’s most ardent homages. This year, the apparel industry’s obsession with black and white combinations recalls the mod aesthetic associated with 1960s It Girl Twiggy. Jewellery in bold gold or clear retro styles – the latter incorporating rock crystal or Lucite – is the perfect foil. Just look to David Yurman’s signature cable bracelets as an example of how to contrast black-and-white clothing with luscious pops of yellow gold – or study Vhernier’s beguiling mismatched black and white diamond earrings for a tutorial on how to upstage clothing altogether.
TREND 6 The Style: Layering
The price of gold went up and up – and though it’s slipped from the heights it reached in 2012, designers are still gun-shy about incorporating the metal into heavy (read: costly) solid-gold pieces. That explains the explosion of delicate, sweet karat-gold styles being positioned as ideal layering pieces. Be they dainty pendants, wispy-thin bangles, or narrow stacking rings that can be purchased one at a time, jewels are practically begging to be piled on. Consider it a handy way of stocking up for the (inevitable) next gold rush.
TREND 7 The Point: Statements
This season, take a page from Lady Gaga. Sidelined by a hip injury, Mother Monster has landed in a wheelchair, albeit one that’s been plated with 24-karat gold and kitted out with tufted black leather seats and a removable canopy. Designed by jeweller Ken Borochov, the chair obeys the overriding rule among jewellery aficionados this year: Do not go quietly. Rather, make a clamorous entrance or exit. The easiest way to do so is with a statement piece—like Chopard’s red carpet-ready chandelier earrings or eccentric, gem-laden daisy-chain of a necklace. In fact, the Swiss jeweller made its best statement yet at the Oscars when it outfitted best actress winner Jennifer Lawrence with a diamond beaded necklace worn backwards, and subsequently dubbed the “backlace.” And here’s what the statement said: If you wish to be considered fashionable, you’re well advised to start speaking the new jewellery language.
TREND 9 The Modern Bride: Unconventional
Couples are still sealing their engagements with rings, but bear in mind that among fashion-forward brides there runs a thick streak of nonconformity that reflects the impact of cutting-edge designers, who’ve flocked to the category in search of a recession-proof niche. Besides, today’s growing preference for unconventional engagement rings, from black diamond solitaires (à la the 5-carat stunner in Sex and
the City 2) to stacks of paper-thin bands bearing a mere dusting of stones, seems a natural progression for a tradition that began with Archduke Maximilian of Austria’s 1477 proposal to Mary of Burgundy. His choice of betrothal symbol is routinely described as the world’s first diamond engagement ring. More than 500 years later, brides are finally ready to switch things up.
TREND 8 The Metal: Rose Gold
Alloyed with varying amounts of copper – the more there is, the rosier the final product – pink gold began winning over the watch industry a few years ago, when a few nostalgic makers were reminded of its prevalence in 1950s timepieces. Jewellers have been slower to jump aboard the bandwagon, but thanks to a fashionable flock of designers who’ve paired rose gold with black or brown diamonds, or blackened silver, to great effect, the metal has gained currency. Now that brides, once famously committed to the simplicity of a diamond set in white gold or platinum, are embracing the pale blush of rose gold in their wedding rings, expect to see the metal in ever more fashionable collections.
TREND 10 The Motif: Snakes
Don’t be startled by the legions of snakes slithering through jewellery showcases this season. With 2013 billed as the Year of the Snake on the Chinese calendar, the slinky reptile is bolstering a big fashion burden. Bedecked with diamonds or sleekly fashioned from pure gold, the popular motif is at once ancient and contemporary, owing to the snake’s transformative symbolism. For their part, designers have interpreted the coiled reptile in myriad ways. Subtlety underscores the new Serpent Bohème collection of links from Boucheron, which feature teardrop-shaped settings ringed with gold beads, suggestive of snakeheads, while most renderings rely on a faithful representation of the serpent’s familiar, and seductive, curves.
Ch o pa rd e a rri n gs
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A r m e n t a b o u l d e r o p al b a n g les
A le x a n d r a Mo r e eme r al d r i n g f ea Gem f i el d s Z am b i a n eme r al d s turing
Mimi So rose gold pendant