Opinion

12 Jewelry Trends for 2021: Jewelry to Buy, Sell, and Stock in the New Year

New York City. Dec. 31, 2020. Hello, jewelry friends! As we bid farewell to what has been a straight-up bizarre year, it’s also time to think ahead to what’s next. What jewelry trends will be bought and sold in 2021? What jewelry trends will shoppers want to see and wear and treasure? And will we ever see each other in person again or will Zoom have to suffice a while longer?

The answers stem from a combination of factors. Some jewelry trends are based on historical purchases—diamond studs are routinely a best-seller in the fourth quarter. Other trends are determined by the major fashion weeks for spring 2021, as silhouettes help guide style purchases (shift dresses and billowing silhouettes always need some necklaces for an anchor effect). Red carpet attire, too, has some influence in our jewelry buying decisions (though those hardly took place this year), as does Mother Nature’s everchanging bounty of gemstones, directional colors in couture (I’m talking about you, Pantone!), and whatever zeitgeist du jour—coronavirus!—is happening in the world. Then there’s the magic that happens when leading jewelry designers turn inspiration into finished works of art. For sure, all these factors matter in determining the contents of this list, which aims to be a mix of informed analysis, news events, and a touch of fortune telling based on my 24 years of jewelry industry journalism.

So, please read on—and plan on Zooming on, at least until the Covid-19 vaccine is more widely available. Once vaccinated, we can all see each other again. Perhaps in the second half of 2021? Stay tuned.

Zoom Jewelry

Yup, none of us are going anywhere anytime soon. No flights to Italy for VicenzaOro (not until March at least, the date for which the January edition has been rescheduled), no Tucson gem shows or Inhorgenta in Munich (it’s now in April, not February), and the rest of the spring fairs are iffy at best. This means remaining comfortable at home and wearing big collar necklaces and/or oversize earrings for your Zoom meetings. Hey, wearing jewelry at home is better than not wearing jewelry at all, so accessorize for your friends on screen.

Color

There was a point early in my career when I would have said, “Color as a trend? That’s dumb.” Well, I stand corrected. The exuberant color that jewelry provides, especially now, is making a big statement and not just in the form of gemstones. The ongoing enamel trend, colorized treatments on metals like gold and titanium, the continuing wave of rainbows in jewelry, and funky minerals like gold in quartz and moss agate and jasper are giving us a much-needed boost of joy that will continue next year.

Pearls

Still happening, gang. And, yes, I still work part time for the Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA), but no one can deny the staying power of the lustrous gem on runways and in jewelry. Designers continue to discover both traditional pearls like akoyas and uncommon ones like abalone for use in designs both subtle and over the top (the latter is always Melanie Georgacopoulos). Plus, South Sea pearls have an important sustainability angle—remember Pam Danziger’s “Why Pearls Are the Perfect Luxury Gem for Millennials?” And with the ongoing promotional activities I help to carry out at CPAA, I don’t think the pearl is going anywhere. (We just debuted a pearl magazine, too! #thisispearl!) It’s going to grow more important.

Personalized Jewelry

Just as clothing designers like Giambattista Valli are conveying a sense of intimacy and privacy in creations, so, too, are jewelry designers giving collectors that option through personalization. This can reference sweet moments in relationships or lighter takes on pastimes. Individualized pieces can mean custom jobs from scratch (Stephanie Gottlieb’s Goldie necklace in honor of her daughter is amazeballs) or repurposed antiques, such as Heavenly Vices’ vintage engraved coins. And since there’s travel money on the table this year (travel is historically a big competitor to jewelry), and a number of designers have been benefiting from that fact, I think the trend will continue.

Symbols

I’m talking protection (for obvious 2020 reasons), inspiration, and religion. Have you seen Colette’s religious jewels? Incredible. Ditto for Carla Amorim, the Brazilian jewelry designer who makes new spiritual jewels each year because of the large number of Christians in her home country. Retrouvai has loads of symbolic pieces, including Bravery lockets from her Alchemy collection, while Buddha Mama’s OTT gorgeous Hamsa charms are the stuff of dreams.

Traditional Pieces

This may seem a tad counterintuitive given how much demand there is for market newness, but given our scary and unprecedented year, people are looking for familiarity and tradition. For example, reports of live Christmas tree shortages were recent headline news, and think of how people buy more gold and Rolexes in down economies. Instinct says to turn to items of historic value in times of crisis. In jewelry, this means sentimental or familiar motifs (hearts aren’t going away and planets always sell) and classic styles. Heck, David Yurman even has a traditional emerald and diamond necklace on this Instagram feed now—that’s quite a departure from a feed typically overflowing with trendy charms.

Mindful Pieces & Charity-Related Sales

In this year of social and political unrest, many jewelry designers stepped up to do their part. It was wonderful. I’m talking about the $100,000-plus dollars raised by Harwell Godfrey for the NAACP, and the myriad designers who donated to No Kid Hungry earlier this year. So many artists and retailers literally dug into their pockets to give back and give forward as their positive response to negative actions. Expect this sort of charitable sales angle to continue, with a portion of sales for various pieces having philanthropic hooks.

Patterned Jewelry

Patterns in clothing are giving our work-from-home (WFH) selves a little joy, and that look has spilled over into jewelry. Think of Sorrelina’s masterfully made and literally executed gold and gemstone Tarot cards, Buddha Mama’s enamel bangles and charms peppered with symbols like a storyline in a rich tapestry, and Luisa Alexander’s easy-to-obsess-over Folkore collection of striped jewels. Some folks at the high end have gotten really fancy, and I’m loving it. Some of these incredible pieces will, fortunately, be difficult for “inspired” individuals to replicate, but I still think some mass manufacturers might try.

Mechanical-Inspired Jewelry

This trend was born out of the fearlessness of Marla Aaron, who put mechanical-inspired jewelry on the map in 2012 with the debut of her carabiner locks. Aaron is not the first to make a fine jewelry carabiner, but she is the first to make it her signature. Since 2012, she’s unveiled countless iterations of them, and so have copycats, who were no doubt inspired by her innovation, determination, and powerful personality to make them a hit. Inspired mechanical jewels now exist in growing abundance. Delphine Leymarie has a clicker charm that allows wearers to add multiple charms to necklaces, but it is not a copy of Aaron’s work. Leymarie unveiled it in 2017 as a version of a pearl shortener. A number of designers and manufacturers are now making versions of both Aaron’s and Leymarie’s works. It’s hard to own a simple or existing concept, but it’s appropriate to give credit where it is due; meanwhile, it’s unethical, possibly illegal, and monetarily injurious to an innovator to copy his or her work.

Fantasy Jewelry

Just as couture designers like Roksanda Ilincic of the eponymous line are working a gown or two into a sea of WFH frocks for fun (“Maybe you don’t need 10 of them, just a couple to still be able to dream,” the couturier told the media), collectors may want an extra flirty number as a pick-me-up. Thankfully, we have Mike Joseph’s feather and pearl pieces, Mizuki’s Kazanshi stick earrings, tiaras from Anna Zuckerman and Assael, or even what few natural-color pink and brown diamonds remain (you’re in fantasyland if you think you’ll be able to easily find them now that the Rio Tinto mine in Australia is closing). When this Covid-19 crisis ends, they’ll be a celebration.

Travel-Inspired Jewelry

Travel always inspires clothes—think of Paul Smith’s travel-holiday-influenced frocks for spring—and jewelry, but even more so now because of lockdown restrictions. Emily Wheeler takes us to the Amazon in her La Selva collection, while Gina Ferranti whisks us away to the Italian coast in Portofino. People are dying to travel but still won’t be able to for a while, so enter the travel-inspired jewelry collections.

Neon

Neon has been having a moment in the Paris runway shows thanks to Balmain, Chanel, and Nina Ricci, and it’s also trending in fine jewelry. Neon colors have been a recent fixture at Melissa Kaye, Alison Lou, and in a variety of other makers’ collections, but I think there could be staying power that ratchets up the popularity of the 1980s color craze once manufacturers understand its appeal: it’s for giddy minds and those seeking some unadulterated joy that comes with the end of, say, a pandemic? Yup. That’s coming, and so is the celebration I mentioned two grafs ago. Remember the Roaring Twenties? They followed World War I. I think jewelry will see its own version once the vaccine is widely available.

Disagree with me? Please weigh in on comments! Definitely have a happy New Year!


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Opinion

Guest Post: How Does an Indian-Born Gen Z-er Feel About Fine Jewelry? Let Me Tell You

Jaipur, India. Sept. 29, 2020. Jewelry has been an integral part of my life. Coming from India, a place rich in culture and traditions, jewelry is gifted to girls from the time they are born well into adulthood for special occasions. In my culture, people spend a fortune buying jewels for brides for weddings because of tradition and to show off wealth. Custom-made fine jewelry is also a fairly common practice because shoppers want to display their personal style and their affluence. Ever since childhood, I have also enjoyed making jewelry using fine wires, tiny pearls, and experimenting with shape and design. Today, most of the fine jewelry that I personally own are gifts from my mother, grandmothers, and other family members. And as a 21-year-old fashion design student at The New School, Parsons School of Design, in New York City, my own sense of style is developing.

Even though women in India prefer wearing heavy jewelry, that’s not my style. My favorite piece of jewelry to wear is earrings. I love wearing tiny hoops and studs and feel that more dainty pieces suit me and are age appropriate. As a young adult, I prefer yellow, white, or rose gold as opposed to the traditional 22k to 24k gold largely used in India. My small collection of jewelry comprises pieces from Swarovski and a few custom-made items, including a set of earrings made with three marquise-shape diamonds embedded in white gold.

Being a fashion design student, I always notice how any piece of jewelry can change the whole look of an outfit and complement one’s personal features. Jewelry can make you feel extremely powerful and confident. A piece of jewelry can uplift your mood and style. I love exploring new jewelry brands like V The Label Jewellery, Naetur, and S-kin Studio Jewelry that create modern yet classic pieces. Plus, shapes and patterns on crystals and precious stones have been an inspiration for me while designing garments or choosing fabrics. Most of the time, depending on the style of the garment I’m making, I do like to add a statement piece of jewelry to enhance a particular body part.

Aparna Sarogi, a a 21-year-old fashion design student at The New School, Parsons School of Design, in New York City. Sarogi is currently serving as an intern for JenniferHeebner.com.

Aparna Saraogi, a 21-year-old fashion design student at The New School, Parsons School of Design, in New York City. Saraogi is currently serving as an intern for JenniferHeebner.com.

Some of my friends feel similarly about jewelry. One friend from New York City is obsessed with accessories, rings in particular. Ever since she was little, she’s worn rings and experimented with earrings and new piercings. As she grew up, she received nicer pieces that were handed down from family members—a point she loves.

“Jewelry can be handed down from generations and continue to live in the lives of other family members, and I think that’s beautiful,” she says.

Having the budget of a college student, her current purchases are from a roster of more-affordable brands like luvAJ, Martha Calvo Joolz, Bauble Bar, and Mejuri. Still, her love of jewelry will likely continue to mature, along with the sophistication of her purchases.

“The thing I love the most about accessorizing with jewelry is that it can aid an aesthetic or a mood so well,” she adds. “Whether it’s confident and edgy with statement pieces, or soft and feminine with dainty chains, jewelry is so versatile and just adds a bit of sparkle to whatever you’re wearing.”

It’s intriguing to me how similar we feel about jewelry even though we come from two completely different places and cultures. But, like her, my own purchases will continue to evolve. When I can afford to buy more of my own fine jewelry in karat gold, I will!

This article was written by Aparna Saraogi, a 21-year-old fashion design student at The New School, Parsons School of Design, in New York City. Saraogi is currently serving as an intern for JenniferHeebner.com.

Maverick stud earrings in 18k white gold with 0.4 cts. t.w. Forevermark marquise-cut diamonds, $2,200; available online at Jade Trau
https://jadetrau.com/products/maverick-studs?_pos=2&_sid=7951dd2ad&_ss=r

Maverick stud earrings in 18k white gold with 0.4 cts. t.w. Forevermark marquise-cut diamonds, $2,200; available online at Jade Trau


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Opinion

3 People in Jewelry Who Have Made Sincere Efforts to Boost the Profiles of African Americans

New York City. June 8, 2020. Last week was a nationwide roller coaster of emotions with myriad efforts made to spotlight racial injustices and root out offenders in police brutality. While peaceful protesters call for changes in police policies, including the elimination of the use of knee and choke holds as acceptable practices for police officers, many in the jewelry community aimed to lend support on social media. In response to the #BlackoutTuesday movement started in the music industry, dozens of designers and retailers posted black squares to their social media accounts with the #BlackoutTuesday hashtag.

Undoubtedly, all were well-intentioned, but how many of the posters actually addressed or learned about or supported any of these or related causes before last week? Now, maybe they have done so quietly and behind the scenes, but as I discussed with friends, I just hope the ultimate takeaway from all these high emotions is that being a good person, respecting other cultures and peoples, and living by example is a lifelong commitment; it’s not just posting a black square on a Tuesday. I hope all those black squares will serve as stepping-stones for us to grow and become more empathetic.

Anyway, the following are a trio of individuals in jewelry who immediately made thoughtful and timely moves to make a difference in their own way in the African American community. My respect goes out to them.

Hannah Becker of @diamondoodles on Instagram. Last week, the industry’s beloved artist, illustrator, and gemologist did some homework and developed a list of 70 black-owned jewelry, gem, and crystal industry designers, businesses, and content creators and posted them in three parts on her Instagram account. The goal? To amplify black voices.

According to Becker in her first post, “Steps as simple as liking, commenting, sharing posts, and following these accounts can make a major difference in what content Instagram prioritizes on this platform.” She also noted that “It is not the job or obligation of black people to educate white and nonblack POC about where the holes in our knowledge lay.” Preach, girl!!

Those featured include @johnnynelsonjewelry, @particulieres.nyc, and @shoprubenlovesmejewels.

Find all those featured in Part I, Part II, and Part III by clicking the links.

Hannah Becker's @diamondoodles

Jewelry designer Lauren Harwell Godfrey of Harwell Godfrey/@harwellgodrey on Instagram. On Wednesday, June 3, Harwell Godfrey unveiled a black onyx version of her heart pendant with 100 percent of profits benefitting the @naacp or the organization of your choice that fights for black justice. Overnight, she raised $13,336 for the @naacp, and by Saturday, June 6, she had raised $23,338. By Sunday, that sum jumped to $38,341.

“I am overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of support I’ve received in the past few days. Thank you for sharing my story and my work and for following me,” she told followers. “I am hopeful that we won’t just move on to the next issue but will continue to fight this fight and bring about real and lasting change.”

Jewelry designer Lauren Harwell Godfrey of Harwell Godfrey
Heart necklace in 18k gold with black onyx and diamonds, $2,500; available online at Harwell Godfrey

Heart pendant in 18k gold with black onyx and diamonds, $2,500; available online at Harwell Godfrey

Jewelry designer Polly Wales of @pollywales on Instagram. On Thursday, June 4, Polly Wales posted a black square with a clear message: Take Over My Instagram. In a phone interview with Wales on Friday, she explained that she had been inspired by @redskyshop on Instagram to allow black business owners, artists, or brands to post to her platform and 92,300 followers.

Thus far, she has several individuals—including Simone Brewster Jewellery, Valerie Madison Jewelry, Angely Martinez Jewelry, and ceramicist Marissa Y Alexander, among others—eager to take advantage of the exposure.

“We’ve had a lot of interest,” she says. “I may leave it as an open invitation, or do it every week or month, so it becomes ingrained. We need to move forward.”

@pollywales on Instagram
 @valeriemadisonjewelry takes over the @pollywales feed

Editor’s Note: “The Warmth of Other Suns,” a book I purchased last summer, seems super timely for today. It is a masterfully researched tome on the history of the great African American migration from the South to other parts of the U.S. It’s written by African American author Isabel Wilkerson and looks at why 6 million African Americans relocated out of the South from 1915 to 1970. It is an incredible education on why and how we got to where we are today. I encourage you to read it.

“The Warmth of Other Suns" by Isabel Wilkerson

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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Opinion

A Message from the Editor: We’re Here for You

New York City. March 16, 2020. Greetings, friends. JenniferHeebner.com (JH) and The Jewelry Book (TJB) publisher Nicole Bromstad want you to know that you are not alone. Reach us at Jennifer@jenniferheebner.com or Nicole@thejewelrybook.com if you need a friend.

Single earring in 14k yellow gold with a removable green rutilated quartz, allowing the earring to be worn as a stud with a two-inch dangling chain, $285; by Monaka Jewelry, available online at The Clay Pot

Single earring in 14k yellow gold with a removable green rutilated quartz, allowing the earring to be worn as a stud with a two-inch dangling chain, $285; by Monaka Jewelry, available online at The Clay Pot

JH plans to stay focused on the jewelry and jewelry stories that remind us why our industry is so meaningful. Our content isn’t reliant on trade fairs or public venues, so expect us to continue to reach readers via digital delivery and snail mail (for TJB, our trade content partner). In fact, now may be an even more important time to dive into new collections and the tales behind them in order to maintain a sense of normalcy with a side of glittering escape.

Cleo bracelet in sterling silver with green topaz, $300; by Ed Levin, available online at Von Bargen’s Jewelry

Cleo bracelet in sterling silver with green topaz, $300; by Ed Levin, available online at Von Bargen’s Jewelry

Christmas will still come; jewelry will always be relevant for its beauty, messaging, meaning, economic impact the world over, and ability to connect people—even when social distancing is in effect. Milestones like weddings, promotions, graduations, anniversaries, and more will still happen, and people will continue to look to retailers and designers to provide them with the joy-inducing wearable treasures they love. Jewelry will always play a role in our relationships and lives because it is a special staple to many.

Malachite Tile earrings in 14k yellow gold with malachite and colorless diamonds, $1,280; available online at Emily Kuvin Jewelry

Malachite Tile earrings in 14k yellow gold with malachite and colorless diamonds, $1,280; available online at Emily Kuvin Jewelry

Sea Breeze ring in 14k yellow gold and 14k palladium white gold with a 2.4 ct. emerald, a 0.035 ct. blue diamond, a 0.03 ct. green garnet, and 0.01 ct. diamond, $1,870; email design@k-mita.com at Keiko Mita Jewelry for purchase

Sea Breeze ring in 14k yellow gold and 14k palladium white gold with a 2.4 ct. emerald, a 0.035 ct. blue diamond, a 0.03 ct. green garnet, and 0.01 ct. diamond, $1,870; email design@k-mita.com at Keiko Mita Jewelry for purchase

Jewelry makes people happy, period. During this difficult time, TJB and JH will continue to deliver the jewelry content you crave in an effort to help us move past this temporary situation with grace and calm. Stay calm, stay safe, and stay home if you can. This will all pass and life will return to normal.

Starburst necklace in 18k yellow gold with 34 cts. t.w. blue-green azure-malachite beads and two large cabochon-cut amethysts, $8,500; available online at Daria de Koning Jewelry

Starburst necklace in 18k yellow gold with 34 cts. t.w. blue-green azure-malachite beads and two large cabochon-cut amethysts, $8,500; available online at Daria de Koning Jewelry

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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