Step Aside, Gold – It’s Silver Jewelry’s Time to Shine

April 2, 2024  |  Kate Matthams

It’s bright and luminous, but buyers often pass over silver jewelry in favor of gold, its warmer, more luxe cousin. Yet silver was all over the jewelry showrooms at Paris Fashion Week in the fall as designers previewed collections that would hit stores for the winter season.

There’s been “a 50% increase in searches for silver jewelry over the last year as our customers gravitate toward a more minimalist and modern approach to dressing,” reports luxury e-tailer Net-a-Porter. And with the price of gold now over 88 times that of silver, according to precious-metal dealer Bullion by Post, the silver drift is a win-win for jewelers and consumers.

In Paris, Italian brand Eéra unveiled chunky silver chains and riffs on its classic motifs, going heavy on mixed metals and an expanded silver offering in the company’s trademark audacious style. “Some of our bolder designs look best in silver, which means we can offer a broader range of prices,” says Eéra cofounder Chiara Capitani. “Considering that the price of gold has risen, it allows us to meet expectations of our different clients.”

This is a trend that Victoria Lampley Berens, founder of jewelry consultancy The Stax, has noticed among brands. They use silver to create “the same silhouettes [at] a more digestible price point while still looking elevated,” she says. “Mixed metals have also been very popular; [combining] white gold and sterling silver gives the same chic factor as white and yellow gold, without having to break the bank.”

Eéra silver and pearl necklace. (Eéra)

A chance to go bold

An inclusive approach to buying will be key for independent retailers this year, but the shift is not just down to economics; silver is easy to style and can be every bit as desirable as gold.

“When I think of sculptural and covetable silver, my mind goes to [the work of designers like] early Elsa Peretti, Paloma Picasso, Spinelli Kilcollin, Sophie Buhai, early Georg Jensen, as well as James Colarusso, Charlotte Chesnais, J.Hannah,” says Lampley Berens. “Silver, just like gold, is a classic and never goes out of style.”

Since it’s also lighter than gold, silver lends itself beautifully to volume, which has traditionally driven success for brands like Tiffany & Co. and Georg Jensen.

[It lets brands use] the same silhouettes at a more digestible price point while still looking elevated.

Sophie Howard, founder of London-based jeweler By Pariah, cites the former as a recent inspiration. “I have moved away from gold vermeil for 2024; our new designs are now only available in solid 14-karat gold…which means our silver offering is more important than ever for an entry-level price point,” she says. “The most popular pieces are the Luna cuff and small Luna earrings. I think the recent revival of Elsa Peretti’s Tiffany cuff plays a huge part in this.”

A lower price point means silver is well suited to experimentation. Eéra initially developed its Reine chain as part of a men’s collection, but it has since become a unisex best-seller for style-driven shoppers. “The silver customer is drawn to a more fashion-oriented aesthetic,” says Romy Blanga, the brand’s other cofounder. “We approach our collection as a cohesive whole, creating avenues within this for silver.”

It’s also a material for disruption. Family company Fope harnesses traditional chain-making expertise to create distinctive, flexible chain-link jewelry with a modern twist, while Statement Paris has turned notions of preciousness upside-down by pairing diamonds with silver in striking Art Deco styles.

By Pariah large drop earrings in silver. (By Pariah)

No mere pretender

The current vogue for silver may be rooted in fashion’s own silver moment, but for all the shimmery pants on the runway, the appeal of the white metal is enduring. Whether it’s a fistful of statement rings or a delicate chain necklace, this metal is far more than a gold substitute; its clean minimalism has an allure all its own.

“I love that silver doesn’t pretend to be anything else, unlike gold vermeil and other metals and finishes used to mimic the appearance of more expensive materials,” says Howard. “It proudly embraces its own unique character and charm.”

Fope silver Vendôme bracelets. (Fope)

Main image: Elsa Peretti Bone cuff in sterling silver with snowflake obsidian. (Tiffany & Co.)

This article is from the March-April 2024 issue of Rapaport Magazine. View other articles here.

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Step Aside, Gold – It’s Silver Jewelry’s Time to Shine

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