Consumers are seeking a combination of age-old designs and the latest fashion styles.
There’s a permanence to owning jewelry that doesn’t always lend itself to the speed of fashion trends. However, new designs and materials — along with advanced manufacturing techniques — are making jewels for everyday life trendy and appealing. In addition, younger consumers are adapting new ways to wear jewelry that are changing traditional norms.
Three dominant macro-trends are impacting the global jewelry industry, says Paola De Luca, director of Trendvision, the independent think tank of Italy’s Vicenzaoro trade show. These and other findings will appear in The Jewellery Trendbook 2024+, a guide to design trends that Vicenzaoro organizers will unveil at the upcoming fair, which begins on January 20.
The main trend for the 2023 is what De Luca calls “chromaverse” — the combination of colors associated with the metaverse, gaming, and web 3.0. “This is influencing lifestyle, social-cultural changes, fashion design and, of course, jewelry,” she says. “Through color, we communicate our vision, our perspective and our point of view.”
This is reflected in the increased use of colored gemstones, enamel, metal plating, and new technologies, such as 3D printing.
Eugenia Bruni, creative director of Italian luxury jewelry brand Pasquale Bruni, agrees with De Luca’s assessment. “I believe the increased desire for colored gemstones will carry over in 2023 and predict we will see many on the red carpet this award season.”
The gender-fluid movement is the next global trend, De Luca says. “Gen Z and younger millennial men and women are very comfortable wearing pearls and diamonds. The world of jewelry is becoming very much blurred. That’s why collections have evolved from being sold as matching sets to isolated items that are purchased individually and mixed and matched for fluidity. It’s a new realm of design and styling.”
The third major trend also has to do with younger consumers, which Trendvision calls “nextstalgia.” This is younger shoppers’ tendency to combine vintage jewels with contemporary objects to create personalized items that speak to the present and future.
“This is very much associated with emotions, love and relationships,” she says. “A personal diary of wearing something — a talisman or an object that is meaningful and makes you feel special.”
These include jewels inspired by certain lettering, medallions, figurines and photographs. “It’s a new wave of jewelry strongly inspired by the past but reinterpreted to the present and future,” De Luca comments. This extends into combining different cultures’ jewels by putting together well-crafted objects from various parts of the world that are “reinterpreted with a futuristic eye,” she says.
Jennifer Koche, founder and designer of Storrow Fine Jewelry, creates charms that are both colorful and have a cross-cultural heirloom appeal. This comes from Koche’s prior experience as a jewelry buyer for luxury retailers, where she would peruse antique fairs and stores around the world in search of special heirloom pieces.
“Color is a huge part of Storrow’s identity, and I love seeing how customers mix unexpected color combos to create unique and whimsical pairings,” Koche says. “All my charms are designed to play off one another, using complementary color stories through a range of palettes without it feeling too ‘matchy-matchy.’ This is all in an effort for the pieces to seem as if they’ve been collected over time. What makes each piece personal is the distinctive color combos and how someone can mix them into their personal collection.”
Jewelry designers often reinterpret their visions to meet changing consumer preferences. For Rosanne Karmes, founder and designer of fine jewelry brand, Sydney Evan, this means meeting the individual needs of her clients through customization.
“I think we will continue to see demand for bespoke pieces and people wanting to customize their jewelry to express their individuality,” Karmes says. “Jewelry is so personal, often something we never take off, and an investment purchase, so it makes total sense wanting to create to your exact liking.”
Some designers and retailers are seeing particular materials or jewels gain popularity when presented in a modern way.
For example, a contemporary styling of pearl jewelry will be in vogue for 2023, says Tara Hirshberg, president and creative director of her eponymous fine-jewelry brand. “Pearls will continue to dominate in a less traditional way, being incorporated into modern designs with a twist,” she predicts.
Nicole Carosella, cofounder and designer of fine-jewelry brand Sorellina, says that bold, colorful earrings will be huge in 2023.
“People seem ready to explore their personal style and experiment with statement jewelry,” Carosella says. “I have always loved designing earrings and I love seeing our customers gravitate toward bigger pairs.”
Michaela Kesselman, vice president and jewelry director at Wempe US, part of the large German watch and jewelry retailer, says two-tone jewels will be in demand among its clients.
“I think we will see a strong uptick in designs featuring mix metals,” she says. “We have a fantastic white- and yellow-gold diamond tennis necklace that is highly popular at the moment.”
As a distinctive and permanent form of expression, jewelry can outlast constantly changing trends. Even with this in mind, styles remain beholden to each generation’s preferences and perceptions.
Main image: An 18-karat yellow- and rose-gold pierced ring by Hannah Martin, representing a gender-fluid trend in jewelry. (Trendvision)