Jewelry trends to watch in 2015

TrendsAug 11, 2016

Jewelry trends to watch in 2015

Unusual earrings, chokers and a homage to ‘70s style are among the trends expected to be prevalent in the new year.

Ear climbers, like this 18-karat rose gold and diamond pair from Stephen Webster, will continue to be popular in the new year.
New York--It’s an exciting time for fashion in fine jewelry.

Many groundbreaking trends launched on the red carpet last year and plenty of them, though not all, found a foothold at retail, sometimes in modified forms. Look for layering and wrapping, color and texture, and mixing and matching in the new year.

“We have not seen such an abundance of fashion trends in this industry for 15 years,” says Helena Krodel of Luxe Intelligence. “Fashion jewelry is starting to influence fine jewelry and it’s amazing to see how many trends have trickled up and down. The line between fashion and fine is sort of hazy now.”

Here’s a look at the trends that found traction last year, and where they’re heading in 2015.

1) Ear climbers. “Ears, in general, are going to continue to be important,” said Amanda Tropila of the Platinum Guild International (PGI-USA). “I think you’re going to see designers expand on ear climbers in particular.”

Unusual earrings took off last year after several celebrities walked the red carpet in lobe-hugging pearls (Rashida Jones) and diamonds (Lupita Nyong’o, Sandra Bullock). Expect more modified versions of the radical looks they wore.

“Ear climbers are doing fabulously, with so many different styles available,” said Amanda Gizzi, Jewelers of America’s director of public relations and special events. “But the trick is they have to fit the ear. Every woman’s ear is shaped differently and larger cuffs don’t fit every ear.”

It’s one of those fun styles everyone covets but often ends up disappointing. The key to user-friendly ear climbers seems to be keeping them small and focusing on in-store purchases, a point jewelers could make to those debating between buying them online and in store. “You definitely have to try them on,” Gizzi said.

2) Double-sided earrings. Demand also is strong for double-sided earrings, typified by the Dior pearls worn by Portia de Rossi at last year’s Academy Awards.

Mismatched and layered earrings also will continue to gain popularity, Krodel predicted. Look for more earrings with a component on the post, visible beneath the lobe, or studs with a corresponding earring.

“It lends versatility to have an earring that can be worn more than one way or earrings that don’t exactly match,” Krodel said.

3) Two-part rings.
Some of the jewelry spotted on celebrities last year didn’t do well at retail, Gizzi said.

Midi-rings (rings designed to be worn at the top of the finger, between the knuckle and fingernail), for example, proved subject to falling off and hand jewelry failed to get a solid foothold at higher price points. But radical looks like these influenced pieces being produced now, such as two-part rings attached with chains or a “V” on the bottom, resembling stacked individual rings.

4) Seventies styles. Look for jewelry to complement the 1970s styles in apparel this year.

“Fringe and fauna and flora lends itself to that style of clothing, especially in earrings and necklaces--tassel earrings, long necklaces,” Krodel said.

5) Eighties styles. Madonna-style layering and bangles are finding their way into fine as well as fashion jewelry, and so are the bolder, geometric looks of her heyday.

“We’re also seeing the converse of that fringe style--very abstract jewelry, modular and modern looking, like a grid bracelet that has lines that go either north-south or east-west, and anything with cutouts,” said Krodel. “Think Space Age with not a lot of detail: linear lines, geometric, very clean.”

This look is showing up big and small, she said. Look for smaller versions to dominate fine jewelry.

6) Longer necklaces and bold chokers. The delicate layered chains and tiny pendants of last year are morphing in two directions this year.

“We’re seeing longer chains, especially in gold, and multiple pendants on one chain, more substantial pendants but nothing too big,” Gizzi said. “Look for the Y trend to resurface too, with a new emphasis on layering.”

Even as longer layers take off, another ‘70s throwback is surfacing, closer to the throat.  

“We’re seeing more chokers lately, some metal-intensive, a lot of vintage styles,” Tropila said. “We’re still seeing long necklaces and pendants, cool charms, delicate layers, but chokers seem to be up-and-coming.”

7) Layering and mixing. Perhaps the most important thing to note with fashion-forward jewelry is the way it’s being styled.

“People are not wearing jewelry the way they wore it before,” Krodel said. “They are layering it on, personalizing it. They are making it their own--styling fashion with fine, mixing an heirloom piece with an [inexpensive] ring that they bought at Forever 21--and it’s OK.”

Krodel thinks the selfie craze has a lot to do with this trend. “Mixing and layering styles is so fun,” she said. “It just looks good and it ties into the whole world of Instagram, showing off what you’re doing in your life and how you’re wearing something.”

Personalization and layering is where it’s at, Gizzi agreed. “Layering is a great trend at retail,” she says. “It allows people to easily add pieces, pair things with existing pieces.”

8) Wrapped and coiled looks. Snakes will figure strongly in jewelry design this year, both literally and figuratively, especially in rings and bracelets.

“That wrapped style, things climbing up the finger and the arms, metal wrapping around the stone, all that is definitely going to play a part for 2015,” Gizzi said.  

Stacking has led, in part, to single pieces that have the appearance of multiples, which can be a costly look to pull off. “Coiled and wrapped rings and bracelets allow people to get that layered look with one piece,” she said.
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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