Fine Jewelry Trend: Bezel, Set, Go!

TrendsDec 06, 2017

Fine Jewelry Trend: Bezel, Set, Go!

Designers are moving away from intricate, highly wrought settings and toward the bold, minimalist appeal of bezels.

Jemma Wynne’s “Prive Luxe Slider” bracelet in 18-karat yellow gold with emeralds and diamonds ($9,555)

New York--Fine jewelry has recently taken a minimalist turn, with many designers opting for bold, clean looks over intricate, highly wrought styles.

Bezel settings perfectly achieve an impactful but minimal feel, showcasing diamonds and gemstones the way a frame holds a painting. The setting is being employed across all fashion jewelry categories and even in engagement rings as the halo setting begins to wane in popularity.

“I’ve been using bezel settings since I started making jewelry over 20 years ago,” said designer Zoe Chicco, who produces all of her pieces in-house at her Los Angeles facility. “It was the first setting I ever used in my designs. 

“Even my wedding ring, which is a simple bezel-set radiant-cut diamond, was based on one of the first pieces I ever made. I love the solid feel of the stones being enclosed in the metal and it feels very modern, clean and compliments my aesthetic. Recently, I have started using prong settings as well, but bezels still are and will always be my favorite way to set stones.”

While many brands are setting exquisite and rare gems in bezels, the setting can also up the wow factor for a simple or small stone. Kismet by Milka has taken to creating bezel-set tennis bracelets and even a bezel-set tennis-style choker.

"I like using a bezel setting in our collections as I think it gives a stronger feeling and texture to pieces that would otherwise be considered classics,” said Kismet by Milka designer Milka Karaağaçlı. “In our ‘Rainbow collection,’ the bezel setting made each colorway stand out more than usual when next to another color.”

Several designers mentioned that a bezel can give an old-fashioned item a sense of modernity.

Ilana Sarna of brand Ilana Ariel commented: “Some of my designs, especially from the ‘Stepping Stone’ collection, have an antique or retro vibe. By using bezel settings as opposed to prongs, I tried to make the pieces feel more modern. I love melding different design elements because it yields classic but very wearable jewelry.”

The setting can also be employed in a more organic manner.

Designer Marian Maurer’s bezel-set eternity bands embody a tactile, natural feel and are a brand signature, highlighting both diamonds and colored gemstones.

“I have always bezel set our stones because of my love of gold (and) feeling the sculptural aspects of the metal surrounding the gems and for practical reasons,” Maurer explained.

“It (also) protects the stone from damage and allows for everyday wear of the piece,” she added.

Bezel settings are less precious and more bold than other setting styles not just in appearance, but in function as well, as Maurer pointed out. They provide a stable base for a stone, shielding its edges.

The trade-off is, of-course, seeing less of a stone and more of the metal surrounding it. But this isn’t a problem for contemporary designers, who are overwhelmingly favoring yellow gold for now.

“A bezel setting allows for more gold to be seen,” said Diana Mitchell, designer of the eponymous line, “and I love 18-karat gold, so the more, the better.”
Ashley Davisis the senior editor, fashion at National Jeweler, covering all things related to design, style and trends.

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