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The recent NY NOW gift show revealed a shift in design trends.

By Amber Michelle
For those looking to fill their cases with design-oriented jewelry, the NY NOW gift show is the place to go. An increasing number of fine jewelry designers are making an appearance at the show. The majority of these designers offer diamond-accented, fashion-forward jewelry at accessible prices and a number of the exhibitors also had a selection of alternative bridal.
   Designers concurred that there is a move back to traditional white diamonds, as opposed to the opaque diamonds that have been so prevalent the past several years. “In terms of bridal, buyers want more traditional, larger three-stone rings. There is more of a move to white diamonds,” says San Francisco, California–based designer Rebecca    Overmann. “I am really excited about old Euros and old miners — taking them out of vintage jewelry and giving them new life in modern settings.”
   Julez Bryant DeCosta, designer and owner of Julez Bryant in Carlsbad, California, found that rose gold was trending with her customers. She is also noticing a move away from deep, dark color diamonds to whiter stones. “Buyers are looking for bridal for their stores that is cool and different. Today’s brides are more eclectic in their tastes. We use a lot of uniquely shaped diamonds mixed with rose cuts. We like to pair a diamond ring with a more metal-intensive band to create a sparkly, organic, personal look.”
   New York City designer Suzy Landa, whose line prominently features colored gemstones, notes that “people are attracted to color, but they buy diamonds because they are safer. Buyers gravitate to items that have an understood value. When a piece is above a certain price point, retailers feel more comfortable selling diamonds.”
   One of the hottest trends at the show was earrings. Specifically, small post earrings, continues Landa. “Small-scale earrings that are little pops of color that are subtle and easy for every day are doing really well.”
   Page Sargisson, a New York City designer, noted that in addition to her 18-karat gold and diamond or sapphire collections, buyers were also purchasing small post earrings for their store. “People are buying more small-scale earrings because of multiple piercings. They also bought our ear huggers, which are made to fit piercings on top of the ear. It caters to the Millennial market,” she observes.
   On that same note, ear jackets, ear climbers and ear cuffs are becoming increasingly important as they create a look of multiple piercings without actually having to get ears pierced in numerous places.
   Delphine Leymarie, of the Manhattan-based company Delphine Leymarie Fine Jewelry, also found single earrings to be a “popular” item. “People are going for smaller layering and stacking pieces, such as necklaces with different length chains and different textures that work together. The person wearing the jewelry creates volume by wearing pieces together and they can mix and match items to make the look their own. I sold a lot of single earrings for a mix and match look.”
   Over at Tap by Todd Pownell, diamond solitaire earrings set culet up were best sellers for the Cleveland, Ohio, firm. A client at the booth described his work as “genius” for the innovative setting of the gems, which is classic, but the culet-up setting is cool and just edgy enough to find appeal with a younger consumer.

   In an economy that is still price conscious, jewelry with small diamonds in the $1,000 retail range was most popular and under $500 retail was particularly strong. Sarah McGuire, of Chicago, Illinois–based Sarah McGuire Studio, said her best sellers were moderately priced. “We are selling pieces with sprinkles of melee diamonds. It is a nice way of getting moderately priced jewelry that feels special. We are still selling rustic diamonds, but people are starting to look for more gemmy stones that are closer to a white diamond, but still have interesting shapes and cuts.”
   San Francisco, California–based designer Corey Egan, who specializes in alternative bridal, found that stacking bands were doing especially well. “People like to add to the collection that they already have.”
   Jewelry with a handmade, one-of-a-kind feeling was an important trend at the show; more modern looks with architectural, geometric forms were also directional. Classic pieces with clean lines are important as consumers gravitate back to basics, but with a twist — a classic eternity ring with mismatched rose cuts, or baguettes. While blackened metal remains a staple, it is brightened with gold, silver or the sparkle of diamonds to lighten up the look. Overall, jewelry design is moving to lighter, more open forms with simple, classic shapes taking center stage creating a contemporary sensibility.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - March 2016. To subscribe click here.

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