How the millennial urge for customization influences jewelry
By Marion Fasel
Millennials think different and they shop differently too. The generation, that was born between 1981 and 1996, has shifted the retail landscape for a couple of big reasons. First their sheer numbers mean they make a major impact on the marketplace. They are the children of Baby Boomers and as a group they are even bigger, counting around 75-million strong. Second, the generation that’s considered the first to grow up in the digital age has unique expectations from brands. They want to know about and engage—usually through social media—with the places where they spend their money. In return, they want their favorite companies to cater to them in a personal way. When it comes to jewelry there are a few pillars of style that have consistently proven and continue to be appealing to the millennial urge for customization.
Rings on Almost Every Finger
Pinky rings, midi rings, thumb rings and more, millennials like to wear rings on almost every finger. Meghan Markle popularized the look for her generation as the international press got to know her before she became engaged to Prince Harry. Her signature style included simple hammered bands from the Brooklyn based jeweler Catbird that cost around $44 and various gold and diamond eternity rings from Birks. Meghan continues to layer her rings at events now that she has become a member of the royal family keeping the look uppermost in jewelry trends. At Princess Eugenie’s royal wedding, for example, she wore a handful of Herkimer crystal “diamond” designs by Pippa Small that were coordinated in style but didn’t match exactly.
Photocredit: Meghan Markle wearing multiple rings from Pippa Small at Princess Eugenie’s royal wedding, Getty Images, Pool/Max Mumby
Earrings for Multiple Piercings
Ear climbers, ear cuffs, studs and hoops, millennials wear an array of various earring styles, frequently all at once. Los Angeles based designer Anita Ko, who was a pioneer in the ear cuff craze on the red carpet, and counts Jennifer Lawrence, Blake Lively and Kendall Jenner among her many celebrity fans says, “Women tell a story with the way they wear multiple earrings and the designs they choose.” The stories become longer as women get more piercings. One of the most popular activities at jewelry boutiques today is piercing parties. It’s not unusual at all for a millennial to have as many as five holes in just one ear. This passion for piercing has inspired designers to sell their earrings as singles—as opposed to pairs—and to count on repeat business from clients who want to switch up the earrings on their lobes.
Photocredits: Promise to love you, by Stephen Webster, as seen in Gem Visions AW 2019
Initial pendants have long been one of the millennials favorite ways to personalize their jewelry collections. All kinds of styles can be found with designs from gothic script letters decorated in diamonds by Jennifer Fisher to simple block letters on gold disc pendants by Jennifer Meyer.
In addition to the letters, there are many other ways millennials like to express themselves with jewelry. Designer Alison Lou has a popular collection of gold rings with “Mrs” in script for women who are just married or celebrating an anniversary. As the generation has moved on to becoming mothers, nameplate pieces spelling out “Mother” or “Mama” by all the designers listed have become part of the collections. Birthstones jewels and pieces with zodiac motifs have experienced a resurgence in popularity with millennials interests in the designs. One of the most popular personalization techniques of all is making it possible for clients to build their own jewels and say what they wish in necklaces. Carolina Bucci’s new collection of colorful Forte beads can be combined with her Florentine finish letters to spell out anything clients wish. It’s just the type of personal touch millennials love.
Photocredits: Jewelry designer Carolina Bucci wearing one of her Forte Bead and Florentine finish letter necklaces, Instagram Carolina Bucci