Gem Visions 2017
Megatrend: the Millennials & the Merging of Polarities
The age-old concept of polarities, the attraction of complementary opposites that is a basic tenet in
many of the world’s major philosophies, has once again surfaced as a dominant megatrend. Rather
than reigning apart as exclusive poles of a spectrum like art vs. science, natural vs. man-made,young vs. old, antique vs. avant-garde or even the real vs. the virtual, the mutual fascination of the opposites is causing them to gravitate towards each other. This fusion is creating a new world vision that is finding a distinct voice with which to elucidate new found categories and concepts for jewelry.
The four major trend directions for 2017:
FOUR TREND DIRECTIONS
In the ‘Existence’ trend, science meets spirituality in a dance of exploration that seeks to integrate the hidden and perhaps mystical aspects of the planet into a grand story that celebrates life on earth set within the context of the wider universe. Inspiration comes from a multitude of treasures, from life in overtly dramatic landscapes, to extinct animals and fossils found in raw rocks etched with the markings of time. ‘Existence’ appeals to inquisitive and demanding consumers who are aesthetically sophisticated, possessing a taste for cool contemporary and the eternal organic. These are people who demand ethical luxury. In searching for jewels that connect the earth and time, they are explorers, time-travellers within their own lives who view jewels as a way of connecting to earth’s wild places, or through to another age. Stones and materials exhibiting a natural patina only acquired over eons are an expression of this theme and include: agates, grey dendritic diamonds, moonstones, amber, coral, pearl, lava stone, bone, fossils, shells, fossilized wood, jet, obsidian, quartz and marble. Perfect ‘Existence’ candidates are metallic minerals like marcasite or bi-colored gemstones set in metals that are oxidized, or otherwise treated with state-of-the-art processes. Colors are similarly drawn from nature: chartreuse, moss green, snakeskin green, mint green, light-blue grey, lava red, lava grey, deep charcoal and ivory. Look to organic cuts, shallow rose-cuts, slices, domed cabochons. Especially apt are the round cuts inspired by the lens of the eye and exhibiting special mandala-like light effects.
‘Haute Gems’ celebrates the resurgence of opulence as seen in monumentally spectacular jewels that shout pure drama. Very contemporary in look and feel, the theme is strongly supported by a spirit of cultivated connoisseurship based in a deep love of the couture. Focus is on gems of exceptional brilliance and beauty, on dramatic sweeps of intense color, and on stunning craftsmanship that reinforces the strong play of light and line. This new extravagance is never brash but rather closely aligned to culture, fashion, architecture, literature and especially the art of dance.‘Haute Gems’ defines the cultivated, fashion-conscious consumer who seeks a jewel with an in-the-moment excitement that can also speak to the future and fulfill the role of a modern day heirloom. Stones are strongly contrasted using a dramatic palette of pure classic gem colors. Regal rubies lead the way followed by deep pink stones, especially pink tourmalines, peridots, yellow beryls, topaz, amethyst and jade. ‘Haute Gems’ stones are impeccably cut works of art especially exemplified in the noble marquise cut, or in princess or square cuts assembled in modern mosaics to intensify color. Surrounding metalwork reminiscent of exquisite lace, and silk embroideries is made possible by employing advanced technologies. Add to the mix, black gold, and patinated silver, as well as invisible settings.
‘Easy-Trans-Form’ is one of the most significant shifts in fine jewelry, a turning away from formality towards an easy opulence that is exhibited at even the highest levels of jewelry design. The extra dimensions of how a jewel feels on the skin, how it moves on and with the body, combined with the personal pleasure it brings to the wearer, have become key considerations in design and manufacture. Jewels are highlighted with moving parts and lockets are being re-invented. Mixing and matching is the order of the day. The way in which jewels are combined forges a preferred mark of individuality, a truly personal style statement. ‘Easy-Trans-Form’ is part of a new desire for versatility in jewelry, for jewels that adapt and transform, that work together with women’s multi-faceted lives. Above all, they should aim to express their changing moods and styles. The perfect jewel unites fashion and function in a contemporary classic that can also become a new everyday basic when matched with a corresponding touch of playfulness for character and individuality. This can be achieved with high-tech ceramics, transparent and translucent materials like rock crystal, or dichromatic stones like ametrine. Iridescent materials or gems with shifting light and color, like opals, rainbow moonstones and labradorite are also on-trend, as are frosted finishes. Look for small and sweet, casual diamond accents and a variety of mixed metals in an uplifting palette of fresh brights and pastel tones such as tangerines and lilacs. Ombre effects, frosted colors, iridescent accents and bi-colored gemstones also work well. Cuts focus on the baguette and its variations, modern geometric cuts that can be stacked or fitted together in channels.
‘Self-Art’ is a completely new approach to self-expression through jewelry. Generation Y, today’s young adults, has a very individual way of communicating and consuming that radically differs from that of any other age group. This demands a whole new generation of jewels to engage with their laid-back aesthetic that prizes a rustic, hand-made, sustainable style, rich in meaning and personal expression. Consequently, some designers are revisiting vintage and ritualistic aspects of jewelry, while other designers are taking a multipronged approach influenced by pop art, surrealism, contemporary music and street-art. At a time when the jewelry industry is searching for new retail platforms, new markets, and innovative ways of presenting the entire concept of jewelry buying and wearing, the Millennials’ strong desire for personalization is giving brands the golden opportunity to learn about the consumer, their lives, their dreams and desires, and their shopping habits, preferences and obsessions. As consumers tear down barriers and challenge preconceptions of a jewel’s preciousness, designers are responding with a more diverse range of materials than ever before seen in jewelry. The man-made is being celebrated, opening the way for the inclusion of a broadening range of materials including synthetic diamonds, vibrantly colored cubic zirconia, acrylic, resin, corian, composite materials, 3-D printing materials, faceted howlite (naturally colored or dyed), turquoise, black diamonds, brown diamonds, lapis lazuli, brilliant lacquers, enamels, crystals and chains. New styles of settings seem to disappear, so that little or no metal is visible. Silver is popular, also rose gold, black and brown gold, even green gold. A bold, vivid palette with black as a strong graphic accent comes into play along with a range of arty pastels. There is a strong emphasis on blues, especially lapis, and on shades of camel and caramel. Stones are being set free of constraints to dangle loosely from a bracelet, necklace or earring. Briolettes, drop-shapes, petal-shapes, carved stones and candy-like cabochons are also perfectly at home in this theme.