12 Jewelry Trends for 2015: The 4th Annual List of What to Buy, Sell, and Stock in the Year Ahead

Where did the year go? Surely we spent much of it wearing and selling minimalist-inspired jewels, mix-and-match variations of stud earrings, and lots of blue gemstones. These were topics touched on in last year’s 12 Trends post, some of whose predictions were fairly accurate—yellow gold is coming back strong because of price drops, chevrons and pyramid motifs continued their presence in collections, as did watches, which received extra interest thanks to the new wearables category. Abalone, by the way, appeared in a number of collections from directional designers such as Jacquie Aiche, Goshwara, and Arunashi.

Page views for 2014’s 12 Trends blog skyrocketed to 47,144, representing a 39 percent increase over last year’s post—and one grateful editor. Thank you, readers, for supporting industry-specific journalism with your clicks and shares.

As for what’s in store for 2015, here are my predictions based on what’s been happening in the market this year, on fashion runways, and on the red carpet. Happy selling!

Have an observation or opinion? Please weigh in via the comment function.

Yellow gold. There’s lots of evidence that the sunny metal will stay popular in 2015. Its price has dropped 33 percent in two years, resulting in more jewelry collections (also see “Hello, Yellow!” in the December–January issue), it’s the most complimentary accessory for all the 1970s attire on spring runways, and there was lots of yellow gold at the 2014 Golden Globes and Oscars. In short—stock up.

Layering necklaces. The relaxed silhouettes of spring coupled with a bonanza of different necklines means that layering styles will be worthwhile additions to jewelry boxes. Many in industry are already prepared, having debuted new SKUs in Las Vegas this year, so jewelers just need to check stock to be sure they have a healthy selection on hand. These pieces can be multi-strands or singles layered with others—including future gifts.

Layering leather bracelets with charms. Have you heard of Endless Jewelry? I hope so, because it might be the next Pandora. Its shtick is leather wrap bracelets with dangling charms, a look that high-end designers Ole Lynggaard and Tamara Comolli have already embraced. But Endless is a volume player—it debuted in the U.S. in 2014 and already has more than 1,100 domestic accounts—so it will bring its signature to the masses at entry prices ideal for add-ons and gifting, giving the bracelets staying power and widespread appeal.

Stacking rings. Fashion’s relaxed silhouettes call for casual accessories, including layered looks on the hand. These can have cabochons cuts of gemstones, pavé, tiny motifs, or simple metal-intense designs. Build a bigger look with lots of small, slim styles.

1960s–1970s motifs. These will be bohemian—think owls, beads, feathers, and fringe—or stylized geometric forms like zigzags or circles. Runways for spring 2015 and pre-fall lean heavily on these two decades for inspiration, so accessories should complement the clothes accordingly.

Metal-intense statement cuffs. Nothing makes a statement like a big ol’ cuff bracelet. And with metals’ declining prices, these are well within reach of consumers this year. They pair well with the minimalist-inspired fashions still in the market, and the metal medium allows designers to get artful and creative with carved effects, textures, finishes, and volume.

Ear climbers. Comet-inspired styles that seemingly creep up the ear made a splash in many collections this year (along with front-to-backs and jackets), and they’re not going anywhere in 2015. If anything, their presence will mushroom, considering that volume makers like World Trade Jewelers are creating many affordable versions while the trend-setting designer set continues making higher-end, aspirational looks. Climbers are often stud or stud-and-hook combination pieces that snake up the ear lobe, and shoppers young and old love them for their modern, funky aesthetic.

Colored diamonds. Thank you, Le Vian—and to a lesser extend EFFY, HSN, and QVC—for putting the full spectrum of diamond colors in the forefront of consumers’ minds. The ad campaigns and promotional efforts of these firms help drive interest to colored diamonds—natural or treated—in general because they put the stones in front of consumers, who are intrigued by their beauty first and foremost and then inquire about quality and cost. It’s a trickle-down theory that works—similar to when DeBeers did their diamond ads—driving consumers to their trusted jewelers to learn more. You’re welcome.

Vintage-inspired designs. There were so many baguette cuts this year in so many lines! Do you remember seeing them? Not to mention the Art Deco influences still going strong. And now that the stigma of buying gold off the street is long gone, jewelers have healthy inventories of estate pieces for sale as well as nice stocks of loose stones from said purchases. In 2015, the old will surely continue to inspire the new—and new purchases. The beauty of the past is alive and well in present-day jewelry.

Purples, pinks, and reds. Pantone’s Color of the Year Marsala may not be so inspiring, but at least surrounding shades on the color wheel are pretty. Muddy-red Marsala could give way to softer pinks and lavenders in stone choices this year, which are two ways to color-block beautifully with the drab red hue. In general, keep prettier color cousins in mind when adorning consumers’ Marsala-colored attire.

Whimsical color combinations. There were plenty of patterns and crazy color combinations—remember Chanel’s rainbows?—on runways for spring and pre-fall 2015, so accessories should nod to those aesthetics in the form of mosaics of color, playful trios of hues, more rainbows (a look confirmed by our friends at Jewelers of America), or single pops of color to highlight one in a pattern.

Statement necklaces. Just as varied earring styles reigned supreme in 2014, necklaces will take that must-have spot in 2015. Jewelers will want bibs, chokers, and long and short pendant and station numbers on hand to adorn fashion’s veritable buffet of necklines, some pieces that will be ideal for layering and gifting, while others will simply make a strong outfit statement. Traditional fashion rules keep getting tossed out the proverbial window, so have fun helping shoppers create their own.

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