Live From JCK Las Vegas: Colors and Silhouettes in New Collections

Charles David is a man on a mission. Since the co-owner of Kerry Catherine Jewelry in Raleigh, N.C., is preparing to launch a private-label collection later this year, he told JCK he was looking forward to doing some serious trend-spotting on the show floor. And he’s already off to a good start. He brought a shopping list featuring, among other items, champagne diamonds. (“The lighter the color, the better,” he told us on May 31.) Brown, cobalt blue, and the Pantone Color Institute’s color of the year, Tangerine Tango, are among the year’s on-trend hues; they’re faves among fashion designers such as Elie Tahari, and they’re easy to color-block with one another. (For more on 2012 fashion, see “Belle of the Fall.”)

On the show floor, new jewelry designs highlight these hot colors and others, including the ongoing green trend (particularly emeralds) and black rocks such as onyx, jet, and more some with matte finishes for a decidedly contemporary effect. At Amáli in the JCK Design Center, new looks include stones comprising both slate and pyrite in 18k gold, starting at $1,000 suggested retail. “It’s a big bang for your buck,” explained designer-owner Sara Freedenfeld. Even freshwater pearls took a dark turn: Hanks of inky midnight black, oversize numbers were spotted around the AGTA GemFair pavilion. Meanwhile, Design Center newcomer Horsecka showed massive silver chokers reminiscent of dog collars and outfitted with dangling druzy chunks that served as unwritten name tags of sorts. Indeed, these organic stone cuts and others serve as even more cost-sensitive interpretations of the rough and sliced diamonds that are so omnipresent industry-wide.

Additionally, cabochon cuts were a bit more prevalent in this year’s collections, even in tiny sizes à la LUXURY exhibitor Norman Covan’s graduating strands of rubies and emeralds mixed with faceted diamonds. And baguettes—in diamonds and in colored stones—were noticeable in a number of booths at the LUXURY show, including Zydo and Rina Limor, not to mention Richard Krementz, which displayed a show-stopping natural alexandrite in an Art Deco­ inspired–mounting accented with colorless rocks. At Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, fan motifs spoke both to ladylike and vintage fashion.

Other trends of note: Modern cameos are reappearing, as are minimalist bypass rings and related motifs such as bars and studs. With regard to silhouettes, earrings of every proportion—chandelier, stud, and stiletto drop—are widely available, speaking to the ladylike couture trend for fall that begs for feminine balance and accent on the lobes.

Long station necklaces (ideal for layering) are also still prevalent, especially among vendors with lower-priced wares. And at the higher end, Ritani debuted a massive new collection—100-plus SKUs—of stacking rings for which five stores had placed orders by day two of the invitation-only start of LUXURY.

Unquestionably, it’s such variety that motivates many to hit the JCK show floor. “I believe it’s an indicator of the world market,” said Kimberly Wells of the Potlatch in Incline Village, Nev. On day one of JCK, she was on the hunt for something “different and dramatic and big” with a definite wow factor.

Meanwhile, in bridal jewelry, shrinking center-stone sizes and rose gold are trending. Natasha Lazor of Z Folio Gallery in Solvang, Calif., told JCK her customers are asking for rose gold. And it’s a similar story on the supplier side: Vanna K and Frederic Sage are both launching rose gold bridal lines at the show due to customer demand, and Frederick Goldman made a number of its best-selling styles in rose gold this year. “Tiffany got it started with its Rubedo line,” said Jennifer Getchell, vice president of merchandising and product development at Frederick Goldman, “and we think it’s going to stick around.”