The 5 Best Jewelry Trends From 2016

It really was the year of the earring

My resolution for 2016 was to take a simpler, more classic approach to life. And by life, I pretty much mean shopping. And clearly this year, I wasn’t the only one yearning for less—but better—things. I at least attempted (and most times succeeded) to restrict my purchases to classic, investment(ish) pieces: a great black dress, shoes I’d never tire of wearing, a solid range of white V-neck tees (boring, but practical nonetheless). As I look back, I’m pretty proud of my shift toward making smarter purchases this year—but that doesn’t mean I didn’t cave for a few trends. And truly, the “War on Stuff” could be classified as a trend itself: 2016 was the year of Marie Kondo, and Goop’s Lean Closet Movement. It was the year when brands like Cuyana reigned supreme, and a number of other retailers gave it a go with capsule collections (a long-honored tradition but arguably one of the biggest buzzwords in fashion this year). I found it cathartic to clear my home of all the things I didn’t need, things I had forgotten I even owned. But jewelry? Somehow with jewelry, I acquired more. Because in the quest to own fewer, but higher quality, things, I apparently couldn’t get enough of high-quality jewelry. And that, my friends, is the beauty of these creations. Because while there will always be jewelry trends—or lifestyle trends, really—there will also always be designs that stand the test of time. Pieces that meet the criteria for what’s currently in demand, sure, but that will also outlast the roller-coaster ride of those demands.

Will these trends see the light of day in 2017? Most likely yes, but surely others will come to eclipse them. Will the jewels themselves, however, really go out of style? Not while there are jewelry lovers—and wearers—in this world. And we come ready and willing to show them off. Here are my 5 favorite jewelry trends from 2016, accompanied by the jewels that will no doubt be loved forever.

Stud Earring Mania

Was 2016 ever the year of the stud earring, or what? We traded our ring stacks for groups of teeny studs, and even went so far as to get more, permanent piercings to accommodate them all. It is without a doubt the reason I find myself with way more jewelry than I intended to exit 2016 with (though I wouldn’t dream of filing that as a complaint). My bets are on 2017 to remain the year of the earring, though it’ll be exciting to see what variations will come along the way.

Shy Creation diamond bar earrings | JCK On Your Market

Bar earrings in 14k rose gold with 0.05 ct. t.w. diamonds, $240; Shy Creation

Read: Everyone Loves a Stud

EF Collection pink sapphire bar stud earrings

Bar stud earrings in 14k yellow gold with 0.07 ct. t.w. pink sapphires, $325; EF Collection

Read: Summer Jewelry Must-Have: Little Color Pops

Ayva Jewelry green tourmaline Pavla earrings | JCK On Your Market

Pavla earrings in 18k yellow gold with 0.7 ct. t.w. green tourmaline and 0.04 ct. t.w. diamonds, $700; Ayva Jewelry

Read: Small but Mighty: Tiny Earrings to Wear in Groups

Dana Bronfman tiny cross stud earrings | JCK On Your Market

Tiny inverted cross earrings in black rhodium–plated sterling silver with diamonds, $695; Dana Bronfman

Read: Friday 5: Little Climbers

Raising the Bar

The bar necklace is a staple anyway, but this year, it was especially in the spotlight (and the perfect example of what I’m talking about in my long-winded intro to this blog post). From the simple to the curved to those dotted with diamonds and gemstones, there was no shortage of options to covet.

Todd Reed diamond bar necklace | JCK On Your Market

Bar necklace in 18k yellow gold with 2 cts. t.w. silver brilliant diamonds and 0.16 ct. t.w. white brilliant diamonds, $11,550; Todd Reed

Read: The Ultimate in Layering: Luxe Necklaces From Todd Reed

Doryn Wallach Gladiator bar necklace | JCK On Your Market

Gladiator bar necklace in 18k yellow gold with 0.77 ct. t.w. black diamonds, $3,300; Doryn Wallach

Read: Raising the Bar

Martha Seely Shooting Star necklace | JCK On Your Market

Shooting Star necklace in sterling silver with CZ, $310; Martha Seely

Read: Ahead of the Curve

The Mega Earring

In contrast to the tiny-stud trend, large, sweeping earrings got lots of love in 2016. Huge hoops, shoulder-dusting drops, and waterfall-esque danglers were exciting on the runways and red carpets, and IRL, too.

Amali Jewelry sapphire fringe drop earrings | JCK On Your Market

Chain fringe earrings in 18k yellow gold with sapphires, $3,960; Amáli Jewelry

Read: The Latest Look in Earrings: Go Big or Go Home

Bavna multicolor tourmaline earrings| JCK On Your Market

Wheel earrings in 18k rose gold with 46.64 cts. t.w. Brazilian Paraiba slices, 14.22 cts. t.w. tourmalines, 3.62 cts. t.w. champagne diamonds, and 0.36 ct. t.w. pavé diamonds, $17,620; Bavna

Read: Why Wear Jewelry Unless You Can See It From Space?

Jane Taylor Jewelry Cirque Aerial long drop earrings | JCK On Your Market

Cirque Aerial Silk long drop earrings in 18k yellow gold with yellow beryl; pink, yellow, and green tourmaline; yellow, magenta, and purple sapphires; aquamarine; and amethyst, $8,525; Jane Taylor Jewelry

Read: Earring Obsession: The Long Tiered Drop

Alternative Bridal

In an effort to stand out from the crowd, more brides this year were saying, “Yes, I’ll marry you” to styles far from the traditional halo engagement ring. From short departures like rose-cut and fancy colored diamonds to the other end of the spectrum (wide bands, pearls, cocktail rings, even), alternative bridal was a hot topic. As shoppers look to hold deeper, meaningful relationships with their (smaller amount of) possessions, I predict that 2017 will see more of the same, with a desire to get engaged with handcrafted, artisan pieces, or custom designs incorporating family stones. Stay tuned.

Audrius Krulis pink tourmaline and diamond ring | JCK On Your Market

Ring in 18k yellow gold with 1.38 ct. pink tourmaline and 0.17 ct. t.w. diamonds, $2,600; Audrius Krulis

Read: Engagement Rings for Anyone Saying “I Do” to Different

Rona Fisher sapphire trillion Skinny Pebbles ring | JCK On Your Market

Skinny Pebbles ring in 18k and palladium with 6 mm trillion blue sapphire and 0.2 ct. t.w. rose-cut diamonds, $2,450; Rona Fisher

Read: 4 Bridal Collections to See at JCK Las Vegas and LUXURY 2016

Vivaan Bridals icy rose-cut diamond ring | JCK On Your Market

Vivaan Bridals icy rose-cut ring in 18k white gold with 3.52 cts. t.w. diamonds, $4,650; Vivaan

Read: Life in a Bezel

The ’90s Called (It Wants to Give the Choker Back)

If you haven’t been bombarded with grunge-inspired fashion—floral baby-doll dresses, leather jackets, ridiculously ripped jeans, flannel-and–concert tee pairings—then you must be avoiding fashion at all costs. The ’90s came back with a ferocity that was welcomed by some, condemned by others (I personally loved it, the golden era gave us Britney Spears and boy bands). But with those styles came the choker necklace, and while, yes, some resorted to a simple ribbon-around-the-neck trick (which actually looks good!), we were honored with some crazy, sexy, cool (1994 TLC reference, you’re welcome) iterations. And they don’t seem to be slowing down as we move into 2017.

Fern Freeman suede and pave diamond choker | JCK On Your Market

Arrowhead & Chain choker necklace in suede and 14k yellow gold with 0.35 ct. t.w. diamonds, $3,650; Fern Freeman

Read: It’s Time to Embrace the Choker Necklace

Jacquie Aiche starburst leather choker | JCK On Your Market

Starburst choker in 14k rose gold and leather with labradorite, $1,665; Jacquie Aiche

Read: Leather Jewelry 100 Percent Necessary for Fall

Bonus Microtrend: The Lapel Pin

Arguably short-lived, the pin craze had many shopping on Etsy for pop culture–referencing pins and digging through their old Disney collections to adorn denim jackets and backpacks. While I personally feel that the urgent demand for emoji and LaCroix sparkling water pins has passed (though not completely), there still remains a love for the cute little accessories, and when it comes to the fine jewelry versions—we won’t worry about the want for those, will we? There’s always a place for those.

Oscar Heyman 'droopy flag' lapel pin | JCK On Your Market

American flag lapel pin with rubies, sapphires, and diamonds, price on request; Oscar Heyman

Read: Oscar Heyman’s Flag Brooches Elevate the Lapel Pin Trend