Back to Classics for Spring Fashion

Classic themes, subtle or traditional colors, and drop silhouettes emerged as the key jewelry fashion trends at the VicenzaOro 1 show held Jan. 12-19 in Vicenza, Italy.

Hearts and crosses remain two of the strongest design themes for 2003, but designers are interpreting these traditional favorites through innovative forms. Pasquale Bruni, for example, takes his favorite word—amore—and crafts it in white gold and diamond pavé, then weaves it into crosses. Hearts, meanwhile, are slightly askew in simple heart pendants from Fope or clustered to form clovers at Valente.

Charms were one of the most popular styles at Vicenza. They were used not only in traditional charm bracelets—this time by higher-end companies like German designer Gert Hellmuth—but also in more unusual ways. Stefan Hafner, for example, uses small gemstone pavé or briolette charms to adorn gemstone pavé rings.

Classic themes also employed color. Along with sapphire and diamond, ruby is emerging as a favorite stone for the season among leading designers. Hafner, for example, unveiled lines heavy in vibrant rubies rather than the soft pastels he favored last year.

Not all is tradition, however, and spring fashion’s call for pastel colors resulted in the increased use of gemstones such as moonstone and mother-of-pearl. Bibigi, for example, used the latter—in soft pink, gold, or gray—to freshen the look of new collections.

Fashion also dictates a continuation of drop-style necklaces and earrings. Many jewelry designers are mimicking the flowing silhouettes that characterize spring fashion, but some have merged that soft fluidity with the hard geometry of Art Deco design. American icon Robert Lee Morris, for example, linked Deco-inspired geometric shapes to form the drops in new drop earrings.

Circles and ovals are the favorite shapes of the season, showing up in large circle cocktail rings, oval chain links by Nanis, and faceted oval gemstones by Antonini.

Meanwhile, demand from international buyers is forcing high-end jewelry manufacturers to re-examine price points. While many are creating smaller or lower-priced collections, others are cutting costs by using less-precious materials in more of their creations. The use of rubber, leather, and silk cords, for example, seemed to reach all-time highs, this year interpreting the multi-strand trend seen last year in metal necklaces.

Finally, as if to defy fear and anxiety, some designers offered a whimsical escape from global economic and political woes. Zydo, for example, bases a new line on a mushroom motif, Fope offers electroform animal pendants, and companies like Valente send a message with “lucky” four-leaf clovers.