If you’re not already up on these trends, you’re officially late to the party. But like your favorite guests, they’re sticking around for a bit (well into 2022, in fact). So get up, stand up, and stock up!
Will the trends and categories you bought into in 2021 retain their viability in 2022? While analyzing your holiday 2021 sell-through and margins is your best barometer, we asked a mix of brand executives, buyers, retailers, and trend whisperers for a read on what’s hot now—and what will continue to sizzle in the coming months. A sure thing: You can’t go wrong with the classics (like 1980s classic). Plus our experts throw in a few surprises.
Man, That’s Hot
Men’s jewelry gained a staggering amount of momentum in 2021, from men in pearls to an unprecedented influx of new men’s collections by existing and emerging brands alike.
Tiffany Bayley, owner of Avalon Park Jewelers in Orlando, Fla., reports that “between 2018 and October of 2021, my men’s fashion jewelry sales have increased by nearly 600% and this year will account for nearly 12% of my annual sales.”
Looking ahead, jewelry consultants are seeing designers diversify their lines to include men’s or unisex pieces. “Many stores have conveyed to me a need and demand for bracelets and necklaces that will speak to their male clientele,” says Amalia Keramitsis, a jewelry sales and branding consultant, who has placed brands at Saks Fifth Avenue and Moda Operandi. “Almost all of the brands I am now working with have some designs in development that will be in direct response to this feedback.”
Since the early days of the pandemic, retailers have been reporting a resurgence of bridal sales, with buyers ranging from engaged couples to marrieds looking to upgrade. “What is really a huge trend that is here to stay: fancy shapes, including emerald, cushion, pear, hexagon, and oval,” says Severine Ferrari, editor in chief of Engagement 101. “I honestly thought that ovals were going a little out of style, and then boom, Kourtney Kardashian relaunched the trend,” Ferrari adds, referring to the reality star’s October 2021 engagement to Travis Barker.
At Hyde Park Jewelers in Denver, diamond buyer Heather Ingraham says she will continue to invest in large, fancy shape eternity bands. And savvy jewelers should plan to have plenty of fresh baguette styles (halos, bands, everything in between) in the oven, er, case!
“Is it me, or does the entire female population need a tennis bracelet right now?”
Someone recently posted this question on the Jewelers Helping Jewelers Facebook group. The query perfectly illustrates the extent to which the category is thriving. Tennis necklaces and even classic rivières are also serving up serious sales opportunities, with no end in sight.
“I think a tennis necklace is as close to a dream piece as you can get, the perfect amount of sparkle for day, and because of where it sits on the neck, it’s great for layering with longer pieces,” says Shelley Sanders, cofounder and creative director of the Los Angeles–based fine jewelry brand The Last Line. “We see a lot of people wearing what may have traditionally been seen as an evening piece and styling more casually.”
Casual and Convertible
Navigating the pandemic has proven to be quite the roller coaster ride. The unpredictable news around surges and variants means that socializing in grand style, complete with chandelier earrings and bib necklaces, has to wait. As such, the desired look overall—at least for this precise moment—remains on the casual side. But versatility is key—and not just from the standpoint of jewelry that can transition from a workday (in pajamas) to a date night.
“This past year, customers gravitated toward pieces that convert or transform,” says Rachel Skelly, cofounder and chief creative officer of Cast, a San Francisco–based jewelry brand that debuted earlier this year. “Rings that flip to reveal a different look, drop earrings that become pendants, necklaces that can be worn at different lengths or convert to a shorter necklace and bracelet set. We predict that the demand for convertible investment pieces will continue through next year, and we’re excited to see the design innovation that will arise from this trend.”
“Yellow gold continues to be a driving force,” says Melissa Geiser, fine jewelry buyer at Stanley Korshak, a high-end department store in Dallas. “People are still looking for innovative, beautiful, wearable pieces in gold—that’s the thrust of everything.”
Consider this the green light to stock up on wear-everyday gold jewelry styles, especially those that allow for personalization, such as charms and medallions, whether newly minted or vintage. “Vintage charms have been popular for several years now, and we see no sign of that trend abating,” says Anthony Barzilay Freund, editorial director at e-tailer 1stDibs, adding that contemporary gold ear climbers and ear cuffs will continue to spark demand as will chunky gold statement jewelry.
Without a doubt, 2021 was the year of the gold chain, with paper-clip chains leading the charge as a new jewelry wardrobe essential. This will not change in 2022. And smart retailers are revving up for the return of the gold chain with an abundance of San Marcos styles, snake chains, and chunky Cuban links (for men, too).
“Gold chains are classic and have inherent and lasting value—we all want to invest, and wear, items that are tried and true,” says NYC Jewelry Week cofounder JB Jones. “The past two years have been so unpredictable and overwhelming for so many of us, and on so many fronts, those jewelry items that we know we will always love will continue to be extra desirable.”
Layer Days Ahead
Speaking of gold chains and tennis necklaces, the layering trend is here to stay, especially since the “mask-friendly necklace”—think pendants—emerged as the must-have item coming out of this year’s JCK Las Vegas show. That means the “neck mess”—often starring the aforementioned, ubiquitous, and still highly coveted paper-clip chain—is sticking around as well.
The imperative for retailers? “Show how to layer and sell in layers, so that the customer doesn’t have to style the necklaces or bracelets themselves,” Jen Cullen Williams, a jewelry marketing and communications consultant, said during a JCK Las Vegas 2021 panel discussion.
Moody Blues—and Greens
Bold hues, with an emphasis on blues and greens, are the ticket this year (and most years).
Bayley predicted a blue trend back in June, and now her instincts are paying off with a “Blue Christmas” defined by blue topaz, peacock blue sapphires, and parti tourmaline.
If Pantone’s pick for 2022 color of the year—the brand-new Very Peri, “a dynamic periwinkle blue hue with a vivifying violet red undertone,” according to the Carlstadt, N.J.–based self-proclaimed color authority—is any indication, the blue mood will continue well into 2022.
But don’t count out green just yet. Scott Friedman, director of business development and master gemologist appraiser for the International Gemological Institute, says he’s seen “a rise in the number of laboratory submissions and requests for green gemstones such as emeralds and also tsavorite garnets.”
But why? Possibly because “the color green has been popping up everywhere in the luxury industry, from trendy handbags like Bottega Veneta’s signature “racing green” to home decor elements such as paints and textiles, says Marianne Fisher, managing director of The Jewelers Circle, a trade platform for estate and luxury jewelry dealers, and owner of Paul Fisher Jewelry. “There’s a craving among consumers worldwide for calmness and connection to nature, something that will catch your eye but will also hold value.”
On the supplier front, Melissa Spalten, owner of M. Spalten Fine Jewelry, a line heavy on multicolored gemstones, reports that clients have been asking for her signature heart-shaped stones in bold, vivid colors, including “unusual stones like chrome diopside, kyanite, and apatite.” Opals and Sleeping Beauty turquoise, too. And don’t forget the teal sapphires and spinel—in every color you can get your hands on.
Top photo: (clockwise from left) Reflexion IV platinum ring with 3 ct. elongated shield-cut diamond and white diamond pavé, Reflexion XI platinum ring with 3.05 ct. lozenge-cut diamond and white diamond pavé, Reflection VIII platinum ring with 1.51 ct. shield-cut diamond and white diamond pavé; all prices on request; Eva Fehren
Homepage photo: Loggia cuff in 22k yellow gold, $70,000; Loren Nicole