12 Jewelry Design Highlights From the Baselworld Fair

What was hot in jewelry at Baselworld 2012? Here are 12 notable styles, materials, and trends that I saw during the annual fair. You may recognize some from my “12 Jewelry Trends for 2012,” which is a good sign that we’re all on the right track for sales this year!

Blue. The color blue coordinates well with Tangerine Tango, the Pantone Color Institute’s Color of the Year, and is appearing with greater frequency in the collections of jewelry (think Staurino) and clothing designers alike. Olympian Blue is also one of Pantone’s picks for fall.

Convertible Jewels. Brooches that can be worn as pins, and bracelets that convert to rings … these and more were evident at Jacob & Co., Autore, and others, and appeal to consumers who want a touch of practicality in their big-ticket purchases.

Jade. Carla Amorim showed nephrite jade pieces while Mikimoto introduced jewelry set with “icy” jade—a first for the brand, according to a spokesperson—featured for its rarity. The material struck a chord with buyers from Russia and Qatar.

One-Of-A-Kinds. Abundant at Jacob & Co. and Schreiner Jewellery, a number of special pieces sold early to those with customers for whom money is no object.

Opals. Mikimoto added more white opal jewels this year (including three one-of-a-kinds, which had all sold out on the first day of the show). Also, because the material is so popular, be sure to observe the GIA’s notes on synthetic goods appearing in the market.

Orange or Tangerine Tango. The Pantone Color Institute’s Color of the Year was evident at the high and low ends—from mandarin garnets to carnelian—and will ride a wave of popularity throughout 2012.

Oversize Gemstones, Including Slices. Marco Bicego showed new earrings featuring sliced gemstones, while Roberto Coin debuted massive cuts of colored stones in pendants for the benefit of his Russian buyers.

Pearls. From freshwater to South Seas, pearls are becoming a prevalent choice for focal points in jewelry. Mikimoto showed a new collection of akoyas to hit an entry-level price, and at the high end, natural pearls sold very well in Hall 3.0.

Silver. It’s still an option for high-end brands that want more affordable entry prices. The latest to join the ranks of the sterling makers is Italian firm Vendorafa, which showed weighty cuffs with nature motifs at the show.

Snakes. Next year’s Asian calendar marks the year of the serpent, and some designers, including Roberto Coin and Picchiotti, got a head start on new snake motifs.

Statement Necklaces. Diamond and gemstone collars à la Stefan Hafner and others will coordinate well with fall’s high necklines.

Tribal. Mattioli debuted the African Queen collection featuring jet, David Yurman added items to his Black and Yellow collection, and Chopard added a few more beasts—including a Pink Panther with diamonds—to its Animal World menagerie.