Every month, I’ll highlight one trend from the 12 Jewelry Trends for 2013 post on my Style 360 blog—an editorial first look at new collections worldwide and expert market analysis on jewelry trends and new products. My colleague Brittany Siminitz, manager of JCK Marketplace—an expansive online showroom of gorgeous merchandise sold at the JCK shows—will do the same on her On Your Market blog.
Amber just might be the unsung darling of the gemstone world. It’s affordable (you can buy pieces at shows for just a few dollars), lightweight (making it ideal for fashioning into huge statement pieces), and well storied (the fossilized tree resin can serve as a time capsule, sometimes trapping visible insects).
According to GIA, the oldest piece of amber known dates to the Carboniferous period. Like coral, amber is an organic gem—the product of once-living organisms. Many pieces are available in brown hues (though blackish tones can be found when bark bonds to sap) and are found in a select few places worldwide, including Myanmar, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Russia. But the Baltic Sea region of Poland is arguably the largest producer.
Today, designers are setting diamonds into amber, using it as accents on other accessories (see the scarf below), and pairing its warm hues with rich yellow gold for a decidedly more upscale offering. But the Polish design community, most evident at the annual Amberif fair held in Gdansk, Poland, may be the most loyal and innovative fans of the material since it’s mined, basically, in their backyards, and they are partial to making the rugged-looking gem pop in modern-looking settings.
Scarf with amber and silver, price unavailable at press time; Nobless Silver
Ring, pendant, and earrings in wood, amber, and silver, respectively €30, €40, and €20; Dobkowski Art of Amber
Silver brooch with Baltic amber flowers, $49; Amber Studio
Rings in silver with amber, $60; Art7
Butterfly ring in 14k gold-plated silver with amber, $148; Ambermix
Ring in silver with Baltic amber, €185; Enzo
Pendant necklace in silver with Baltic amber, $250; Amber-Ring
Ring in silver with amber, $650; Motyle(firstname.lastname@example.org)
Melissa amber wrap necklace with sterling silver, $2,330; Yossi Harari
Earrings in 18k rose gold with Dominican amber, $3,240; Lucifer vir Honestus
Pendant necklace and ring in silver with Baltic amber from the Temptation collection, designed for a runway fashion show, that earned recognition from the Polish Fashion Academy for their design, $5,200 and $4,800, respectively; Aleksander Gliwinski
Baltic amber heart necklace in 18k gold with 0.60 ct. t.w. diamond slide, $10,000; Barbara Westwood