How Sustainable Are Current Jewelry Trends Right Now?

The official definition of a trend—this according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary—is “a prevailing tendency or inclination,” “a general movement,” or “a current style or preference.” The meaning of the word is something that seems obvious, but in order for a trend to be sustainable, it needs continued support. Usually, in terms of fashion and accessories, that looks something like the styles spotted on the street, worn by celebrities and other popular figures, in-store displays, and so on.

But we aren’t seeing people on the street. We aren’t shopping in-store. Film and television production has shut down, so sponsored trends aren’t able to reach us there, either. What we do have, thankfully, is the alternate—probably even preferred—avenue of digital, one that makes it possible to buy online, purchasing items at the tap of a finger when we see people wearing things we like.

Trends in and of themselves will continue—they’re nearly as certain as death and taxes—but the question is, what will they look like going forward? Take the current most popular jewelry looks, for example. Many of them—layered necklaces, mix-and-match earrings—will endure. They’re light, easy to wear, and very internet friendly. What you see is what you get, for the most part, no investigative loupe required, no question of scale when styled on a person or shown clustered with other jewelry. Much of it is readily available, too, so jewelers are able to grant online orders without having access to their benches (this is, unfortunately, not the case for all).

But how about some of the grander trends? Like earrings—they were having a big moment. All kinds, not just studs (though, come to think of it, piercing parties are definitely on hold): long, shoulder-dusting danglers, huge hoops (actually, hoops of sizes), mobile-style drops, and mismatched pairs. How are those perceived given the current situation?

We love them, yes. We covet them. But do we purchase them? Are they practical to wear around the house, all dressed up (or not) with nowhere to go? (Retailers and designers, are you selling these right now?)

There will be shoppers who are able to make such purchases, delighting in things that make them feel good (as one should, if one is able!). But in general, for the average customer, some of the loftier trends—the ones that deserve to be peacocked about—might take a backseat. Not forever. But for now.

Do we stop dreaming of, cheering for, and creating detailed, one-of-a-kind, statement pieces and the like? Certainly not. To do so would be declaring a moratorium on all things fun and beautiful, and creativity and appreciation for art does not stop. Ideally, when this is over and life goes back to some kind of (however altered) normal, it will be these distinctive styles shoppers want most, a celebratory purchase. Just as we sometimes purchase back-to-school clothes, maybe we’ll shop for back-to-normalish goods too.

There will be business again, and there will be demand for major jewelry, from classic to the trendiest and everything in between. Knowing that may give jewelers faith, but it doesn’t necessarily help them to plan. It would take a very keen eye to know just what to stock for the holiday season, since we don’t even know what the world will look like by then.

I don’t have an exact answer to the question I posed in the title of this article—to have that would require a larger sense of consumer demand, which seems to vary quite a lot, depending on location, spending power, so on. I have an inkling that the simple answer is, yes, some of the current jewelry trends are sort of on hold right now. Or not even on hold, so much as just demanded in a different spirit. Big earrings may not be super friendly to those wearing face masks, since they might get in the way when slipping the mask’s straps over the ears. On the other hand, a pair of spectacular earrings would really help to dress up such a dismal, albeit necessary, new accessory. And anything that can be spotted and admired from the designated six feet away is darn good to me.

So, to rehash: jewelry trends—not the same as they were even a month ago. Consumer demand and spending—definitely not the same. Which leaves this editor in a bit of a pickle, frankly, given that my specialty is jewelry trends, and my passion is to help creators get their product in front of retail and consumer eyes. So what makes sense to report on now? What are consumers asking of you, retailers and designers? How do we keep moving forward and do our best to help independent businesses?

Please, email me, message me, and comment below—I really want to get this right. What kind of things do you want to read about right now?

Top: Chrona chandelier earrings in 18k yellow gold with 14.8 cts. t.w. pink sapphires, 4.39 cts. t.w. purple sapphires, 0.45 ct. t.w. kite-shape diamonds, and 0.35 ct. t.w. diamonds, $43,200; Vram

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JCK Contributing Editor

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