Cool Girls May Ditch Their Delicate Jewelry Soon

There’s something to be said for stacking rings and dainty chain necklaces hung with fairy-size charms or a single itty-bitty diamond baguette.

Or barely there earrings that are so tiny you’re encouraged to wear several styles at once.

Or blade-thin bracelets bearing a diminutive evil eye or the slightest speck of a gemstone rondelle.

The scale of the pieces lends itself to everyday wear, which helps in justifying the price tag—important considerations for a youngish consumer just beginning to build her fine jewelry collection. One that she’s assembling herself, with her own money.

And a gazillion designers now cater to this customer. We all know the names who got there first. Many are still killing it on e-comm. A select few have graduated to the Barneys New York and Twists of the world.

But the pendulum may be about to swing in the other direction. The “darlings of delicate” are suddenly favoring bolder, richer, and chunkier proportions. And instead of charging $400 for a single opal stud earring, they’re charging 10 times that for a piece with more substance and gravitas.

Wwake gold herringbone necklace
Large 18-inch Rhodes Herringbone necklace in 10k yellow gold with opals near the clasp, $4,300; Wwake (available at Ylang 23)

What’s going on?

“I have seen this trend of designers who are known for their delicate designs, but have expanded their creativity to create more substantial pieces to attract a broader clientele while keeping their base of fans,” affirms Joanne Teichman, owner and founder of Ylang 23, in Dallas and Forth Worth, Texas. “I have also seen the reverse—traditional designers who are known for chunky jewelry and statement pieces have entered the space of dainty jewelry for a variety of reasons, including wanting to attract a younger customer or wanting to grow their business in everyday jewelry. I personally love the versatility of designers who offer both.”

Ariel Gordon necklace and ring
Designer Ariel Gordon may specialize in the daintiest jewels on the planet, but her new collection includes heftier pieces like this chain link necklace in 14k gold ($4,250) and a supersize signet ring ($2,475).

Another theory: The designers are maturing. And their success means they have more money to invest in evolving their lines. Their customer is likewise maturing, and with maturity comes career stability. And often a bigger paycheck. And if you loved jewelry in your 20s, you’re mad for it in your 30s. And you might be willing to spend a little more. Or a lot more.

Zoe Chicco gold and diamond necklace
Designer Zoë Chicco is bulking up for 2019 with this curb chain link necklace in 14k yellow gold and prong-set diamonds, $9,750.

Trends are slow to emerge and stick in fine jewelry, but a sea change may be bubbling. I can already feel it. Let’s be ready.


Top: Linked Helium Hoops in electroformed 14k yellow gold, $1,250, Ariel Gordon


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Amy Elliott

JCK Contributing Editor

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