JCK Virtual 2020: Shoppers Want “Personal” Jewelry With “Gravitas”

In these uncertain times, consumers are craving “personal” jewelry with a certain “gravitas,” a panel of style experts said during a JCK Talks webinar on Luxury Trends hosted by JCK editor-in-chief-Victoria Gomelsky on Monday.

Randi Molofsky, cofounder of For Future Reference, a brand development agency, has seen continuing demand for “medallion necklaces” and “beaded jewelry” with “bold and bigger stones.”

Consumers also seek custom-made pieces, she said.

“Even though there’s a lot going on in the world, and maybe [people] are freaked out to spend money, they want jewelry because they know it will last forever, but it also speaks to them in a way that will help them commemorate this moment in time,” she said.

She added that buyers are also looking for “ease and comfort” in the jewelry, given that most are working from home in sweatpants and T-shirts.

Marion Fasel, founder and editorial director of The Adventurine, said that she’s noticing a lot of “nonnatural colors” on the market.

“At first, I thought, What the heck is that?” she said. “And then I thought, I really want that.”

Fasel said that a lot of designers are “reinventing” past trends, such as pearls and talismans.

Both Molofsky and Fasel agreed that diversity is more important now than ever.

“It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s good business,” Fasel said. “We have been doing  profiles of Black jewelry designers. Once the light has shown on them, they are really receiving great response to their work. One designer I interviewed said his site crashed. There is a desire from the public, they want to see new faces.”

Tracey Ellison, known as @TheDiamondsGirl on Instagram, said that her followers still respond to jewelry-related content.

“In the midst of everything that is going on around us, it seems almost frivolous to be posting about diamonds and to be so enthusiastic about jewelry, ” she said. “But certainly the feedback from my followers has been: It’s a welcome distraction, whatever you do, don’t stop. Sometimes in the darkest times, you need a little distraction and a little bit of entertainment to keep going.”

She said that consumers are still focused on sustainability and want brands to donate to charities.

“Those brands that really have stepped up, it’s going to help them,” she said.

Kareem Rashed, style editor with Robb Report, called it a “really challenging time” but said the “highest end of the market” is doing well right now.

“Jewelry is in a really good position, because it’s one of those things that has inherent value, and that’s one of the things that is driving people to purchase,” he said. “Jewelry is something you can have in your house with you when you’re in lockdown. It’s so personal. It’s one of the things that you can justify buying.”

Rashed found a “real interest in collectible designs.”

“People are willing to spend if it’s something with gravitas,” he said.

He also found interest in charms and talismanic pieces.

Both Rashed and Ellison agreed that the collectible watch market was hot, with watches going for “insane prices” at auction, according to Rashed.

He also predicted that while statement pieces may not be big now, that could change when we finally get past COVID-19.

“Once we can finally exhale and we can go out again, there will be a big desire to dress to the nines,” he said. “Don’t underestimate the desire for those big evening numbers.”

Top: Harwell Godfrey’s Black Onyx Heart talisman, which to date has raised more than $82,000 for the NAACP (image courtesy of Harwell Godfrey)  

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JCK News Director