A sure sign that 2020, with its lockdowns and work-from-home mandates, is in the rearview mirror: The “Zoom earring” no longer reigns supreme.
In its place, make way for the mask-friendly necklace.
Just ask exhibitors at the Luxury fair, which opened at The Venetian Resort on Tuesday for three days of invitation-only buying before welcoming all buyers on the opening day of JCK Las Vegas.
“We’re selling very simple pendants,” said Lauren Kessler, whose New York–based Lauren K brand showed a range of gemstone pendants on trendy 18k gold paper-clip chains. “It’s a mask-life thing.”
Yossi Abrahimi, director of sales and marketing at Doves by Doron Paloma, another Luxury exhibitor, alluded to the same rationale when he noted that pendants, such as the brand’s newest collection of 18k gold medallions featuring celestial elements and signs of the zodiac, have been popular. “We don’t know if it’s a mask thing or what,” he said.
Melanie Goldfiner, director of business development at Los Angeles–based Rahaminov Diamonds, echoed the others: “We’ve been selling so many diamond line necklaces,” she said.
It stands to reason that neckwear is seeing renewed interest. Even with the Delta variant raging, people are resuming activities they opted out of last year (trade shows, for one!). Encouraged by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines urging Americans to mask up indoors regardless of vaccination status, jewelry lovers are gravitating to styles, such as pendants and bracelets, that don’t interfere with mask-wearing, according to exhibitors at Luxury.
“We’ve seen higher demand for bracelets,” said Brecken Farnsworth, co-owner of Parlé Jewelry Design in Pocatello, Idaho. “We’re getting constant requests.”
Even rings, which many people abandoned last year amid a collective obsession with handwashing, appear to have made a comeback. From the 7.15 ct. Mozambique paraiba tourmaline ring Omi Privé displayed in its central showcase to the spiky eternity band with a row of pear-shape diamonds, culets facing up, that Sylvie Collection incorporated into its new range of bands, rings—especially of the engagement variety—are driving sales as the industry heads into the fourth quarter.
“Bridal is strong across the board,” said Sylvie Levine, owner of Plano, Texas–based Sylvie Collection. “I think everybody’s had an incredible year.”
Levine attributed the category’s strength to the lockdowns of 2020: “People who had to cancel their weddings had extra money to buy two bands instead of one,” she said.
Farnsworth has also noticed an uptick in bridal sales. “One of our best sellers is a Yogo sapphire engagement ring in yellow gold,” she said, referring to the cornflower blue sapphires from Montana’s Yogo Gulch. “It’s an Instagram sweetheart.”
Other strong bets for the upcoming holiday season include pearls, the jewelry industry’s designer darlings, and crowd-pleasing symbols of spirituality, such as the carved gemstone Buddha pendants that Just Jules designer Julie Romanenko sold out of last week. She noted that jewelry rich with meaning—everything from initial pendants to pieces featuring astrological signs—has taken on new resonance in the midst of the pandemic.
“It’s like wearing an old fuzzy cashmere sweater,” Romanenko said. “It just makes you feel good.”
Top: Heart pendants and Bea necklaces in 18k gold, from $1,850; Lauren KFollow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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