It really was the year of the earring
My resolution for 2016 was to take a simpler, more classic approach to life. And by life, I pretty much mean shopping. And clearly this year, I wasn’t the only one yearning for less—but better—things. I at least attempted (and most times succeeded) to restrict my purchases to classic, investment(ish) pieces: a great black dress, shoes I’d never tire of wearing, a solid range of white V-neck tees (boring, but practical nonetheless). As I look back, I’m pretty proud of my shift toward making smarter purchases this year—but that doesn’t mean I didn’t cave for a few trends. And truly, the “War on Stuff” could be classified as a trend itself: 2016 was the year of Marie Kondo, and Goop’s Lean Closet Movement. It was the year when brands like Cuyana reigned supreme, and a number of other retailers gave it a go with capsule collections (a long-honored tradition but arguably one of the biggest buzzwords in fashion this year). I found it cathartic to clear my home of all the things I didn’t need, things I had forgotten I even owned. But jewelry? Somehow with jewelry, I acquired more. Because in the quest to own fewer, but higher quality, things, I apparently couldn’t get enough of high-quality jewelry. And that, my friends, is the beauty of these creations. Because while there will always be jewelry trends—or lifestyle trends, really—there will also always be designs that stand the test of time. Pieces that meet the criteria for what’s currently in demand, sure, but that will also outlast the roller-coaster ride of those demands.
Will these trends see the light of day in 2017? Most likely yes, but surely others will come to eclipse them. Will the jewels themselves, however, really go out of style? Not while there are jewelry lovers—and wearers—in this world. And we come ready and willing to show them off. Here are my 5 favorite jewelry trends from 2016, accompanied by the jewels that will no doubt be loved forever.
Stud Earring Mania
Was 2016 ever the year of the stud earring, or what? We traded our ring stacks for groups of teeny studs, and even went so far as to get more, permanent piercings to accommodate them all. It is without a doubt the reason I find myself with way more jewelry than I intended to exit 2016 with (though I wouldn’t dream of filing that as a complaint). My bets are on 2017 to remain the year of the earring, though it’ll be exciting to see what variations will come along the way.
Bar earrings in 14k rose gold with 0.05 ct. t.w. diamonds, $240; Shy Creation
Read: Everyone Loves a Stud
Bar stud earrings in 14k yellow gold with 0.07 ct. t.w. pink sapphires, $325; EF Collection
Pavla earrings in 18k yellow gold with 0.7 ct. t.w. green tourmaline and 0.04 ct. t.w. diamonds, $700; Ayva Jewelry
Tiny inverted cross earrings in black rhodium–plated sterling silver with diamonds, $695; Dana Bronfman
Raising the Bar
The bar necklace is a staple anyway, but this year, it was especially in the spotlight (and the perfect example of what I’m talking about in my long-winded intro to this blog post). From the simple to the curved to those dotted with diamonds and gemstones, there was no shortage of options to covet.
Bar necklace in 18k yellow gold with 2 cts. t.w. silver brilliant diamonds and 0.16 ct. t.w. white brilliant diamonds, $11,550; Todd Reed
Gladiator bar necklace in 18k yellow gold with 0.77 ct. t.w. black diamonds, $3,300; Doryn Wallach
Read: Raising the Bar
Shooting Star necklace in sterling silver with CZ, $310; Martha Seely
Read: Ahead of the Curve
The Mega Earring
In contrast to the tiny-stud trend, large, sweeping earrings got lots of love in 2016. Huge hoops, shoulder-dusting drops, and waterfall-esque danglers were exciting on the runways and red carpets, and IRL, too.
Chain fringe earrings in 18k yellow gold with sapphires, $3,960; Amáli Jewelry
Wheel earrings in 18k rose gold with 46.64 cts. t.w. Brazilian Paraiba slices, 14.22 cts. t.w. tourmalines, 3.62 cts. t.w. champagne diamonds, and 0.36 ct. t.w. pavé diamonds, $17,620; Bavna
Cirque Aerial Silk long drop earrings in 18k yellow gold with yellow beryl; pink, yellow, and green tourmaline; yellow, magenta, and purple sapphires; aquamarine; and amethyst, $8,525; Jane Taylor Jewelry
In an effort to stand out from the crowd, more brides this year were saying, “Yes, I’ll marry you” to styles far from the traditional halo engagement ring. From short departures like rose-cut and fancy colored diamonds to the other end of the spectrum (wide bands, pearls, cocktail rings, even), alternative bridal was a hot topic. As shoppers look to hold deeper, meaningful relationships with their (smaller amount of) possessions, I predict that 2017 will see more of the same, with a desire to get engaged with handcrafted, artisan pieces, or custom designs incorporating family stones. Stay tuned.
Ring in 18k yellow gold with 1.38 ct. pink tourmaline and 0.17 ct. t.w. diamonds, $2,600; Audrius Krulis
Skinny Pebbles ring in 18k and palladium with 6 mm trillion blue sapphire and 0.2 ct. t.w. rose-cut diamonds, $2,450; Rona Fisher
Vivaan Bridals icy rose-cut ring in 18k white gold with 3.52 cts. t.w. diamonds, $4,650; Vivaan
Read: Life in a Bezel
The ’90s Called (It Wants to Give the Choker Back)
If you haven’t been bombarded with grunge-inspired fashion—floral baby-doll dresses, leather jackets, ridiculously ripped jeans, flannel-and–concert tee pairings—then you must be avoiding fashion at all costs. The ’90s came back with a ferocity that was welcomed by some, condemned by others (I personally loved it, the golden era gave us Britney Spears and boy bands). But with those styles came the choker necklace, and while, yes, some resorted to a simple ribbon-around-the-neck trick (which actually looks good!), we were honored with some crazy, sexy, cool (1994 TLC reference, you’re welcome) iterations. And they don’t seem to be slowing down as we move into 2017.
Arrowhead & Chain choker necklace in suede and 14k yellow gold with 0.35 ct. t.w. diamonds, $3,650; Fern Freeman
Starburst choker in 14k rose gold and leather with labradorite, $1,665; Jacquie Aiche
Bonus Microtrend: The Lapel Pin
Arguably short-lived, the pin craze had many shopping on Etsy for pop culture–referencing pins and digging through their old Disney collections to adorn denim jackets and backpacks. While I personally feel that the urgent demand for emoji and LaCroix sparkling water pins has passed (though not completely), there still remains a love for the cute little accessories, and when it comes to the fine jewelry versions—we won’t worry about the want for those, will we? There’s always a place for those.
American flag lapel pin with rubies, sapphires, and diamonds, price on request; Oscar Heyman