Trend Watch: Inside JCK Las Vegas 2018

What were jewelers at JCK Las Vegas looking for? A little of everything—plus a lot of color, yellow gold, and fine fashion.

Lika Behar bracelet
22k gold Stockholm cross-wire open cuff bracelet; $7,920; Lika Behar

In lean times, jewelry retailers generally stick to a narrow shopping list of proven sellers and obvious trends at trade shows. Considering the wide variety of styles and jewelry types on the wish lists of several retailers we spoke with on day one of JCK Las Vegas and day two of LUXURY, that’s definitely not the case this year.

With the jewelry industry seeing gains in 2017 and 2018—particularly on the high-end side— and the stable economy encouraging risk-taking, the must-haves on retailers’ lists for Las Vegas Jewelry Week ran the gamut.

Michael Hopper, co-owner of Coconut Grove, Fla., store H&H Jewels, was looking for yellow gold fine fashion, particularly “gold hoops that are plain and gold hoops with diamonds.” Also on his list: pieces with faceted opaque stones, “big bold statement rings,” and necklaces “with versatility.” (Hopper ordered a series of adjustable-length gold necklaces from Diabella.)

Also on the lookout for necklaces—and elements to incorporate into necklaces—was Marilyn Cahill of Diamonds of Splendor in Palm Desert, Calif. “Long necklaces with natural stones are doing really well for us,” said Cahill. “So we’re here looking for colored stones and diamonds.”

Just Jules turquoise drops
Drop earrings with 40 cts. t.w. natural Patagonia turquoise and 0.22 ct. t.w. diamonds in 14k yellow gold; $4,000; Just Jules

Francois Perreault, co-owner of the Bijouterie Gérald Perreault in Quebec, Canada’s Joliette, was searching the aisles for unique yellow gold fine fashion pieces and white gold engagement rings and wedding bands. “We’re also here to find loose diamonds and to see the new trends that are coming out,” he added.

According to the retailers we chatted with, the popularity of yellow gold is only growing. And many exhibitors, including Lika Behar, Herco, Murad Jewellery, and Cetinol, are showcasing hammered gold—a here-again trend that’s just starting to crest.

“People are really responding to the craftsmanship of our hand-hammered pieces,” said Nazly Botas, cofounder of 24k gold collection Cevherun. “It’s taken Americans a little while to understand the value of high-karat gold, but they’re definitely beginning to.”

Weaving through all the yellow gold is lots of color: Colored gems and colorful enamel remain popular with collections on all price tiers. Where once such bold, vividly hued pieces were considered fringe offerings for rare lovers of outré design, they’re now part of the core merchandise mix for many retailers.

Royal Chain tassel
14k yellow gold tassel necklace; $799; Royal Chain

“I think people are feeling the need for something bright in their lives,” said designer Julie Romanenko, founder of the Just Jules collection, which is full of colorful statement earrings incorporating tourmaline, topaz, opals, and other colored stones, along with hand-forged yellow gold bracelets inlaid with turquoise and other earthy gems.

Norman Silverman Diamonds, a firm that typically deals in colorless diamond jewelry, embraced color in a huge way this time out with a small collection of enameled rings in reds, corals, and blues set with huge and sparkling heart-shape diamonds. “We wanted to offer buyers something different and fun,” said a sales rep at the brand’s booth. (Mission accomplished!)

Of course, color doesn’t have to be bold to make an impact—a fact that several brands, including Clementine Fine Jewelry, Samuel B., and Pure Grown Diamonds proved with aplomb.

My Story Fine Jewelry specializes in small-gem birthstone jewelry that “doesn’t scream ‘mom,’ ” said  company founder Jackie Cohen. The collection, which includes delicate stacking rings and wearable diamond-studded lockets, recently found a fan in retailer Suzanne Salomon, co-owner of Providence Diamond in Cranston, R.I. Salomon said she appreciates that the brand specializes in sentimental pieces that don’t sacrifice style.

Salomon was also on the hunt for bridal styles, particularly solitaire designs with elegant diamond-set shanks—and was enamored of bridal looks from Sylvie, a longtime partner for the store. “We love that collection and love that [designer Sylvie Levine] is a woman,” she added.

Katie Meade, the fashion buyer for jewelry retail chain Diamonds Direct, joined her buying team in meeting with major bridal brands including Tacori and Verragio, but was also on the hunt for men’s fine fashion jewelry—a search prompted by “lots of customer requests.”

When it comes to must-have merchandise, show buyers across the board were clearly (and wisely) following their customers’ leads.


Top: Lapis, chrysoprase, and blue quartz ring in 14k gold–plated brass; $209; Bounkit



JCK Magazine Editor