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The Most Interesting Trends From JCK Las Vegas 2022


One of my favorite things to do after returning from JCK Las Vegas is to sort through my photos and try to suss out common themes among them—in other words, to determine current trends.

This year’s show brought some themes that we had encountered earlier and some unexpected—and really great—ones too. Here are the top themes as I experienced them at the 2022 JCK Las Vegas show.

The Gems: Montana Sapphire and Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

Yael Turquoise pendant
An art deco–inspired pendant with Sleeping Beauty turquoise and diamonds at Yael Designs

Never have I noticed such a strong movement toward distinct gemstones before. Sure, brands always have opal, and for years tourmaline has been a vibrant vision, but this year felt different. The monikers for each of these gemstones refer to their sourced locations—the state of Montana, the Sleeping Beauty mine in Arizona (which closed in 2012, making the gems all the more valuable)—but they each also have a distinct appearance. And it felt like everyone had them, much to my surprise.

Kimberley Collins Montana sapphire earrings
Earrings featuring Montana sapphires and diamonds at Kimberly Collins (photo courtesy of Amy Elliott)
Parle Montana sapphire necklace
Necklace in rose gold with Montana sapphires by Parlé Gems
Lauren K Montana sapphire rings
Chunky gold rings with Montana sapphires at Lauren K

Turns out, it was to everyone else’s surprise too. Whenever I mentioned to an exhibitor showing me their selection of either gem that it seems to be a popular choice this year, they’d say, “really?” Seems like great minds really do think alike.

The Icon: Hearts

Smiling Rocks Big Heart necklace
Big Heart necklace with lab-grown diamonds by Smiling Rocks
Lauren K gold gemstone heart pendant
Heart pendant in yellow gold with multicolor, multi-shape gemstones at Lauren K

Hearts have been a big theme for the last several years, and because of that, I might have expected we’d be moving away from them (we’re always looking for the next new thing, aren’t we?). But that assumption couldn’t have been more wrong. Brands had more hearts than ever, citing their popularity among customers and offering a wider variety of styles to please those shoppers still looking for heart jewelry.

Chris Ploof Lume designs
Glow-in-the-dark designs featuring lume at Chris Ploof

The Buzzwords: Y2K and Dopamine Dressing

I touched on trending Y2K fashions before the show with this collection by Studiocult, which felt niche enough that it might have been news to retailers that this was an up-and-coming style to watch. Well, it has up and come. Everything from animal jewelry to big, bold styles such as oversize crosses, long, layerable chain necklaces, and icons of the new millennium were conspicuously present at the show. It’s the kind of jewelry that makes you smile to see and feel good to wear.

Speaking of that: dopamine dressing. While I’m not sure of the original source of the term, it was a buzzword thrown about between booths and the stage of JCK Talks, and it refers to wearing stuff that makes you feel good. Think candy-bright jewels and playful, whimsical pieces—it’s a good- vibes-only kind of thing, and people are loving it.

The Disruptor: Lab-Grown Diamonds

Smiling Rocks Dream necklace
Dream necklace with 75 cts. t.w. lab-grown diamonds at Smiling Rocks

Lab-grown, lab-grown, lab-grown. It’s a massive topic of discussion in this industry, and one that, in the past, seemed to really have people divided.

This year however, it felt like the winds had changed. A larger neighborhood dedicated to lab-grown diamond brands was positively buzzing, while a noticeable share of exhibitors debuted new collections featuring lab-grown stones—their first forays into the category. Even old-school jewelers who swore never to buy in have relented, opting to make them available should their customers have requests. And as a younger generation of consumers comes up with the buying power to become lifelong customers, why not give them what they want (or in some cases, financially speaking, what they need?).

Top: A heart pendant featuring Sleeping Beauty turquoise at Lauren K

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By: Brittany Siminitz

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