All Fired Up

When clothing designers splashed brightly colored floral and graphic patterns all over their collections, the jewelry world raised an eyebrow. For several seasons, the brightest popular gems have been blue topaz and tanzanite, with their soothing cool tones. In contrast to the eye-catching colors of fashion, jewelry has featured feminine pastels like pink tourmaline and aquamarine. This spring, however, jewelry designers are choosing gemstones with brighter, deeper colors. One of the most popular colors for the season is bright and blazing orange. Orange-to-red stones like coral, mandarin garnet, and fire opal have been featured in collections from a range of designers, including Alex Sepkus and Diana Heimann at the higher end and Richard Palermo for Color Craft at the mass-market level. Suppliers at recent jewelry trade shows and the American Craft Council shows agree that orange is coming on strong as the next favorite gemstone color.

The deep-orange color of the mandarin garnet, for example, lends an even richer and warmer look to the yellow gold that designers are leaning toward this year.

Coral is another hot stone, one that has found a hungry audience of designers this year. It’s available in a range of orange-to-red hues, but the favorite coral color is bright reddish orange. It began appearing last season, paired with neutrals to give a bright accent to dark and brooding Tahitian pearl creations by design leaders like Robert Lee Morris. This year, however, it’s standing alone. Designers like Tamara Comolli are showcasing its versatility, using colors that range from soft pastels to deep bright hues.

Fire opal is the spiciest stone in this trio of oranges. True to its name, this gem sparks. Designer Chrissie Douglas of Coleman Douglas Pearls captured its radiance by combining it with gold pearls for a warm combination that adds a touch of liveliness to the traditionally staid look of pearls.

Hot orange jewelry works well with fashion for spring, summer, and even into fall and pairs well with the major apparel trends. A bold piece of jewelry featuring mandarin garnet, fire opal, or coral complements fashion’s bright-color patterns and prints and can be the splash of color needed to accent the popular black and white graphic designs. Moreover, the fiery coloring contrasts well with back-to-basic earth-toned neutrals like khaki, olive drab, and brown.