Basel Fair Revisits Vicenza Trends

Although the Basel Fair’s watch area was its usual bustling madhouse, and jewelry exhibitors from the Far East were extremely busy, the jewelry design hall left much to be desired in terms of emerging trends and foot-traffic.

Chalk it up to either the problematic slip in dollar value this year or the fact that the fair is just two and half months after the January Vicenza show, where so many new trends are first seen. Either way, most of the new collections shown at Basel lacked oomph.

There were, as always, exceptions to the rule, with several fashion leaders trying interesting design. Most of those, however, weren’t new concepts but rather new takes on already growing trends.

The strongest fashion trends confirmed at Basel were versatility and the use of alternative materials. Leather, silk, and wood have become nearly commonplace among jewelers who just a few years ago would’ve found their use absurd. The trend has taken hold, however, and fashion-forward designers tried to tweak it this year. The Carrera y Carrera team, for example, incorporated removable and interchangeable feathers in saturated hues of pink, green, and orange. The result is a splash of color and fun that easily converts to an office- or evening-appropriate piece of jewelry.

Color remains strong, and, like the runway fashion collections, purple is emerging as a favorite for fall, in hues ranging from pinkish to dark grape colors. The textures of the runways, meanwhile, translate into interesting stones like rutilated quartz and hazy or opaque gems like coral or milky crystal.

The era of choice seems to be the Art Deco period, with designers favoring geometric motifs as well as onyx, coral, and jade elements. Asian motifs also are strong, from messages in symbols at Schoeffel to more abstract references like the new talisman motifs used by Mattioli.

Finally, in response to the eternal yellow-or-white question, manufacturers seemed keen on two-tone. The yellow-and -white answer allows women who’ve been building a white metal wardrobe to switch easily to trendy yellow gold jewelry.