Discover the 2017 Top Jewelry Trends in gold, silver, and platinum—and an update on the metals markets as compiled by Shawna Kulpa.
With darker colors and heavier fabrics gracing the fall runways, Amanda Gizzi, director of public relations and special events at Jewelers of America in New York City, expects consumers to be seeking warmer jewelry styles to don with the upcoming fashions. “Designers can embrace the idea of richness and warmth by pairing yellow and rose gold with neutral color stones,” says Gizzi. “Think champagne and natural diamonds and brown and cream gemstones.”
As part of this trend, Gizzi expects the fl orals that have been popular through the spring and summer seasons to continue to trend but to take a darker turn. “We’re anticipating warmer flowers,” she says. “I expect flowers made of higher karat gold or paired with warm-colored gemstones. The looks will not be bright or poppy.”
The more things change, the more they stay the same, at least when it comes to the stacking jewelry trend. “We’re not seeing that look going away,” says Gizzi.
Within the trend, Gizzi expects gold stacking ring styles to remain simple but feature an open design. “We’re seeing less of the cocktail ring look and more open ring styles.” She explains that open ring and open cuff looks have been gaining popularity with consumers because they’re comfortable, stackable, easy to wear, and easy to buy for others since sizing isn’t an issue. Expected to be most popular in white and yellow gold, the look allows for personalization and customization by featuring gemstones, pearls, or other accents on the open ends of the pieces. “Consumers are wanting something completely different than their friends,” she says.
“As earring trends go, hoop earrings are the ones to watch for and stock upon,” says Gizzi. “They’re the new staple.” She notes that the look was frequently spotted on the fall runways. “They’re going to go well with the clothing people will be purchasing.”
The trend isn’t limited to any one color of gold or style, but Gizzi expects larger hoops with thin profiles to be leading the pack. “I think they’ll definitely be thinner but also almost shoulder length,” she says.
Designers can take advantage of the trend by creating hoops in a range of finish and texture options. And don’t think this classic look can’t be customized. “You can have a simple hoop as part of your collection by finding ways to tie it into your branding,” she says.
In 2016, the price of gold averaged $1,250an ounce, a 7 percent increase from 2015,reports the GFMS Gold Survey 2017. The higher price of gold didn’t help demand for the metal, which saw an 18 percent
decline, most of which can be attributed to a 21 percent drop in jewelry fabrication demand. The bulk of this drop can be traced to India, where jewelry sales sank38 percent to a record low of 454.4 tons.
In March, the Indian government placed an excise tax of 1 percent on gold jewelry in an effort to bring greater transparency to the trade and clamp down on the sale of smuggled gold. In addition, a poor monsoon for the third consecutive year helped negatively affect the incomes of nearly one third of the country’s jewelry consumers.
China also saw a significant drop in jewelry demand, as higher gold prices and poor economic conditions weighed on consumer sentiment. As a result, Chinese retailers have begun reallocating their product mix, focusing more on higher margin products and less on pure gold sales. While the GFMS forecasts gold prices to remain somewhat volatile this year, it expects the Indian market to regain its footing. The GFMS predicts an average price of $1,259 for the year, and remains hopeful about the metal’s long-term price prognosis.
A division of Thomson Reuters, GFMS are metals market analysts offering insights on metal news, market development, and economic events impacting metals markets.
Versatility will be key for many consumers seeking platinum looks. “Consumers want to see more than one way to wear fine jewelry,” says Jill Moynihan, manager of marketing and communications for Platinum Guild International in New York City.”It goes with the whole modern woman trend—they want something easy to wear that can go from day to night. They want to get more use out of it.”
Two ways to embrace the trend are with earrings and necklaces. “Earrings that can be mixed and matched are really shining through today, “she says. “Things that go together, but don’t, and earrings that can be added onto with extensions.”When it comes to necklaces, think longer. “They can be worn as one long chain, doubled up for a shorter look, or as a bracelet. People are getting creative and want pieces they can wear beyond their assumed uses.”
With the rise of customized jewelry, designers should be prepared to meet the needs of today’s men, who have begun spending more time selecting ring styles that are interesting and represent themselves and their style. “In the past, customized wedding rings were primarily targeted to women,” says Moynihan. “Now, men are joining the conversation.”
For traditional grooms, classic styles with a twist will be best sellers. “Think a comfort fit band with an added detail, such as milgrain edging.” For men interested in more personalized styles, designers can get more creative. “Platinum rings with alternative materials such as ceramic or meteorite will be exciting.”
Platinum will continue to be a top choice for engagement and wedding bands, with halos continuing to rule the roost. “We’re seeing more variety in halo styles,” reports Moynihan. “Designers are getting creative in how they incorporate the halo look into their designs.” She cites halos featuring multiple rows of diamonds, bezel-set diamonds, or colored gemstones.
Some women have also begun foregoing traditional wedding ring styles altogether for simple bands that can be stacked or mixed and matched with other rings that are received or purchased to mark milestones. “Stackable bands continue to be on trend,” she says. Moynihan notes that she’s seeing petite and simpler platinum bands as leading the trend.”Consumers want options to grow their look as they encounter milestone events. She could have a birthstone set in a platinum band to celebrate the birth of a child, or stack it with an anniversary band. Millennial brides don’t just see them as wedding bands. They want to start with a blank slate and create their own look through life’s journey.”
According to the GFMS Platinum Group Metals Survey 2017, platinum was the worst performing precious metal in 2016, with its price stumbling 6 percent to average $988.76, falling below $1,000
for the first time since 2005. The price was initially dragged down by turmoil in the global equity markets, and though it recovered to rise above $1,000 during the year, the price again fell back after end-of-the-year discussions regarding potential interest rate rises in the United States.
Despite the lower price, global platinum jewelry demand declined 12 percent to 2.18 million ounces. The fall is largely attributed to declines in demand in North America and China, which saw10 percent and 12 percent falls, respectively. In China, platinum’s decline is believed to be the result of weaker economic conditions as well as the metal losing market share to18k yellow gold. For North American consumers, it was a matter of jewelry price stickers not reflecting platinum’s lower cost to gold. Because platinum is a denser metal, a platinum piece can be 40percent heavier than its gold counterpart, and thus more expensive for consumers.
Platinum mine production also fell 2percent to 6.05 million ounces, driven primarily by lower production at South Africa’s five largest operations because of work stoppages and mine suspensions. GFMS believes that mine production will continue to be hindered this year due to a lack of investment in earlier years. As a result, it forecasts the market to have a small fundamental deficit for the year.
Flower power will be alive and well among silver jewelry offerings for the foreseeable future. “Floral motifs are back, and we’re seeing them in a big way,” reports Gloria Maccaroni of the Silver Promotion Service in New York City. “We’re seeing this across the board in all types of jewelry—drop earrings, necklaces, rings, and even cuff bracelets.” Many variations of the motif are appearing, from literal interpretations with sculpted flowers to more modern and stylized takes.
Expect to see a lot of color incorporated within the trend. “Designers are using different colored stones to bring out the colors of a flower, or green enamel to accentuate leaves.” Maccaroni expects the trend to continue into the New Year but believes it will then transition into a more tropical interpretation. “We expect to see the use of bolder colors in stone accents and larger pieces to interpret more tropical flowers.”
Another trend making a resurgence that is expected to be around for a while are silver hoop earrings. “They’re very much happening this year, and I think we’ve just seen the beginning of this,” says Maccaroni. Larger hoops are dominating the trend, but they go beyond the classic ring shape.
“There’s more of an emphasis on style and shape,” she says. “It’s not your traditional hoop earring. They could be textured, hammered, woven, or have a mesh look. Expect classic shapes interpreted in new ways with a twist, such as oval shapes.” It would be wise to embrace the trend. “We see hoops continuing to grow in popularity in 2018,” notes Maccaroni. “They’re going to be here a while.”
Short is out and long is in, at least when it comes to silver necklaces. While choker-style necklaces may have been all the rage this time last year, Maccaroni notes that since the holidays they’ve observed the return of longer necklaces and pendants, many with a geometric motif. “If you look at what’s happening with fashion, the more streamlined looks that we’ve been seeing allow for the longer pendants and chains,” she says. “Runway looks showed a lot of tribal talisman pieces, but we don’t necessarily see this in silver. We’re seeing more geometric shapes—circles, triangles. It’s very modern but at the same time classic.”
She reports that while many designers are offering link chains in varying lengths, with the longer lengths the most popular. She also notes that this trend could continue as part of a multi-layering necklace trend next year.
Last year saw the first increase in the average price of silver since 2011. The price of the metal rose 9.3 percent to average $17.14 an ounce for the year. According to the GFMS World Silver Survey 2017, this rise was aided by a turnaround in investor interest in Exchange Traded Funds, political uncertainty, and a metal deficit of 147.5 million ounces.
Economic conditions and silver’s higher price helped drag down jewelry fabrication, which fell 9 percent to 207 million ounces, a four-year low. GFMS attributes much of the falling demand to the developing world, most notably China and India. In India, it is believed that the introduction of an excise duty on gold jewelry is having a cascading effect across the jewelry industry, helping lead to a 14 percent drop in jewelry fabrication. In North America, the U.S. was a bright spot for demand, which rose 12 percent last year, though the gains were offset by 14 percent and 10percent falls in Mexico and Canada.
Global mine production fell 0.6 percent to 885.8 million ounces, and, despite higher silver prices, global scrap fell 1 percent to 139.7 million ounces, the lowest volume since 1996. Much of the decline in scrap is attributed to China, where a sluggish economy and the metal’s rising price led to a stockpiling of the metal. The GFMS feels that many Chinese are not optimistic about silver’s long-term price, and notes that higher prices could lead to further stockpiling.