4 Key Jewelry Trends 2015

Amid the holiday craziness that will be descending on the industry this month, it’s important to take time and give some thought now to what you’ll be selling to next year’s customers. To help make things a little easier, Adorn Insight has looked ahead at what’s expected to be hot in jewelry in 2015 and identified four key trends that every jewelry designer should consider.

Industry forecasters offer a sneak peek at
4 Key Jewelry Trends 2015

In order for the trends to cover the spectrum of macro sensibilities, we aim to ensure that each of these big ideas can be interpreted into stunning pieces of jewelry. As part of our research, we’ve looked at a broad cross section of influences impacting consumers’ jewelry buying decisions, including economics, music, pop culture, fashion, science, and technology, and have summarized our findings into key categories that are set to provide you with serious commercial opportunity in the coming year. Whether you’re a designer, maker, or a big brand retailer, use these concepts as a resource to inspire new collections in line with your consumer’s taste and style expectations.

Norm Core

This trend is making serious inroads in the fashion industry, where we have seen a shift in consumer taste from a desire to demonstrate overt brand loyalty—most often done by wearing garments and accessories emblazoned with brand logos—toward a look that might almost be deemed unbranded.

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This back-to-basics look, championed by the likes of American Eagle and GAP, centers around the perceived consumer desire for simple, stylish staples that, in acting as a blank canvas, allow the wearer to stamp his or her individuality on a look. We expect this shift toward clothing that offers comfort and simplicity (while also remaining high on style) to directly impact the consumer’s jewelry choices, causing the demand for classic jewelry staples to rise. This trend will play to the strengths of jewelers and manufacturers who are good at creating everyday jewelry the consumer likes to wear.

Already showing the impact of this trend is transitional jewelry, which is everyday jewelry that can go from day to night. The trick here is to inject newness into basic wardrobe staples, such as stud and hoop earrings, chains and pendants, cuffs, cocktail rings, and stack rings, through a series of innovative design elements.

One way to do this is to create jewelry that takes on the appearance of multiple pieces but is in fact based around single units. An example would be one large ring that looks like several different rings stacked together. Not only is the look on trend, it saves your customer time when she’s getting ready—she’ll love you for it.

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It’s also important to keep in mind that simple jewelry doesn’t have to mean plain and boring. A fuss-free design can be discreetly embellished to create the perfect blend of laid-back and lux. For example, pavé finishes can give a nice nod to luxury. But in keeping with this trend, make sure the overall effect hints at a sparkle rather than making a large dazzling statement.

Designers can also scale up and play with proportions, and chain links provide a great vehicle for this. Introduce a selection of larger gauge strand links onto a finer gauge strand, or consider just a single run of big links, which in its own right will transform the ordinary curb chain into a style that looks fresh and updated. Because comfort is king, a subtly upgraded gauge would also add a nice twist without overwhelming.

Geo Space

Geometric designs have always been popular, but these elementary designs are moving in a new direction in 2015. Where previously the focus tended to be on flat shapes, a distinctly 3-D approach is coming into play, with all manner of polyhedra forming the basis for captivating designs in architecture, fashion, and housewares. With cubes, pyramids, and even donut-shaped objects all up for grabs, jewelry will be getting in on the act, too, making 2015 a good time to start exploring this concept.

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Design has been moving away from the grid-like frameworks that have been dominating the geometric scene, and we are seeing the emergence of 3-D shapes in a look that’s set to gather momemtum. In addition, segmented, articulated, and tessellated forms are key elements that will inspire movement in the pieces, communicating an industrial design and architectural aesthetic.

It’s important to note that this look is not just about repeating a single shape or design element; composite forms or geometric stacks where shapes are layered on top of one another or clustered together open up a plethora of possibilities and make for a striking update.

Ultimately, shape is the hero here, and what’s important is to strike a balance between volume and form to ensure a perfect outcome that resonates commercially. For example, instead of bangles that lie flat against the skin, designers can add 3-D shapes to the ends as decorative elements.

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Fusion

As we become a more global society, cross-cultural references are hotter than ever. The trick is not only to find something new to say with the wealth of ideas at your disposal, but to then fuse these multiple influences into something unique.

A great place to start is with iconic motifs typical of a given culture—such as Persian paisley patterns, Catholic crosses, or Moorish
arabesques—and then combine them with something entirely different to create jewelry that is as novel as it is appealing. There are no restrictions on this trend, which can range from subtle details to more overt and obvious ones.

Within this trend, it’s important to remember the enduring appeal of “found objects,” which can add layers of history and mystery to a piece of jewelry. Combine charms, trinkets, antique coins, and mementos, or incorporate these as collectible elements; they allow your customer to tell her own story and, most important, keep her coming back for more.

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Color, texture, and pattern also underpin this look, which is filled with romance and adventure, so use this as an opportunity to explore traditional metalworking skills in your bid to create interesting surface details. In terms of metals, these surface details can be achieved by hammering, etching, engraving, or embossing. When it comes to stones, simpler cuts, cabochons, and rough cuts are popular,  as are stones with interesting inclusions and imperfections.

Finally, we’re noting a big shift toward artisanal, hand-crafted, and hand-finished jewelry. This move away from high-spec machine finishes supports the craft, drives bespoke jewelry forward, and directly appeals to the consumer’s desire to have something unique and special.

Rainforest

Lush foliage, limpid pools, waterside blooms, and exotic creatures—and that’s just for starters! This is a fantastic trend for those looking to inject some drama into their work. Jungles and swamps are go-to places for inspiration as this nature trend moves away from florals and a garden of delights to something a little more dark and exotic.

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There are two ways you can go when working this look: literal or abstract. For the former, look to the likes of the ever-popular winged insects, whose naturally shimmering bodies lend themselves perfectly to interesting metal finishes and gem applications. Also, because Rainforest has an organic sensibility at its heart, this is a great opportunity to create silhouettes that encircle the body, such as asymmetric torques or upper arm bangles that echo sinuous snakes.

If you prefer to go down a less obvious route, pick a detail such as a reptile scale or water ripples, and use it as a founding motif to create interesting repeat patterns.

Despite the bold nature of this trend, don’t feel that every piece has to make a major statement. There are plenty of ways that you can interpret the Rainforest mood into simple but nevertheless eye-catching pieces. For example, you could encase a beautiful gem in a setting inspired by scrolling tendrils and use this as the basis for a pretty pendant or a pair of movement-filled pendant earrings.

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The award-winning Journal is published monthly by MJSA, the trade association for professional jewelry makers, designers, and related suppliers. It offers design ideas, fabrication and production techniques, bench tips, business and marketing insights, and trend and technology updates—the information crucial for business success. "More than other publications, MJSA Journal is oriented toward people like me: those trying to earn a living by designing and making jewelry," says Jim Binnion of James Binnion Metal Arts.
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