Fresh from Basel, it will be interesting to see what collections the big European jewelry houses will bring to the U.S. for the 2013 Couture show which starts in less than a month. It no secret that outside the world of diamonds, international watch brands and big name designer jewelry, demand has been kind of lack luster for generic goods. This is because there are no earth shattering trends that every jewelry manufacturer can ride the momentum of. In years past, the shift from yellow gold jewelry to white metals like platinum and white gold was remarkable. Countless clients couldn’t wait to reset their diamonds into new platinum settings from likes of Scott Kay and Jewels by Star. Soon yellow gold became passe and everyone had to have white. If you were producing above average jewelry designs in white gold or platinum in the late 90’s and early 2000 you struck gold! Of course the economy was flying when this seismic shift occurred and that didn’t hurt either.
Fast forward 15 years and nothing has moved the needle across all price points like the shift from yellow gold to white. Sure there have been bright spots, like the circle of love necklace from Roberto Coin that was featured on an iconic daytime TV show and then there was the watch with “feel good technology” which received a ton of press. Let’s not forget the “Year of the Dragon” and the John Hardy Naga Dragon collection which captured the essence of 2012; all of these were gigantic individual successes but they didn’t move the needle industry wide. The only thing that has even come close to the yellow – white shift was the alternative metal and sterling silver jewelry movement. It was challenging for many fine jewelers (with the exception of Tiffany and David Yurman retailers) to embrace in the beginning, but it ended up being such an important trend that it pulled many jewelers right through the recession.
Now that the recession seams to be easing, everyone in the jewelry business wishes they had a crystal ball to predict the next big thing. This is the main reason why jewelers from across the globe travel to trade fairs like Vicenza and Basel to try to get a jump on trends before the competition does.
At the Basel fair this year, multiple vendors said they are selling fewer things but what they are selling is extremely high quality. The big trend (other than it being the year of the snake) seems to be fine emeralds and other precious gemstone jewelry!
The prices have jumped considerably for the right articles. One wonders if this trend will carry over to the U.S. at the Couture Show that is right around the corner. It would be wonderful if it does because as jewelers, we love precious color and all things rare. There is nothing more rewarding than embracing a trend that has intrinsic value and will stand the test of time and to be ultimately cherished by future generations.