Designomics: Pantone’s Spring Colors and Gemstone Jewelry

“The knee-jerk reaction” to the Pantone fashion colors, says Andrea Hansen of Luxe Intelligence, “is to look for gemstones that fit the palette.” But, she cautions, “No designer should completely alter their DNA to incorporate a color that doesn’t make sense for their brand.” She recommends using Pantone-shade stones that work for you but also viewing the season’s colors as players in branding, promotion, packaging, and the like.

ABOVE: Belle Etoile’s Mosaica Multi Bangle displays shades on trend for spring; photo courtesy Jewelers of America

Pantone color of the year as seen in the Queen of Sheba Ring, courtesy Swarovski

Queen of Sheba Ring with tsavorites, green tourmaline, and 18K brown rhodium gold suggests not just the color dubbed “arcadia” but conjures up an idyllic woodland, too. Seen in Trends in the January/February issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, where jewelry style expert Deborah Yonick reports on the Pantone Spring 2018 colors and how they match up with colored stones. Photo courtesy Swarovski

Makes sense to me. For one thing, there’s what I’ve decided to call supply-side design: you have to work with gem colors that exist. Naturally colored stones come in the colors they come in, regardless of what the fashion forecast proclaims. Even with the great number of color enhancements given to stones, there are limitations. Finally, not every shade you might find in a stone is available at any moment: it depends on what’s been and being mined, cut, and put out for sale.

Great Matches for This Spring — Or Any Time

The bright news is that given the range of colors in stones, you can always find pretty good matches to most if not all the designated colors. If you want to create something special for this spring, for example, you have carnelian, a quartz classic that embodies the essence of “chili oil.”

Sandra Lupo's sun worship carnelian necklace, a perfect match for Panton's chili oil color

Perfect for Pantone’s “chili oil,” carnelian is a classic gemstone. Sun Worship Duo by Sandra Lupo features multiple carnelians set with different techniques. Photo: Jim Lawson

If your signature look already includes or would work well with fire opal, you’re in luck. It’s called out for its warm, sunny tones that are hot right now.

Fire opal cut by Jim Perkens

Jim Perkins designed this Out of the Box cut specially for fire opal, as shown in this gem that he cut himself; photo: Jim Lawson

Demand-side design is as much about who’s demanding as what someone demands. If you’re making a piece for yourself, your priorities matter: to be on trend, use a stone you adore, neither, or both. If you have or want customers, what counts is what they’ll buy. An earthy-colored cabochon of fossil whale bone may not qualify as “emperador,” but it is a super favorite of the artist who set a cabochon to celebrate rock hunting and whale watching trips. Though I’m sure the other gems weren’t selected for their “coconut milk” and “cherry tomato” tones, the whale bone cab is paired with an amazing freshwater pearl and topped with a coral flourish that do add an on-trend touch.

John Heusler's Ocean Voyage pendant, perfect for the 2018 Spring Pantone colors emperador, cocounut milk and cherry tomato

John Heusler’s Ocean Voyage pendant with fossil whale bone, freshwater pearl, and coral corresponding to the 2018 Spring colors of “emperador,” ” coconut milk,” and “cherry tomato”; photo: Jim Lawson

Abundant as carnelian or rare as whale bone, to their advantage many gems are not all the same, one precise color, or one perfect pattern. Every one is different — a powerful fashion statement on its own.

Looking for Gemstones?

If you’re in the market for colored stones of any stripe, running January 26 – February 11, the 2018 Tucson gem, mineral, fossil, bead, and jewelry shows are like no other venue on earth. Find out more in the Tucson Show Guide!

Merle White is Editor-in-Chief of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. This post is adapted from her column, “Designomics,” in the January/February, 2018, issue.

Find More in the January/February issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

The January/February Gemstone Issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist is packed with beautiful images and information you can use about gemstones and stone setting, including all of the projects and Trends mentioned above. Plus tips on how to avoid thefts when you do shows, the Annual Buyers’ Directory, and more!

Your Chain Maille Bracelet Kit Is Waiting

All the supplies you need are conveniently packaged with instructions in the Snakeskin Inspired Chain Maille Bracelet Kit, available in sterling silver and blue niobium, and in sterling silver and black niobium.


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