I Predict: Jewelry Trends for 2019
Although I can’t see into the future any more than you can, after 30+ years at Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, I might have a clue or two about what to expect in jewelry and gemstones. Here are my predictions for recent jewelry trends that will stay trends this year. Take them with a grain of salt, or should I say a grain of halite? First up is more or less natural mineral forms. (But no, easily dissolved in water or even a very muggy day, the mineral halite is not a good choice to put in jewelry!)
ABOVE: Detail from K8 Jewelry’s Precious Time Swinging Pendulum Earrings, featuring crescents filled with color-plated sterling silver. Named Living Coral by Pantone as its 2019 Color of the Year, shades like this can easily be added to jewelry with gems, enamel, and other materials besides actual coral, as explained in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist January/February 2019 by jewelry style expert Deborah A. Yonick. Yonick reports on trends in each issue — her reports of what is happening are good. My predictions about will happen are a little sketchier! Photo courtesy Jewelers of America.
Natural-ish Stone Forms
Crystals, crystal-like shapes, rough surfaces, and things that generally suggest the outdoors more than glittering jewels and chandeliers in my mind are all part of the same aesthetic. They’re also part of a cultural shift. Rougher surfaces, unpredictable shapes, and meandering mixes of color have been giving more refined, controlled, human-imposed order on Nature a run for its money for years. (Never mind that humans are part of Nature, and never mind that crystals are predictable in shape. Those are whole other discussions.)
Hand in hand with this trend in stones is a wide interest in what were long lesser known, oddball stones. You know, the ones once the territory of rockhounds who might have shaped or polished them, or mineral collectors who wouldn’t have imagined them set in jewelry.
So I predict that stones with rough surfaces, free-form shapes, and those showing naturally geometric crystal shapes will continue to rise in popularity. They not only fit in with the natural gestalt of the times, in many cases these stones are more affordable than classic gems. For decades and decades, the jewelry industry has held up richly and evenly colored, symmetrically shaped stones as the “best.” That makes more readily available, irregular material less expensive. Mixing it up with a scattering of stones that are rough, irregular, pale, intense, and precision faceted is another look I think we’ll continue to see this year, taking advantage of the full sweep of material on offer.
Keep on Cyclin’
As long as we have materials to dispose of, we’ll probably be seeing them put to new uses. Recycling or upcycling discards and incorporating ephemera into jewelry are both ways to extend the range of what can be used or set as a focal.
Bold in Form and at Heart
Geometrics make a bold statement. Oddly enough, geometrics in stone, metal, or alternative materials favor both stones left in their natural forms and those that have been faceted. That’s because minerals naturally form in geometrically shaped crystals, whether those are big enough to be seen by the naked eye or not. It’s also because faceting the right gem rough is mostly an attempt to produce lots of sparkle and sparks of color — and geometric shapes tend to do that most efficiently. While waterworn river rocks may suggest Nature, at heart, Nature is extremely geometric. Ironic, isn’t it?
But the strongest and most enduring reason to expect bold jewelry to continue in popularity is what our Trends correspondent Deborah Yonick recently described as empowering women. You could say that’s been a long, slow trend over many decades, but you can’t miss the fact that it was a leading story throughout 2018, too.
A lot of what we see as empowering is bold in look, but not all. It’s really about bold in attitude. Women have been asking for jewelry that works for them, personalized by initials, mementoes, or personal taste — a trend that can be different for every customer.
Merle White is Editor-in-Chief of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.
Keep Up with the Jewelry Trends
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Learn to Set Stones Cut in Nonstandard Ways
You can make jewelry that is personalized, bold, geometric, or natural looking by incorporating suitable gems, mementoes, and other focals — if your setting skills allow you to create custom settings for one-off stones. We can help you get there.