Studio Notes: Jewelry Trends Forecast by a Millennial

In January, I posted a JCK-inspired 2018 jewelry trends forecast, suggesting that artistic jewelers will have an edge over conventional stores when it comes to selling their work to millennials. Then my son, Hans, visited a few days later. So I asked him what he thought. He’s a full-time energy analyst in Portland, Oregon, and is learning code. Typical of his generation, he is only 23.

His first piece of advice? “They’re not millennials–that’s a label. Look up “hipster.”

Jewelry Trends for Millennials (Hipsters), Forecast by a Millennial

  • Jewelry trends with fashion: “Understand workplace fashion and how your jewelry might fit into the workplace. Most people work. People want simple, basic things to wear to work.”
  • Tell a story: “People 20 to 30 like being able to tell a unique story about a piece of jewelry they buy. Locally made items that they come across on their travels would be a hit. Something that feels like it is symbolic of the place it is coming from. When they get back and talk to their friends at home, they have a unique story to tell.”
  • Metals for jewelry trends: “Gold seems very out at the moment. Metals that are in are of themselves symbolic. Hard. A titanium wedding band is significant in and of itself. When you think of titanium, you think of ‘as strong as it can be.’ ”
  • Embrace integrity: “Absolutely. Authenticity. Not things that are trying to be popular–like Diet Coke trying to rebrand itself for millennials.” In the same way that millennials are trying to find ways in which they are unique in the world, they might look for artistic expression that is unique as well as authentic, he says.
  • “The golden rule is one that millennials would appreciate, but they generally think about their place in the world relative to how it impacts others–like across political demographics.”
  • On security and stability: “People did well in 2017, but most people hated 2017. They are really excited about 2018.”
  • JCK asked, “Does your jewelry go with a tattoo?” The hottest designs at the moment are subtle, minimalistic, Hans says. Think a solar system of the sun and planets in black on the inside of the arm; an outline of a hand with the fingers crossed; the word “believe” written in beautiful, black script.

jewelry trends: Natascha Schenk for has developed small diamonds enrobed in 8mm clear glass balls for jewelry. Although you can’t make these at home, they are worth studying. Not only do you get a hi-tech pendant, you also buy an experience – the pendant changes as you move.

  • Hans appreciated Natascha Schenk’s Diamonds in Glass–small diamonds enrobed in 8mm clear glass balls for jewelry (above). “In that setting, it is a lot easier to appreciate what a diamond is–how it handles light. You see the engineering of a natural object. You can examine the diamond from nontraditional angles. For people who want something interesting to wear, it’s unique.”


Betsy Lehndorff has been writing for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 2010. You can reach her at

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