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Hushed Hues, Statement Making Designs Mark Spring 2015

By Deborah Yonick, jewelry style expert

Hushed Hues, Statement Making Designs Mark Spring 2015

By Deborah Yonick, jewelry style expert

Spring trends spied on the runways at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week New York reflect a soft, cool palette, balanced with warm, muted tones in statement making jewelry designs. In necklaces, there were bold collars, multi-colored bejeweled bibs, organic raw stone designs, and long neckpieces with big medallion-style pendants. Shoulder-dusting hoops in new shapes, mismatched pairs, and button styles re-imagined topped the earrings on the catwalks, as well as boldly graphic bangle and cuff bracelets.

Fashion inspirations run the gamut from Italy and Brazil in the 1960s and color and pattern mixing in central and eastern Asian textiles to the Los Angeles floral mart and artists like Jackson Pollack and Georgia O’Keeffe. “Remembrances of retro delights, folkloric and floral art, and the magical worlds of tropical landscapes restore a sense of well-being as we head into the warmer months,” describes Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

Our 24-7 obsession to be connected, says Eiseman, is fueling a movement to disconnect from technology and unwind, so color choices are following a minimalistic ‘en plein air’ theme. This muted, pastel palette is likely good for the jewelry industry says jewelry stylist to the stars, Michael O’Connor, who advocates using softer colors to create more important looks without being too pricey. Big in this spectrum are tourmaline, garnet, beryl, topaz, and quartz gems. Also popular in fashion-forward jewelry are more included precious material like rubies and sapphires with lots of silk, gem slices, and rough crystal.

Jewelry Messenger

Coveted styles for 2015 seek to rediscover the jewel as a messenger and reinterpret ways to adorn the body, describes trends analysis by Swarovski in its annual Gem Visions Trends 2015 report. “The focus is on dualities of style,” tells Dr. Birgit Rieder, director gem creative and retail marketing genuine and created stones for the Austrian-based brand Swarovski, with its North American headquarters in Cranston, Rhode Island.

Fresh design directions look to balance old and new, natural and man made, and engage all of the senses. Rieder sees a lot more fun and exploration in jewelry wearing via designs that embrace a mix of precious and non-precious elements, are versatile and adaptable, and communicate personal messages.

Favorite design themes center on nature and the world around us, like vining roses, leaves, and palms, describes Ashley Brown, executive director, marketing and public relations, Stuller, Lafayette, Louisiana. Feathers and fur are also popular, either as accents of trim, fringe, or prints. She adds that textured metals will continue to be popular like beading, rope and hammered finishes.

O’Connor reports that while there is resurgence in yellow gold, the use of rose gold is much more prevalent. Also, blackened metals–oxidized gold, platinum and silver, and alternative metals like tungsten carbide and titanium are popular.

Color Me Gems

Blues and greens dominate the Pantone palette for spring, with four of the top 10 colors in this spectrum—Aquamarine, Scuba Blue, Classic Blue, and Lucite Green—which embrace an array of gem varieties.

Obsessed with blue-green stories, Los Angeles designer Pamela Froman has been attracted to gems like boulder opal, aquamarine, Paraiba tourmaline, tanzanite, sapphire, and tsavorite. “When it comes to aquamarine, I prefer milky Brazilian specimens that happen to match Pantone’s ‘Aquamarine’. My Caribbean Crush collection, a combination of tanzanite and Paraiba tourmaline, is similar to Pantone’s ‘Classic Blue’ and ‘Scuba Blue’. It’s already a hot seller; the mix of vibrant blue-green and rich indigo makes people smile!”

Also experiencing a blue period, artist Paula Crevoshay of Albuquerque, New Mexico has been infatuated with gems like apatite, tanzanites, sapphires, and opals. “Tourmalines, opals and all of the blues are the hottest colors out there and are so easy to pair with so many other colors, textures and moods in fashion.” She says she is also working with lots of pearls in metallic multi colors, noting that large, chunky and baroque pearls are hot!

With Marsala hailed Color of the Year, gems in fresh, fruity reds that lean toward raspberry or strawberry are expected to be significant. “It’ll be a strong color in statement earrings, stackable bangles, and amazing cocktail rings,” says Rieder. The tonal aspect of using the many shades of pink and red gems creates a soft but important statement. Everyone can relate to some shade of red or pink. Marsala is perfect for subtle, ladylike floral designs: less punch, more romance!

There’s been a surge of interest in warm, jewel tones the past year. “Spinel has been popular, specifically warmer tones in deep pinks, reds and purples,” cites Niveet Nagpal, president and head designer of Omi Privé, Los Angeles. “Pink tourmaline, especially rubellite, is another fashionable stone in this hue.” Also important are fancy color sapphires in shades of peach, orange, padparadscha, purple, and violet—a rainbow of options for those who like the romance of sapphire, but desire something more unique than traditional blue.

Morganite, too, remains a key gem in jewelry, hails Los Angeles designer Loretta Castoro. “It has sold well for me and I’ve heard from gem dealers that retailers are also asking for peach sapphires. The soft peach color is a great complement to most skin tones.” Moreover, one of Froman’s most popular collections, her 18K pink and yellow gold Ombre Arabesque, features a natural color zircon called “malaia” that could easily be called “marsala” for its reddish-brown color.

Look for all of the neutrals—Marsala, Titanium, Toasted Almond, Glacier Gray, Custard and Sandstone—to be the hot natural diamond colors, forecasts
Chicago-based designer Susan Wheeler Geraghty. “The Dendritic quartz and all gems that have distinctive natural patterns also will continue to grow in popularity. They’re all individually unique, which customers love.”

The ultimate gem appeal may very well be in the blend of different stones in one piece. New York designer Bella Campbell has taken this tack in her jewelry that combines gem types, colors and shapes in elegantly simple geometric designs. A great example is found in her 18K gold pendant earrings that showcasepurple, red, pink, and hot pink spinel (9.09 tcw) and dark purple sapphire (2.03 tcw) in different shapes and sizes. This perfectly imperfect pair epitomizes the mismatched design direction consumers are embracing, influenced by Hollywood and the red carpet. Unique and intriguing, it’s all about the variety of stones used.

Also tops on designers’ list of favorite gems are pearls. “Variety in product and price is fueling a design fervor in this category,” tells Kathy Grenier, marketing director Imperial Pearl, Providence, Rhode Island. There are so many variations that allow pearls to transcend fashion trends; with few exceptions virtually any jewelry design can be interpreted in pearls. “Natural and dyed pearl colors complement the Pantone palette season after season. Pearls’ lustrous, reflective qualities also make them perfect partners with colorful gems and metals.”

The 21st century woman enjoys shaking things up in her jewelry and fashion, underlines Crevoshay. “She loves to pair high-end classical jewelry with a casual flair, as well as create her own look by combining those elements with more of a Bohemian expression in clothing. She can be anything she wants and knows it. Retailers need to reflect this in their merchandising and marketing mix to encourage clients to experiment and explore!”

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