By Nancy Pier Sindt
New York’s hot, steamy weather didn’t wilt the dazzle of the fine jewelry and accessories shown at recent trade fairs. Headlining the offerings at the Jewelers of America show were pearls and diamonds of every shape and size, colored gemstones in the season’s most-wanted colors — plus everything in between –and precious metals with an emphasis on white, and accents of yellow, pink and black.
Generally, jewelry weights were light, both for price considerations and comfort of wear, but shapes were dramatic: earrings that climbed up the outside of the ear, rings that cover two and three fingers, bold collars and cuff bracelets. The styles were enough to bring out the Warrior Woman in everyone.
The accent was on diamonds at every price level, from high-end designs featuring fancy yellow and large white diamonds in classic settings to more moderate-priced pieces encrusted with surfaces of sparkling pave – using white, cognac, brown and black diamonds. A few years back, it would have been shocking to find diamonds in anything but platinum or 18-karat gold settings, but now the big trend is diamonds in silver, sometimes with a blackened rhodium plating that makes them sparkle more.
Due to increasing rarity and rising prices, the most precious gems are becoming limited in quantity and availability, pushing a new range of gemstones into the spotlight. Right now, the green-to-blue palate of opal, green and Paraiba tourmaline, sapphire, moonstone, labradorite, aquamarine and blue topaz, is the strongest, but soft, complexion-flattering colorations of pink quartz, coral, amethyst and morganite are popular as well.
Pearls were shown in every size, color and price with an emphasis on fashion designs with pearls strung on strips of leather, silk cords and chains. At a time when so many fancy shapes are available, it is challenging to find classic white chokers, except for the most precious South Sea versions.
All in all, the newest jewelry is taking cues from the fashion market with 1970s-inspirations and bold shapes. Aimed at a confident woman who buys jewelry for herself, today’s best designs are both eye-catching and stylish.