“Any new beginning is forged from the shards of the past, not from the abandonment of the past,” author Craig D. Lounsbrough once wrote. The quote came to mind this morning as I mulled over the challenges of forecasting trends in jewelry.
Unlike the task of prophesying fashion and home design trends, which tend to cycle rapidly, successfully predicting trends in jewelry and gems requires a hard look at the continuum of designs that have connected with consumers in the recent past. Why? Jewelry, watch, and gem trends (generally) move like molasses, and often develop from designs and looks already popular in the market. Think “edgy” pearls and multiple ear piercings, to name two long-term trends that won’t be budging—but will surely evolve—in 2023.
So, asking ourselves, What’s still sticky in the market? is extra valuable when forecasting near-future trends in jewelry—arguably as valuable as big-picture retail questions such as How are consumer values and behaviors changing? in helping to bring the picture of things to come into focus.
To help us distill the trends that could potentially define the market in 2023, I called on a few jewelry and gem world experts who follow the nuanced shifts in jewelry design and retailing—and ensuing consumer behaviors—in jewelry keenly.
Here are 5 jewelry and gem trends poised to entice jewelry consumers in 2023 and beyond.
Pastels and Brights in Gems
Fashion-focused jewelry consumers will begin to embrace more offbeat hues in gems—namely highlighter-esque brights and soft pastels—as the year progresses. The craze for pastel stones has already begun. Pale pink morganite and powder-blue Montana Sapphire were among 2022’s hottest gems. Jeff Hapeman, owner of gemstone retailer Earth’s Treasury, says sapphires “continue to remain in very high demand in all colors, but there has been increased interest in pinks, yellows, and pastel-to-very-pale shades of all colors.”
Also on the rise is peridot. August’s acid-green birthstone has been used by more daring design ateliers including Uniform Object, Lola Brooks, and Gabriella Kiss this year. Peridot’s lime-ish green, which is definitely not beloved by all, reflects green tones we associate with the Y2K era, fashions from which roared back into style in 2022.
Harris Botnick, co-owner of Worthmore Jewelers, expects the popularity of “colored stones in all flavors,” to skyrocket this year, especially when used in pieces that boast unusual color pairings.
Big and Bold
Everyone’s been predicting the transition from “stackable” (dainty) jewelry to bold, substantial jewelry pieces for a couple of years now, and establishment fashion’s runways have already embraced the shift from “neck mess” to neck piece. But 2023 looks to be the year that bossy styles such as cocktail rings and Bone Cuff-ish sculptural bracelets really take off.
Chloe Pinnock of London-based jewelry public relations firm Emma Beckett PR says, “Continuing the trend away from ‘stackable’ rings in fashion—a trend we’ve seen really picking back up as of late is oversized jewelry, especially when it comes to rings, with brand such as Annoushka, Nada Ghazal, Cartier, and Van Cleef & Arpels making cocktail rings a focus in their collections.”
Public relations pro Jamie Han adds, “2023 is looking like a bold year! From statement drop earrings, chunky cocktails rings, thick cuffs, chains, and eye-catching pendants.”
White metals—platinum, white gold, and silver—have been on a steady popularity climb for a few years now, but feel poised to truly break through in 2023. White gold has become a standard option for consumers on e-commerce jewelry sites, and social media influencers have been embracing icy-colored jewels in droves.
Freelance jewelry writer and editor Amy Elliott, who contributes to The Zing Report, predicts that, “Silver, silver, silver!” will be booming in the market this year (silver jewelry fabrication jumped by 21% in 2021 according to the Silver Institute). She adds, “My own recent reporting confirms this. If the new look is trending toward maximalism, silver is a great solution in that it costs less than gold. Chunky, sculptural, notice-me silver jewels [will be popular]. I think we will also see increased demand for electroplated hollow gold jewelry made in Italy to facilitate the desire for bold gold styles at a much better price.”
Provenance in Diamonds
As consumers demand great transparency from the companies they transact with, “the idea of provenance is really going to take off in 2023,” says Sally Morrison, director of PR at Natural Diamonds at De Beers Group. “After hearing about this leading-edge technology for a while, 2023 is going to be the year where we see the promise of blockchain really come to fruition. This will allow the end client to truly connect with the communities where jewelry’s raw materials come from, and to the creatives that bring them to life.” (In May, De Beers introduced its Tracr decentralized blockchain platform, which CEO Bruce Cleaver said in a statement “provides the industry with immutable diamond source assurance at scale.”)
Not all diamonds lovers care about provenance, but more affluent consumers increasingly do. For them, gems with “clean” origins are more attractive—and the ability to trace a diamond back to its mine comes with bragging rights.
Not So Precious
Gold, platinum, silver, and gemstones—they’re the building blocks of fine jewelry. But several jewelry designers in the fine fashion tier are incorporating less “precious” materials into their collections. Talon in Ojai, Calif., uses glass intaglios, Tessa Packard in London sets gemstones into deadstock plastic cocktail rings, and arty designer Georgina Trevino from NYC has recently combined precious metals and gems with materials including plastics, tin, and rhinestones.
It’s a trend we’ll be tracking throughout 2023 with the debut of a contemporary jewelry column written by New York City Jewelry Week co-founder and curator JB Jones, debuting next week! Jones predicts that pink will be popular in 2023, along with “pretty” and “cute” vibes, a la “bows, hearts, teddy bears, more pearls, pretty gemstones and pink! Basically our cutest fantasies might come alive in the form of jewelry in 2023. And yes, it’s a lean into the Y2K trend and an extension of kid-core—but we’re all craving a cute-ness overload after the last few years, are we not?”