From the wacky and weird to the bold and the beautiful, this month JW looks at the emerging trends in Australian and New Zealand jewellery designs.
Following the sombre and austere feeling that swept through us during the pandemic, we’re starting to feel a shift into the allure of mood-boosting colours, shapes and bold designs. Perhaps as a reaction against these trying times, maximalism is a reflection of our sense of positivity in the face of adversity and an attempt to liven up our outfits and spark joy in our hearts.
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Bold pieces are trending heavily. Think maximum impact. Stacking and layering loud designs, oversized styles and contrasting materials. What we love about this trend is the complete lack of rules. Chaos is encouraged. Aptly coined an aesthetic of excess, the playfulness of the maximalism trend brings a smile to the wearer and kitchyness to the forefront of Australian fashion.
Jane Carter, marketing and digital manager of Fabuleux Vous, explains the appeal of unique designs.
“Post Covid, women have had more of a desire to look and feel fabulous when leaving the house, and a unique piece of jewellery can be a great confidence boost, as well as a conversation starter,” she says.
At Gerrim International, marketing manager Sam O’Loan, explains the advantage of the bigger is better jewellery trend.
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“Bigger, bolder pieces have led the way, incorporating the use of the most unusual colour combinations and shapes allowing us to create unique extravagant designs,” she says.
The demand for novelty and fun pieces will continue into next season, and with summer around the corner, it’s a perfect time to experiment with textures, patterns, bright materials and statement pieces.
Piggybacking on the maximalism style, bright, bold and beautiful colours have similarly been in strong demand. Resurrecting the Y2K colour palette, technicolour precious stones have been catching the eyes of many jewellery enthusiasts.
At Gerrim International, Sam explains how they draw inspiration from overseas.
“Gerrim prides itself on delivering coloured gemstone pieces which has created an abundance of interest and the response has been outstanding. The trends emerging this coming season are built on that coloured stone success and we have recently returned from overseas with the latest in stunning colours and designs that we are excited to be showcasing in 2023,” she says.
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Jane Carter explains how they have been experimenting with this trend.
“There has absolutely been a shift towards more unique designs and brighter colours. In terms of colour, we have expanded some of our collections to include more options and styles,” she says.
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A reflection of the changing tastes of society at large, another trend that has been steadily increasing in popularity is environmentally conscious, sustainable jewellery. Consumers are prioritising companies that are kinder to the environment and that source materials ethically.
A report conducted by ExJewel found that consumers are driving the demand for sustainable jewellery. Searches increased by 75 percent for ‘ethical diamonds’ and searches for ‘ethical gold’ increased by 73 percent (The Truth About Sustainable Jewellery and Ethical Practice, 2021).
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Environmentally conscious jewellery can look like using upcycled materials (brands like Momoko Hatano using 75-100 percent of upcycled materials in their collection), choosing brands that have supply chain transparency, sustainably sourced metals and gemstones, low environmental impact mines, made to order pieces minimising waste, using locally sourced materials or brands that have recycle programs, (think Saint Valentine where you can return preloved styles for a percentage off store credit, and HollyRyan that repurposes older, pre-loved jewellery into something new) and prioritising the longevity of pieces instead of fast fashion style accessories.
A brand that is leading by example in the realm of ethical jewellery is Larsen Jewellery.
Digital marketing executive, Lauren Scarcella explains, “Larsen Jewellery has always believed in creating a brighter future, both for human beings, and for the environment and we are fortunate to be in a position where we can be leaders in this space.”
“We were the first jeweller in Australia to become 100 percent carbon neutral as an entire business; we are one of a handful of providers of Fairtrade Gold in Australia – a very strict process that you really need to commit to and we donate at least 10 percent of profits to predominantly three charities, handed picked by our team: The Fred Hollows Foundation, The Cambodian Children’s Fund, and the Enchanted Ball.”
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The diamonds used in their collections are conflict free and they make environmentally conscious decisions when it comes to sourcing materials.
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When curating their jewellery styles, consumers are opting for local brands as well as those that are transparent with their practices and supply chains. Unfortunately, in the jewellery industry, there has been a history of violence and environmental damage in some regions where materials such as diamonds and gold are sourced. However, consumers are becoming increasingly savvy to the extent of these practices and the impact they have on the local communities. Additionally, conscious decision making regarding jewellery and purchasing power generally is trending with the overconsumption of fast fashion now a concern at the forefront of many customers’ minds.
Laura Howes, brand manager at Designa Accessories, describes her predictions for trends next season. “In 2023, consumers will continue to seek out products that work hard for their money, demanding longevity, and quality from their purchases.”
Designa Accessories stock watch brand August Berg, that promotes humanitarian causes.
“August Berg partners with The Human Practise Foundation to bring meaningful change to a child living in poverty. For every watch sold, August Berg donates six months of education to a child in need. For every 20,000 watches sold a school is built,” says Laura.
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As many people consider their most treasured jewellery pieces an extension of their personality, it becomes important for brands to offer personalised jewellery. Jane Carter recognises the increase in personalised jewellery as a trend resulting from the pressures of the pandemic.
“Post Covid, people have certainly had a chance to reflect on what truly matters in their lives and the beautiful thing about jewellery is that it is present for the special moments,” she says.
Jane has seen their more personalised signature collection, Declaration, trending recently.
“We have certainly seen a rise in jewellery that holds significance. In particular, Declaration, our signature collection, shares 15 stories through emblems and engraving. It was designed to be truly timeless and classic,” says Jane.
Pieces that hold sentimental value and are potential heirlooms for generations to come have the additional benefit of not contributing to fast fashion for the environmentally conscious shopper. The longevity of the pieces contribute to the worthiness of the investment.
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Resurrection of rings
In true complimentary style, both bright colours and stacking of rings have been seen trending this season.
“This year we have seen a trend in bold and beautiful rings, particularly in semi-precious stones,” explains Jane Carter.
Nothing says bold quite like a signet ring. Originally worn by noble families as a way to imprint their family crest upon letters and formal documents, they were traditionally passed down the generations and signified the social standing and wealth of the family.
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The current, popular version of these rings has a more contemporary flare. The pieces offer a genderless, old school vibe, an expression of confidence and individuality. The androgyny of these rings reflect the overall trend in fashion of inclusivity and movement away from gendered styles.
Sarah Munro of Australian fine jewellery label Sarah and Sebastian told Vogue earlier this year, “The [signet ring] style has been reclaimed as genderless, beloved for its enduring appeal and sculptured silhouette.”
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The perseverance of pearls
Modern takes on pearl jewellery have been growing in popularity, bringing innovative styles to a timeless classic. The beauty of pearl jewellery is in the versatility of designs, made possible due to the traditional minimalist styles we’ve seen for decades. Pearl jewellery is particularly functional and easy to wear, with simple designs that can be worn daily. What was once a nod to luxury and opulence (think pearls donned by Hollywood icons Coco Chanel and Elizabeth Taylor), pearl jewellery has since transformed into contemporary iterations. For example, pearl chokers bring a touch of femininity to 90’s punk glamour.
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Jane Carter has noticed the impact of pearl jewellery.
“We have seen an increase in demand for pearl jewellery. Not only for short style necklaces, but also pearls in a longer style, especially pieces that are versatile and different,” she says.
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In anticipation of next season, Jane predicts more colour and styles as we move into the summer months.
“For future trends we anticipate the continual love for the pearl but also some diversity perhaps in the black and pink pearl colours. As the southern hemisphere heads towards the warmer season, we are predicting longer style necklaces, with more colour,” says Jane.
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For something a little strange and exciting, let’s take a look at what’s trending in the virtual space. Jacob Bamdas and partner CryptoJeweler, are building the first jewellery store in the metaverse, Chains NFT. Creating jewellery designs virtually, these pieces will be available in the real world, where physical copies of the NFT virtual designs can be worn by their owners, providing the user with a unique, interactive experience.
“When building Chains, I wanted to create a physical store of value for our digital NFTs, while producing artwork that was absolutely stunning, ” Jacob explained, in an interview with HighSnobiety.
It’s not surprising that jewellery design is advancing onto platforms that are currently inhabited by artists. The high-end luxury auction house Sotheby’s has launched an NFT-only marketplace where users can sell and curate digital artwork through the use of blockchain technology.
The demand for bespoke and personalised jewellery is reflected in this space also, where NFTs are, by definition, limited edition, high-value collections, creating that feeling of exclusivity and uniqueness.
Batchelor, M. (2021, August 23). The truth about sustainable jewellery and ethical practice. Retrieved October 04, 2022, from https://www.theceomagazine.com/lifestyle/jewellery/sustainable-jewelry-ethical-practice/
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