Fine jewelry becomes less formal and more fun

LONDON – Just as office dress codes are revised, tracksuits become acceptable daytime wear and private clubs allow sneakers on their premises for the first time, so too is the world of fine jewelry.

Gone are the days when beautiful jewelry was limited to classic earrings and tennis bracelets – kept in a safe only to be taken out for black tie business. The trend towards casualization is sweeping through jewelry fairs and catwalks. A new generation of designers mix diamonds and neon lights; dress their jewelry with the latest viral accessories from Bottega Veneta; and communicate with customers in a more relaxed manner, often via Instagram DM.

In turn, customers – whose appetites for fine jewelry are far from diminished – now wear their diamonds with everything from tracksuits to party outfits and have fun stacking pieces together and mixing different colors.

“There has always been a formality for fine jewelry. This can be limiting for some consumers as it does not suit their lifestyle and aesthetic, ”said Melissa Kaye, one of the trendsetters. His swirl-shaped pieces of diamonds and neon enamel have been a major hit over the past year, given that they are versatile, “casual yet luxurious” – and just plain fun.

“This new perspective has opened up the category to a wider range of consumers, especially the younger generations who now have access to fine jewelry that doesn’t feel too formal and can be enjoyed day and night,” Kaye added. , which now offers all silhouettes in its neon collection, due to increased demand.

Chiara Capitani and Romy Blanga also made their jewelry brand Eéra an immediate hit in the retail trade, turning modest items like a key or carabiner into exquisite jewelry designs, featuring diamonds and precious metals. These are often painted in bright colors to create contrast and play with perceptions of what is precious and non-precious.

“We wanted to introduce the fine jewelry client to a more utilitarian design approach. Our pieces have a geometric and linear feel, which often contradicts traditional fine jewelry designs, ”said Capitani and Blanga, who produce two collections a year to be more aligned with the fashion calendar.

“People now approach the purchase of fine jewelry the same way they would make items and this new approach has encouraged women to reassess their relationship with fine jewelry. It reminds them that these pieces aren’t just for special occasions, they work for everyday too. But they’re carefully designed to last a lifetime, ”the duo said, noting that while they like to experiment with neon colors and a more modern, avant-garde aesthetic, they still live up to the standards associated with precious jewelry. , using traditional craft techniques and the highest quality materials.

“There has been a change in attitude towards mixing precious and cheap materials. With our pieces, we prefer to work with precious materials, favoring 18-carat gold, silver and diamonds. We experiment a lot with color, but it is always placed on a precious metal base.

Retailers are also fully supporting the trend. The personal shopping platform Threads – which reported increasing its sales of quality jewelry by 80% year over year – found that styling jewelry in a signature friendly and relaxed format was a big hit. big part of the reason his online community has become so enthusiastic about the industry.

“Young clients are really moving into more casual everyday jewelry looks, all while playing with bright colors and layering different pieces together. A feeling of absence of effort is a priority with jewelry that can be mixed and matched or dressy and dressy, ”said Sophie Hill, CEO and Founder of Threads, adding that the popularity of this type of aesthetic also encourages the patrimony. jewelers to relax and present their collections in a new way, ideally with loungewear, trendy neon blazers or the latest Chanel bag.

“We really see that traditional Bond Street jewelry brands such as Tiffany, Garrard and Chaumet work well when we show clients how to style and layer their pieces alongside others. [fashion] accessories, ”Hill added. “TThe strongest engagement comes from accessible and relevant content. Customers want to see luxury and exquisite jewelry styled and photographed in a way that suits them, with contemporary pieces of the season as well as everyday, sports and casual wear.

The pandemic and lockdowns have accelerated the trend, as brightly colored wellness jewelry is designed for “the perfect mood boosters,” while also being smart investments, according to Libby Page, market editor at Net-a-porter.

“Fine jewelry designers have jumped at this opportunity to shine, and we’ve seen a huge trend for kaleidoscopic gemstones, vivid enamels and rainbow patterns. For about a year, “more is more” has really been the mantra. Enamel as a material is now more prevalent than ever, especially neon colors in all shades, ”Page added, highlighting brands like Melissa Kaye, Selim Mouzannar, Brent Neale and Marie Lichtenberg.

London-based brand Never Not is also gaining momentum around its voluminous rings made from a blend of 18k gold, precious stones and neon enamels.

“When we launched in 2018, the market at that time was quite formal and conservative, so when we showed our neon enamel pieces, buyers were intrigued and excited, but there were still doubts as to whether consumers would be willing to invest in quality jewelry that is ‘off the beaten track’ and not classic and formal, ”said Nina Dzhokhadze, co-founder of the brand.

“But there was a clear gap for something that combines high value and fun at the same time,” she added, noting that post-containment customers are even more willing to invest in the brand’s rings online. , with prices ranging from 4000 to 6000 pounds.

“The relaxed aesthetic is not exclusive to the lower prices and is more about the intentional styling of the jewelry. Many customers are looking for a mix of bullion coins and having fun with their jewelry, ”Hill added.

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