For the May edition of Professional Jeweller magazine, we asked independent jewellers and suppliers to help us analyse the silver jewellery market.
Using the results from UK jewellery industry experts, we have compiled a list of the top ten silver jewellery trends driving sales for the industry this season.
In the fashion market, brands have seen an uplift in sales of jewellery with spiritual and philosophical elements. “Over the past six months we have seen the wellness trend become more popular which spiked an even higher demand for our Chakra and Healing Stones collections,” shares Daisy London account manager, Beth Swan. “I think the wellness and personalisation trend will remain popular and continue to grow.” For Henryka, sales for its spiritual-inspired Zen collection soared when it launched in September, and now it is one of the British brand’s bestsellers. “Undoubtedly the biggest trend of the last six months for us has been the rise and rise of spiritual-inspired jewellery,” shares Henryka founder and director, Anna Emmett.
Alongside female consumers investing in pieces that represent something deep inside of them, the Hollywood #TimesUp campaign has also sparked demand for pieces that encourage women to dream big and feel confident. Richard Bulgin, the owner of Astra Jewellery’s UK distribution company, Jos Von Arx, explains: “2018 marks 100 years since women got the vote in the UK, and it is the #TimesUp campaign year. We believe a strong trend this year will be jewellery that encourages women to dream, to achieve, to see no limits, and the Astra Freedom range does just that. Necklaces such as ‘dream and believe’, ‘follow your dreams’, ‘escape the ordinary’, ‘find your direction’, and ‘do what you love’. This range is about finding your Astra Freedom story.”
While there is no denying that in the UK minimal, dainty and delicate designs are often favoured, this year statement jewellery is also having its time to shine. From bold earrings, to chunky chokers and larger than life necklaces, bigger pieces are winning sales for retailers up and down the country. “Across all of our silver collections, customers are really liking anything which makes a bold statement, whether it is on an open piece or something more heavyweight, both have been popular,” shares Gecko creative director, Desiree Pringle. She continues: “Larger earrings have also been really popular which mirrors what has been happening on the catwalks for the past few seasons. Earrings continued to be a focus on the recent AW18 catwalks, and we anticipate this continuing to be an important trend for us for the rest of 2018.”
Hoops started making a comeback a couple of years ago, largely in the fine jewellery market with consumers investing in classic yellow gold earrings as easy-to-wear everyday pieces. This year however, the industry is saying an uplift in fashion jewellery hoop sales, with the big brands noting an increase in interest, alongside British suppliers. Azendi chief executive, Lynsey Cooke, reports: “In the last six months sterling silver hoop earrings have made a big comeback. We saw the demand for silver hoops grow and launched a range of sterling silver hoops in different sizes and designs.”
Charms have also made a comeback this year, with some brands such as Monica Vinader tapping into charms for the very first time, and others launching new charms designed with millennial shoppers in mind. Most notably, at the start of the year Thomas Sabo revamped its Charm Club collection to meet new market demands. “The launch of Generation Charm Club is a reimagination of the charm business, a fusion between charms and jewellery giving the customer more scope to create personal, bespoke pieces for the neck as well as the wrist,” explains Thomas Sabo UK managing director, Jon Crossick. “It has been very successful and our current bestsellers come from this collection.”
MIXED METAL HUES
Suppliers and retailers alike are noting a lift in the mixed metal hue trend, with shoppers breaking the rules of previous generations and wearing silver, rose, and yellow hue designs at the same time. In the silver market, this style could be the one soaring ahead of the others. ChloBo creative director, Chloe Moss, tells Professional Jeweller: “Gone are the days that mixing metals were a fashion faux pas, the biggest trend of 2017/18 has been mixing sterling silver with rose and gold. Adding a few rose or gold pieces to a silver stack freshens up your style and gives your jewellery look added depth and flair. As our AW17 Inner Spirit mixed metal collection was our bestseller, it is evident that the ChloBo customer wants to mix and match their metals.” Fabulous managing director, Jo Stroud, echoes: “We have seen a real growth in mixed metal this year. There has been a small decline in the popularity of rose gold, but when it is part of a two-tone design, with sterling silver, it has proven very popular.”
Yellow gold has increased in popularity across the board, notably as fashion icon and British consumer influencer Meghan Markle has been snapped wearing gold-plated rings by Missoma, and a yellow gold engagement ring from Prince Harry. Testament to its popularity in the fashion market, jewellery giant Pandora launched ‘Pandora Shine’ at the beginning of the year, a collection of affordable 18ct gold-plated on sterling silver jewellery. “Yellow gold is coming back into fashion so there is a lot more yellow gold-plated silver coming through but in trendy, fashion-led designs,” says John Greed, with Moss from ChloBo adding: “Already in high street fashion and across the catwalks we have seen the return of soft yellow gold. From gold hoop earrings to dainty gold rings, we suspect an increase in popularity due to its tonal ability to warm certain skin tones and add a shine to any summer wardrobe.”
SEMI PRECIOUS SPARKLE
Across the board, the industry has seen sterling silver jewels adorned with stones – from precious pearls, to sparkling Swarovski crystals and diamonds – boom. “We believe ‘genuine sparkle’ will serve us well over the summer months — by this we mean sparkle generated by semi-precious stones such as white topaz rather than simulated stones,” remarks Cresswell from Hot Diamonds. “Jewellers seem to be resonating positively with the fact that the Hot Diamonds brand does not use simulated stones but always uses genuine, precious materials.” As consumer confidence rises, sterling silver married with higher value stones will serve the industry well.
This season British consumers are moving away from conservative and ‘safe’ designs, and are instead, when it comes to fashion jewellery, favouring playful motifs. From pieces which resembles their beloved pet, or favourite animal, to summer-season signs – including palm trees, pineapples, and flamingos – shoppers are breaking away from the norm and are enjoying accessorising their wardrobes with fun and spirited jewels. John Greed, founder of the eponymous jewellery store, shares: “Usually best sellers can be quite conservative but I am happy to report that one of the best sellers from our range that we design in-house is a Tyrannosaurus Rex necklace in an origami style. It is so fun and very cool.
CLASSIC PERONAL ELEMENTS
Last but not least, classic personalisation elements continue to command the attention of shoppers. As such, personal touches such as engraving, birthstones, star sign motifs and meaningful lockets will still shine in the silver jewellery market for the foreseeable future. Azendi, for example, has had great success with its Birthstone Flowers collection, while Unique & Co’s Zodiac range continues to be a bestseller, and Gecko is offering free engraving to its customers this past season to capitalise on the trend. John Greed summerises: “Personalisation is a huge part of our business both in composable jewellery systems and in actually engraving onto the jewellery itself. There are always two types of customer: those that want their own message and those that want to choose from a range of suggested messages. People like to personalise their jewellery for different reasons, some people want other people to see their personal messages and some people just want jewellery personalised just for themselves, bereavement messages often fall into the latter category.