National Jeweler Network

Style Trends

Three trends that rocked Couture

By Hannah Connorton

June 24, 2014

Sylva & Cie’s 18-karat gold and sterling silver handmade “Maltese Cross” pendant, with white rose-cut diamonds and diamond rondelle beads on an 18-karat gold chain ($33,875) is an example of the openwork design seen throughout Couture.

Click through this slideshow to see 23 examples of the three major trends seen at this year’s Couture show.

New York--Three major trends were prevalent among the pieces showcased at this year’s Couture show: ear cuffs and climbers, pieces featuring openwork, and the use of Paraiba, or Paraiba-type, tourmaline both as center and accent stones.

These major trends are a combination of new (ear cuffs) and ongoing (openwork) and are dependent on global fashion trends and current market conditions, as well as the price and availability of metals and stones.

Ear cuffs typically feature a design that covers the entire ear, beginning with an anchor at the lobe and extending upward to hook over the top of the ear, “cuffing” its way up. Ear climbers generally are smaller, still anchoring at the lobe but extending about halfway up the ear.

The trend of ear cuffs and climbers has caught on with magnitude, with many designers making versions at a vast set of price points, says Helena Krodel, vice president of communications at Luxe Intelligence.

“What was once an ‘ethnic’ look that was indigenous in Indian culture has become more far-reaching as of late, appealing to wearers from a wide range of cultures, personalities and ages,” she says.

Increasing appreciation for colored gemstones has brought attention to Paraiba and Paraiba-like tourmaline, says graduate and certified gemologist Edward Boehm, who also owns Chattanooga, Tenn.-based gemstone supply and consultancy company RareSource. Designers have helped to increase consumer awareness of this copper-bearing form of tourmaline, which ranges in color from vivid turquoise to coastal-water blue.

“The original material was discovered in Paraiba, Brazil in the late 1980s and quickly became one of the most sought-after gems in the United States and Japan,” Boehm says. “Production was limited and quickly absorbed by dealers, designers and collectors. A decade after its discovery, Paraiba tourmaline had gone from hundreds of dollars per carat to thousands and even tens of thousands dollars per carat due to enormous demand and limited production from Brazil.”

In the early 2000s, similar copper-bearing tourmaline was discovered in Mozambique. It was first sold as Brazilian Paraiba, confusing dealers and gem labs, he says. Once its true source was disclosed, a significant price correction took place, making it more affordable to designers.

From 2003 and throughout the recession, prices of copper-bearing tourmalines from Mozambique, which are referred to as Paraiba-type, began, and continued to, climb.

“This may be partially attributed to initial availability of both commercial and high-end material to designers,” Boehm says. “Furthermore, attention in trade press, and record auction prices have contributed to its improved consumer recognition.

“As demand from the Americas, Europe and Asia continues to increase, so will price.”

The third and final trend seen at Couture, openwork, is an ongoing trend in jewelry likely influenced by the precious metal prices, which remain high, relatively speaking. Though the per-ounce price of gold has been on the decline, reaching $1,242.75 in the second half of the year, its low was reached earlier this year on Jan. 8, $1,221 an ounce.

RELATED CONTENT: Metal prices expected to remain relatively steady

The price of platinum has been fluctuating, dropping to a low of $1,374 per ounce in February and climbing to $1,492 per ounce by May. Gold Fields Mineral Services/Thompson Reuters is predicting the metal to close this year at an average price of $1,474 per ounce.