Resin, enamel, pearls, brooches, and earrings that seem to defy gravity – the upcoming jewellery looks for 2018 are varied and exciting, and range from the futuristic to the distinctly retro.
But predicting fine jewellery trends isn’t as easy as scouring the SS18 runway shows and spotting the jewels worn with Céline’s latest looks (although there is a bit of that… see brooches and pearls).
Jewellers may flock to the same gemstone fairs around the world, but there are no enormous rolls of precious gems like there is fabric for them to fight over. Instead, there are little piles of opals, tiny paper envelopes of diamonds, or a single perfect spinel to haggle over.
Fine jewellery is, because of its very nature, hugely expensive to produce – ruled by the price of gold, the price of diamonds, and the gamble that there will be a client willing to pay the final sum.
What can be seen, though, are certain materials, styles, and influential eras making a play for best-in-show. Herewith, my predictions for 2018.
Big earrings 2.0
Firstly, big earrings; not just huge hoops or giant Alexander Calder mobile-inspired numbers in lightweight materials – although there are still plenty of those about. The new earring style is neither a hoop, a climber, nor a cuff – instead it’s a roller coaster-like swirl of gold studded with precious stones that seems to orbit the entire ear.
When I first saw young London designer Gaelle Khouri’s latest collection of earrings unwrapped from their leather pouches in August last year, I couldn’t understand how they could possibly could work. But work, they did, and dramatically, beautifully so.
Multiple swoops and hoops of the lightest-weight yellow gold, at times set with diamonds in blackened sections of gold, the earrings are more superfine sculptures than jewels, writhing around the ear like strangely beautiful, orbital cages. They’re huge, dramatic, and super modern, but they’re a bold new take on a form that hasn’t really seen a new style in ages. Expect others to follow.
The return of resin
Elsewhere, resin is making a comeback. 1950s enthusiasts will remember fat Bakelite beaded necklaces – a form of chemically-produced resin that is no longer made.
But Australian brand Dinosaur Designs, and LA designer Cult Gaia’s resin pieces are suddenly everywhere. The former specialises in oceanic colours in the form of enormous cuffs and resin beads like sea-glass piled one on top of the other, while the latter’s recent foray from bags to jewellery sees giant resin hoops mimicking both tortoiseshell and jade.
Brooches continue their comeback
It has taken years for me to understand brooches’ multiple charms. I never thought I would wear one to anything other than a fancy dress party but lately I’ve been pinning them to belts, clasping a jacket closed with one, and even adding a matching pair to some simple flats.
Mine are all vintage and paste, but if you’ve money to spare, look to Italian brand Vhernier’s tongue-in-cheek, Schiaparelli-esque animal brooches in rock crystal coloured with turquoise or coral – they’re both cute and odd, but they’re fantastically wearable and would make the dullest black gown look Met Ball-worthy.
Best fine jewellery brooches
Pearls lead the way for semi-precious materials
Lastly – pearls and other stones not on that almighty list of the big four (diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires).
While natural pearls are in another realm entirely, cultured and synthetic pearls are once again being recognised as the luminous, skin-flattering gems that they are. From designers like Mizuki, Anissa Kermiche and Amrapali, pearl jewellery has finally hit its contemporary stride.
Alongside pearls are the lesser known, semi-precious stones like chalcedony, chrysoprase, and amazonite – lavender blue, mint-green and turquoise-coloured respectively – being utilised by the likes of Saskia Diez in demi-fine jewels: a mix of gemstone beads and gold-plated metal that are more about the glory of colour than the value of the materials.
So it’s a mixed bag for 2018 – from huge in scale to small in value, modernist in shape and traditional in material. At least no one can say it’s dull.