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September 1999

Precious Metals & Bench: News

Gold Trends 2000

The World Gold Council predicts trends in gold jewelry design. The influence of consumers' lifestyles is key

Think about the social trends that influenced gold jewelry design in the past, from the gold chains that grew out of the hippie years to the simple gold cuffs that have symbolized '90s minimalism. Now imagine how useful it would be to know what trends will shape gold jewelry designs in the first few years of the next millennium.

There's no crystal ball and predictions don't come with guarantees, but the World Gold Council has done extensive socio-cultural research to produce Gold Trends 2000, a futuristic book that looks at developing social trends likely to influence consumers' tastes in jewelry design and at specific design styles those trends and tastes suggest.

Gold Trends 2000 is laid out almost as two books contained in a large binder. On the left is the "LifeTrends" section. Like the left side of the brain, it takes the analytical tack. It defines nine cultural trends, pointing out examples and evidence of each and their expected directions.

On the right is the "DesignTrends" section, which focuses on imagination, creativity and imagery. It provides inspiration and design ideas that evolve from the sociocultural trends discussed in "LifeTrends."

The nine major LifeTrends examined are: Connecting, Multi-Grouping, Restructuring Identity, Cyberliving, New Moralities, New Genders, Millenimania, Luxury as Right and Bioshifting. (See the stories at right for a closer look at three of these trends).

To Learn More
Gold Trends 2000 is available from WGC for $125 plus $10 shipping and handling. It's offered in conjunction with a seminar that will explore more fully all of these trends and their impact on design. The seminar will be presented in Providence on Sept. 14, Chicago on Sept. 15, Los Angeles on Sept. 16, Miami on Sept. 28 and New York City on Sept. 30. The seminar costs $100, which includes a copy of the book. If you buy the book, you can go to the seminar for free.

WGC is also sponsoring the Gold Trends 2000 Design Competition to stimulate designers to use trends described in Gold Trends 2000 as a guide.

A return to self-indulgence and conspicuous consumption marks this trend. It comes in reaction to the spartan, self-denying regimens of the recent past. A heightened perception among Baby Boomers of passing time fuels this trend.

In terms of consumption, we've seen an increase in such luxuries as designer homes, exclusive clubs, extravagant entertaining, fine dining, designer clothes, furs and jewelry. Other social markers for this trend are the return of the martini bar, the explosion of steak houses and a laundry list of other sensual pleasures.

Luxury as Right
Turning to the design aspects of this trend, consumers will embrace ideas such as delicious excess, too much is just enough and the return of glamour. Lavish use of materials in designs that make a bold and opulent statement is what consumers caught up in this trend will look for.

New Genders
The stereotypes of gender have been eroding for decades. This trend can be seen in every aspect of our lives, from changes in business and social relationships to the fascination with gender ambiguity in media and entertainment.

An important aspect of this trend is the shift in men's roles as nurturers and at-home parents and in women's roles as corporate executives, business owners and political leaders. We have seen an increased tolerance for atypical appearance and behavior in men and women and an embracing of "softer," more intuitive values and lifestyles in many segments of traditionally male society.

This trend manifests itself in design that is fluid, mutable and often revealing the unexpected. It explores the coexistence of opposites; hard and soft, curved and straight. Unisex jewelry is one outcome of these concepts.

New Moralities
Sociologists see this as a profound reexamination of the basic principles of ethical behavior and a sincere commitment to live by them. The cultural clues this trend will continue to develop are the preoccupation many people feel with issues such as right and wrong, the nature of honesty and ethical behavior. There's been an increase in volunteerism, addressing major social and political issues through individual action and involvement at the grass-roots level.

A surge in ethics courses has been noted at many levels of our education system. The popularity of television shows such as "Touched by an Angel" and "Providence" as well as movies with spiritual themes are further evidence this trend is building.

This LifeTrend is likely to have a profound influence on the designs sought by people experiencing it. Such concepts as simple beauty, ancient memories, meanings and messages, nature as inspiration and storytelling should all play their part.

Opulent gold rings accented with black pearls are perfect symbols of "Luxury as Right." From the Sand Dune Collection by M. Zucchi and P. Valentini for Tahiti Perles, a Robert Wan Co., Honolulu, HI; (808) 922-6402, fax (808) 921-2035.
Gold and platinum rings by Niessing are unisex and represent the hard and soft, curved and straight aspects of the roles today's men and women undertake. Niessing, Vreden, Germany; fax (49-256) 430-0104.
Gold pendants symbolize ancient African storytelling and the moral and spiritual lessons such stories represent. By Bridggy Ramasike for B. Haglund Ltd., the African Jewelry Collection. For information, contact the World Gold Council, New York City; (212) 317-3800.

– Source: World Gold Council, New York City; (212) 317-3800.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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