Professional Jeweler Archive: Stellar Sterling

April 2000


Stellar Sterling

Look for big, bold reflections of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s with emphasis on impeccable design

Another good year is in store for sterling silver, but understated jewelry is turning out to be a thing of the past. After 10 years of minimalism, the fashion pendulum is swinging to excess – bringing riotous shoes, snakeskin pants, color everywhere and big jewelry.

From a designer’s point of view, larger pieces provide more room to work. “When working with smaller pieces, an element of design is lost,” says Kevin Kapin, owner of Kevin Kapin Manufactory, Ojai, CA. “That element is brought back when designing on a larger canvas.”

Because silver is less expensive than gold and platinum, it’s on the leading edge of bigger jewelry. In addition, white metal is a good background for the colored gems that are part of today’s color explosion in apparel fashion.

“Electrified and intense color is making consumers happy,” says Diana Shiel of Silver Trust
International, New York City. Turquoise, aqua-marine, blue chalcedony and moonstone are used often in silver for a cool look; yellow citrine and orange coral warm things up. Freshwater pearls in all colors and opals are beautiful accents against a sterling background. Garnet and amethyst accents result in classic, reasonably priced jewelry.

“Enameling, stone accents, dangles and faceted stones are all part of the colorful glamour look that is happening right now,” says Shiel.

Silver jewelry is a staple not just in jewelry stores – galleries are stocked with designer pieces also. Though both types of stores stock silver, what sells in each differs.

“In galleries it’s design, design, design, with multiple textures and finishes, layers and design complexity,” says Anne Devero, owner of Anne Devero Presents, San Francisco, CA. In this arty segment, designs are getting larger. Brushed finishes are important because they’re low maintenance and offer a softer look.

In upscale jewelry stores, the popular styles are a little different. “It’s predominantly silver mixed with higher karat gold and ethnic-looking cable or handwoven chain,” says Devero. The end result is a value-added look that will ease a gold customer into white metal.

Retail jewelry stores also look for quality. The workmanship must reflect the quality standards of gold jewelry, with impeccable finishes, sophisticated designs and findings that work perfectly. “If the workmanship and design elements are there, customers are willing to pay for it,” says Kapin. “Money’s not as much of an object anymore.” Here’s a look at what’s happening in different jewelry categories. Consider this when stocking up for spring and summer.

The Ears Have It

Ears are adorned with midsize to jumbo hoops featuring gemstone accents or charms. Classic hinged hoop, industrial-chic designs and dangles with movement are in vogue. Three-dimensional pieces, sophisticated domed or curved shapes, and flat forms with a design twist or an off-center heart give customers a variety to choose from.

By a Neck

Silver chokers with multiple hanging charms are the dominant offering this year, but also look for disc-shaped links and lariats that can be tied like a cord or worn with pendants. Customers are breaking away from the standard 18-in. chains and asking for 24 or 30 inches. Flexible handwoven chain with internal oxidation satisfies the need for something complex and dimensional (see “Aging Gracefully,” p. 76). “The major design element here is big, bold and clean,” says Ronna Lugosch, designer/owner of Lugosch Designs, Round Pond, ME.

Rings & Wrists

Rings stack up to the knuckle but remain comfortable. Lots of texture and gemstone accents lend interest to bigger, bolder rings.

Flexible bangles and cuffs are popular for the wrist – no shiny finishes here. Matte is what consumers want. Multiple chains and charm bracelets are popular also. “But customers won’t buy bracelets unless they can put them on by themselves,” cautions Shiel. Keep those bracelets user-friendly with good-quality, easy-to-use clasps.

Sterling Future

Keep an eye out for the use of more materials in combination with sterling. “Experimenting with organic materials and interesting gemstones will push the silver envelope,” says Devero.

Jewelry with movement and dimension will captivate consumers. Hair ornaments with gemstone accents remain popular – they’re imaginative, decorative and functional.

Silver with higher-karat gold accents will remain popular also. Satin finishes will continue to prevail over polished. Cultural influences of India, Africa, Scandinavia and the American Indian will be driving design forces.

New Super Find

Erwin Pearl, New York City, has introduced 999 Super Fine sterling silver.

The company uses a patented process to create a sterling silver that can be cast, stamped and made tubular and is malleable enough to be made into chain and components.

The new product is 99.5 parts sterling silver and 0.5 parts proprietary content. The company says the proprietary content makes 999 Super Fine tarnish-free, hypoallergenic and more durable, brighter and shinier than other sterling silver.

  • Erwin Pearl, New York City; (212) 889-7410 or (212) 753-3155.

– L.M.S.

– by Lorraine M. Suermann

Sterling silver necklace features a moonstone cradled in each section. Suggested retail, $4,250.

Margo Manhattan Jewelry, New York City; (212) 925-0735, fax (212) 925-3960,,

Graduated sterling silver bangle retails for $228. Sterling silver ring with blue topaz center is $137. Both are made in Italy.

The Cargo Hold Inc., Charleston, SC; (803) 723-3341, fax (803) 722-1377.

32-in. sterling silver chain and quilted pendant with 14k gold bands are $425 suggested retail.

Zina Sterling Silver, Beverly Hills, CA; (310) 286-2212, fax (310) 286-1432,

Sterling silver “Ginko” bell pendant retails for $100.

Kevin Kapin Manufactory Inc., Ojai, CA; (805) 646-8380, fax (805) 646-8729.

Earrings, ring and necklace are crafted in sterling silver and palladium.

Zebra Design Inc., Pittsburgh, PA; (412) 364-9446, fax (412) 364-6131.

Crocheted sterling silver wire bracelet features a cast sterling silver clasp. Suggested retail, $165. Matching rings are available for $75-$90.

Wendy Tabb, New York City; (212) 966-5104;

Sterling silver cuff bracelet features 18k gold leaves and a pink tourmaline accent. Suggested retail, $1,050.

Onofrio D. Oro, New York City; (212) 768-1395, fax (212) 843-0601.

Sterling silver yellow jacket pin features enameled striping on the body. Keystone, $50.

Dobbs Boston, Gloucester, MA; (800) 233-6227 or (508) 283-0432, fax (508) 283-2209.

Sterling silver hoop earrings.

Beaucraft Inc., Providence, RI; (401) 461-2305.

Satin-finished sterling silver and sea-glass daisy pin can be worn also as a pendant.

Andree Brown for Main Floor, New York City; (212) 532-5301.

Sterling silver ID bracelet features a rolo chain with lobster claw clasp.

Leonore Doskow Inc., Montrose, NY; (800) 431-2302 or (914) 737-1335, fax (914) 737-5049.

Jewelry collection comprises bracelets, book marks, traditional key rings and a heart perfume flask crafted in sterling silver.

New England Sterling, North Attleboro, MA; (800) 447-5552.

Carpe diem lilies brooch/pendant is crafted in sterling silver and 18k yellow gold with a diamond accent.

Hiroko Sato-Pijanowski, Ann Arbor, MI; (734) 668-6670, fax (734) 663-6632,

Designed by Roz Welsh, the sterling silver dancing star pin retails for $243. The matching earrings are $178.

Lugosch Designs, Round Pond, ME; (800) 299-7734 or (207) 529-6050, fax (207) 529-7000,,

Sterling silver choker features personalized transparent rock quartz. Keystone, $148-$836.

Cedric Williams, New York City; (212) 929-8800, fax (212) 929-0928.

Contemporary hinged hoop earrings are accented with cubic ziconia.

Friedrich Zettl, Hollywood, FL; (305) 867-8383 or (954) 923-4581, fax (305) 868-4869 or (954) 925-9295.

Seven-strand sterling silver bracelet has 24k gold and opal accents.

Anne Devero Presents, San Francisco, CA; (415) 337-0470, fax (415) 337-5310.

Sterling silver and mother-of-pearl stick pins are from the Mother of Pearl collection. Suggested retail, $40-$100.

Bayanihan Ltd., Harrisburg, PA; (717) 652-3987, fax (717) 545-4830.

14k gold ribs accent these sterling silver cuff links. Suggested retail, $150.

Dolan Bullock, Providence, RI; (800) 556-7812,fax (401) 943-4230.

The combination of brushed and shiny finishes and cubic zirconia accents give these sterling silver brooches a unique look.

Esslinger & Co., St. Paul, MN; (800) 328-0205 or (651) 452-7180, fax (800) 548-9304 or (651) 452-4298,

Sterling silver charm bracelet features praying hands and faith-hope-charity symbols. Suggested retail, $199.

Rembrandt Charms, Buffalo, NY; (800) 828-7840, fax (800) 828-7811.

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