Diminutive styles made a showing at JCK Orlando, held Feb. 4-6, perhaps in response to worries over an economic slowdown this year. Lariat styles were the favorite of the "smaller is better" contingent. There were also skinny long gold and silver chains looped in a variety of ways, imitating scarves tied artfully. Many smaller colored gemstone beads were shown too, in contrast to larger beads seen at shows last year.
But bigger, important styles aren't gone completely, especially in diamonds. Exhibitors produced sizable diamond necklaces, three-stone rings and line bracelets, usually set in platinum. Hoops continued in large sizes, also liberally sprinkled with diamonds.
In other trends:
Gemstones: Colorful gems continued to be the strongest statements at winter shows, especially in less-expensive varieties. The sapphire abundance seen at other shows was evident in Orlando, with pink and yellow pavé the clear favorites. Unusual gem shapes stayed strong, especially barrel-shapes, navettes and free-form styles. Among the more standard styles, pears and ovals stood out against the now ubiquitous princess and emerald cuts. Fresh color combinations were hot, including purple/blue, red/blue and pink/green.
Metals: Exciting looks in gold reflected the fashion world's rediscovery of yellow metal. Little of it is completely shiny: most styles features some working of the metal to provide contrast and interest. The exception was in bangles and hoops, where shiny styles looked retro-hip. Exhibitors also noted a growing acceptance of fashionable silver as an absolute staple in today's jewelry store. As a result, they produced an impressive number of innovative styles in sterling. Lighter platinum-intensive pieces also surfaced, as manufacturers and designers cope with higher platinum prices. Rolo bracelets, often with charms, and interesting oval-shaped links appeared in all three metals. Creative two- and three-color metal combinations suggest that Americans are getting more sophisticated in their handling of the various metal colors.
- by Peggy Jo Donahue