January 28, 2004
2004 JA Winter Show Trends
The first major trade show of the year, JA New York, sped through the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City Jan. 25-27, eliciting reports from exhibitors of strong traffic and fairly good sales.
Dominant style trends continued from last season, including pavé, important diamonds and white metals. Symbols such as crosses and hearts are hanging tough as well. Pendants and brooches shrunk from large to medium, primarily done in all-metal and colored gem designs. Gemstone beads of all kinds, colors and sizes remain popular. Chain links are diamond covered or all-metal, most often in oblong, oval or marquise. Organic shapes, paper-clip links and negative space are abundant. Jewelry accented by rubber or silk cords continue to be seen. Fluid styling influences everything from diamond jewelry to plain metal.
Silver, white gold and platinum remain prominent. Hearts and bridal jewelry still dominate platinum-intensive lines. Rings with gold beads or "atom" clusters are popular. Pink gold continues to expand in many showcases, keeping up with the color trend in gemstones and diamonds. Exhibitors show it as either an accent with white gold or in stackable bangles or rings with yellow and white gold. Two-tone is on its way back. All-yellow gold is strongest in 18k high-fashion, ethnic or ancient-inspired styles, highlighting its richer color and continued prominence in fashion magazines.
Colored Gems & Pearls
Pink gems appear in many showcases and continue to be popular with retailers, according to exhibitors. Jewelry mixing green, blue, pink, purple and yellow or allowing the gemstones to stand alone reflects an ongoing interest in more colorful jewelry. This again is tied into apparel trends, where romantic and retro styles are awash in color. Turquoise and coral remain, probably due to clothing trends, but they are seen most often in European manufacturers' lines. Briolettes and gemstone beads are everywhere. From pastels to primary colors, gemstones show deep saturation. Black or white pearl strands, single pearl pendants or stud earrings are strong, as golden and mixed pearl color strands wane a bit.
Diamonds & Bridal
The style of choice is diamond pavé or jewelry with important center stones. "Consumers are becoming more sophisticated and investment driven. With the economy improving, more customers are looking for bigger diamonds," says Peter Storm, owner/designer, Peter Storm, San Mateo, CA. Along with modern styles, antique settings and diamond cuts remain popular. Exhibitors buzzed about "stiletto" diamond earrings (one long dangling strand of diamonds), smaller chandeliers, cuff bracelets and three-stone styles in pendants, rings and earrings. The diamond pendant of the moment is a simple circle. In bridal diamond jewelry, flush-set diamonds in bezel or bar settings are popular, especially among jewelers with an active or athletic customer base. Platinum remains the standard in the bridal market. Yellow diamonds show strength either as centers, sides or pavé. Pink diamond pavé shows up less often but exhibitors say to watch for demand to rise.
by Lorraine M. O'Donnell, A.J.P.