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Articles from DIAMOND JEWELLERY (974 Articles), STERLING SILVER JEWELLERY (863 Articles), GOLD JEWELLERY (681 Articles)

Bettina Liano
Bettina Liano
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Jewellery and Fashion Trend Forecast

Last season, women across Australia stepped out in animal prints, bold beads and bangle stacks in natural materials and tones. GRETEL HUNNERUP tips the new jewellery styles that will next reign supreme.

JCKstyle editor Jennifer Heebner believes seasonal jewellery trends are born according to three Cs: celebrities, clothes and collections.

Collectively, Heebner and other staff of the US-based jewellery trade magazine keep a keen eye on the red carpet to see how the famous festoon their flesh, study runway shows for common couture trends and scour international jewellery shows to discover what the design community is crafting for the seasons ahead.

On Australian soil, jewellery retailers can use the same model to track future trends and restock their displays with popular, saleable styles. It's high summer right now in Hollywood and celebrities are showing to the world that when the sun is out, less is more. Screen stars with broad appeal such as Helen Mirren, Cameron Diaz and Kate Hudson are pictured in tabloid magazines wearing very little (if any) jewellery, which is a far cry from the boho-chic bulkiness of yesteryear.

Fragile, lacy, bib necklaces, button-shape earrings and elegant cuffs are the order of the day and they're worn sparingly - never together. Big beads have disappeared, making way for chains and ribbons threaded with a skeleton key or an old coin.

Finding beauty in simplicity seems a key aim for starlets and it's these kinds of celebrity trends that members of the jewellery industry would be mad to ignore, according to Laura Finklestein, also an editor of JCKstyle.

"While customers may not be able to afford the same pieces as celebrities, they look to them for current and fashionable shapes, styles and colour," she says.

A host of jewellery designers have been working to the pared-down and pretty formula, so there's plenty on the market for Australian retailers to choose.

Pilgrim's summer range is a series of light impressions that pair a pure graphic style with undertones of freshness and life. The six-series collection deals with fine silver and gold chains, with pendants that are delicate and highly-detailed. The Danish company's designers have dabbled particularly in filigree styles and whimsical charms, which make gentle statements.

Young Melbourne fashion jewellery designer Angela MacFarland has also moved away from big jewellery to focus on feminine forms. Her summer collection will consist mainly of silver chains with simply-shaped pendants and classic drop earrings.

"The idea is not to overdo it this spring and summer," MacFarland says. "Most items in our collection feature one colour only, like a silver bracelet with a single, red heart, so they can be worn to finish off a printed summer dress. Women will be wearing 1960s-inspired clothing with lots of tunics this summer, so we've designed long strung bead necklaces and short necklaces worn high on the chest. There will be minimal layering of jewellery."

At fashion label Kookai, the focus is on weightless glamour - choker necklaces in fabric and chains of silver and gold with cubic zirconia for spring, and longer necklaces with fine resin beads for high summer.

"Heavy chunky jewellery won't suit the clothes made from sheer fabrics due to dominate this summer," says Kookai Australia's accessories designer Elisa Brown. "The jewellery is finer for the coming season and it's highlighted by metals."

Kookai will be stocking diamante-studded earrings and hairpieces for the entire season.

One gem that's benefiting from the move to discreet pieces is the pearl. The popularity of pearls has risen steadily since 2005 when fashion designers in Paris started accessorising shows with them, and this spring/summer they will continue to shine.

They'll be set onto rings in cluster formations and be threaded onto silk, leather and other unconventional materials to create necklaces that spread across the chest.

The emphasis - according to the catwalks, the stars and the jewellery fairs - will be on looking beyond the staid, classical strand.

Globally-recognised brand Autore will be working its South Sea pearls into Art Deco and geometric designs, often alongside coloured, precious and semi-precious stones. Autore's Sheherazade collection uses South Sea pearls, diamonds, coloured stones, white, yellow and rose gold to recreate motifs taken from Persian architecture, carvings and tapestries.

One area where pearls won't make a statement is tough chic, a look expected to fare well this summer with women who "don't do girly".

"Fashion's new heroine is fearless - she's strong yet fragile, elegant with an urban edge," says Nikita Papas, editor of Australian magazine Fashiontrend.

"This tough chic trend was seen at the recent shows in Europe and New York and it will emerge even stronger in Australia during 2008."

Papas thinks women will want to match sharp-lined garments and ultra-minis with big, monochromatic bangles and chunky chains to create vibe that's part tribal, part futuristic. Large chains with unusually-shaped links had a heavy presence in BaselWorld 2007, as did pendants fashioned into skulls and fangs.

Australian fashion label Bettina Liano has recently launched a jewellery collection that best represents fashion's tough side. The sterling silver series features chain necklaces, bracelets and earrings minimally styled with o-shaped jean-rivets and studs.

"The collection exudes a timeless elegance but is tough and edgy," Liano summaries.

Nature is another theme expected to continue this summer. Animal, floral and leaf motifs are nothing new to the jewellery scene, but the trend is showing no signs of slowing.

"Anything that nature nibbles on or sheds is an ideal motif," writes jewellery designer Susanna Hermann from BaselWorld 2007 in The Bling Blog. "Clovers and roses are abundant and oversized, while leaves are more delicate. Meanwhile, feathers are equally fashionable."

SAMS Group Australia

Nature's small wonders were also seen in force at Vicenza in May, the Jewelers of America Show and Centurion, (both in January), and they ranged from literal representations of flora and fauna to abstract interpretations, such as the feathery patterns of exotic birds.

Celebrities currently favour cocktail rings with butterflies and daisies that move a little in the wind, as well as bangles that coil around the wrist like a snake. They're also going mad for leaf-shaped earrings and necklaces with bird pendants that are reminiscent of the great jewellery by Tiffany and Co. and Cartier.

Plant life dominates the Pilgrim range this spring and summer, from flower, pear and grape pendants in polished resin to leaves in silver, gold and wood and Autore has recently launched Oceania, a colourful range of pearl brooches in the shape of sea creatures and coral-like earrings and necklaces, which is likely to draw interest over the warmer months.

Cutting-edge jewellery and homeware company Dinosaur Designs also has nature on the agenda, dedicating every piece in its resin collection to traditional flowers.

In each store, chrysanthemum earrings in both stud and three-drop designs, are displayed alongside peony rose rings, cuffs featuring floral bouquets and petal cluster necklaces.

Given Dinosaur Designs' ability to provide for fashionable women time and again, their themes are worth watching.

Yellow gold is tipped by some to make a big comeback towards the end of this year.

After being pushed aside by white gold and platinum for years, the yellow variety is due to wake from its hibernation and help to fashion a shift to warm jewellery and accessories.

"Opulence is heralding a return," Papas says. "We will see an array of precious gems and a celebration of yellow gold in the coming season."

A panorama of yellow gold jewellery was seen at Vicenza this May, much of it finding inspiration in Greek, Roman and Etruscan mythology and archaeological finds.

Also on show were lace and cobweb-style colliers in yellow gold featuring strands of pearls that drape across the chest. In glossy magazines, the stars are sporting necklaces with battered matte-gold circles and classic, plaited gold bracelets in yellow.

Australia tends to trail behind European and American trends, so it's difficult to predict when Australian consumers will be going for yellow gold.

Ivor Winik, director of international fine jewellery wholesale company Efune, believes the shift will take some time.

"Obviously the upmarket jewellery stores are in line with European fashion, but it's much easier to sell a piece of white gold jewellery and I doubt that will change this year," he says.

A small proportion of fashion-forward folk will seek out the warmer gold this summer and Winik believes the hot-sellers will be rings with multiple diamonds, micro-set with the least amount of metal so the yellow doesn't detract from the stones.

In the fashion jewellery category, gold-look pieces will fare well. Pilgrim's newest watch range has gold as a constant focus, with over half the designs featuring 22-carat, gold-plated cases or bands.

A gamut of costume jewellery labels are adding gold-plated chains to their inventory and many fashion boutiques are already offering beads painted in gold hues, allowing the wearer to carry off a golden summer without paying the price.

On the colour front, there appear to be two schools of thought at play. The first is that pale hues will take centre stage from spring through to high summer. Kookai will be blending whites, creams and clear tones through its entire collection, while Pilgrim is turning to duck-egg blues and dusty pinks.

Queensland-based jewellery designer Renée Blackwell will be launching Crystal Clear, a collection of chunky necklaces with clear, Japanese-crackle glass and a variety of clear, semi-precious stones including quartz crystal.

Jewellery set with pastel-coloured stones is a key selling point at Efune:

"Green amethyst and beryl will continue to be popular this summer," Winik says, "so will the pink tourmalines, the kunzites and the morganites."

The second notion is that brave colour will dominate. Crimsons and dark blue-greens were a la mode at Vicenza, with branches of coral and baubles of turquoise held by leather lace and gold chains. Blackwell has covered herself here by continuing her Carnival range, featuring a kaleidoscopic array of glass beads, vintage crystal, clay ceramics and anything else she can get her hands on across the globe.

"I've had this range for years, and it's only getting bolder and brighter," she says. "I couldn't tell you if this style will be in. I just do my own thing and trust that the customer will like it."

If the red carpet really is a decider, lighter tones will fare best. White, lemon and pale blue are the most frequently-cited colours, worn as stones set onto large cocktail rings, subtle drop-earrings and cuffs, and matched with frocks in similar sorbet shades.

"At any given time there are multiple trends occurring," Heebner says, and it seems this spring and summer in Australia will be no exception.

From delicate to tough, nature to punk, pastels and the push for yellow gold, there will be nothing completely new under the sun this coming season, but rather, a reincarnation of styles tried and true.

With that in mind, one thing is clear: the bohemian look is being pushed off its perch by a myriad of competing tastes. Jewellery wearers will be inspired to depart from the big bead principle and diversify their personal collections according to their wardrobe and whimsy. And this, if course, is good news for the jewellery retailer.

Gretel Hunnerup
Contributor •

Gretel Hunnerup is a criminology graduate turned freelance journalist writing about lifestyle, crime and justice. She also enjoys covering the arts, fashion and fascinating folk from her base in Melbourne. Her work has appeared in The Age Melbourne Magazine, Herald Sun – Sunday Magazine, Harpers Bazaar and The Vine. She also teaches features writing to Monash University journalism students. In her spare time, Gretel loves bushwalking and trawling op-shops for vintage treasures.
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