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Image courtesy: Luna Skye Jewelry
Image courtesy: Luna Skye Jewelry

2018 Jewellery Trends: Perfectly Imperfect

Trend setters all over the globe have spoken: dainty, ‘imperfect’ styles are shaping this season’s fashion jewellery scene. TALIA PAZ details how retailers can make the most of these offerings.

Jewellery retailers appreciate how fickle fashion can be – bold statement pieces make way for minimalist, subtle styles faster than one can put together a window display for an upcoming season.

This season’s hottest pieces are inspired by fine art, nature and life’s ‘imperfections’, a sharp contrast to the delicate aesthetic that has characterised the fashion jewellery landscape these last few years.

What does this mean exactly? Think mismatched earrings, organic and sculptural necklaces, bracelets and rings that resemble molten metal, and whimsical designs inspired by nature.

“Fashion has a recent preoccupation with all things imperfect – ugly footwear, unisex styles, asymmetrical hems, and mismatched prints,” Kimberly Ong wrote for renowned fashion magazine Harpers Bazaar in a March 2018 article. “Fashion has now embraced [this trend] in all its imperfect glory, and we’re certain it’s here to stay.”

Trend me happy

"Personalisation and strong design are very important – this is what drives the value proposition for the customer, rather than the use of precious metals or stones."
Ken Abbott, managing director of supplier Timesupply

Fashion has long been about wearing statement pieces that catch the eye; however, this season the trend has extended to wearing ‘extra-special’ designs that stand out even more. Local designer Carly Paiker, whose collections range from stocking “very chunky” statement pieces to ultra-fine delicate pendants and rings, explains further.

“For the remainder of 2018, ear lobes will continue to demand attention, with statement earrings being the focus,” Paiker says. “This means arty, mixed materials, mismatched and with a handmade feel. There is also an underwater theme coming through with irregular pearls, beaten metals in gold metal tones – think pirate’s treasure, lost ancient coins and a mermaid’s jewel box.”

Such earrings can be worn as a pair or individually for an “electric take on asymmetry,” Anna Lapalca, a journalist at Who What Wear, rightfully notes.

Cheryle Roberts, managing director of supplier Stones & Silver, adds that pearl and turquoise styles are also having a serious moment. “Our clients are loving the two tones of silver and rose gold, so we are always looking for trends with these metals,” Roberts says. “Black rhodium is always popular in winter too – fashion tends to focus on greys and blacks in winter, and black goes with everything.”

Les Georgettes
Les Georgettes

According to Debbie Faraday, creative director of Pernille Corydon Jewellery distributor Hipp, there has also been a strong shift back to yellow gold: “Feminine, sophisticated and well-priced pieces are the focus here.”

Charlotte Blakeney agrees with these sentiments. The local designer, whose business By Charlotte counts Miranda Kerr and Elle Macpherson as customers, says pendant necklaces, statement hoop earrings and signet rings are also key trends shaping this season’s fashion jewellery scene.

“This year has also seen a move towards spiritual and personalised jewellery. In particular, we’re seeing a push for birth stones and zodiac-themed pieces,” she adds.

A recent Marie Claire article also offers some worthy insights into the latest trends: “Perhaps as an antidote to our troubled times, fashion has taken a turn for the contemplative, looking to nature as a source of inspiration and designing in ways that promote harmony rather than hate. The trick lies in artfully layering pieces of varying lengths, mixing metals and shapes for an organic, effortless effect.”


The trend of customising one’s own jewellery also remains strong, according to Les Georgettes’ vice president Frederic Brunel-Acquaviva.

“There’s an increasing demand for promoting your own personal sense of style, which is where personalisation of fashion jewellery comes into play,” Brunel-Acquaviva says. “This can never go out of fashion as it is unique to the individual. It’s therefore important for retailers to capitalise on this trend.”

Ken Abbott, managing director of supplier Timesupply, adds his own thoughts on the popularity of customisable jewellery. “Personalisation and strong design are very important – this is what drives the value proposition for the customer, rather than the use of precious metals or stones,” he says.

Slaying the game

Retailers are expected to keep up with – even stay ahead of – seasonal fashion jewellery trends. This is where using multiple sources comes in handy.

Carly Paiker
Carly Paiker

Global trend forecasting service WGSN, which supplies market intelligence to the jewellery industry, publishes forecasting reports throughout the year. Some relevant examples for jewellers include ‘Top jewellery Instagrams that inspire’ and ‘Top 5 wedding jewellery Pinterest accounts.’

Supplier Najo’s managing director Jo Tory believes another way retailers can keep up with seasonal trends is to continuously review the local and international fashion scene.

“Like all trends, the jewellery industry mirrors what is happening with fashion. Styles on the runways trickle down into social media, celebs, stylists and publications, and become pedestrian,” Tory explains.

As well as reviewing fashion runways, retailers can also benefit from paying attention to trends in other locations. “I would suggest being on trend is more valuable than being ahead of the trend,” Abbott says. “Look towards Europe for a feel of what is trending and the UK for what is selling through.”

Of course, in today’s image-obsessed world, where celebrities and fashion ‘it girls’ are heavily revered for their style, social media plays heavily into how retailers can keep up with the latest trends.

Displays that dazzle
What advice can you offer retailers regarding merchandising and window displays?


“How product is displayed is the very first and important part of the selling process – be creative; do things differently, don’t look like the jewellery shop down the road. Try and tell a story with your display by using props to capture the attention of window shoppers – it works.”

Helen Thomspon-Carter, Fabuleux Vous

“It’s all about getting the balance right – eye-catching enough to grab somebody’s attention without displays being too overcrowded with products. Suppliers need to provide full merchandising offers to match jewellery, which is very important for any brand’s image. Everything, from the packaging to the stands, should be coordinated to show the variety of possibilities and colours on offer, providing the consumer with a full experience.”

Frederic Brunel-Acquaviva, Les Georgettes


“Look at the big successful brands that have tried and proven POS merchandising guidelines for inspiration; they make creating in-store displays very easy.”

Ken Abbott, Timesupply



“Displays that have imagery and branding will help bring the pieces to life and add context to what can otherwise look messy.”

Debbie Faraday, Hipp


This season’s top picks



“Our number one item currently being sold is a classic drop earring with a rose gold ball. However, our sterling silver bangles and rings that are combined with brass, copper and gemstones will also continue to be sought after.”

Cheryle Roberts, Stones & Silver



“Our Seafaring hoops are currently the number one item. Inspired by ancient underwater treasures, with their irregular finish creating a drastic sparkle, they steal the show!”

Carly Paiker, Carly Paiker




“All the items from our Lacey range. They’re different, very on trend, well made and exceptionally well-priced. Pieces come in different shapes and already have proven to be best sellers.”

Helen Thomspon-Carter, Fabuleux Vous


“After the success of our ring and necklace collections last year, this season we’re introducing our debut collection of customisable earrings. Our concept remains the same as with our bracelets; choose your earring design, size and finish and combine this with a pair of interchangeable, reversible colours, which can be transformed time and time again”.

Frederic Brunel-Acquaviva, Les Georgettes




“Choosing one item is hard! But if I had to, I would choose the Eternal Harmony Necklace, which is the standout statement piece from my upcoming collection ‘Awaken’. The inspiration behind this piece is travel – I love learning about new cultures and exploring spiritually.”

Charlotte Blakeney, By Charlotte

“Today, social media plays a huge role in influencing consumer’s choices in just about everything, and fashion jewellery is no exception to this,” Bruenel-Acquaviva says. He adds that many big jewellery names have shifted to creating “influencer marketing strategies”.

Fabuleux Vous
Fabuleux Vous

Helen Thompson-Carter, director of supplier Fabuleux Vous agrees: “Social influencers on social media definitely influence consumer’s fashion jewellery choices. Retailers need to [capitalise on this by] following fashion bloggers and trends online.”

As well as using social media to stay on top of trends – “Instagram is still the best way to see the trends, both local and overseas,” Faraday declares – the platform can be used to filter trends down to consumers.

“Instagram is an open market where anyone can be involved, from hobby businesses to the couture brands we find on the Paris runway,” Paiker explains. “It is a melting pot of creativity and has a driving influence on our customers’ purchasing decisions.”

Instagram influencers have also had a profound impact on consumer buying habits, Blakeney notes. “The younger generation of shoppers are now in tune with global fashion trends more than ever, noting what and who their role models are wearing,” she says. “Social media has become incredibly important as it heightens our consumer communication and engagement – we are able to tap into the wants and needs of today’s customers in relevant time.”

Although there is a strong emphasis on using social media platforms to dictate, observe and inform retailers and consumers on up-and-coming trends, many suppliers agree it’s not the only strategy that should be used.

Stones & Silver
Stones & Silver

“We strive to keep our retailers informed about new season pieces ahead of official launch dates through newsletters that introduce new trends and designs, along with a link to download sales kits and order forms,” Bruenel-Acquaviva explains.

“Many also forget the power of consumer magazines. It is still a very relevant form of marketing, whether it be in print form or online.”

Thompson-Carter is of the same mind. “Retailers should also be following fashion jewellery trends in print media – essentially, fashion magazines,” she says. “They should also note that the styles of the royal family – Kate and Meghan – are also very influential right now.”

However, it’s not just famous people influencing consumer’s choices, Faraday says. “Friends with great taste can be quite inspirational within their social circle,” she adds.

At the end of the day, consumers really are spoilt for choice when it comes to fashion jewellery. With so much competition, how can retailers stand out from the pack? Faraday offers some final words of advice.

“Offer a variety of ‘point-of-difference ranges’ with beautiful packaging and appealing POS displays,” she recommends. “Retailers should think outside the square and offer their customers something different, unexpected and refreshing. This will encourage repeat business and make their store a destination.”

The ever-popular fashion jewellery landscape will continue to evolve; however, by combining simple strategies with the right on-trend stock, retailers can be sure that customers will be more than satisfied this season.

Coeur De Lion
Coeur De Lion

Talia Paz • Staff Journalist

Talia Paz is a staff journalist for Jeweller, and has more than three years' experience as a freelance journalist for national and international publications, covering a wide range of industries.

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