Now that 2015 is coming to a close, it’s time to review the jewelry trend predictions the GIA social team made for the year. We were so pleasantly surprised at their accuracy that we asked them to peer into their crystal balls again to see what will be trending in jewelry for 2016.
Doug Glener, writer
2015: Celebrating the 70s Revival
Our time-traveling copywriter, bet that the 1970s fashion revival would inspire red carpet jewelry. Rhianna was just one of the bevy of celebs wearing the style, so Glener’s prediction was “right on!”
Glener also bet that geometric jewelry would be popular. Decorated with .70ct white diamonds, Lauren Harper’s “Broken Arrow” earrings were a delightful example of the trend.
2016 Jewelry Trends: Statement Earrings and the 70s Revival Continues
Glener predicts, “Statement earrings made a splash at the last few award shows. I’m betting 2016 is ‘year of the ear.’” Note: The day after Glener made his prediction, The New York Times ran an article on the trend of multiple ear piercings for maximum effect. Glener is also betting that the 70s fashion revival continues: “Jewelry of the 1960s and 1970s was hot in 2015, and it will still appeal at least through the first half of the coming year.”
Kristin Mahan, manager, public relations
2015: Social Shopping, Art Deco, and Houndstooth
Mahan showed she was a soothsayer when she predicted that Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media sites would enable shopping features. In fact, her prediction was one of the big stories of 2015.
Mahan also rightly guessed that Art Deco-inspired jewelry would stay hot, and that hounds-tooth checks in clothing and accessories would be fashionable. If you’re wondering just how trendy, Kate Middleton appeared in public for the first time after the birth of Princess Charlotte wearing a houndstooth dress.
2016 Jewelry Trend: Flower Power Jewelry
Mahan’s crystal ball tells her that based on what we saw on the Fall runways, jewelry for 2016 will be big, bold, and colorful. Floral motifs will be hot. Designers will continue to play with mixed metals and jewelry will take on new shapes.
McKenzie Santimer, exhibit developer
2015: Hungry for Hunger Games
Santimer just may win the title of “GIA seer.” She guessed that The Hunger Games films would influence fashion. She also bet that chokers, big pendants, and a simple, classic look were going to trend. Just two days after Santimer made her prediction, Yahoo ran a feature article on “Killer Accessories Inspired by The Hunger Games.”
2016 Jewelry Trends: More is Always More
According to Santimer, “Layering jewelry – on the arms, neck, wrists, and fingers. It won’t be just one style, but an eclectic mix of couture and costume, mixed metals, bright plastics, leather, and rubber. There are no rules. Think the Iris Apfel look: Wear what you like.”
Rose Tozer, senior research librarian
2015: Transformer Jewelry and Monograms
Tozer bet that jewelry (like a strand of pearls) that could be twisted and transformed into chokers and bangles would start to show up in display cases. Stella McCartney was one design house offering a black pearl necklace that could be shaped according to the inspiration of the wearer.
Tozer also thought that monogrammed jewelry that lets wearers personalize pieces would be in. Taylor Swift, Blake Lively, and Sandra Bullock were just a few of the A-list celebrities sporting their initials.
2016 Jewelry Trends: You Heard It – Paper Jewelry!
Tozer takes a leap and envisions, “…more sustainable materials used in jewelry, in particular paper. Some spectacular pieces were on display at the 2015 Green Show at New York Fashion Week, so the style is already gaining attention.”
Peggy Tsiamis, visual resources researcher
2015: Gemstone Colors on the Block
Last year, Tsiamis made an interesting prediction: color blocking – making colored gemstones central to a piece and using them to create shape and form – would be inspiring designers in 2015. There was no shortage of pieces using color blocking, showing Tsiamis has a feel for what’s stylish. She also predicted that geometric jewelry would be popular, and the style has remained a perennial favorite.
2016 Jewelry Trend: Bow-tiful!
Tsiamis’ foresees bows – reworked and reimagined – trending in 2016. Tiffany already has launched a collection that celebrates the motif.
Russ Shor, senior industry analyst
2015 and 2016: Economic Ups and Downs
Last year, GIA’s senior industry analyst predicted that an improving economy would help jewelry sales, and a steady stream of news articles confirmed the good news. Shor also noted that diamond manufacturers would find it challenging to make profits and find financing – two well-chronicled struggles that Shor believes will continue through 2016.
Shor’s prediction: “The diamond industry will continue to strive for stability between prices, inventories, and demand through the first half of 2016, while the world adjusts to the new reality of a slow-growth China.”
Steve Workman, Jewelry Manufacturing Arts subject specialist/product development
2015: 3D Printers Invade Jewelry Manufacturing
Workman knows his craft. He guessed that 3D printers for manufacturing jewelry molds would continue to transform the industry. High-end 3D printing companies that cater to aspriring designers are sprouting up from Hollywood to Hong Kong. Email your CAD file to the printer, head down to the shop, and pick up your printed model.
2016 Jewelry Trend: Fantastical Forms
Workman believes we’ll see an increase in the use of 3D software like ZBrush and Mudbox, which is currently being used in the film industry. These programs, along with programs called “subdivision modelers” like T-Splines and Clayoo will be used to create organic designs that were very difficult if not impossible to create by hand or even with jewelry-specific software. So we should see interesting new shapes and forms of jewelry printed on 3D printers.
Elizabeth Houghton, technical writer
2016 Jewelry Trend: Metals in Many Colors
We don’t have a 2015 prediction for Houghton, technical writer for GIA’s Jewelry Manufacturing curriculum, and the newest member of the team. But she does offer a prediction for the upcoming year: “We’ll see a spectrum of metal colors in 2016 to complement the many hues and shades of colored stones and diamonds. Hot pink, black, and shades of blues and greens are going to be popular.”
Houghton adds: “The use of traditional coating techniques like enamel, and innovative patented precious metal alloys will produce spectacularly colorful noble metals.”
Now that our jewelry trend predictions have been put to paper, you can come back in a year and see how we did. Gems trend in and out of style. Here are five that are showing up in display cases.