Jewelry in 2023: Big and Small - The New York Times

2022-12-17 13:34:39 By : Mr. Gary Chang

Statement cuffs and tiny pieces for piercings are among the styles that retailers expect shoppers to gravitate toward in the year ahead.

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Jewelry in 2023: Big and Small - The New York Times

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The holiday shopping season is in full swing, but jewelry stores are already thinking about 2023, having placed their initial orders for new merchandise months ago.

Even in the midst of a shaky economic climate, many are optimistic about 2023, and with good reason. Sales of fine jewelry — pieces made of precious metals and genuine gemstones — are predicted to be robust next year. A recent forecast by Euromonitor International, a market research company, said the 2023 global market for luxury jewelry, including fine jewelry and high-end costume pieces, is expected to increase to more than $60 billion, about $3 billion above projected 2022 levels.

Perhaps surprisingly, when asked what shoppers would be buying, several jewelry retailers — on digital platforms and at department stores and independent boutiques in several countries — had similar things to say: basics with a twist, big cuff bracelets and lots and lots of tiny pieces for multiple piercings.

Here are specific predictions from six of the retailers.

Ylang 23, a Dallas-based retailer that carries about 50 fashion-driven fine jewelry brands, expects the popularity of precious-metal chains to grow.

“Before, people just couldn’t get enough pendants, and now we’re seeing a little bit of an evolution and a shift toward chains, specifically chains that layer well together,” said Alysa Teichman, one of the store’s three owners.

Options in the store’s stock include chains in 22-karat gold or platinum by Cathy Waterman, based in Santa Monica, Calif., and a clip chain necklace that looks a bit like a vintage pocket watch fob from the New York-based brand Foundrae. Many of the chains can be worn in several ways.

“Chains that have just a little bit of a something different, especially ones that offer a little bit of that convertibility, people love,” Ms. Teichman said.

She anticipated that necklaces with colored gems would do well next year, too, from designers like Irene Neuwirth of Los Angeles, as well as tennis necklaces in deeply hued semiprecious stones like turquoise and malachite by Lee Jones, a Texas-based designer.

As for earrings, Ms. Teichman said she expected the appeal of multiple piercings that show off the wearer’s curated selections to continue next year. Accordingly, the store has stocked options that may be worn in combinations, including small hoops from labels like the London-based designer Raphaele Canot. Last year, Ms. Teichman opened an additional business in Dallas, called Wildlike, focused on jewelry that’s ideal to wear in a line running up the ear, or elsewhere on the body.

“There was a time when people that had multiple piercings were maybe prone to being a more tattoo-y person, or edgier,” she said, “and now I just think that the piercing thing is unbelievable. I feel like everyone has them.”

David Jones and other Australian retailers have been welcoming shoppers back to their stores after the country’s long Covid-related lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. “There’s still a euphoria, I think, for people being out and being about and able to shop, so we are definitely enjoying the fruits of those consumers shopping,” said Benjamin Keenan, general manager of women’s accessories for the upscale department store, which has 43 locations in Australia and New Zealand.

For the coming year, he said, “we think colors are going to be big, so specifically gemstones: rubies, sapphires — we’re definitely seeing that coming through in the ranges and the brands.” The store’s assortment of bright pieces includes items from the Italian brand Pomellato; Qeelin, headquartered in Hong Kong; and Sarah & Sebastian, an Australian fine jewelry label.

Like many retailers, David Jones has noticed the popularity of multiple piercings, and in January, a Sarah & Sebastian area that will offer piercing services is planned to open inside the retailer’s flagship store, on Elizabeth Street in Sydney.

Mr. Keenan also expected pearl designs that are, as he put it, “funkier” than traditional pieces would do well next year — especially from local brands, like Ikecho Australia and Kailis Jewellery, that use freshwater pearls, which he called “a nod to sustainability.”

The retailer is also considering another sustainable venture in 2023: It may begin to resell jewelry and watches offered on consignment — the same kind of arrangement it started earlier this year for handbags, through the Australian reseller Blue Spinach.

Unconventional pearl earrings from labels like Copenhagen-based Sophie Bille Brahe; the Greek brand Lito; and the Los Angeles-based brand Shay have been resonating with Net-a-Porter’s customers.

“You can wear them every day,” said Libby Page, the retailer’s market director, whose domain includes jewelry. “If you think about, historically, with pearls, it was very much a decadent evening necklace that you would wear, and actually now, I think particularly with earrings, it doesn’t feel so dressed up.”

Overall, she said, for next year, “we’re predicting it’s going to be more about those classics with a twist, those sort of wardrobing jewelry pieces.” That would include items that echo trends that other retailers are excited about: chunky gold pieces from the likes of the Paris-based designer Lauren Rubinski, Foundrae, and the New York-based brand David Yurman; vintage-inspired options; and assertive chains that can be worn in combinations.

This month, Net-a-Porter has plans to introduce two other jewelry brands to its women’s mix: Sherman Field, based in London, and Maor, a brand from the Los Angeles-based men’s jeweler M. Cohen (which has been carried by the site’s male-focused arm, Mr Porter, for several years). Both brands, she said, have a sleek masculine-inspired look, and pieces from Maor especially lend themselves to layering.

Ms. Page said concerns about the financial future have made buyers more careful about their choices. “It’s really about people making investment purchases,” she said, “whether that’s something really plain and simple, like a pearl earring, or whether it’s actually an amazing statement necklace that they know they’re going to wear every day.”

At Mad Lords, the popularity of multiple piercings shows no signs of waning.

“This is something deeply instilled in the way of buying jewelry,” said Serge Muller, who founded Mad Lords a decade ago with his wife, Caroline. With that in mind, Mad Lords offers more than 700 earrings, and has piercing services in its four stores. Clientele patterns, however, are changing.

“It was only female until a few quarters ago, and now men are wearing more and more earrings,” he said. “Women like to have their ears pierced 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 times.”

But the trend, Mr. Muller said, goes well beyond ears. He expected, for the next year and beyond, more interest in dermal piercing, which involves inserting a small metal piece under the skin, with a tiny protruding section to screw jewelry into. This kind of piercing, he said, “enables piercing theoretically on all your body, everywhere.”

Although the look is a bit unconventional, Mr. Muller added that dermal piercing “doesn’t hurt at all, you don’t see any scars, and it could be beautiful. You can wear a line of six or seven diamonds on your arm and you only see, on your skin, the diamonds.”

For 2023, the store has plans to introduce new designers from countries like Lebanon and Israel; already in the mix are pieces by the Turkish jeweler Sevan Bicakci. Such designers use what Mr. Muller described as “some antique concepts, still keeping the artisanal way of making it but renewing it, making it a little bit more modern,” all while incorporating traditional motifs like the Star of David and the evil eye.

That symbolism taps into a trend he said he expects to see next year: “People want to have meaning in what they wear.”

“People are looking for those statement pieces,” said Marta Nowakowski, a vice president at Saks Fifth Avenue who oversees its jewelry business in the United States and online. “We’ve been in a trend where we’ve seen smaller jewelry for a very long time, and I think people are ready to buy more and bigger and more colorful.”

To that end, she predicted that customers next year would gravitate toward cuffs, as well as bracelets from different brands to stack as they choose. “It’s what I call ‘personalization,’” she said. “It’s not necessarily that you need to have a personalized piece. Everyone wants their own personalized statement wrist.”

“We anticipate that color will carry on to next year and will be very important,” she added. Green is a key shade, she said, including gems like emerald, jade and chrysoprase — which is often the color of a Granny Smith apple — as well as stones in unexpected combinations.

Earlier this year, Saks started carrying jewelry with lab-grown diamonds from three brands: the New York-based Oscar Massin; Vrai, from Los Angeles; and its own house label. “It has been an immediate success,” she said.

Part of the category’s appeal, she said, was rooted in a growing preference for bold pieces. As she explained it, “Lab-grown diamonds sit in that trend, because you can get so much more diamond, and you can get bigger pieces, for the same amount of money that you would with the natural.”

For 2023, Saks plans to add more lab-grown brands and pieces to its jewelry selection. “We see in this category of the business a huge opportunity.”

Silver has been especially popular at Liberty this year, according to Ruby Beales, a buyer who oversees the jewelry that’s carried at the retailer’s Regent Street flagship in London, as well as on Liberty’s online site. And going into 2023, she said, it was likely to be combined in unconventional ways with pearls.

“Pearls used to have a connotation of being stuffy,” she said, “but all the cool brands are using pearls. You can wear them in so many different ways; they are ageless in terms of appeal.” Those brands, she said, include the London-based designers Shaun Leane, who has offered silver pieces nestled with small black or white pearls, and Dinny Hall, whose collection includes a silver lariat necklace punctuated with a large freshwater pearl.

This month, Liberty intends to add two new London-based designers to its mix, Aymer Maria and Balint Samad; the store also recently introduced pieces in earthy semiprecious stones like moss agate and labradorite by the British designer Jacqueline Cullen.

For next year, Ms. Beales said, she anticipates that large bracelets will be popular.

“A few years ago, bracelets was a category that was downtrading for us,” she said, using a term that means shoppers were buying less expensive items than they had been previously. “But next season I’ve seen — and certainly in terms of my buying — a lot of big gold, silver and Lucite statement bangles.”

Jewelry in 2023: Big and Small - The New York Times

Large Earrings Wholesale Ms. Beales added that it was not just women’s habits that were changing. “I do feel like men are shopping a bit differently.” she said. “I don’t think they’re so strict as just going down to our men’s department, or looking at men’s jewelry online. I think probably they’re looking at the women’s department as much as men’s.”