Jewelry Trends for 2019: What to Expect

Though she named the company she founded “The Futurist,” Paola De Luca is quick to point out that she’s not a fortune teller. However, having worked as a jewellery design analyst for over 20 years, Da Luca is considered a leading authority in jewellery design forecasting and is the driving force behind the biannual Futurist Luxury Forecast.  

Her team continuously ploughs through thousands of images to decode emerging societal shifts, understand consumer culture and derive trends that in turn help designers and others in the luxury markets with their medium- and long-term strategies. 

“The Esperanto of this age is digital images and studying those to understand underlying trends is a science,” de Luca says, adding, “Trends do not come from runways, they never do; they always come from the street and very often from underground culture. Trends are long cycled and are associated with ideological needs and motives.” 

She notes one of the key trends defining society is the current move toward gender and sexual fluidity, what she calls the Mindful Neutralist, a growing consumer group that seeks out brands which avoid gender or sexual labelling, and are also promoting ageless values. In terms of jewellery, she points out, this translates into a more minimalist and geometric design that don’t stereotypically identify with either male or female.  

For Spring/Summer 2019, expect to see jewellery with strong connections to minimalist design, “linear, fluid and lightweight pieces; a direction already happening now,” she says, adding she sees a resurgence of links and chains.

 “Because they are lightweight pieces, they are more affordable, even if they often have diamond accents. They are easy to collect and are meant to be stacked and styled by the consumers, because in the age of the selfie, it’s all about expressing oneself and creating your own expression,” she says. 

A second big society change that she notes is a move to embrace the unique, “imperfection is today’s perfection,” she says, “For the first time being different is truly being celebrated.”  

For jewellery brands, this means “it’s no longer about the matchy, matchy, but about asymmetrical pieces. Consumers don’t want to have a set of jewellery imposed by the brand. Some brands are now selling individual earrings which you can mix and match the way you want it,” she says.

 This beauty-in-imperfection theme translates into a world of “surrealism, distortion, and odd, unusual design.” Think asymmetrical rings with unusual silhouettes and single earrings that are designed to stand alone.

 De Luca has also identified a consumer group that redefines “middle-age.” She calls them the Affluent Midult — savvy, self-reliant females between 35 and 55 years of age, who have more spending power than any other generation and seek out brands that celebrate midlife with humour and honesty. They seek playful luxury and have a sense of nostalgia for the retro and vintage. 

For Spring/Summer 2019, De Luca is seeing a trend she calls Op-Coding, a mix between Art Deco styling from the 1920s and the Optical Art of the 1960s with geometric shapes often combined to create decorative patterns, pixelated effects, 3-D design with illusionary patterns, and colour-blocks contrasting with black materials such as enamel and Bakelite used to contrast with. “In this optical illusionary world, there is a lot of floating patterns, floating gemstones and diamonds, a kind of non-gravity effect, (plus) diamond clustering which also reflects technical innovations. This leads to a more futuristic micro-trend inspired by constellations and expressed by moons and stars.”

 Planets and spheres are also evident in the form of pearls, which are making a strong come back and given a twist as stackable charms or contrasted with straight or vaulted lines.

 Pearls are also evident in the Dark Romantic trend, inspired by the Baroque as well as dark elements in nature (insects, thorns), which she sees translated into Art Nouveaux-inspired jewellery that is now reimagined as dangerous-looking florals, an explosion of bugs (bees, spiders), or “fairy tale-ish, magical worlds with an element of symbolism.”

 Though all these styles might be contradictory, De Luca says they work together because consumers are, “eclectic beings, multi-faceted. We are not just minimalist or maximalist, sometimes we are both, depending on the day and mood. These trends are really what we are creating unconsciously, and represent how we feel.”

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