What’s the sparkling new trend in jewelry? For this article, boutique managers and owners took a look to discuss what is selling.
At The Ranchers Wife Boutique in picturesque Terrell, Texas, General Manager Alexia Rowten isn’t seeing any specific big jewelry trends in the 2,500-square-foot shop. “Everything is primarily plain silver or gold. We do see an interest in clay earrings however, and cow-print, hair on hide earrings.” She said the reason behind these small trends is due to local nature of the styles. “People just see them as different and unique for the area. They’re a western look.” Glancing ahead toward 2022, Rowten said her predictions are for more classic looks. “That’s already happening going from last year to this year. I’m not really seeing unusual items coming in, I see minimalistic items, gold, silver, sleek looks. Personally, I’m looking for items that support this style, clean and light and not too much going on. I think people want something that’s classier overall and that they can wear from morning to night.”
In San Leandro, Calif., Angela Ajetomobi, manager of the 1,200-square-foot boutique shop On the Runway, is also not seeing any particular new style this year. “What we sell the most of is a wide variety of costume jewelry, not any one trend. We do sell a lot of earrings, but it depends on someone’s age and what they are looking for as to what they will buy. Some people are looking for things that are dainty or simple, while others are after a big, splashy look, the most over-the-top and longest shiniest things you can find.” As shoppers enter the holiday season, she noted. “We are seeing more of the big diamond, chunkier style of accessories that people are seeking out as they are getting ready for holiday parties and that kind of event from now through New Year’s.”
Some shoppers are interested in alternative types of jewelry beyond the usual metallic basics, she reported. “We do see an interest in that, especially among people who have had allergic reactions to metals such as nickel. People like plastic or beaded items to avoid potential allergens.”
Ajetomobi has some predictions for 2022. “I feel like we are moving toward more classic items, but there is also a real interest in flower items. Not necessarily floral patterns but like earrings that make the wearers appear to have flowers in their ears, leaves dropping, petals dropping down from your ears. I don’t think those will stay around long-term though. People do still tend to stick to gold or silver, more simple things. But the floral idea, which I am seeing when I’m searching for new items to carry, that may stick around for the spring and summer season in 2022.” She noted that this style is often plastic with metal backing or a “foamy type of material, almost like paper mache.”
At the Heart & Hand Boutique in Ashland, Ore., Owner and Designer Elise Peters said at her 600-square-foot boutique shop, “Jewelry is our thing. We’ve been in business for 30 years and we are pretty loved, including for our jewelry.” In terms of trends, “What I have noticed recently is that people seem to be really loving simple things, single drop styles. For example, people want something like a pearl on a silk cord that almost looks invisible on the skin. It appears the gem is hanging invisibly on the neck. It’s a very understated look for women of all ages and makes a great gift.”
That said, other than the natural fiber silk versus a metal chain, the shop doesn’t do much with items created from fabric or leather. “It’s more about a simple gemstone with sterling, gold, or silk.”
Peters’ prediction for 2022 is that “meaningful jewelry” will be a trend. “People like stones and things with real meanings, amulet types of things. I can’t say I pay that much attention to popular trends, my inspiration and ideas come from my own personal wellspring. But taking in the world around us today, I think that kind of meaningful look is very appealing, I see a lot of people being engaged by that idea.”
Also in Oregon, at Folkways in Eugene, Owner Vicki Singer is all about carrying unique looks at her eclectic 1,500-square-foot boutique. “Our store is known for having unique things that you won’t find in a department store. Like so many boutiques, we know people come here looking for things that are handmade,” she explained. With that in mind, she stressed that “We see a lot of interest in natural gemstones as well as in sterling silver items. People are looking for real items overall, there’s very little interest in costume jewelry of any kind.”
The largest trend she said she sees is a “growing interest in things that are made by hand, authentic things. For example, pearls are doing well for us, but shoppers want to make sure the pearl is fresh water, not artificially made or dyed. There’s also a lot of interest in pendants with stones such as labradorite and a lot of amber is selling well this year.”
She noted that “statement pieces” are another trend. “We have a fair number of customers who are going to a wedding or something like that, and they are looking for a statement piece, something dramatic in silver or a gemstone that will show off the dress they are wearing. We sell a lot of jewelry that would accessorize an outfit.” According to Singer, “People do also come to us just for a jewelry purchase, but a lot of the time, they’ll be looking for a blouse or a dress and then a jewelry piece that will put the outfit together.” Another trend she’s witnessed is a growing interest in rings. “Rings are very big this year, but mostly sterling. I am not sure why.”
Singer said shoppers are not particularly seeking out alternatives to metal jewelry. “No, I haven’t seen any interest in leather or fabric items. We do have some soft leather cords for jewelry, but I think people believe they just don’t feel as nice as metal. Last year was so hard, people want to feel good and beautiful now, and leather or string or fabric of any kind just doesn’t feel as good as silver or gold.”
Looking forward to 2022, Singer predicted that whatever trends occur will really relate to whatever else is happening in the world. “Here in Eugene, a lot of things are opening now, symphony, opera, plays, ballet. If that kind of event continues in person, a lot of our customer base attend these special events, and as even more events pick up again, I expect more show pieces to sell in terms of jewelry. Last year when people couldn’t attend these kinds of things there was less interest.”
Summing up: as the pandemic restrictions appear to lessen and customers are even more focused on looking their best, jewelry sales are strong and though trends may differ, come 2022, jewelry will still be a shining star in the retail environment.