For couples tying the knot in 2018, finding the perfect match is about discovering the retail equipped with the products, knowledge and customer experience, which will compel them to say ‘I do’.
Here, leading suppliers and retailers reveal the styles set to drive sales over the next 12 months…
Meghan Markle Effect
The Meghan Markle Effect had already began before Prince Harry got down on one knee and put a yellow gold and three-stone diamond engagement ring on the American actress’ finger, and with the wedding taking place this year, her effect on fashion and jewellery trends is only expected to grow in strength. The Diamond Store chief executive officer, Gary Ingram, shares on this year’s bridal jewellery trends: “We are already seeing the top of trend of 2018: Meghan Markle’s diamond trilogy ring. As soon as the good news about Meghan’s engagement to Prince Harry broke, we saw an immediate uplift in the sales of three-stone diamond rings. This style of ring is stunning, and while we already stock a range of diamond trilogy rings, early in the New Year we will be releasing a new design that closely follows that of Meghan’s.”
Old Meets New
In relationship to the Meghan Markle Effect, Prince Harry’s choice of designing the ring using stone’s from Princess’ Diana’s personal collection is also expected to encourage brides-to-be to transform family heirloom jewels into modern, and meaningful, designs. Last year Allum & Sidaway saw significant growth in brides choosing to remodel old jewellery pieces into sparkling engagement rings. In fact, 90% of the store’s bespoke customers choose to use diamonds, gemstones and gold that once belonged to a family member. “I am a big fan of Prince Harry choosing to incorporate his mother’s diamonds into Meghan’s three stone ring – a very classic design that is always in fashion,” reveals the independent retailer’s bespoke design director, Ivonna Poplanska. “This global example will inspire even more people to remodel and update their jewellery.”
Bespoke and personalised still remain dominant in the bridal jewellery market, with leading brands, suppliers and retailers looking for new ways to expand in this area. While suppliers are having to invent fresh and unique options, retailers are having to examine how they use the customer experience to strengthen the bespoke element of their business. “Our bespoke and design service has grown by 30% over the last year,” says Jeremy France, owner of the eponymous store. “More and more customers are opting to have something unique designed especially for them.” Domino Jewellery marketing coordinator, Chantelle Serrell-Cooke, adds: “Consumers want to create their own pieces to express their own personalities, they don’t want to be wearing the same jewellery as everyone else.”
Splash of Colour
As brides are looking to move away from traditional designs, if not opting for a bespoke option, jewellery experts predict coloured gemstones will be a popular choice this year. Hockley Mint sales manager, Carol Sinfield, shares: “Coloured stones engagement rings are becoming more popular, with blue sapphires leading the way either as a three-stone or a cluster design with multi-shaped diamond surrounds.” For Irish jewellery brand Chupi, an oval morganite flanked by diamond triangles, is set to be a bestseller for 2018, while British design Alex Monroe continues to see coloured sapphires soar. During the Christmas holiday season Domino Jewellery reported a spike in retailers investing in colourful stones and playing with metals.
Rose Gold Still has Life
Talking to retailers and suppliers about rose gold, which is still very dominant in the fashion jewellery market, it is believed for bridal 2018 should still see the metal colour shine. Online e-tailers in particular saw demand for rose gold steadily increase at the end of 2017 – with 77 Diamonds noting designs incorporating intricate rose gold details as the leaders for this alloy. While rose gold is (probably) never going to outperform yellow and white gold in the bridal market, if an increasing number of consumers are looking at the metal, retailers offering bespoke and personalisation can include this metal as an option, without holding lots of rose stock. This is something Mappin & Webb does as part of its ‘By Appointment’ service.