TRENDS: Designers go dainty with gold

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How the drop in price is enabling designers to explore the gold.

As the price of gold falls and demand builds, designer-makers and big brands alike are placing greater emphasis on delicate, dainty and strikingly simplistic 9ct and 18ct gold designs tailored to a younger customer base. Sarah Louise Jordan seeks out the stackable pieces that are forming a wearable, everyday jewellery base for customers, and asks designers what they find most intriguing about these precious treasure-seekers.

The waters have been relatively calm for gold in recent months, with the World Gold Council presenting a plethora of positive statistics to a trade already benefiting from falling prices.

Gold had a robust start in Q1 2014, with UK consumers reacting convincingly to the lower price-points available. Across the UK, demand for gold rose to 3.5 tonnes with a value of £85 million, up 29% compared to Q1 2013.

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Realistically, this hasn’t led to designers and brands rushing to recreate their best-sellers in solid gold, but it has encouraged them to feel confident in their core gold ranges which, despite higher price tags, are enticing customers who want quality, precious treasures to add to their everyday jewellery wardrobes.

Jewellery wholesaler Gecko’s Elements Gold collection is a perfect example of the delicate designs that appeal to customers’ desire for complete wearability. Gecko’s co-head of design Hannah Trickett explains: “Our plain gold range within our Elements Gold collection has grown year-on-year, and we work hard to offer a great mix of designs and price points, which our customers respond well to.”

She continues: “The popularity of 9ct yellow gold in the simpler, uncomplicated designs [is rising] because of its wearability. Understated gold jewellery can be worn with just about anything. Also as the more delicate pieces continue to be a huge trend they have become staple items within many
women’s accessory wardrobes.”

For Trickett, this wearability-factor manifests itself in symmetrical, geometric designs such as Gecko’s pyramid studs and angular hoop earrings.

In stark contrast to this geometric minimalism is British jewellery brand Alex Monroe and its dainty Enchanted Alphabet collection, as well as its popular Goldcrest fine jewellery line. Alex Monroe sales manager Emma Burgin reveals: “From our 18ct gold range, the Fine Twig rings are our absolute top-seller. They retail at £265 which is a great price for solid gold, and come set with four different stone options, which allows customers to stack them in different combinations.”

It is this ability to stack and combine that makes Alex Monroe’s pieces so enticing to customers, believes Burgin. She adds: “Customers like collecting styles across our ranges and often wear at least two pieces at a time. High fashion pieces will quickly come and go, but the designers making delicate jewellery will still be around, as people will always want jewellery they can treasure.”

London-based designer Laura Lee, whose aesthetic centres on petite, stackable yellow gold designs, is noticing more customers embracing her signature, simple jewellery. She explains: “The colour of gold is inspiring and beautiful and as such doesn’t necessarily need embellishment. Our dainty gold Sequin collection has proven particularly popular, and the necklaces and rings in this group look great layered with other jewellery – almost like a great pair of jeans, these items make the perfect base for a look.”

TRENDS IN PICS: VIEW A GALLERY OF DAINTY GOLD JEWELLERY

Equally convinced by the brilliant ‘wardrobe-base’-effect of gold jewellery is Theo Fennell, whose new 18ct Whip collection comprises bangles, pendants and earrings retailing from £450 to £9,950. He divulges: “I think this sort of chic and stylish collection compliments any kind of mood or era, and it has been beautifully made. What more could you want?” For Fennell, ensuring these simpler designs are flecked throughout his ranges ensures that his customers, perhaps more used to seeing his elaborate, theatrical pieces, will also find something that’s better suited to their daily jewellery needs.

With consumers hardwired to understand that gold is more expensive than its precious silver counterpart, it already holds a unique allure that designers are capitalising on. As Alex Monroe sales manager Burgin adds: “When it comes to solid gold, customers are often making a symbolic purchase that has a huge amount of sentiment attached.” For retailers, this translates perfectly for the gifting market, with shoppers seeking out small, high quality pieces with accessible price-tags that contain enough meaning to please an eventual recipient.

This could include plain gold necklaces ready to be engraved, letter charms, and animal and nature-inspired designs.
Erring on the side of caution is designer Lindsay Pearson, who argues 18ct yellow gold is perfect for bespoke orders, now the lower gold price can be passed on to the customer, but not as feasible for larger collections that might suffer further down the line if prices increase sharply. However, in the opinion of jewellery designers like Marco Bicego, who has always focused on fine yellow gold pieces, it’s the changing tastes of the consumer that will fuel the trend for yellow gold designs naturally and over time, regardless of cost.

He admits: “Yellow gold is in the DNA of the Marco Bicego brand. It has certainly increased in popularity, which may be partly due to the change in price, but also the change in perception and the tastes of people.”
 

This Trends feature was taken from the August issue of Professional Jeweller. To read the issue in full online, click here.
 

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