Jennifer Lilley, stock controller at Laings Jewellers, talks to Professional Jeweller about the bridal jewellery market.
What fine jewellery trends dominated the market this year?
Simple and chic pieces were a big trend this year and delicate jewellery that makes a subtle statement has been really popular. This ties in with the ‘layering’ trend that has been in fashion and customers were looking for elegant pieces that they could wear together.
First popular in the 1960s and 70s we have also seen the return of yellow gold and the once more traditional metal is back in favour. The classic colour adds a warmth to jewellery designs and looks fresh again, providing a luxurious alternative to the white gold or platinum look that has been in favour for the past few years.
What trends do you expect to be popular in 2019?
In 2018 we saw the rise of coloured gemstones and this is something we expect to continue in 2019. This is mainly due to the influence of the Royal Weddings. Meghan Markle wore a spectacular aquamarine ring for the evening reception and the exotic blue hue of the stone has been sought after ever since. Princess Eugenie has also boosted the popularity of coloured gemstones as she wears a stunning pink/coral coloured padparadscha sapphire engagement ring. She also chose to wear emeralds on her wedding day, adding a beautiful touch of colour. Coloured gemstones will be popular with customers who like to add a touch of personal style to their jewellery and we’re expecting to an increased interest in beautiful gemstone pieces in 2019.
Along with using coloured stones for an individual look, more and more customers are also looking to create jewellery that is completely unique to them. Bespoke jewellery design has steadily been on the rise and we expect it to be more popular than ever in 2019. One way to create a bespoke piece is to transform a piece of heirloom jewellery into something new that they will enjoy wearing. Consumers are looking for jewellery that no-one else has, jewellery that is a conversation starter and has a special story to tell.
In terms of bridal jewellery, what styles do you feel will be popular next year?
In terms of engagement rings, the cluster style is set to be popular next year. Acting as an alternative to the more traditional solitaire ring the cluster style creates a more intricate look, with a touch of extra sparkle. Bespoke engagement rings are also set to be popular with brides-to-be looking for something different that reflects their personality.
When it comes to wedding day jewellery pearls will always be a popular choice. However the timeless gem has now been updated with contemporary styles and is no longer seen as ‘old-fashioned’. Pearls have been spotted all over the catwalk with the likes of Gucci and Chanel reclaiming the ‘traditional’ jewellery style. A modern take on pearl jewellery allows a bride to include the classic wedding gem, without compromising on her personal style.
What do you think influences fine jewellery consumer’s purchasing decisions?
Although celebrities have always been an influence when it comes to setting trends, more so than ever the Royal Family have been responsible for influencing consumers decisions with two Royal Weddings in 2018. Meghan Markle’s elegant style, complete with delicate jewellery has influenced trends, as has Princess Eugenie’s love of coloured gemstones.
A major influence for consumers however is going to be price. A piece of fine jewellery will always be an investment and usually isn’t a spur of the moment decision. To spend a higher amount customers are looking for items that will stand the test of time, something that they’ll love wearing time and time again. We take this into account and offer customers valuable after-care services, from jewellery repairs to valuation.
What things do you look out for when deciding what fine jewellery to stock?
High quality is of utmost importance to us and we understand that fine jewellery should last a lifetime. We’re looking for the finest craftsmanship, as well as the best quality diamonds. We also think about the style of the jewellery. We want to sell consumers jewellery that they will treasure forever so ultimately they have to be timeless pieces. This can include some simple, yet beautiful piece, but also some striking choices, it’s a fine balance.