As another year comes to a close, the jewellery industry has seen a whole new set of trends come and go – from yellow gold which flourished at the end of 2020, to the minimalist designs that have reigned supreme in 2021.
Here, in its annual Trend Report, jeweller Taylor & Hart takes a look at all the most interesting product trends this year, and forecasts what consumers are going to love in 2022.
Sustainable and lab-grown
Dedicated an entire section of the report is the consumer-favourite trend for sustainability, in particular lab-grown diamonds, sales of which Taylor & Hart saw go through the roof in 2021.
“In last year’s Trend Report, we celebrated a ‘consumer-led shift in behaviour’ towards ethical jewellery offerings,” the report read. “This shift took full effect this year as we experienced the most dramatic change to our output of rings in our history: the craze for lab-grown diamonds.
“In the first three months of 2021, we sold an average of two lab-grown diamonds a month — less than 1.5% of our total gemstone sales in that period. In the last three months of this year, this number skyrocketed to an average of 65 lab-grown diamonds sold per month, accounting for 30% of our total gemstone sales.
“Nearly half of Taylor & Hart customers named having sustainable materials as being one of the main reasons they chose to shop with us. This reflects the findings that 71% of all online shoppers wish that retailers offered better environmental practices, with 67% of shoppers saying that a company’s ethics and morals play a key role in their purchasing choices.
“We’re thrilled that our confidence in lab-grown diamonds has paid off, as these gemstones are a great option for anyone looking to purchase a diamond from a transparent supply chain that hasn’t disturbed the earth through mining.”
Consumers are seeking minimalism, particularly in wedding jewellery. Two specific trends this has seen flourish in 2021 are oval diamonds and slim bands.
The report read: “2020 was marked by a desire for minimalist designs, leading people to embrace the oval diamond as an elegant yet understated shape. Their popularity rose to 23.7% of our total sales this year, compared to 20% in 2020 (second only to round diamonds in both years).”
Meanwhile, on the trend of slim bands, the report added: “We got the inklings of this trend last year, and in 2021 five of our top 10 most purchased collection engagement rings feature a 1.6mm or 1.8mm band. Gone are the chunky bands of the 80s and 90s, we’re living in an era of sleek design.”
Kate Earlam-Charnley, design director for Taylor & Hart, commented: “People are feeling empowered to ask for more custom elements because they’ve been educating themselves about what’s possible with jewellery design before they arrive at the showroom.
“It’s breathing new life back into bespoke and our designers have loved taking their collaboration with customers to the next level.”
Research from Zendesk included in Taylor & Hart’s report said: “When customer experience metrics were measured across 90,000 companies, Zendesk found that the retailers with the best CX are 1.4 times more likely to be directly messaging their customers, leading 37% of retailers to open a social media channel for direct messaging during the pandemic.”
The report added: “Above all, people want a trusting and personal relationship with their jeweller and it’s the integrity of this relationship that keeps our customers happy.”
Trends that failed to take off
Meanwhile, Taylor & Hart noted a number of trends forecasted to take 2021 by storm that simply did not live up to expectations this year. They included yellow gold and hidden halos, as well as gender-inclusive designs.
On this last trend, the report revealed: “In response to Gen Z and Millennials’ desire for a more fluid approach to self-expression, the fashion industry is making new clothing that doesn’t take a binary approach to gender.
“This trend hasn’t hit the wedding jewellery industry yet, but as younger generations get ready to propose in the coming years we want to be ahead of the curve. In 2021 we added a new range of genderinclusive engagement rings to our collection—such as the Cedar, Bayberry, and Slate rings.”
Trends for 2022
Looking ahead to the coming 12 months, the retailer forecasted three things: more coloured gemstones, bolder diamonds and “pinched tapered bands”.
On this last trend, the report read: “Plain thin bands won’t reign supreme forever. As people look for new ways to make their ring feel one of a kind, many are turning to pinched and tapered bands to give their design a more sculptural feel.
“We love this trend because the gradient of the band always serves to elegantly accentuate the centre stone.”