TRENDS: Go for gold

Discover the six key gold jewellery trends leading the market in 2011.

Solid gold may be waning in popularity as it rises in price, but the colour is bang on trend. take inspiration from the World Gold Council’s key trends for GOLD JEWELLERY in 2011, as interpreted by Kathryn Bishop.

In recent years yellow gold jewellery has enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence. It is officially back in fashion, taking inspiration from a wide pool, from tongue-in-cheek 1980s trash as shown in Carrie’s gold name necklace in Sex & The City, right the way through to the trend for all things vintage. While yellow gold was considered dated, even tacky, a decade ago it has become desirable and luxurious once again, and it seems this golden trend is set to continue.

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At Italy’s Vicenza Fair in January, the World Gold Council revealed six trends that it has forecast to be big drivers in the market. Although the increasing price of gold has meant many designers are scaling back gold jewellery offers or finding ways to make chunkier items lightweight, the trends are accessible, fashion-forward and applicable to gold plated jewellery too.

Read on to find out more about each trend, find out how to apply them to your work and take inspiration from pre-made pieces we feel will fit these trends perfectly.

Gold as the new jewel
Gold accents have become a popular way to add a luxurious edge to jewellery designs, with gold becoming a jewel to add another element or texture to a design. Silver chains will have solid gold links added here and there, while rings may boast gold settings or detailing. Designer Corinne Hamak has used solid 9ct gold links in her silver bracelet designs, while recent graduate Ros Millar complements her organic, oxidised rings with gold, jewel-like studs.

Another way that gold has become a jewel is its use in wood and ceramic jewellery, creating designs that are both fashion forward and luxurious. The Branch creates opulent collections of wood rings and bangles with unusual gold plated accents, changing styles and shapes each season. Its collection has long attracted the fashion pack, with stockists including Harvey Nichols in London and Fenwicks in York. The Branch designer Wendy Pickard says: “The market for gold is growing much stronger again compared to previous seasons. Gold seems to be much more desirable these days and I believe this is due to ever-developing fashion trends.”

The process behind The Branch collection is a long one, with the whole wooden piece gold plated and then the wood carefully re-polished on its return, all the while making sure that the gold plated, jewel-like accents do not get scratched.

Precious and delicate
In a step away from chunky cuffs and rings, solid gold jewellery has become finer and daintier in 2011, making delicate chains and charms a popular trend. Where oversized jewellery has become the reserve of fashion-forward costume jewellery, solid gold is worn with subtlety: to catch the light, to complement rather than steal the show.

London-based designer Laura Lee has long created delicate 9ct gold jewellery, alongside a precious range of 18ct gold bridal and dress rings. Her style is quaint and playful and her designs maximise the use of gold in the most effective of ways. Working with the precious and delicate trend, Lee’s elegant Twisted stack rings merge several themes at once, being gold, delicate and stackable.

Openwork and weaving
Expert craftsmanship and gold electroforming has resulted in the most detailed of jewellery. At Vicenza there were eye-catching yet superbly detailed gold cuffs by Sade, an Italian family-run jewellery company. The layered gold work, cut-out designs and depth of the cuffs evokes the intricacies of Islamic art, taking jewellery design to a new level of detail.
In London, Leblas is known for its handcrafted filigree jewellery, a collection that has developed each season at its store near Knightsbridge. Head designer and founder Arabel Lebrusan says: “Our style is very vintage looking which sits perfectly with today’s fashion trends. I think the appeal lies in the fact that every piece is unique; you can’t cast filigree so everything is handmade and has its own personality.”

Leblas’ filigree designs are handcrafted by an Oribe – or filigree master craftsman – in Spain using traditional techniques to create openwork, paisley-style rings and bangles.

Texture and colour
Rose gold has been an underlying trend for some time now. With its soft rosy hue that nods to vintage jewellery – a macro trend seen across fashion and precious jewellery – a combination of colours and texture is set to be huge this year.
A traditional interlinked Russian wedding ring – something Cartier has reproduced in its Trinity de Cartier collection – is the simplest way of wearing yellow, rose and white gold all at once, but new techniques have allowed designers to be more adventurous. Ungar & Ungar designs often match stones to gold colours – pink sapphires in rose gold, yellow sapphires in yellow gold, diamonds in white.

At Clogau Gold the tradition for combining metals goes back to the brands roots, and managing director Ben Roberts describes the use of yellow and rose gold together as a faultless partnership. “The use of different coloured metals has made Clogau Gold jewellery identifiable,” he says.

Texture is another way of injecting personality into gold jewellery, with trends leaning towards matt finishes, sandblasted textures or engraved surfaces. While matt finishes provide a contemporary feel, less refined techniques such as hammered finishes create a worn-in feel – a rustic, ancient look as though the piece has been unearthed after thousands of years.

A combination of colour and texture is also a winning combination. James Newman’s gent’s wedding bands are inlayed with different colours of gold given a subtle, matt finish, while Vicenza favourite Il Giglio creates lightweight gold chains that mix polished and rope-like textures in different colours.

Shapes of the season
Each season jewellery designers face a challenge of which new charms and pendants to include in collections, but it seems traditions are holding fast this year with a wave of classic stars, hearts, seashells and flowers.

Coral shapes were on trend at Vicenza, with gold jewellery by Tre Spighe causing a stir with its combination of corals, starfish and shell shapes, accentuated with bright red enamel for a look that is both luxurious and earthy. With her more fashion led take on the shapes of the season, Daisy Knights has several designs featuring shells, with a number of friendship bracelets in gold-plated silver with brightly coloured threads for an alternative beach look. Knights says: “Every beach I went to I would spend hours trying to find a tiny, perfect shell and now I have based a collection around it.” Knight’s use of the on-trend friendship bracelet design allows the wearer to layer designs or pick different colours of thread to suit their personality. “Gold plating brings another colour into my jewellery, as I don’t use a high-shine finish,” Knights says.“The gold adds a bit more of a statement, and with the rising price of metal, using gold plate rather than solid gold means that my designs are more accessible.”

All things space-age and stellar have been snapped up in gold jewellery designs this year, with star shapes taking new forms and styling. Ethical gold brand Oria has created a simple yet striking star collection featuring a quirky eight-point star, while fashion jewellery designer Yuki Mitsuyasu has turned the traditional star charm on its head with her playful, intricate designs. Mitsuyasu’s Shine collection features two pointed heart shapes that slot together to create both the central design element and the clasp thanks to tiny magnets.

Personal expression
While the big trend of 2010 was the charm and bead bracelet, this will be extended in 2011 as charms develop through personal expression. Typically worn on a chain, the ability to mix and match charm pendants will be what consumers are looking for; adding in initials, star signs, religious icons, favourite colours or lucky charms. Versatility is also key: pieces that can be worn as a necklace or as a bracelet, lengthened or shortened, casual or dressy.

Annoushka has a wide selection of solid gold pendants and chains, allowing consumers to pick and choose according to what they feel represents who they are and allow them to show some personality through their jewellery. Diamond-set gold initial pendants can be mixed and matched with rustically styled zodiac coin pendants, while colourful gems represent birthstones or even the favourite colour of the wearer.


This article was taken from the March 2011 issue of Professional Jeweller magazine. See the whole edition by clicking here.



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