Swarovski Gemstones has unveiled its Gem Visions Trend Directions book for 2016, outlining the key trends, colours, gemstones, textures and prints that will have fashionistas in a flurry in the coming months. Here, we get to the bottom of all four trends, including body art, knots, geo forms and berry hues.

Swarovski’s Gem Visions Trend Directions book for 2016 has been given an overarching theme dubbed ‘Then, Now, Next’; chosen to better describe the jewellery industry’s traditional craftsmanship and move into more modern and sophisticated technologies.

Within this ‘Then, Now, Next’ theme are ‘The 8 Cultural Megatrends’ chosen by Swarovski’s skilled team of forecasters to cover all aspects of fashion, retail and consumer habits.


The first is Modern Day Artisans, emphasising the way emerging jewellery talents are using modern technologies, 3D printing and synthetic gemstones to change the trade.

The second is Schooling, focusing on the transmission of knowledge from teacher to pupil, and master to apprentice, as well as the learning derived from exhibitions, museums, student collaborations and creative mentorship schemes.

Elsewhere, Swarovski has focused on Jewellery as Art, honing in on the growing perception that jewellery is a work of art that can be worn and enjoyed in much the same was as sculpture and more traditional art forms. At the same time, New Retail Environments are generating fresh jewellery experiences — something which has certainly been seen in the UK jewellery industry over the last 12 months. This ‘cultural trend’ highlights the use of interactive technologies in spectacular show rooms, boutiques and galleries to maintain the consumer’s interest at all times. The fifth aspect highlighted is Wearable Technologies – an area that has seen drastic growth thanks to the Apple iWatch – followed by Mindful Living, which centres on the consumer’s ability to look inward, the influx of spiritual symbols in the marketplace and the rise of sleep and activity tracking jewels.

The final two megatrends, Gathering Together and New Ethics, are centred on connectedness, social media and origin stories, specifically the route-to-market of gold and gemstones and corporate social responsibility.

Next, we turn to the four key trend directions for 2016 and the possible implications for the jewellery market…


This trend is all about the balance of the seen and unseen; from openwork pendants and light reflecting elements to illusion-set gemstones, hidden surprises and stark white hues. Picture kaleidoscopic light shows created by unusual set gemstones, halo settings, and feather light materials, mixed with bi or tri-colour gemstones such as watermelon tourmaline and ametrine. In terms of colours, Magic presents soft blossom pinks, sand, crystal white and lilac with deep jewel green, black, navy blue and bur gundy — as if to mimic the play between light and shadow. Introduce this trend to consumers through double-sided pieces and geometric openwork designs.


This trend celebrates the everlasting, revelling in historic-looking heirlooms, spiritual symbols and vintage trends that tackle head-on the transient nature of fashion. Consumers will recognise this trend through personalised jewels for special occasions, Chakra and talismanic layered pendants and Ottoman Handsinspired creations. Colours in Eternity centre on vivid yellow, lime green, jade, emerald, amethyst and Kashmir blue, with splashes of deep ruby, mandarin and jet black. In terms of cuts, briolette stones are expected to be popular when off-set with sharp, refined settings in the style of Shaun Leane. In contrast, hammered metal finishes also play a starring role with nature-inspired coral, flora and bark textures ready to make an impact. Introduce this to your customers through infinity symbols, love knots, swirling shapes, wing motifs and protective cage-like designs.


Take hand-charms and double finger rings up a notch with the Body Art trend, designed for daring, fashion-forward individuals who aren’t afraid to take a few risks. Think oversized collars, chains and sculptural ear-cuffs combined with eclectic prints, exotic leather skins and synthetic gemstones. Colours within this trend include sea blue, raspberry, fuchsia and lilac along with more neutral tones. The juxtaposition of rough and smooth textures is a good place to start with more nervous customers, while chokers and chain mail are worth showcasing to really experimental types. Mimicking tattoos is another obvious place to start, with upper arm bangles and extravagant flowing ear-cuffs (especially if they wind up into the hairline and down the neck) also on the agenda.


Radical Craft builds on an emerging DIY trend where customers are stacking and building their own collections mixed with heirlooms, beach trinkets and holiday buys. This trend sees embroidery and soft tassels balance with 3D printed bracelets and rings with hollow cagelike constructions in hues of blue, black, orange, green and white. According to Swarovski, diamond and gemstone cuts will be inspired by industry with large, angular facets and definite angles. Asymmetry, hardware and chunky chains are an easier way to introduce sceptical shoppers to this trend, while Gem Visions points to Sarah Ho’s POP! bracelets as another good place to start.