Nautical, Safari and Ethnic are just some of the key catwalk trends of 2005 but while it's difficult to keep up with ever changing world of fashion, jewellery trends evolve at a more sedate pace. This allows the style-conscious to invest in the eternal beauty of platinum. Here we take a look at some of the emerging jewellery trends from around the world covered by the Platinum Guild International.
Overall the emphasis is on wearable jewellery and fusion designs. Platinum manages to combine the two and is increasingly popular with the Indian consumer, who is also experimenting with texture in the metal.
Two strong jewellery trends prevail the first remains heavy and elaborate designs for weddings and traditional occasions and the second a more contemporary look with simple, elegant and very wearable designs. Correspondingly, the platinum designs currently available in the market are made with clean, elegant lines in contrast to the filigree or ornate gold designs that are also available. The majority of platinum jewellery is studded, mostly with diamonds, whilst plain platinum sells in chains or bands.
Platinum is increasingly popular in the bridal market including simple solitaires, plain bands and eternity rings. The designs are classic and modern rather than traditionally Indian.
Jewellery design is simple yet chic, complementing cropped jackets, pencil skirts, A-line skirts and boxer pants that are must have fashion items for 2005. A "Back to Nature" concept is also en vogue in all aspects of life in China and this has been reflected in motifs of jewellery design. Water is an essential element of nature and has always been closely associated with women's temperament in China. Platinum's relationship with water has been spearheaded by Platinum Guild International for several years a campaign that has recently included one-of-a-kind water themed jewellery commissions.
Pendants have proven popular for Chinese ladies as self rewards for hard work, but the past year has also seen platinum rings gain appeal as tokens of love, both for Valentines Day and beyond. Diamonds, always quoted as a "girl's best friend", are loved by Chinese women and platinum remains the best metal for setting diamond jewellery. Meanwhile, for the affluent Chinese market, jade has increasing appeal and there is a growing tendency for it to be set in platinum.
Over seven million young couples get married in China every year. With higher spending power, young couples are willing to invest more in the wedding ceremony and their wedding bands are one of the major purchases. Whilst the solitaire diamond engagement ring is a must, the need for matching wedding bands is increasingly important. Matching platinum bands with same design symbolize the eternity of love and the bond of marriage. The pure, rare and eternal qualities of platinum fit this symbolism perfectly. Riding on the trend, Platinum Guild International China launched its first bridal collection in March 2005.
Not only do platinum and diamonds share the attributes of rareness and longevity, they also optimally complement each other in their aesthetic effects. White, black and naturally colored diamonds are exciting women this year. Not just for wedding rings, diamonds add a crowning touch to all platinum jewellery. Gertrud Gross-Stahl, manager of Platinum Guild International Germany says, "These trends will play an important role in the market for precious jewellery in 2005. Rings remain the most important sector, but necklaces with solitaire pendants are also determining the trend."
The days when a circle was traced around the bridal couple to wish them luck are over, but the custom of wearing a "circle" on the hand has kept all its ritual and symbolic meanings.
Latest research from Italy* has found that couples planning to marry still see the perfect round shape of wedding rings as an evocative symbol of the unbreakable marriage bond that represents life's continuous cycle. It also symbolizes the newlyweds' hope of eternal love.
An increasing number of Italian men and women are moving away from the traditional yellow-gold to platinum. More than 75% of couples interviewed before their wedding day said that platinum was a suitable precious metal for a wedding ring. Exclusivity and aesthetic values are increasingly influencing one of the world's most ancient rituals. It is clear that the wedding ring is becoming not only a symbol of the marriage bond, but also a beautiful item to wear.
Consumer demand has led major manufacturers to produce a wide range of platinum designs and platinum is proving popular among celebrities. Favourite designs include classic "D" cross section rings, a slimmer, full round cross section francesina ring or a higher domed mantovana ring. Fluid, interwoven and sleek shapes and new surfaces satin, hammered and faceted are becoming more fashionable.
Increasingly a platinum wedding ring is a declaration not only of love, but of taste, style, personality and character.
( * Qualitative/quantitative surveys conducted in Italy in 2004 by Cogent on behalf of Platinum Guild International Italia.)
The new generation of Japanese women is economically independent, with a large disposable income and keen fashion sense. Platinum's unique high quality is continuously conveyed to women who feel wearing platinum is differentiated from other precious metals.
Building on trends of 2004, crosses, hearts and initials maintain their popularity. As a general trend, platinum necklaces are selling well and the last year has seen a growth in the trend for layering jewellery. Long hanging earrings and large handmade-look rings are selling well. Items with delicate curved patterns are also proving a hit.
Jewellery item designed for various pruposes are proving popular. Examples include chains that can be adjusted to match the neck line of clothing, reversible pendants and items that can be worn in layers with other jewellery. Items that can be worn for both formal and informal occasions are gaining appeal.
In the necklace market, pendants are in the mainstream and metal-centred chains are making a comeback. Platinum necklaces that can be worn on various occasions such as lariat types and convertible types (necklace plus bracelet) maintain their popularity. Pendants that have falling quality and cascade-style pierced earrings are also very popular.
In Japan, the metal purchased by couples to celebrate relationships remains platinum, and approximately 90% of wedding rings are made of platinum (JDB survey in 2004). An "exchange of betrothal gifts" is a traditional Japanese ceremony where the bridegroom gives lucky items together with an engagement ring to the bride. Recently many couples omit the ceremony, and instead of buying an engagement ring, they increasingly spend more money on their wedding bands. The average unit price of a wedding ring is increasing year by year.
This is due to the increasing demand for items with diamond settings and the rising popularity of custom-made wedding rings with a more voluminous feel. Neutral rings called "bridge rings", which are a step between marriage and engagement rings, are rich in variation and becoming more widespread.
The number of women who purchase platinum jewellery for themselves is increasing. They buy platinum jewellery to reward themselves for their best efforts. Japanese women undertake extensive research to find their preferred jewellery item. They then view jewellery at a store, and finally purchase the piece. For Japansese women the act of shopping in itself is a good stress reliever.
* Survey on trends in 2004 by Zexy, a magazine specializing in wedding information. The figure refers to the total amount spent by a couple.
As the metal of choice in the bridal market, the UK consumer is being offered a wide array of platinum styles, appealing to both the traditional and more adventurous consumer. The plain platinum court band remains a style classic for brides and grooms, however concave profiles are gaining attention, as well as cut outs. Trends include diamond set wedding rings for both men and women. Colored stones are also gaining appeal, such The desire for platinum occasion jewellery is gaining speed in the UK, and the trend for feminine pieces continues. Increasingly designs like natural organic shaped pendants or cascading chains like glittering tendrils are making an appearance. The desire for color gains momentum with simple geometric designs set with a rainbow of precious stones.
The trend for men's jewellery continues to grow with men favouring platinum over other precious metals. Stars like David Beckham have long been driving the fashion, himself favouring diamond and platinum earrings. Men love platinum because it has a sophisticated image that makes it a subtle choice for the self-assured man. It is also naturally white so it brings out the sparkle of diamonds like no other metal. Just one of the occasions that epitomized the 'white wave' was the Oscars 2005, where platinum jewellery ruled the red carpet and was worn by more male actors than ever. Increasingly, men are getting a chance to shine just as much as the girls always have.
Michael O'Connor, Senior Vice President of Platinum Guild International USA, reveals the most important trends.
In America celebrities play a great role in setting fashion and buying trends. We say that just a few years ago when Nicole Kidman wore those wonderful chandelier styles, now chandelier earrings are everywhere. It's an aspirational society that looks to celebrities to help identify the trends and then takes those trends and tailors the red carpet style to fit their own lifestyle.
At this year's Oscars, dresses ranged from deep midnight blue to pale yellow. To complement these wardrobe choices, celebrities chose a vide variety of colored gemstones and colored diamonds set in platinum. There was a real trend toward the layering of necklaces either wrapped around several times and/or partnered with other pendants and necklaces to create a young and fresh bohemian style. Long chains wrapped around with dangling pendants will be best suited to be made in platinum. As one of the densest precious metals, platinum will hold the larger pendants and long wrap around styles extremely well with very little wear on the links.
Earrings are getting longer and longer and are reaching often dangerous lengths. The platinum stiletto style is still very prevalent but now we are seeing longer styles with larger bottom pieces, either in beautiful gemstones or in a bottom spray of diamonds like those worn by Halle Berry. Necklaces too will be making comeback, in the long and linear styles that plunge low into the cleavage. There is also a distinct trend toward men's jewellery. Morgan Freeman, accepting his award, showed that cufflinks and shirt studs were just not enough. He added a wonderful Michael Beaudry platinum and diamond ring along with some hoop earrings. Clint Eastwood had on a wonderful platinum and diamond lapel pin. We are seeing more men who are not afraid to show their style with jewellery choices.