Power Pieces

FASHION’S STRONG FAVORITES MAKE A STATEMENT. BY LORRAINE DEPASQUE

This year’s number-one accessory is, without question, statement jewelry! It’s all about dramatic designs that reveal your self-assured personal style—jewelry that wows instead of whispers. Remember the fashion “winners” at the Academy Awards? Gwyneth Paltrow in mega-sized multi-color gem earrings with a matching brooch pinned at the hip of her curve-hugging Calvin? Natalie Portman in rubellite tassel earrings swinging stylishly as she accepted her Best Actress Oscar? Helen Mirren in a bold white diamond pendant that added décolletage dazzle to her neutral gray Vivienne Westwood?

Now that’s what we’re talking about! And not just for red carpets and evening wear. “This is the season—and the year—for bold jewelry fashion statements for day and night,” says Cindy Edelstein, president of the Jeweler’s Resource Bureau, marketing and trend specialists in contemporary fine designer luxury brands. “To be in style, you need huge rings, long and dangling earrings, and a signature wide cuff—or a stack of ‘wristies’ to build that wide-at-the-wrist look. Also be sure to buy at least one statement necklace. If not, then you need several of the new extra-long links and chains to layer and create that big look at the neck.”

In the necklace category, “Dramatic collars are important,” adds Jeanne Johngren, president of the Contemporary Jewelry Design Group (CJDG) and owner of an eponymous jewelry line. “Especially strong are unconventional ones with defining elements of a brand or designer making them extra special and further showcasing your distinctive style.”

PEARLS WITH A NOTICE-ME “EDGE”

Trite but true, there’s no other way to say it: These are not your grandmother’s pearls. In fact, insiders in the jewelry world no longer talk of “pearls” but instead “pearl fashion.” Unusual pearl statement jewelry is a must this year. “There has been a lot of pearl jewelry on the runways,” says Broili, “but it’s not about stark white pearls. Rather, the more warmed-up versions.” Some of the best brands are showing new collections with pale pinks, creams and lavenders and, to underscore the special statement look, the pearls are often in irregular shapes—perfect in their imperfection!

SIZE MATTERS

When it comes to the hottest jewelry trends, it simply isn’t the time for simple. So, first and foremost, when choosing your statement jewelry, consider what fashion insiders call “the silhouette.” In the case of jewelry, that means big, wide, or long. Nothing small, itty-bitty, or dainty. Not now anyway. To help you make selections, here are some notes on the silhouettes of the season in several specific jewelry categories:

CUFFS They needn’t be massive and bulky like back in the ’70s, but they should definitely be wide. Pierced or with cutouts maybe—not filigree, but more like the look of crochet or lace.

RINGS Four of the new fashion favorites: chunky cocktail rings, with or without stones; uber-wide bands; flat retro-looking cigar-band styles made to resemble the paper or foil loops fitted around cigars; and big “cuff rings” that are open at the bottom, allowing you to slightly adjust the fit yourself.

EARRINGS Not quite “shoulder-dusters” (Remember that term?), the lengthy earring looks fresh, either worn slim like a stiletto, wider with bead tassels, or with the metal shaped into generously-sized marquise or teardrop patterns.

LINKS AND CHAINS To mimic the size of a large collar or a big multi-strand choker, you need several, each at least 34 to 36 inches. Remember, this is statement jewelry, so the more the better. And because it’s your personal statement, buy a wardrobe of links and chains that are different from each other in terms of metals, gems and materials.



HUGELY HOT (AND HAUTE) GEMS

“This year, there is a riot of colored stones set in jewelry,” says Edelstein. Adriane Broili, designer and trend forecaster at The Doneger Group in New York City, adds, “The colors are usually bold and bright with an eastern influence—especially from Japan—but also strong shades à la African fusion.” James Alger, a gem cutter and stone importer who supplies the newest cuts and best gems to some of the biggest names in jewelry, says that this year pinks are red hot, especially pink tourmaline, morganite and pink sapphire. “I haven’t seen pink stones so popular since 2002, when Jennifer Lopez got her 6.5-carat pink diamond engagement ring from Ben Affleck!” And speaking of pink diamonds, as they’re rarer than some other diamond colors— yellow, cognac and black, for example—natural color pink diamonds are the perfect choice for statement jewelry. Designers this season are sprinkling the smaller-size pinks in rose gold for a tone-on-tone jewelry look that becomes a great distinguishing everyday accessory—almost a “neutral” because of the monochromatic metal/gem combination.

While pinks are important, so too are many of the blue and green gemstones.

STATEMENT BLUES If you haven’t looked at blue chalcedony lately, do ask your jeweler about it. A treasured gemstone of the ancient world, contemporary designers are once again featuring this quartz, which has an ethereal adularescence. Also take a second look at aquamarine, another blue that high-end brands are rejuvenating by using it in transparent and translucent cuts in fresh and fashionable collections.

STATEMENT GREENS The “newest” dramatic greens include green chalcedony, prasiolite (green quartz), chrysoprase and zultanite, a gem with color changing properties found only in Turkey. Zultanite’s kiwi and khaki greens are some of the shades this diaspore mineral can take on.

ATTENTION-GETTING METALS & MATERIALS

“Darkened metal jewelry is especially important right now, much of it multi-culturally influenced and vintagy in look,” says Broili. “But the blackened and grayed metals can also have a very modern feeling,” says Edelstein. “In fact, darkened metals are part of what I see as one of the newest trends—something I call ‘Techno Funk.’ It’s fun and casual, with pieces made for lots of layering, draping and stacking.” The newest combinations of metals and materials on a single piece of jewelry really amp up the look-at-me element. Great show-stoppers often mix white, gray and blackened silver together. Or they combine precious gold or platinum with materials like enamel, ceramic, stainless steel, cobalt, titanium and, in some cases, esoteric meteorite or unusual woods. Bronze/high-karat yellow gold is a particularly important fashion pairing, as is palladium with sterling silver and touches of gold.