Major tragedies have rocked the 21st century starting with September 11th, the Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Pakistan, and now the earthquake in China. The death toll in China already exceeds 32,000 including many children who were in school when school buildings collapsed because of the quake.
The events jolt society into a reflective mood. People search for meaning and look back to family and roots. This in turn influences fashion and a term borrowed from the Germans, zeitgeist, sums it up in a single word. Zeitgeist simply stated is the mood of the times.
The tragedies of the 21st century replaced the rapid progression of the nineties with a slower pace that looks backward for meaning and this search of the past ushered in classic trends that are now everywhere from apparel to accessories. But even more explicit is jewelry with engraved messages that express the mood and inner feelings.
Jewelry with a message experienced quiet growth, although it was not unnoticed. It crept into fashion magazines and we mentioned it in our last two seasonal fashion jewelry reports. This was not top down fashion, but bottom up rising from the feelings of society. Then last summer I realized how deeply interested consumers were in meaningful jewelry when two different manufacturers called me within an hour. I asked each what was selling best and they both replied the same-engraved jewelry with a message.
The message carried can be as warm as “friendship”, as uplifting as “happiness”, or as comfortable as “family”, but it is jewelry with a spiritual message that is drawing the most consumer attention. Bracelets seem to be the favorite way to express a message and the most appreciated engravings are Scriptural quotes, The Ten Commandments, The Lord’s Prayer, and the Virtues. Silver plating is most popular with other platings providing a variety of looks.
Engraved messages on pendants are also appreciated. Pendants on a choker send a message of caring with a tailored look. Often a small charm related to the message floats on top of an engraved disk. Necklaces are also used, but to a lesser extent.
The internet and television bring the tragedies and suffering into our living rooms. They remind us of our own vulnerability and mortality. They awaken our dependency on a Higher Being and jewelry with a message provides a physical way to give expression to spiritual feelings. This is not fashion that needs hype; it is meaning that society hungers for. So let this jewelry set quietly in your shop and customers will connect with it.