Suddenly, chains are super-popular, whether worn singly, worn in layers, or worn in multi-strand cascades, almost as upper-body glamour armor. With today’s exciting styling, metal chains are physically and fashionably cool, and suited to all age categories.
Goodbye to the demure practice of wearing a single strand of gold or silver chain, or matching rings and other jewelry to the same, single metal. Now there’s an explosion of chain types, chain lengths, many finishes and materials-all worn in concert!
Few accessories are so fluid, elegant and moving as chain necklaces. New chains are not only longer, but links are much larger than ever before. One designer has a mere six open, oversized links forming a modern gold choker. Swarovski’s long necklace entry is its “blossom lace chain,” with dark daisies spaced along a smoky but glittering, lace-like interwoven chain. All-in-one multi-strands are also noted, often with one strand bearing a single pendant, with other strands often sprinkled with mini-discs, crystals, rhinestones, tinted pearls, beads, and multi-color stones. All styles are “in” – Y necks, tassels, lariats, chokers, bibs – as well as every length, from very short to ultra-long (these drop down to the waist or, on the walkways, some actually dipped below the waist.)
But don’t think the simple gold or silver necklace is being eclipsed. These are often the base adornment, with complementary or contrasting necks added in what would in other eras be regarded as excess. Not any more!
TOP PICKS: Yes, longer chains, larger links, more variation in chain design and finishes, imaginative combinations with stationed beads of all sorts and sizes, as well as fly-away charms and centered pendants: these are all leading sales incentives in the chain market. Silver and gold continue as the most popular materials/plates, but bronze, gunmetal gray, and blackened silver chains are actually preferred often, for special effects. Chain customers often know exactly what they want, and ask for specific lengths, thicknesses or chain types, such as rope, snake, open link, box, Figaro or curb chain.
Quality in fabrication is always important: you want a smooth, well-finished surface. Diamond or angled cuttings in the metal catch the light and add extra sparkle while being worn. Spring ring or lobster claw clasps dominate, but there is a good variety of other clasps, too: fold-over, box or barrel. (Note: magnetic clasps are especially ideal for older, less dexterous patrons.) Clasps must always be easy to connect and of the proper weight for the fashion chain.
There’s a silver lining to the sluggish economy! In today’s market, with the skyrocketing price of gold, many fine jewelers are for the first time introducing special silver lines for their clientele. And David Yurman, who rose to national fame with his signature silver jewelry collections and then upscaled to pricier gold, now is returning his major emphasis to silver.
Fashion is always changing, always evolving, always giving new opportunities to those quick enough to spot, and profit from, incoming trends. You are probably used to your younger customers wanting only the latest IN thing. But today all customers want the old-but-new, cool product that’s sizzling hot in jewelry: metal necklace chains.
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POWER TO THE GIRLS: Power suits are back in fashion, promising major impact, especially for working women. Don’t mistake these new “I-am-the-boss” outfits with the power suits of yesterday, however. Today’s idea of power may not have changed, but the way of visually expressing it certainly has. Not that the look is “girlie,” it is just more casual than we’ve seen before, apparently without losing any of its serious authority.
Alexander McQueen’s new power suit pairs a somewhat conventional navy blue suit jacket with matching super-tight long pants. Booties and a white T-shirt complete the slightly unorthodox look, which is sort of punk, sort of traditional. With it: simple, large silver squared hoop earrings.
More showings on the trend: a tan mini-skirted dress with a long black jacket, or a gunmetal mini-skirted dress with ¾ length sleeves and a wide, bright orange-red corset belt. Booties! Lots of unisex straight, slicked-back hair. Great accessories: A big, chunky, no-glitz black ring. Medium-length rhinestone earrings. Or plain black slivers of stone earrings. Not-too-big shoulder bags. many with chain straps. Or a shock of color in a little bright green or yellow clutch bag. Don’t forget though, if the main bag is too little, all the paraphernalia necessary for a day at the office or in the field has to be separately carried, preferably in one of today’s wildly popular big totes.
Got the idea? Get the look, and the right accessories naturally follow!