RINGS continue to grow more important as new designs flood the marketplace and demand for these extraordinary pieces soar. While some designers revert to the ornate and intricate designs of antique jewelry, others are going full-blast into new design territory, stressing organic materials, modern ring sculpture and, of course, color and more color.
The word heard a lot these days is “edgy”. These rings are hot, fashion forward, young and sexy. And even though they frequently reach into the past for inspiration, they are anything but boring or dated. The newest points to note in the wave of idea-packed trends:
- Use of lesser-known mineral materials for the body of the ring
- Size – ‘way up there!
- Color – throughout the ring, not just the mounted stone
- Sculptural, innovative modern designs
- Rough-appearing, chunky shapes
One new-concept ring is a veined block of sky-blue malachite-geometrically grande, an idea designed to rivet attention on the wearer’s hand. Another is the organic new collection by John Hardy, where exotic Balinese shells make up the entire ring body. Rings are fashioned with a gold-lined through-cavity for the finger, with the curve of the shell projecting a bit under the finger as well as extending above, the upper encrusted with inlaid multicolor precious gems in a variety of patterns. Unique … and sure to inspire others to go organic.
Murano glass is proving more versatile every day-now some colorful rings have a Murano glass shank, topped with opaque stone slabs. But you don’t need Murano art glass for a gorgeous effect – watch as designers pick up on this one and make glass one of the hottest ring materials around.
Another maker offers a heavy golden ring body cradling an opaque cabochon (a domed gemstone without any facets), with a surprise overlay of channel diamonds forming the outline of a star (stars are big, too – wow! this is almost trend “overkill” except that it looks so great).
There’s also increased use of moody black diamonds, real or faux, combined with white stones in heraldic-type pave formations. Pay attention here to the medieval look – it reminds you of Masonic rites and ecclesiastical medieval pieces.
A French import seems to have been inspired by brass knuckles. It is unadorned white metal, in the form of the infinity symbol, with both far ends open. The ring slips over not one, but two fingers, the open ends easing fit. Again, different, but we can’t imagine how successful this will be, since it is really uncomfortable looking. But, hey, it might be better than mace!
Another designer involves three fingers in her design-a traditional gold shank fitted on one finger, with a narrow horizontal bar extending over the two adjoining fingers. The bar is fitted with a row of mini pyramid projections along its length. Do these strike you as fads? Well, not yet: these are mostly precious-metal entries.
—So, what’s the message here? Just this: Fads are yet to come. Right now, we’re showing you source material, designs that put forth styles and techniques that are sure to be picked up and run with at lower-priced levels. Remember how the plastic cancer charity bracelet spawned a zillion charity copies a few years back? That’s the idea and….it’s not a bad idea, at all!
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THE START OF SOMETHING BIG? Miuccia Prada has designed a dress with impeccable tailoring and big – no, huge – jewels draped over the shoulders and falling down the front like a Romanoff special. These are really large chunky crystal creations (the size of soft balls) interconnected around the neck. Adding to the glitz: Matched and big drop crystal earrings. Blinding but…also an opportunity! Jewels embedded in clothing put heavy emphasis on jewelry in general, so don’t think one erases the other. Big jewels around the neck, that’s the runway message. — And that means jewelry sales!
CELL PHONE SWANK: If you think cell phones are too functional to qualify as fashion accessories, think again. Now Dior has created its own Dior-branded mobile unit, called the Diorphone. The French couture house, which says it is taking a luxury approach to cell phones, has set the price at 3,500 Euros, or $5,100 in US dollars. A deluxe model studded with 640,000 diamonds will carry a retail price tag of 18,000 Euros or $27,000. The phone has impressive sound, but that’s not all! It has a mirrored display screen that can double as a compact. The company’s chief executive officer says he expects cell phones to move upscale, the same way watches and handbags have. And what about cell phone carriers? Hey, that’s a whole other retail sales opportunity for accessories retailers.