Add Some Sparkle to Your Holidays
Keri Lyman writer
As the holiday season draws close, you may find yourself looking for the perfect gift for a loved one — and to many people that means jewelry. Lucky for us, we are located near some of the finest stores in the country, which offer the best of designer jewelry as well as custom-made pieces.
The most coveted and important fashion accessory, jewelry can take an outfit from drab to dynamite. So what will make the special people in your life sparkle this festive season? There are definitely trends for what’s in for winter 2011/2012. Still, everyone has their own opinion about what’s hot for gift-giving this year.
Before heading out to your favorite store, it might be wise to heed the advice of Nicole Ethier, the buyer at Lyn Evans Potpourri Designs, who recommends that you forget about what you personally like and instead consider the individual style of the person for whom you are shopping.
Albert DePrisco, owner of A.M. DePrisco in Wellesley, agrees with this logic and says his focus is on creating pieces of jewelry that are “unique and special.” DePrisco says that his customers – 80 percent of whom are repeat customers – are looking for value as well as a beautiful look: “We are able to create individual pieces of jewelry ourselves,” he says, “which creates value.”
Peter Silvi, manager of Barmakian Jewelers’ Natick store, says that many of his customers appreciate the fact that the store also manufactures its own jewelry. “We let people design their own jewelry, using their old precious stones” for a new look, Silvi says.
For Shreve, Crump & Low owner David Walker, a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry is well worth the investment. “The trend is always toward quality pieces that are versatile and wearable and on owning a piece of jewelry that no one else owns,” he says. His store specializes in high-end jewelry and custom-made pieces, but he also carries premium designers, such as The Lazare Diamond. The store also sells names such as Tiffany and Cartier in its estate jewelry section. “When gold and platinum are so expensive,” he notes, “what else can you buy that has so much value attached to it and that you can pass on to the next generation?”
Long’s Jewelers’ president Craig Rottenberg says there also is a strong interest in estate and vintage jewelry in the Boston area. Vintage jewelry recaptures the luxury of a bygone era, and every piece will undoubtedly have an interesting story behind it that can be told again and again.
For Jack Winer, manager of the Wellesley Lux Bond & Green store, custom jewelry is to be coveted, but the emphasis this winter is also on big-name designer jewelry, such as David Yurman and John Hardy. He says these pieces are popular for the same reason that Louis Vuitton bags are always in demand: they are recognizable luxury brands. Stackable rings, necklaces, and bracelets are especially desired because they provide a way to add on to an existing designer collection. Rottenberg also sees the trend with well-known name designer jewelry, which his store carries
All That Glitters
Most of the jewelers and store owners we spoke with agree that you can’t go wrong with the gift of diamonds. Albert DePrisco and his store manager Michelle Hicks say that black diamonds are in demand this year as well as diamond eternity bands that can be stacked. Barmakian’s Silvi loves diamond studs and chandelier earrings for “go to” holiday and special occasion gifts.
Bridging the Gap
Stephanie Millon and the team at Sara Campbell say that anything that sparkles can turn an otherwise boring outfit into a fabulous fashion statement. Can’t afford diamonds this year? Consider crystal looks that are very prevalent right now, especially paired with silver.
Jewelry that “bridges the gap” between fine jewelry and costume jewelry is called bridge jewelry, and there are many lovely styles in jewelry stores and local boutiques. Often artisan-made, bridge jewelry uses semi-precious stones like amethyst, citrine, turquoise, and freshwater pearls as opposed to precious gems like diamonds and sapphires.
Another trend Winer sees this year is the use of alternative materials to make jewelry because gold and platinum are currently so expensive. That might mean “buying silver instead of white gold,” he says. Designers are also working in wood, leather, resins, and ceramics.
According to Dale Lasden, the owner of Trove in Weston, “Designers are using lots of new materials and putting them together in unexpected ways.” Much of the jewelry this holiday season features interesting stones as focal points with a number of them rough, or asymmetrical. For example, Trove carries jewelry that incorporates ammonites, fossils, and natural black horn that has been hand-carved and inset with stone.
The Sara Campbell team loves the copper pieces that mimic the rose gold look that has been popular over the last few years. Much of the copper jewelry is quite dressy and perfect for adorning a black, brown, or copper holiday outfit. For more whimsical, trendy looks, Potpourri’s Ethier says to look for fun feather earrings in burgundy, navy, and natural; sophisticated Lucite jewelry; and hammered metals with stone accents.
Color Your World
Long’s Rottenberg says big colorful jewelry made with untraditional gems is very popular. He especially likes the unusual pastel-colored sapphires used by Israeli company Yvel.
Potpourri’s Ethier also loves color and lots of it. “It’s so nice to have all these beautiful jewel tones to choose from…especially red, which can be a great accent to any outfit,” she says. Lasden from Trove agrees, saying that many of the interesting stones in her jewelry are often of a strong color. One designer at Trove, Margo Morrison, uses large, “wildly asymmetrical” baroque colored pearls. Designers like Jamie Joseph are using very large, smooth, pure-colored stones like deep-green onyx in earrings, for example.
Big and Bold and Lots of Layers
According to ThadFashion.com, the biggest costume trend this year is toward jewelry that is “bold and bulging with over-the-top detailing and chunky features.” Don’t put away your small pieces, though. Potpourri’s Ethier says that it’s fun to mix the two looks. For example, pair an arm full of chunky bangles with a dainty necklace. “It’s a nice compromise and doesn’t overpower your outfit. It’s all about balance.”
Layering jewelry is still important this season. The Sara Campbell team likes long necklaces and layering link styles with those mixed with crystal and pearl. Ethier likes to layer silver and gold, even adding in some rose gold which is popular now and will continue to be going into spring. Lasden agrees that layering is great, and she notes that some designers do the work for you, like Chan Luu with her multi-wrap bracelets and multi-strand necklaces. Margo Morrison designs her jewelry to be worn in multiples. According to Lasden, “The actress Blake Lively has been photographed layering ten of Margo’s necklaces at the same time…and somehow it works beautifully.”
So what’s a shopper to do with so many trends? Let the customer service experts at the jewelry stores we talked to help you. As many of the local store owners and managers say, Hicks of A.M. DePrisco notes that “We have a personal relationship with most of our clients.” She adds “We know what’s in their or their spouse’s jewelry wardrobe so we know what will enhance it. If we don’t, we do our detective work by finding out the likes and fashion sense of the person who will be receiving the gift.”
One thing’s for certain, with Christmas and Hanukkah just around the corner, there are many options for fashionable gifts of jewelry and a wide variety of quality stores to find them. Here’s to a beautiful and sparkling holiday season.
A.M. DePrisco, Wellesley
Barmakian Jewelers operates stores in Framingham, Boston, and Nashua, New Hampshire.
Long’s Jewelers has stores in Natick, Boston, Braintree, Burlington, and Peabody.
Lux Bond & Green, Wellesley and seven other locations
in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Shreve, Crump & Low, locations in Boston, Chestnut Hill, and Nantucket.
Lyn Evans Potpourri Designs, Wellesley and eight other locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Sara Campbell, Wellesley and five other locations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island
542 Boston Post Road
© 2011 Elm Bank Media | Beth Furman, Publisher | Beth@ElmBankMedia.com