By Julie Davis
For the past few years, jewelry has been on steroids: rings the size of silver dollars, earrings that swing well below the shoulders, and necklaces with baubles so big, they send you straight to the chiropractor. While this style is still popular (and certainly stunning), several women are taking a closer look at what they’re buying. Instead of investing in a pricey pair of overly embellished chandelier earrings, they’re opting for the elegance, simplicity and timelessness of items such as diamond studs. The price tag may be steeper for the latter, but in the long term you get much more for your money.
Donna Bouchard of Hamilton Jewelers, which has a store on Broad Street in Red Bank, says they’ve seen a boom in the classics business. “Individual taste is still the overarching factor when selecting jewelry, but the scope is a bit tighter for investment pieces; they [clients] are not interested in spending a lot of money on things that are too trendy or faddish, but rather realize they can accomplish modern style without sacrificing a future for the piece.”
Future is a key word with shoppers these days, particularly during these tough economic times. They want the most mileage from their money, which applies to everything from cars to shoes to jewelry. If they plan to spend, they want a piece that can transcend time and be passed to the next generation—an heirloom of sorts. “When times are tougher in the economy and discretionary spending is limited, jewelry becomes even more personal and relationship-driven. If you can buy only one item this year, you want it to be very special and last a lifetime,” notes Bouchard.
For some, the idea of classic jewelry is a bore because there’s no “wow” factor. Items like tennis bracelets, diamond studs, pearls and gold bangles corner the category with their refined simplicity. But according to the experts, the definition of timeless has evolved. While not complete “wowers,” semi-precious stones (big or small, but in an uncomplicated setting), personalized pieces like hand stamped necklaces, and pearls in various shapes, sizes and colors are fast becoming forever favorites.
Peter Squassi, owner of Gold Leaf Jewelers on Prospect Avenue in Little Silver, says their most popular items are diamond anniversary bands, diamond watches (the brand Michelle being their most requested) and pieces that mix silver and gold—a current trend that he believes has longevity. “Within the category [of gold and silver mixes] there are trends and classics. If you go with one that’s more toned down, you can wear it more often and it will most likely be with you longer,” he says.
Bouchard makes another wise point: when selecting a piece of jewelry, consider how it will work with your wardrobe. “One great watch can transcend many styles and ventures, while diamond studs can go with everything from jeans to a ball gown,” says Bouchard. Oversized embellished pieces, on the other hand, tend to only wear well with the outfit you bought it for.
Just one more reason why buying timeless is the new—and everlasting—trend.