Your Holidays Will Sparkle

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A piece of jewelry made with precious metals and gemstones is an instant heirloom that, if taken care of, can be passed down through generations. That fact alone makes shopping for gifts of jewelry a daunting task.  The knowledgeable consumer, however, can enjoy the jewelry shopping experience and should be able to buy with confidence.

Jewelry Information Center

Those who fortify themselves with information and take common sense precautions will find the jewelry shopping experience to be an enjoyable one,†says Helena Krodel, spokeswoman for the Jewelry Information Center (www.jic.org), a not-for-profit trade association based in New York City.

“The key to buying fine jewelry is where one shops,†she adds. “Trust in the jeweler and/or the venue is vital.â€

With that in mind, we’ve collected some insights on jewelry trends from the JIC and local jewelers that can help you make more confident and appropriate decisions as you shop for jewelry during the holiday season.

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All About Color

Everyone is talking color! Stock up on gemstone jewelry in the “jewel†tones like regal cobalt blue (sapphires, iolite, tanzanite), and royal purple (amethyst, rubellite), Kelly green (emerald, jade and agate), happy sunshine yellow (yellow sapphires, tourmaline, yellow beryl), and red with either cherry (blue) or tomato (orange) undertones (garnet, topaz, ruby, spinel, and red beryl).

“In my 32 years in the business, there’s more color this year than in any year,†says Mark Lindblom, who, along with his wife Paulette, owns Lindblom Jewelers in Wayzata (www.lindblomjewelers.com).

Unique “Organic†Craftsmanship

The best jewelry is unique enough that it doesn’t look mass-produced, yet not so unique that it can’t be worn often and with practically anything.

“People want one-of-a-kind, handmade, natural jewelry,†says Charles Fogarty, who co-owns Charlemagne Fine Jewelry in St. Paul (www.charlemagnefinejewelry.com) along with his wife Harriet. Designs that are created today using computers are technically amazing, but they lack personality, he says.

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This renewed interest in individuality aligns nicely with the retro-inspired modern heirlooms offered by BNOX Gold & Iron (www.bnoxgold.com) in Pepin, Wis., according to Rebecca Johnson, who owns and operates the store with her husband Ted. “Vintage retro designs continue to inspire jewelry that is solid and classic and can be handed down for generations,†she says. “Whether influenced by grandmother’s embroidery or by Egyptian nostalgia, we have recently seen great influence in jewelry designs and techniques in both silver and gold.â€

Big Is Beautiful

Last year it was layering. This year, women are buying big pieces that can be worn alone. Big is in, says Joni Mozis of Wixon Jewelers in Bloomington (www.wixonjewelers.com). She calls it a bit of an “’80s modified†approach.

This season’s jewelry is bolder than in past years, agrees Steve Vincent, owner of Studio Vincent, a custom jeweler on the skyway level of Gaviidae Common (www.svstudio.com). “Women are making more of thier own jewelry purchases and they want what they wear to say more about their personality,†he says.

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Designed For Women By Women

The emergence of female jewelry designers is a significant trend among women who love jewelry, says Scott Rudd, president of Scheherazade Jewelers in the Galleria Shopping Center (www.scheherazadejewelers.com). “Women are loving the fact that now they have a choice of jewelry designed by women for women,†he says, adding that designers such as Laura Bicego and Temple St. Clair are recognized as being as good as any of the top male designers in the business. “Bicego can pull off earrings that have a whimsical sophistication with a unique feminine touch.â€

Necklaces

All-American prepster styles are making a comeback. Look for necklaces with monograms, crests or emblems, which are a throwback to the 1980s. Ahoy Sailor! Medallions and mandalas (a Sanskrit word which means “circleâ€) are the perfect accessories to anchor the oversized tops of the season.

Classic chain-link ropes in tri-color gold can be worn long or close to the neck with the shirt collar turned up. Long necklaces with large charms or teeny tiny pendants are still popular. Necklaces that whisper moving messages like “dream,†or ones with more overt sayings, rhymes or poems are increasingly popular. Evoking thoughts of youth, necklaces with hearts also are making a comeback.

Earrings

Unlike past seasons when one type of earring (chandelier) reigned supreme, today’s styles are more widespread. Large earrings may take the form of long and thin, or wide and short in the shape of a fan. Hoops, a classic style that always look right, can be found in countless shapes and sizes. Hoops turned forward or those with charm-like adornments also have staying power thanks to their versatility.

“Earrings are No. 1 in terms of gifts,†says Brian Walters, owner of Perfect Pair Jewelry located along Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior (www.perfectpairjewelry.com). Women love variety with their earrings. To that end, Perfect Pair offers TierDrops, a new, patent-pending collection of earring accessories that can dress up or enhance existing “stud†earrings.

Charlemagne
Fine Jewelry

Rings

The mania over precious metal jewelry is heightening. Instead of relying on colored gemstones to pack a punch, metalsmiths are using their masterful techniques to add interest to jewelry. Gold and burnished gold, copper, platinum, palladium and sterling silver rings are all equally desirable this season. Even though gold has seen a resurgence recently, “designer†sterling silver jewelry accented with diamonds and precious details is picking up steam. Look for wide band styles that have carving or hand hammering.

Bracelets

Pay attention to the following varieties since bracelets are the focal point for the season.

Bold Cuffs appeal to conspicuous consumers. Large fashion houses like Hermès, and the finest jewelry designers are using enamel today. Freeform designs that have a one-of-a-kind feeling are garnering attention. Also, look for organic style cuffs inspired by nature’s gifts like twigs, branches, leaves, and feathers.

Temple St. Clair

Personal Bracelets: Women adore wearing tokens of love, reminders of special occasions or achievement talismans. “Friendship†bracelets formerly made from string get a luxurious spin when made from woven gold and colored fabric. Modern synthetics like rubber available in bright colors give bracelets a youthful spin. Engraved word bracelets with tiny delicate plaques are timeless and ageless.

Bangles: Hand-hammered bangles look fresh in high-karat yellow gold. Engraving bangles with words are today’s modern “ID†bracelets. Smooth sterling silver lends itself to this look. Rose-cut diamonds with their romantic sparkle come in a range of colors from white to champagne to a rich brown color, which can make simple bangles a little more precious. Chain-link bracelets, which are not exactly bangles, look both preppy and pretty this season.

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