Summer 2011 jewelry trends have been influenced by the recession and economic downturn. Although we are now coming out of this recession, the lessons we have learned—not to overindulge and live life too excessively or extravagantly—have transferred over to fashion and jewelry styles as well, and are apt to continue to influence us in the wake of a new economy.
As you may have already guessed, this summer’s jewelry trends are leaning toward simplicity and old-fashioned styles that reflect old-fashioned values. But despite trends toward simplicity, the bold, statement jewelry that has been popular over the last several years doesn’t seem to be going anywhere for the time being. However, even these larger pieces are being made from simpler materials rather than heavy or flashy adornments.
Summertime jewelry styles have a tendency toward wearing several pieces that all make individual statements of the their own, rather than complementing one another or allowing one piece to take center stage. The heat of summer allows us to shed layers and show off more skin, leaving more room for multiple pieces of bold jewelry, as opposed to winter, when sweaters and fashion scarves leave less room for chunky necklaces and bracelets. Summer jewelry styles also allow a lot of versatility in the types of jewelry that can be worn, with occasions ranging from family picnics and Sunday afternoon softball games to work and the wedding season.
Low-cut tops leave plenty of room for multi-chain necklaces and large pendants. Short sleeves and tanks permit multiple, large rings without fear of them being covered up by or caught in long sweater sleeves. Even summer hair styles—shorter hair or long hair swept off the neck and out of the face—leave more room for larger, dangling earrings.
So how does simplicity combine with bold and chunky to create a summer jewelry style? Most notably through the types of materials being used to make current pieces. This summer’s jewelry trends include simple designs, plain metals, warmer colors and earth tones, semi-precious stones, delicate chains coupled with chunky beads and pendants, and earthy materials like wood, bone, shells, stones, and even feathers.
Pearls: Pearls are a favorite gem of summertime and are extremely popular for summer 2011. And luckily, the versatile pearl can also be worn year-round, as it never has and never will go out of style. As the birthstone of June—the month in which summer officially begins—summer pearls are light-colored and simple, yet extremely elegant. Pearls can be worn with just about anything and for any occasion. They make the perfect jewelry for summer weddings for the bride, her bridesmaids, and wedding guests, yet can also be worn to dress up a simple summer evening outfit.
Metals: Summer is heavy-metal season for the world of jewelry, and summer 2011 is showing trends toward combining different metals to create a single piece of jewelry. You’ll be seeing plenty of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that combine gold, silver, platinum, and copper in a single piece while skipping the gemstones and pendants altogether. Like pearls, the utilitarian advantage to this trend in jewelry is that the pieces match every outfit and have a way of being both casual and elegant at the same time.
Vintage and Retro: The old-fashioned or “used” aura of vintage jewelry makes it trendy during times of penny-pinching, so don’t hesitate to bust out Grandma’s heirloom pieces that you’ve been saving for the perfect time or occasion. Victorian-style vintage jewelry is especially hip for summer 2011, including an array of pearls, semi-precious stones, porcelain, embroidery, lace, ribbons, brass and other metals, and glass and crystal beads. The retro look is applying to some of the larger, chunkier, and less expensive pieces of jewelry, while still adhering to the current trends of simpler design, earthy colors, and natural materials.
Eco-Jewelry: Eco-jewelry simply refers to current trends in jewelry made from earthy, natural materials, and not necessarily to environmentally friendly materials. Semi-precious stones such as agate, jasper, amber, opal, coral, moonstone, malachite, and garnet—stones that amateur gem hunters often harvest themselves—are often equal in beauty and uniqueness to precious stones, yet are easier to come by and less expensive. Look for semi-precious stones as the centerpieces for pendants, earrings, and rings this summer. Also popular in pendants and bracelets this summer are mother-of-pearl and other sea-shell based pieces, wood and petrified wood, and various pieces of polished bone.