Jewellery, without doubt, is timeless. From pieces in gold and precious stones to those with pearls and in platinum and silver, classic and elegant styles have always continued to have a bewitching and irresistible magnetic charm.
But while pieces for festive and occasion wear are in a world all of their own, regular wear – or office wear – pieces are what are subtly but surely vying for greater shelf and display space in stores while stealing the hearts of customers.
Diamond jewellery appears to be fast gaining popularity if sales figures are anything to go by. That seems to be highlighted by a 2017 report by diamond giant DeBeers which revealed that women - both single and married - are buying more diamond jewellery than ever before.
‘The best thing about diamond jewellery is that it appeals to the youth as well as to the 45-60-year-olds,’ says Shamlal Ahmed, managing director international operations, Malabar Gold & Diamonds. He adds that the popularity of everyday wear diamond jewellery range is fast growing.
The trend in diamond jewellery is about new styles in setting. Design is king, say jewellery trend watchers.
Recognising the growing popularity of everyday wear, Malabar Gold and Diamonds, like other jewellery companies, has been developing lines for regular wear since several years. ‘We have diamond jewellery starting from Dh680. So it’s become a lot more affordable and no longer an expensive category,’ says Shamlal. Of course, diamond jewellery can go up to a million dirhams as well, he adds.
‘People generally prefer diamond jewellery for daily wear because it is made with 18k gold, so is more durable and more stylish. Trendy designs appeal to working women as such pieces go well with not just western outfits but also with traditional wear,’ he says. ‘The only thing that is not going out of style is solitaires. That is only growing and is very popular.’
On the flip side, stones such as rubies, emeralds and sapphires are not very popular for office wear because they can be carried off well only when worn with particular colours of attires. ‘A red ruby for instance would have to be worn with a dress that complements that shade. So it is not versatile enough,’ he says. Pearls, too, can be worn as everyday wear but the pieces require more care as the use of perfumes could affect their quality. You need to careful handling pearl jewellery, he adds.
‘But diamond being neutral, will go with pretty much every colour and dress type,’ says Shamlal.
Arun John of Sky Jewellery agrees. ‘When it comes to diamond jewellery, the modern generation prefers dainty, trendy pieces for everyday wear. Jewellery with subtle intricate designs are very popular,’ he says. ‘However, one kind of diamond that is eternally popular is solitaire.’
‘The latest trend in diamond jewellery is a new kind of setting where the diamonds are made to look bigger than they actually are,’ says Shamlal. ‘It’s called illusion setting and is quickly gaining popularity. In effect it offers more value for money.’
Value for money is something Sky Jewellery’s Arun constantly stresses upon when discussing the pieces at their stores. ‘Whether it’s precious stone jewellery or gold or diamonds, we believe that for the customer, all pieces should represent value for money,’ says Arun. The multiple lines of diamond and precious jewellery in their stores are representative of just that, he adds. ‘We have a line of interchangeable patterns where one piece can be worn in different ways. This line is just what our motto is all about – value for money,’ says Arun.
‘Diamond jewellery ‘is very versatile,’ says John Paul Alukkas, executive director of Joyalukkas Group. And the good news is that a plethora of designs is available for everyday wear, making it ideal for office or even an evening out.
While diamonds have never gone out of style, this year has seen a resurgent interest in the stone. ‘There’s a growing trend among young urban professionals to reward themselves for personal achievements with a solitaire diamond, which traditionally was sought after for engagement rings only,’ says John Paul. ‘Now, more and more women are treating themselves to diamonds in classic, eye-catching settings for every day wear.’
Apart from diamonds, other precious stone jewellery too are growing in popularity.
‘We have the millennials to thank for the rise in popularity of precious stone jewellery, especially pastel coloured tourmalines and aquamarines,’ says John. ‘The trend is to wear multiple pieces of jewellery at a time - stacking or layering simple chains or plain bands with colourful, statement pieces in rings, necklaces and bracelets.’
Oofrish Contractor, head of marketing for Liali Jewellery, echoes the sentiment.
‘Fine diamond jewellery is picking up mileage among the millennials who want everyday pieces that will last. Women are experimenting with more fashion-oriented diamond jewellery to accessorise with and are styling them with different hues in gold such as rose and even layering multiple pieces,’ she says.
‘While the classic designs in diamond jewellery will always be in vogue as they are casual enough to be worn every day and to the office such as a solitaire pendant or a classic tennis bracelet, a different take on the classic diamond jewellery is the rectangular or emerald cut of diamond instead of the round cut. The emerald-cut diamond makes a statement on its own while still being very classic.’
As for trends, she says layering multiple necklaces and pendants and stacking of rings and bangles is very popular.
Oorish is convinced diamond jewellery is the perfect everyday accessory. ‘Based on personal preferences, one can choose classic pieces such as a delicate pendant or earring or take it up a notch with wraparound cuffs in rose gold.’
Chirag Vora, Director of Bafleh Jewellery seconds that. ‘The trend in UAE is for lighter and sleek designs. Although, rosegold, white gold or rhodium jewellery are still in fashion, yellow-coloured jewellery is slowly making a comeback. Traditionally, chains, bangles are the top selling items but bracelets are also becoming trendy,’ says Chirag.
Sarah Clohessy, marketing director, emerging markets, for Pandora jewellery, says that the trends relate to how you can style up/down your jewellery.
‘The heritage of Pandora jewellery is in solid sterling silver, so a large proportion of our business is in this metal,’ she says. The company’s Pandora Rose and Pandora Shine (18k gold plated on solid sterling silver) are popular in the region. ‘Pandora Shine that was launched in March this year offers the style of 18k gold at an affordable price point.
‘Pandora lends itself to stacking or creating layered style statements so your style can be subtle or bold with many layers depending on the occasion,’ she says.
Their Signature Style collection boasts rings, earrings and necklaces that can be worn in different ways. ‘A balance between sophisticated and edgy in design and style ensures that our jewellery can be adapted depending on the mood, occasion or event,’ says Sarah.
The pieces can be used for everyday wear because the quality of craftsmanship and the metals used are of a high quality, she adds. ‘The wide selection of charms, bracelets, earrings, rings and necklaces ensures that a woman can express her true self in her own unique way and style up or down depending on the occasion.’
Echoing the market voices, Harsh Patni of Jewel Trading, known for its handcrafted fine diamond jewellery, stresses that diamond jewellery has always been a favourite among discerning customers. ‘Solitaire earrings, for instance, are extremely popular. Tennis bracelets have been popular since decades while tri-colour bangles are worn on an everyday basis or sometimes on the weekends.’ While Jewel Trading has carved a niche for themselves in the bridal jewellery having been in the market for over 25 years, Harsh says, ‘we have everyday wear jewellery too that caters to the western customer and the millennials.’
A short trip through Gold Souq or into any jewellery store in the country would prove one thing – these millennials are brilliantly spoilt for choice.