Whether you are a jewellery designer for yourself, for your own business or you are simply a hobbyist who enjoys creating handmade gifts for loved ones, you want to ensure that your pieces are on trend. After all you want them to be worn – not tucked away in a jewellery box.
It can be difficult for jewellery makers to blend emerging trends with traditional jewellery expectations, as the element of cost often works against the designer. This is especially crucial when running a business – you need to keep costs low whilst maintaining quality and fulfilling the wants of a constantly changing customer base. Striking a happy medium between the high street trends and the stunning simplicity of a jeweller’s window isn’t easy. But, by ensuring that you how to tailor your creations by keeping your eye on the ball, you can maintain a target audience with a lasting interest in your jewellery.
Sticking to recurring seasonal trends will mean that you can come up with unique pieces of jewellery, but with the basic elements to be worn year after year. By adding a person twist to a seasonal favourite, your jewellery will be in hot demand, even during the cool months.
When running a jewellery business it is, of course, essential that your designs are up to date with the latest fashions. You need to stand out from the crowd in this market, so make sure you’re one step ahead of the competition. Don’t make the mistake of jumping into the unknown, and completely overhauling what you make. After all, any established designer maintains a theme. There are very few jewellery designers who actually make a solid profit from coming up with wacky designs, so don’t try and stand out from the crowd for the sake of standing out! You don’t want to end up risking losing the customers you already have because of drastic changes with no real reason behind it.
So, what steps should you take to blend the two elements of fashion and tradition? There are 3 key elements that you should be very wary of when choosing what items you are going to be using – materials, colour and design for your audience.
First thing to consider is the type of materials you are going to be using. Identify if items you consider are a little ‘dull’ and see if you can brighten it up. For example, can you use a bejeweled clasp on a bracelet rather than a plain one? It is always good to remember that the questions need to go both ways. Identify if you are going a little ‘OTT’ and how can you add sophistication by removing too much of certain a element – ie. draw attention to the use of beautiful SWAROVSKI crystals, don’t disguise the fact you’ve used them by using too many.
Secondly, the colours you use are something you need to get right. They are vital in someone choosing to like or dislike your creations at first glance. Of course, there will always be people who have a specific preference, but by sticking to timeless seasonal choices, you can be sure that you’ll maximise the amount of pieces you sell, or how often your makes get worn! PANTONE Trends is the best place to take advice of current and upcoming colour crazes. Many of the largest companies use PANTONE to identify what specific colours they want to incorporate into their designs and forecast where they see their designs evolving and developing throughout the year. They are, by far, the authority on colour.
Lastly, you should make sure that the materials you put down on paper in your initial designs will work together physically. Rose gold and yellow gold, for example, are very tricky to get right when put together and the clash can also put people off. Make sure that you have samples of the beads, metals, stones and gems you plan to use. This is much more cost effective in the long run, rather than hoping your drawn designs that you imagine come out as you were expecting. Be especially wary with precious metals, and get to know their properties, as errors here can cause huge profit losses if you sell on your work. Get an informed knowledge of the materials you are using, including their weights to check compatibility. For example, you should be aware of potentially damaging factors such as using glass beads next to heavy metals on a charm bracelet. This can lead to smashing if the beads move freely. Invest time into learning as much as you can, not only about your craft, but the materials you use within it.
Any great jewellery designer needs to have a creative eye and their own initiative. Without this, the basics cannot be put together in the right ways. By exploring who you want to wear, and what you want your jewellery to convey, you should be able to use your knowledge to pull together truly stunning designs. The most important thing you can remember when designing jewellery is to not stick to creating pieces that appeal to you alone, without the consideration of who may be the person wearing it.
Sit back, relax and smile. Jewellery making is a skill not many people have the patience or skill to learn. So if you do, be proud of all your achievements along the way – even the mistakes. Everything you do will only make you better at what you love!