Last summer was a time of celebratory re-emergence, a season of thanking your lucky stars you’re no longer inside. The next few months look to be following a similar theme of “Oh my god, yes — we’re outside!” In fact, some are already dubbing it the season of great escapes. Personalized styling service Stitch Fix shares with TZR that its sales for summer jewelry doubled compared to last year, an uptick it attributes to clients making up for lost time and finally taking that vacation they planned three years ago. As such, this summer’s beach jewelry trends are worth consulting, whether you’ll be hopping on a plane destined for remote shores or camping out at the closest body of water in your proximity.
Christina Tung, founder of sustainable silk and jewelry label SVNR, says escapism is paramount amongst this summer’s front-running styles. In truth, Tung’s label was “conceptualized as a bit of armchair travel — a reminder of far-away places, a way to integrate those escapes into your real life,” she tells TZR over email. “In my early 20s, during a day at the beach in Culebra, Puerto Rico, I felt like I saw the ocean in a new way. It was sparkling aqua and ultraviolet, simultaneously calm and in motion — it had a profound impact on me in that moment.” Inspired by that one fateful trip to the beach, Tung launched the brand on a rainy 2018 summer weekend in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, as a means of always returning to that sun-soaked moment.
On the other hand, Vanessa Stofenmacher, founder of the minimalist jewelry label Silent Opus, says not all of this season’s jewelry trends are overtly reminiscent of sandy dunes and waves. She expects minimal, luxurious gold pieces to be popular this summer, too. However, before you start diving headfirst into the ocean in your everyday wares, there are a few key tidbits of knowledge to understand about the metal.
“Pieces made from solid 14k gold means they are gold through-and-through and won’t alter in appearance with water or time,” Stofenmacher explains to TZR. “Whereas, gold-plated or gold vermeil jewelry suggests that a layer of gold is applied to the surface of the jewelry to give off a gold appearance, covering a less expensive base metal. This surface layer wears off over time, and the process is expedited with water, especially salt water,” the Silent Opus founder says. Thus, if you’re someone who’ll be taking frequent dips this summer, it’s ultimately best to splurge on more expensive, higher-quality pieces. “While solid gold is significantly more expensive than plated or vermeil jewelry, it’s by far the best option for longevity.”
So, why should you wear jewelry to the beach? In short, because accessorizing in any sense is a fun chance to wink at your personality and level up your outfit. As for the long answer, well, that’s all ahead. Scroll onward for more insight from the jewelry designers, Stitch Fix’s data, and a trend forecaster’s advice for what jewelry to wear while spending time by or on the water.
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What The Shell?
Like those seen in seasonal designer drops from Prada and Tory Burch, shell necklaces will be one of summer’s front-running trends. Some iterations are more delicate — think lone shell pendants — while others adopt a more kitschy look and will appeal to those who like their jewelry to tell a story. Tung takes the latter approach, thrifting her materials and occasionally hand-sourcing beach mementos. “Most [of SVNR’s shells] come from shops or vintage flea markets, but some of them literally come from beach-combing myself,” says the founder. “Socially, the beach is a place people come together. For holiday or recreation, it’s a place to be carefree,” Tung shares, saying she takes great care that her shell jewelry evokes the same sense of joy and peace.
Coastal Grandmother — it’s the internet’s trend du jour inspired by the laidback, luxurious lifestyles of unexpected style icons like Ina Garten, Martha Stewart, and Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give. Stitch Fix shares with TZR that over 60% of shoppers surveyed in its seasonal report said this was the aesthetic they most looked forward to trying this summer. And beyond breezy linen trousers and nubby cream cardigans, oceanside minimalism will be filtering into the jewelry space this summer, manifesting in barely-there tennis bracelets, dainty gold necklaces, and subtle pearl drop earrings. Stofenmacher invites you to seek out Coastal Grandmother-inspired beach jewelry that “feels effortless – like the perfect summer dress that’s easy and comfortable while making you feel elevated and chic.”
Go For Gold
“If your jewelry is made from solid gold, you won't have to worry about the color or properties of the metal changing with salt water but you will want to be sure that your pieces are secure,” advises Stofenmacher. “Pay extra attention to your rings in the ocean, as cold water can cause your fingers to shrink, which means your rings are at a higher risk of falling off — and if there's one place you don't want to lose your jewelry, it's at the beach!”
Grown-Up Beaded Necklaces
“This summer, expect to see tons of color in jewelry, from curated pony beads to sweet, colorful charms and friendship bracelet-inspired pieces popping up across the market,” trend forecaster Jessica Richards tells TZR. In particular, she points to colorful beaded necklaces, like the strung-together styles that defined summer 2022. However, the trend has grown up and matured, leaving behind the youthful connotations it carried last season. “In this evolution, we are seeing elements of fine jewelry — pearls, gold, diamonds, and gems mixed with colorful threads — making them chicer and more grown-up while maintaining the spirit of their childhood inspirations,” remarks the trend forecaster.
Further, Richards says summer 2022’s trend of brightly-colored beaded necklaces is deeply symbolic: “The positive vibes and optimism associated with these colorful items and whimsical silhouettes are a simple gesture and wearable expression toward a much larger positive sentiment and future outlook.”
The Silver Opus founder says she also anticipates seeing light-catching, glittery pieces — ranging from diamond-encrusted bracelets to pendant necklaces adorned with gems — on the beach in the coming months. “It's always safest to leave your expensive gems at home, but we know they sparkle best in the sun,” says Stofenmacher. “The combination of solid gold and colored gemstones is a natural light reflector, adding extra shine to your summer glow.”
Crafted With A Sentiment
Stitch Fix shares with TZR that items with an obviously handmade aesthetic are set to be prevalent, reporting that 29% of its clients indicated crafty jewelry as a trend they plan to try this summer. Richards echoes the findings of the online styling service, specifying that she expects customized craftcore to be especially popular. “The element of personalization, whether it's choosing oversized, ‘cute’-themed beads paired with colorful pony beads or special words woven into beads that have symbolic meaning in a friendship, are popular to exchange with friends or to give as gifts this summer.”
Peruse the pieces below, all of which are able to be personalized to your liking. Or, if you’re someone who tends to get bored at the beach, bring some beads and tools with you and create a pop-up jewelry workshop while lounging on the sand.