Colorful chunky rings, multicolored beads, and waist chains are among the biggest Y2K jewelry trends experiencing a revival. But the vibrant and whimsical aesthetic tends to be more maximalist, not always appealing to those with understated and minimal tastes. Enter: the silver jewelry trend — it’s yet another nostalgic look with a more streamlined sensibility well-suited to pared-back preferences. But before you wheeze with worry that your favorite yellow gold pieces are now out-of-date, rest assured, the gilded age is all but over. Instead, think of it as a shift wherein less saturated and mixed metals are more readily embraced.
Silver’s prominence has slowly accelerated over the past few seasons, pointing to a more muted metal era. For Spring/Summer 2022, sleek and edgy iterations appeared on designer runways, including Givenchy, Paco Rabanne, and Jonathan Simkhai. And for Fall/Winter 2022, heavier-weight pieces stood out at Saint Laurent, Balmain, and Jil Sander, while Bottega Veneta, Lanvin, and Cartier’s collaboration with Sacai unveiled captivating mixed-metal looks.
Mounser founder, Amanda Assad Mounser, says modernist minimalism, the Y2K and early aughts rave scene, and goth fashion movements fuel the silver-centric trend. “The more quiet movements like modernism have created a fresh take on minimal dressing, stripping color in jewelry to be more subdued in the name of streamlining and focusing on sculptural shape instead,” the jewelry designer tells TZR. “These iconic fashion markers have created an influx of carefree color and silhouettes with sex appeal, juxtaposed against a dark and edgy undertone, which naturally lends itself to clean metal jewelry void of color.”
Assad Mounser also connects silver’s current appeal to the strong teenage nostalgia at the forefront of fashion, encompassing the jewelry trends rooted in many people’s first experiences with luxury. “Remember your first Tiffany heart charm necklace, Elsa Peretti bean pendant, or that first Chrome Hearts purchase? These things create a renewed connection to the past that we will continue to take into the future,” she says, not unlike the continued popularity of vintage jewelry trends.
On the same note, Completedworks founder Anna Jewsbury says silver’s high polish and mirror-like properties boast an unfussy feel that is exceptionally modern and relevant. She tells TZR, “I think by itself, silver epitomizes an emerging ‘cool’ sensibility which will probably be around for a while.” But as these things are always cyclical in fashion, including new jewelry trends, the designer believes both can exist concurrently for different moods and purposes. “Ultimately, jewelry is intended to be kept for a lifetime. So, to some extent, it’s shielded from the vicissitudes of the zeitgeist.”
Furthermore, combining yellow gold and silver ultimately lends itself to more accessorizing options — a concept anyone investing in jewelry can appreciate. “In the past, gold has always equated to optimal luxury,” Assad Mounser says. “I think people are starting to look at silver with a heightened sense of value too.”
These notions might help motivate those on the silver jewelry fence and are useful when determining new pieces to buy this year. Jewsbury and Assad Mounser both consider sculptural silhouettes and large-scale designs the ultimate starting point. “The understated nature of [silver] allows you to look more at the piece’s shape and form in a playful and adventurous way,” says Jewsbury.
Meanwhile, Assad Mounser highlights the quiet coolness of bolder designs, which can range from classic pieces to contemporary modular jewelry. “I think an incredible pair of sculptural earrings or really interesting hoops can make any outfit,” she tells TZR. “I also love chunky chains and icy tennis necklaces — there’s a point of interest, but it’s low profile, not screaming at you as gold can sometimes.”
When styling silver jewelry with optimal freshness, Jewsbury says the restrained material pairs well with bolder outfits without being too overbearing. “Silver pieces look really great layered up, too, even mismatched styles.” Assad Mounser is for layering as well. “I like to pair really thin tennis necklaces with chains,” she tells TZR. Adding, “I have several piercings, so I also like to stack different shapes along my ear. Silver is good for this due to its desaturated tone — it doesn’t feel like too much but is still alluring and intriguing.”
As for clothing that pairs best with silver, Assad Mounser says streamlined black silhouettes always look incredible. “It can skew edgy or minimal with a sense of chic noir,” she says. On the more casual end of the spectrum, the designer likes the look of silver jewelry with classics, like a crisp white button-down paired back to the perfect pair of jeans. “I also think silver lends itself to all of the brands offering poppy color right now positioned for nightlife wear because it feels less brash against deep saturation of multi tones than gold does.”
Ready to embrace silver this season? Ahead, find pieces worthy of the plunge.
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