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When it comes to holiday gifts, it’s hard to go wrong with a piece of jewelry, especially this year as we emerge from the pandemic but still feel its lingering effects. 

“One of the major things that we’re seeing this year is that jewelry is marking really big emotional milestones in people’s lives,” says Nerissa Parisi Hill, co-owner and designer at Tesoro Boston in Middleton. “Jewelry has always done that in some respects, but this year it’s taken on a whole new meaning. Husbands and wives have taken note of how much their partner does for them, and that, combined with the absence of travel, makes having a tangible item to show one’s love and respect that much more important.”

In terms of what pieces to consider, it’s helpful to know what’s in vogue. To find out, we consulted several jewelers and fashion magazines since what’s hot on the runway dictates what will be hot in jewelry. For example, Vogue’s Fall 2021 Jewelry Trend Report cites blingy belts and designer logo pieces as the latest jewelry rage, along with swingy, fringe-like adornments—uber-popular in clothing—and pieces with healing crystals and flowers for blooming optimism. Harper Bazaar’s Fall 2021 jewelry forecast includes bold chain links, multicolored treasures, lock and key items, and stacked rings and bracelets. Here are the trends in more detail.

Yellow Gold Is Surging In Big, Bold Ways

“Yellow gold is back with a 1970s vengeance,” says Parisi Hill. “Yellow gold links—and layering. We’ve seen the layering trend in the past three or four years, but it’s always been with very delicate pieces. Now, the pieces are really strong.” 

Michael Molloy is the store manager of DeScenza Diamonds in Peabody. Photograph by Jared Charney

“Yellow gold has come back strong both for women and men,” adds Michael Molloy, great-grandson of DeScenza Diamond's founder and store manager of the Peabody location. “Women are layering gold necklaces, particularly the paperclip style, while men are into gold chains and watches.”

“We’re seeing trends that were very popular in the ’90s and 2000s, like gold, which has come back with a vengeance,” echoes Giao Nguyen, president and buyer at Royal Jewelers in Andover. “I’m seeing layering, matte finishes, and bold gold links, like the Gucci links, curved links and herringbone ones.” And these pieces are not just for women, she adds. 

Dazzling yellow gold pieces found at DeScenza Diamonds. Photograph by Jared Charney 

“We can’t keep men’s gold in stock. Men are wearing layered bracelets, necklaces, signet and pinky rings.” 

Matt Khatib, owner-designer of M. K. Benatti Jewelers in Newburyport, also notes the yellow gold craze. “I’m seeing it on gold chains for men and women, pendants, earrings, and bracelets and also in engagement and wedding jewelry.” 

Colorful Baubles Are Hip As Mood Boosters

Diamonds are popular as are colorful gem stones as holiday gifts. These custom designs are from Elysé Fine Jewelers—Gemologist. Photograph by Doug Levy

“Sapphires, rubies, diamonds, and even the semi-precious—the topaz and tourmalines—are selling strong,” says Richard Berberian, owner-designer of Elysé Fine Jewelers-Gemologist in Reading. “Color is big, partly because you can buy larger colored gems for a lot less money than diamonds.” 

“Precious and semi-precious stones in all of the mixed colors are back, like blue topaz mixed with amethyst and citrine, in keeping with the rainbow [jewelry] trend,” says Nguyen. “Sapphires, rubies, and emeralds, have never really gone out of style, but now you’re seeing them in a more fun and wearable way.” Candy-colored enamels also have returned, she adds, playing into people’s desire for happy, uplifting hues. Parisi Hill sees the same enamel trend, particularly among the younger set in the form of earrings. 

Richard Berberian is the owner-designer of Elysé Fine Jewelers-Gemologist in Reading. Photograph by Doug Levy 

Stacking and Layering Is Raging to Add Texture

“One of the things we’re seeing a lot of is stackable rings,” says Molloy. “It’s a big category for us among women. They’ll get diamond rings in all different sizes and shapes and they’ll stack them together, two or three of them at a time.” He’s also seeing a massive uptick in layering. “One of the hottest items in the petite category of diamond jewelry is a petite diamond tennis necklace layered with a diamond necklace by the yard.” Women are doing the same thing with diamond bracelets, he adds, wearing three or four different sized ones together.

Parisi Hill also notes a stackable ring trend, which now includes men. “We encourage them to mix a platinum ring with one in 18 karat yellow gold. For men that aren’t married, it’s a really great fashion look and for men that are married, it’s a great way to update their wedding band.” 

Men’s Watches Are the New Accessory

Royal Jewelers sells a selection of luxury and sports watches. Photographs by Doug Levy

“Watches have come back in a big way for men,” says Khatib. “It’s a functional accessory and symbol of success.”

“A lot of men come in and say, ‘I don’t ever wear a watch. I use my phone,’” says Nguyen, “but then they put on a watch and like the look of it. So, a lot of men are buying a watch, not to use it for time, but as an accessory.”

Classics Still Prevail

“A trend we’ve been seeing has been a strong response to classic pieces,” says Berberian, “including diamond studs, diamond hoop earrings, diamond necklaces—everything from a single solitaire to a full diamond necklace—and diamond bracelets.” Another popular pick he adds is pearls, ranging from a natural strand to a custom-designed piece. “Pearls are an affordable and very fashionable accessory.”

“Diamond studs are super hot,” says Molloy, “along with in-and-out diamond earrings,” with interior and exterior diamonds lining the hoops. Khatib notes that diamond halo earrings (a center diamond surrounded by diamonds) are his hot sellers.

Matt Khatib, owner-designer of M.K. Benatti Jewelers in Newburyport. Photograph by Jared Charney

Personalized Pieces Are In to Enhance Sentimentality

“Many people are buying jewelry that has initials, is engraved or customizable,” says Nguyen. “Lockets have come back and sentimental jewelry is trending.”

“We’re doing a lot of custom dog tags and medallions,” says Parisi Hill. “We’ve incorporated people’s cultural backgrounds into these pieces, like featuring shamrocks [if they’re of Irish descent] or symbols of what they do for a living, like the [caduceus] for doctors. We’ve even done custom engraving that replicates our client’s handwriting to really capture what they want to say.”

“Jewelry really is an essential part of life,” concludes Parisi Hill. “It allows us to carry our memories around with us in a very tangible form. And custom jewelry is the next level to that—allowing you to put a personal stamp on your memories.”