Fall Jewelry Trends from the Runway to Your Bench: Underworld

Learn how to incorporate an edgier, darker look into your jewelry designs.

Last edited: 4/29/2019
Examples of underworld jewelry
Images courtesy of Alice Burns for Adorn Insight

Last month we explored the first in a series of four parts about fall 2014 jewelry trends, which we’ve brought you thanks to a partnership with Juliet Hutton-Squire, co-founder and director of Adorn Insight, the leading global jewelry trends and market intelligence consultancy.

The first look was built around lady-like pearls, the epitome of classic elegance. This month, we’re switching gears and exploring the pearl’s counterpoint, an edgier, darker look that was just as popular on the fall runways. We’re calling it “Underworld,” and we think you’re going to like it.

packaging
Left to right: Totes in metallic silver and gold, glossy black boxes, patterned tissue paper

Underworld

Drawings of suggested silhouettes to achieve the Underworld look.
Suggested silhouettes to achieve the Underworld look. Silhouettes courtesy of Adorn Insight.

“Sub-culture, Victorian and fairy tale (the dark side) references prevailed on the fall catwalks,” says Juliet.

Embrace a sense of wicked drama to achieve this look. Think blackened metals, contrasting colors, and shapes that drip and drape with dark romance. There is a hint of the subversive here, so don’t be afraid to design outside of your traditional lines. This is a look you should have a little fun with.

“To support these themes, it was no surprise that when it came to accessories, blackened metal gained serious ground on yellow and white metals,” says Juliet. “We are expecting a surge in consumer demand for this finish as we head into Fall 2014.”

Oxidized chain, black e-coated components, and black beads are simple ways to start working within this trend. Choose packaging for these pieces that reflects the same sense of drama and intrigue. Metallic bags and boxes, tissues embellished with lavish patterns and contrasting details such as a gold bow on a black box are a few ideas to get you started.

Not sure how to get started? Below are a few techniques that will help you achieve the Underworld look.

E-Coating

Sterling silver bracelet and ring e-coated with Kliar Extreme Black
Sterling silver bracelet and ring e-coated with Kliar Extreme Black

As easy as plating but with colors that rival enamels, nano-ceramic e-coating gives designers the look and feel of metal but with a range of color incorporated. You can use it on any conductive metal, including precious and base metals. Kliar’s Extreme Black e-coating offers a velvety rich tone that marries beautifully with the blackened styles of the Underworld look.

Oxidation

Several styles of oxidized chain
Oxidized chain styles from Rio Grande

Oxidized silver has the perfect mix of contrasting dark and light for the Underworld look. Try layering different shapes, sizes and patterns of oxidized chain in one piece.

Rio Grande offers hundreds of blackened and oxidized chain styles. Or you can easily blacken any chain that strikes your fancy with Midas Black Max oxidizer solution or liver of sulfur.

Use solutions such as Black Max and liver of sulfur to easily blacken precious metals such as sterling silver and karat gold.
Use solutions such as Black Max and liver of sulfur to easily blacken precious metals such as sterling silver and karat gold.

Beading

In an almost endless array of shapes and textures, black beads are the simplest way to work within the Underworld style. Below are a few of our favorite bead choices for the look.

Black lava beads have a subtle texture and an organic feel.
Black lava beads have a subtle texture and an organic feel.
blackbeads
Top row: classic Swarovski beads in Jet bring sheen and polish to a piece; bottom row: black onyx beads offer a multitude of shapes and facet styles.

What do you think of the Underworld look? How do you incorporate trends analysis into your work? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts and images of your trendsetting pieces!