As just about everyone in the U.S. jewellery industry knows by now, green was named the colour of the year for 2013 by Pantone, which bills itself as “the world’s colour authority.” The specific name for the actual colour chosen is “17-5641 Emerald.”
This is one of the few times that the jewellery industry is ahead of the fashion curve. Since Angelina Jolie wore a pair of Robert Procop emerald earrings at the 2011 Golden Globe Awards, and looked incredible doing it, emeralds and just about anything green has been very popular.
With Pantone’s designation, green in recent months has exploded. In fact, there has been so much green jewellery being worn on the awards circuit (which is in full swing) that it is in danger of colouring over the red carpet.
The most recent example came at the Screen Actors Guild Awards held Sunday. But among the emeralds and tourmalines and other green jewellery pieces came a bit of a surprise as two actresses wore jade earrings.
Nicole Kidman crossed the red carpet in Art Deco diamond, black enamel and carved jade pendant earrings by Fred Leighton. Meanwhile, actress Morena Baccarin, from the cast of “Homeland,” wore Jacob & Co. jade drop earrings with more than 53 carats of jade as well as black pearls, orange tourmaline, green garnets and pink, brown and white diamonds in a vine motif.
Jade jewellery has always been a difficult sell in the U.S. At the 2005 Hong Kong jewellery fair, I ran into jewellery designer Steve Lagos, well known in the U.S. for his silver jewellery under the Lagos brand name. He started telling me how much he enjoys the look and feel of jade and how he likes working with it and creating jewellery with it. However, he lamented that there was no market in the U.S. for jade and that the pieces he created from the materials he purchased at the show he would probably give away to his loyal jewellery buyers during special events.
He’s not alone in wishing that jade was more popular in the U.S. There is learning curve for American consumers to understand the qualities of jade and how to choose the best examples. Seeing Nicole Kidman on the red carpet in wear jade should have made jade dealers in China jump for joy. But more needs to be done in marketing and education for retailers and consumers before jade jewellery will be commonplace in jewellery display cases.
But there remains a huge opportunity to create a new jewellery market in the U.S.