Demi-fine jewellery has emerged as a vibrant and dynamic category within the wider jewellery market, experiencing explosive growth and popularity in recent years. It was popularised by luxury e-tailer Net-A-Porter who coined the term ‘demi-fine’ in 2016 to describe high quality jewellery made from precious metals like gold, silver and platinum, accented with semi-precious stones. This type of jewellery is designed with a keen eye towards style and the technique of ‘gold vermeil’ and ‘rhodium plating’ is commonly summoned over sterling silver, while retaining the luxurious shine of gold. Due to their accessible entry price points, it’s no wonder a wave of young Millennials and Gen-Z are flocking to demi-fine pieces to elevate their everyday style. Even luxury shoppers are tapping into demi-fine to diversify their jewellery collection and to experiment with different layering and stacking techniques. The versatility of demi-fine jewellery allows for endless possibilities, making it a popular choice for fashion-conscious individuals looking to express themselves.
While the jewellery market declined 18% from 2019-2020 during the pandemic, according to Future Market Insights, Inc. the percentage of demi-fine jewellery brands has increased by 250.5% with Europe predicted to have the fastest growth rate of 3.5% by 2033. Changing consumer attitudes towards luxury and status have contributed to the growth in the sector. As the cultural emphasis on overt displays of wealth and extravagance has waned in recent years, consumers are increasingly drawn to more understated or subtle forms of luxury, such as demi-fine jewellery.
Direct to consumer demi-fine jewellery brands like Mejuri, Aurate, Monica Vinader, Catbird and Missoma have popularised the use of gold vermeil and are offering consumers greater access to a diverse range of styles. Designs are created to bridge the gap between high street pieces that didn’t last and fine jewellery. This has opened up a plethora of new opportunities for many jewellers and retailers looking to cater to the Millennial taste of minimal shapes and pared-back layouts. The rise of social media and e-commerce has also broadened access for consumers to discover this product type.
Italian Demi Fine Jewellery
There is an emergent wave of Italian jewellers that are bringing fresh ideas to the demi-fine sector creating pieces that are both stylish and timeless. With a plethora of minimalist styles and silhouettes in the form of gold hoops, huggies, cuffs and dainty rings trending in the demi-fine realm, some designers enter the space with the urge to stand out from the crowd. Italian designers like Panconesi, Amlè, Aonie, Misis and Darkai Lab enjoy a strong individualist image, offering an extraverted alternative that is packed with personality. Millennial designers like Delfina Delettrez and Bea Bongiasca have naturally entered the space, strategically dividing their creations between fine and demi-fine lines to cater to both markets.
This new mood in demi-jewellery is bold and has developed into a perfect union between fashion, femininity and traditional craftsmanship. Maximalist jewels by Italian brand Amlè, luxuriously combines handpainted miniature tambourines, terracotta heads, charms, trinkets with raw Mediterranean corals, baroque pearls and semi-precious stones. Mixing artisanal craft with daring sensibility, the brand harnesses an array of traditional techniques of pulling, printing and trimming antique silver by hand.
Romantic, fresh and liberal designs by Aonie Milano combine their family jewel-making heritage with a dreamy contemporary aesthetic. From charming vintage floral elements, breton stripes, zodiac signs, to quirky motifs combined with natural materials in unconventional silhouettes like double finger rings. There’s a pinch of irony behind these jewels, through irreverent humour, witty quotes and mismatched earrings that all add a welcome playful accent to everyday wear.
DARKAI is a subversive demi-fine jewellery brand drawing inspiration from youth culture. Applying an avant-gardist approach to a centennial tradition of fine jewellery making, playful genderless collections are engineered to attract an inclusive audience with superior taste.