an image of silver jewelry
Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash
Thoughts x
an image of silver jewelry
Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

Some people are saying goodbye to gold and hello to this ‘second-place’ precious metal.

Gold jewelry has been all the rage for quite some time now. From the classic golden hoops to the trendy gold chain layers, yellow has been the go-to for adornment in recent years. However, are we beginning to see a shift to silver?

Fashion trends, if nothing else, are spurred by the constant pursuit of freshness. For the past few years, no one could deny the popularity of warm-toned gold pieces. With the Y2K revival, nostalgic accessory styles have cycled back to the front page. Body jewelry, particularly waist chains, has come full circle, now seen styled with low-waisted jeans and chunky gold hoops for the ultimate throwback look. Gold jewelry has also been popular in movies and television series, with period pieces such as “Bridgerton” and “Emma,” both set in the 19th century, spurring interest in Regencycore, and with it, a cultural obsession with pearls and embellished gold pieces. However, like all trends, interest in yellow gold has declined as people grow bored and begin to look toward the next big thing. Gold has had its time in the sun — the future is chrome.

A nod to Y2K fashion, silver fits in with the era’s fashion revival. Full of bling and rhinestones, Y2K trends relied heavily on accessories and flash, making silver the foundation of many iconic looks. Think Paris Hilton’s 21st birthday outfit in which she is decked out in a silver chrome dress with a matching rhinestone choker, or Britney Spears’ 2001 VMA denim and rhinestone moment.

In 2022, expect to see others draw inspiration from these looks. However, instead of rhinestones, expect more unique, structural pieces. Kylie Jenner has been seen recently in organic, sculptural silver accessories that add the perfect amount of edge to her outfit. Zendaya, in her red carpet look for the premiere of “Dune,” was seen sporting a stunning 93-carat emerald silver Bulgari necklace that became the center of attention. Rhianna, when asked to describe her ideal fall look, told Vogue during the premiere of the Savage X Fenty Volume 3 show: “I’m imagining looks with a lot of silver accessories. I think metallic needs to come back — silver in particular.”

Silver is not just in for jewelry; metallic clothing pieces are also on the rise. Beyoncé, for a recent courtside date night with Jay-Z, sported a silver metallic David Koma jacket that had her sparkling from all angles. Paired with piles of silver chains and rings from ManLuu and Jil Sander, Beyoncé reminded us that she is the queen of everything, including accessorizing.

Silver is the perfect metal to get experimental with. In line with the body jewelry trend, silver arm cuffs such as those seen in many spring runway looks will soon be everywhere. These architectural statement pieces feel modern but playful and add a personal touch to any outfit.

Steffi Lee, editorial manager for fine jewelry and watches at The RealReal, describes this new era: “Overall, there is a new playfulness to accessorizing and self-expression through jewelry, so in addition to bold pieces, customers are making their own trends and choosing what feels most personal to them.”

Trend analysts such as Mandy Lee are predicting the return of indie sleaze, which is all about effortless, party-girl looks. Maximalism plays a big role in this aesthetic, making stacks of silver chains and chunky rings a perfect way to participate.

Silver as a material is cheaper than gold, making it a more affordable option for bolder, statement pieces. If you’re tired of the gold plating tarnishing off your favorite pieces after just a few wears, this trend is for you, as sterling silver is much more durable for everyday use. Unlike most gold pieces, real silver jewelry is not plated, meaning its color will not wear off and turn into that brassy, copper color that well-loved gold jewelry will. While it does tarnish, silver can be easily polished at home with a cloth or by using baking soda, meaning that you can wear your silver pieces in the shower, working out, everywhere. Compared to gold, silver can pair just as well with casual, laid-back outfits, meaning your silver never has to come off.

So, how should you be wearing silver this fall? When it comes to jewelry, more is better. Don’t be afraid to stack rings, bracelets and chains to add some edgy bling to your sweater weather looks. Make a statement with this bold Electra Necklace from Free People. Or, follow in Kylie’s footsteps and try out the sculptural earring trend with these Liquified Earrings from SSENSE. With the holidays right around the corner, this is the perfect time to experiment with some sparkles. Shine into the new year with this Diana Silver Disco Dress from 12th Tribe. If you are brave enough, try an arm cuff like this one from Karine Sultan and stay ahead of the trend.

Fashion cycles are hard to keep up with, especially now in the age of social media-fueled microtrends that churn faster than the seasons. Try to keep sustainability in mind when buying new items for this fall. What makes silver far from second place is its durability. Due to its hardness and resistance to tarnishing, second-hand silver pieces, with a little love, can look as good as new. So, to save a little money and keep the planet in mind, also consider buying your accessories from secondhand retailers such as The RealReal, Thred Up and eBay.

Writer Profile

Kaitlyn Anderson

Cornell University
Communication, Biology and Society

Kaitlyn Anderson is a student at Cornell University. She loves to explore the intersection between science and humanitarian studies. She lives in New Hampshire where she enjoys hiking and surfing.

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