Jewelry styles along the coast are capturing tranquility with colors, symbols and elements reminiscent of the ocean.

May 29, 2024

Coastal jewelry seekers aren’t all drawn to the same motifs and styles. Some fancy a sea turtle or a wave, some want pearls and shells, while some seek out coastal colors and still others are drawn to eco-conscious brands.

But no matter how your customers choose to express their love of the sea, you can provide them with a variety of looks that are crafted by jewelry makers who share their admiration for all things beach, coastal and nautical.

“My connection to the sea is ever present. Whether I am in it, by it or far away from it, the sea is always on my mind,” says Mitchell Ousley, designer/owner of Destination Jewelry Brands. “I know there are many out there, who, like me feel that connection.”

The Destination Jewelry line and nautically inspired Caribbean Bracelet Company line are Ousley’s best sellers with seaside retailers. This year, he’s introduced the Heart of the Sea bracelet and a treasure coin pendant design.

“The new treasure coin designs have such a distinct nautical feel, and the replica coins tell a storied history that is awash in the lore of the sea,” Ousley explains.

Form and function

Further up along the East Coast, Cape Cod Chokers specializes in creating pieces that are not only visually captivating but also resilient enough to accompany its customers on every adventure, whether they’re sailing the high seas or enjoying a casual beach day, according to Founder and Owner, Katie Prchlik.

“Coastal customers are gravitating toward jewelry that embodies both style and functionality,” she says. “They prefer pieces that are versatile, water-resistant, and reflect the hues and textures of the natural world.”

Cape Cod Chokers’ pieces are designed to be both visually captivating and durable.

Whites, creams, browns and blues are all trending colors, according to Prchlik, and that isn’t the only trend she’s seeing. “The trend is moving towards sustainable, high-quality materials that can withstand the elements, with designs that capture the effortless elegance of seaside living,” she notes.

The company plans to launch a new surf steel collection this summer to capitalize on these trends.

Jackie Gallagher, founder of Jackie Gallagher Designs, sees pearls and the color blue — like the blues of the Caribbean waters — receiving a lot of attention in 2024.

“One of the pieces that I introduced this past year was the Shiva shell necklace, and it’s been a great seller,” she adds. She also is planning for two new releases this spring.

Pearls that please

At Island Pearl Traders, every piece of jewelry is “a story waiting to be told,” and with the popularity of pearls, the company has a winning concept.

“We offer a unique experience — A Pearl Discovery Experience. Customers select an oyster, bringing home the anticipation of unveiling its hidden gem. Upon opening, they discover their own pearl, a treasure from the ocean depths,” explains Founder Kyle Sweatman.

The company’s DIY pearl necklaces offer customers an exciting pearl discovery experience in a box. They include akoya oysters that produce akoya pearls.

The company offers a large selection of designs that feature aquatic pendants to display the pearl in. Sweatman says the turtle pendant is by far the company’s bestselling pendant with seaside retailers.

Pearls are also trending with The Beach and Back. “Many of my bestselling styles have a pearl or a pearl accent,” says Founder Carey Del Buono. “I think pearls’ enduring popularity is due to their versatility, feminine appeal and undeniable beauty.”

The company’s Nantucket Mermaid necklace and Slider bracelets, alongside the Dana Point collection in aqua are all popular styles.

“The Dana Point Necklace stands out for its simplicity and effortless wearability, making it a must-have for coastal enthusiasts,” Del Buono says.

This year, The Beach and Back is expanding on its popular carded slider bracelets with simple semi-precious bead sliders and a triple shell motif, all with beachy pastel colors.

The sands of timelessness

Dune Jewelry’s Ocean Gradient fuses finely crushed turquoise, mother of pearl and sand.
Each piece of Dune jewelry holds tangible reminders of life’s most precious moments, describes Founder and CEO Holly Daniels Christensen. The company’s Sandbank features over 5,500 sands and earth elements from iconic locations around the world.

While the company’s Wave Necklace with Turquoise Gradient is the company’s most popular, Daniels Christensen says 2024 is the year of the Ocean Gradient.

“It’s a fusion of finely crushed natural turquoise, mother of pearl, and your choice of sand or element from a special place,” she describes.

Daniels Christensen also launched Mi Tesoro this year, which is a trendy, fashion-forward waterproof jewelry line crafted from platinum and 14- karat stainless steel.

Handcrafted creations

Lissy Rawl created the little fish BOATEAK brand known for its hand-hammered metal shapes and sewn-in fabric.

“I am constantly inspired by the coast, water and the nautical beauty of classic sailboats,” she says. “I created my brand with all of this in mind.”

In 2024, she started incorporating her painted art prints into her jewelry line. “I have been painting oyster shells, hydrangeas and scallop prints all inspired by the coastal waters. Then I print my art onto fabric, which is used to create my jewelry pieces.”

Stonington Designs uses a unique combination of bending, etching and woodworking with gorgeous woods, along with traditional weaving techniques used for Nantucket baskets.

“This wood-focused interpretation of the weaving results in jewelry that exudes a coastal, organic feel,” describes Michelle Yozzo Drake, who founded the company along with her husband Rich. “Depending on the weaving designs and etching applied to the wood pieces, our jewelry can evoke various styles — from preppy to coastal, from nautical to boho, from sporty to glam.”

And the company supports military families with its Military Spouse Weaving Program, which provides free training and flexible work opportunities for military spouses.

Elegant expressions

Wave and turtle-inspired pieces continue to be bestsellers year after year for Ocean Jewelry. This year the Ireland-based brand made a splash with a new collection of stretch bracelets that launched in the spring, each one featuring genuine stones including Aqua, Lapis, White and Blue Agate as well as iconic Ocean Jewelry sterling silver design elements.

“To date, our stretch bracelets have been an enormous success,” says National Sales Director Alan Clancy. “Each bracelet not only enables our partner retailers the opportunity to upsell but also allows the end customer to expand their collection of Ocean Jewelry with a matching pendant, earring and now bracelet.”
Ocean Jewelry also launched an addition to its Gold Vermeil collection with each piece featuring genuine lab grown sapphires.

Listening to customers

Robert Sylvester, designer and importer of Cork Tree Designs, says his company was the first to bring cork products to market in the USA.

Stonington Designs’ bracelets offer a unique combination of woodworking with Nantucket basket weaving.

The latest addition to his sea-life charm bracelets came directly from customer feedback. “A customer in Florida requested the dolphin charm as an addition to the other five sea-life charm bracelets, so of course I obliged. I also have this design available with a starfish, pelican, sand dollar, turtle and scallop. I am focused on designing and delivering bracelets, necklaces and earrings that my customers request and what I think will do well.”

ShipShapeStyles, a nautical cultured sea glass jewelry line owned by daughter and mother duo Jennifer and Theresa Ramsdell, is tuned in to customers.

“Many changes to the line were due to feedback we had received,” says Jennifer. “The result is a quality piece of jewelry designed with the customer in mind.”

The company’s newest pieces feature many styles with whale tails and turtles. “We have numerous accounts in Alaska, and they love the whale tail charms and the new glass whale tail earrings and pendants,” says Theresa. “Our Hawaii customers always order our newest glass turtle pendants. These coastal areas are the reason behind adding in these two particular pieces.”

Frank and Rita Imbimbo stepped into the wholesale side of jewelry sales with the launch of Moonrise Jewelry Studio four years ago after retailing in New York and in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, for over 30 years.
Bestsellers include the coastal collection such as starfish, sharks, fish and mermaids. Gemstone jewelry, with colors like turquoise, blue lab opal and moonstone, is popular with resorts.

“We have expanded our semi-precious gemstone collection of rings and earrings, which have had a high sell-through rate,” says Rita. “We have noticed that mermaids and sharks are still trending, and our colorful earring designs are especially popular with young ones.”

Showcasing your passion

Taissa Rezende, founder of Born to Rock Jewelry, says that in coastal areas like San Diego where her company is based, she’s noticed a trend toward dainty and cheerful jewelry pieces.

“Customers are particularly drawn to golden pieces, minimalist designs, vibrant colors, handmade craftsmanship and unique styles that reflect their love for the sea and sun,” she says. “We specialize in lifestyle and surf jewelry, catering to individuals who seek to express their unique interests and style.”
The company’s outrigger canoe paddle, surfboard and tennis racket necklaces are popular with sports shops, according to Rezende.

In 2024, Born to Rock introduced a new color variation of its bestselling beaded pieces, popular with seaside retailers. “These timeless designs have been loved by everyone and are particularly popular as gifts,” Rezende says.

Across the country in New England, Patsy Kane kicked off 2024 with two new designs — the Paddleboard pendant and earrings to “celebrate the connection to the water that you feel when you are gliding along” and the Oyster Gauge pendant with design partner Ketcham Supply, says Owner/Designer Patsy Kane Wiswell.

Conservation calls

Melissa Lew’s stainless steel designs are inspired by her love of the ocean, with sea turtle, manatee, oyster and shoreline designs among the bestsellers.

“That’s one of the reasons that my partnership with One Tree Planted is so important to me — for each piece sold, a tree is planted. They have a variety of projects around the world, including one that helps orcas in the Pacific Northwest,” she says.

Zatara Bartoni/Net & Hand works with reclaimed fishing net aka “ghost net” to create structures for jewelry.

“We wanted to develop a product that would be environmentally positive and be a reminder and inspiration for people to make eco-friendly choices,” says Founder Monica Willard. “While at the beach/shore, we find many people are tuned into local and handmade items that are meaningful and special. They want unique conversation pieces they can wear back home.”

With jewelry that covers the gamut of styles that uniquely symbolize a love for the coast and sea, you can help your customer find their perfect expression.