Teenagers are a fickle bunch. At that stage of physical and psychological growth, they are constantly experimenting with things to improve their image and their look. Teen jewelry fashion plays a major part in the development of their identity and efforts to either blend in with the crowd or establish their own unique persona. Any parental endorsement of fashion accessories is akin to the kiss of death, and adolescents look to other influences when it comes to teen jewelry fashion.
The celebrities that teenagers see in music videos, television programs or movie screens are largely responsible for dictating trends in teen jewelry fashion. The oversized, ostentatious accoutrements favored by rap musicians have spawned the hip-hop jewelry trend, and teenagers have been patronizing lower-priced but accurate replicas of celebrity bling bling. Instead of the diamonds and other precious gems used in celebrity jewelry, cheaper zirconia and base metals are used for duplicates. Body jewelry (both the pierced and non-pierced types) that is unusually designed and made with inexpensive materials has also seen an increase in teenage patrons.
Beaded jewelry and woven friendship bracelets and rings are some of the other hot trends in teen jewelry fashion. Many teenagers make these dress accessories themselves and give them to friends as gifts. These are personalized with beads that have the letters of the recipient’s name on them are incorporated into the woven fibers. Many teenagers also wear certain types of jewelry to identify them as part of a clique or group. These may take the form of uniquely designed pendants, rings or charms that have spiritual or mystical overtones.
Feminine teen jewelry fashion styles are also influenced largely by young celebrities today. Items worn by teen stars, such as Hilary Duff’s slave bracelets, are copied by her non-celebrity counterparts. However, whimsical designs are still hugely popular among this set of young consumers. Gold- or silver-plated jewelry and jewelry that has gemstones has not lost its following among teenagers.
Some masculine teen jewelry fashion trends, on the other hand, tend to lean more toward beadwork, silverwork, leatherwork, and unusual stones. Teenage guys seem to think that sporty-looking accessories, such as so-called surfer-dude necklaces and arm bands made from bone, wood, or shell beads on a rubber or leather cord are cool. Stainless steel jewelry is popular with them, too.
Jewelry has been used by all people throughout history as marks of beauty or to denote social status. Adolescents are not immune to these patterns; in fact they are probably even more susceptible to them because of their need to simultaneously conform and stand out. Teenage jewelry fashion is part of their social arsenal and a tool in the development process.