By  on August 14, 2006

NEW YORK — Fine jewelers are set to complement ready-to-wear's dark and layered offerings for fall with delicate jewelry with a moody bent.

During the JA New York summer show and in company showrooms, designers juxtaposed feminine silhouettes with dark materials such as oxidized gold, rough-cut and black diamonds, hand-hammered gold and moody stones such as labradorite, prehnite and hematite used in rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Popular silhouettes included small, dangling French-hook earrings, delicate Y necklaces, coil bracelets and charm rings.

"I love black diamonds, and people are starting to get it because black is so in," said Sunrise Ruffalo, co-owner of Kaviar and Kind, a three-year-old jewelry store in Los Angeles, who bought heavily into Mizuki's Tahitian pearl and black diamond pieces.

Ruffalo also noted the return of white metal jewelry, namely silver.

Nina Runsdorf, designer of the eponymous New York jewelry firm, is offering black, rhodium-plated micro pavé rings with matching charms, and beaded black and cognac diamond necklaces.

"People want things that are a little different," said Runsdorf. "The black rhodium complements the clothes. It's very modern looking."

Designer Annie Fensterstock showed rubies and pink sapphires set in a rustic-looking hammered-yellow gold bangle.

"My work is bold and feminine without being dainty," said Fensterstock. "Pink is a classic color that represents all sides of womanhood."

Ray Griffiths showed drop earrings with prehnite and chrysoprase set in his signature gold net setting, while designer Jamie Wolf created engraved-gold chandelier earrings with hanging prehnite stones in a collection inspired by royal tiaras.

"It's very much about old-world aesthetics done in contemporary shapes," said Wolf, who layered delicate gold chains with large carved and stone-laden pendants, and showed gold hoops with her signature antique-looking engraving.

"The look is toned down and a little more refined," said Jim Rosenheim, chief executive officer of Tiny Jewel Box in Washington who shopped JA to fill in for the holiday season.

Rosenheim projects an 8 to 9 percent increase in sales at his store over last year.

"From the retailers I've spoken to, business has been spotty," he said. "People are coming in from a soft July, but this month is better. We had a great July."

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