From the triumphant return of yellow gold to flagrantly romantic motifs and a cool reinvention of formerly prim-and-proper pearls, Sarah Royce-Greensill rounds up the major trends in jewellery this season.
The age-old tradition of stringing candles and baubles on fir trees was conceived as a way of symbolising light and life amid the depths of winter – and jewellery can serve the same purpose at this time of year. When almost every inch of skin is hidden beneath cosy layers, why not decorate the parts that remain with something bright, shiny and precious – not to mention on-trend? So whether you’re treating yourself or choosing a gift, these are the jewels of the season…
Perhaps it’s a reaction to these fraught times, but it seems like we all want to feel the love right now, and jewellers are more than happy to oblige. What was once seen as kitsch is now the height of cool, and we’re wearing our hearts on our wrists, necks, fingers and earlobes.
1. Irene Neuwirth rose gold earrings; 2. Chaumet Jeux de Liens necklace; 3. Gra Kiss earrings; 4. Jessica McCormack Heart diamond ring; 5. Boodles Love Letter pendant; 6. Carolina Bucci Heart multi-stone ring
What social commentators are calling the “cult of cute” has infiltrated the fine jewellery world in this trend, with contemporary designers championing chubby, childlike heart motifs. Carolina Bucci’s solid-gold hearts are covered in diamonds or a rainbow of gemstones, and Irene Neuwirth’s big, at, seemingly hand-drawn hearts are cast in brushed gold, or hewn from pink opal or turquoise. Mayfair-based Jessica McCormack finds perfectly proportioned heart-shaped diamonds and gemstones to set into her signature Gypset earrings and button- back rings, crafted using traditional Georgian techniques, while her heart-shaped rings range from everyday bands to extravagant, gemstone-encrusted affairs.
If you’re seeking a less obvious love token, look to Graff, whose new Kiss collection is a gracefully minimalist interpretation of a timeless symbol, featuring a contrast between baguette-cut and brilliant-cut diamonds and crafted in the same Bond Street workshop as the house’s one-of-a-kind high jewellery. Parisian house Chaumet celebrates love with its Liens line, in which the “X” symbol appears in myriad colours and forms, while British brand Boodles has no shortage of bejewelled displays of affection, from the diamond-dusted flowers of its Blossom range to its personalised Love Letters collection. So it’s now easier than ever to show someone you care.
Pearls – but not as you know them
Pearls have emerged from their staid, ladylike stereotype to figure once more in the world’s most stylish jewellery boxes. And their return to favour shows no sign of slowing down, with designers finding ever more inventive ways to reimagine pearl jewellery, with modern incarnations bearing little resemblance to the prim and proper strands worn by great-aunts.
Japanese pearl house Tasaki may be turning 65 this year, but its designs are among the most contemporary on the market. It enlisted fashion designer Prabal Gurung to apply his New York edge to its pearls cultured in rural Japan, and the results are wholly unexpected. The Balance line is a masterclass in modern minimalism, while the Danger range adorns pearlescent spheres with punky gold studs.
1. Sophie Bille Brahe Venus 14-karat gold pearl earrings; 2. Tasaki yellow gold Danger Tribe earrings; 3. David Morris Pearl Deco ring with akoya pearl
Elsewhere, Tokyo-born designer Mizuki Goltz experiments with pearls in all shapes and sizes: her oversized hoop earrings are strung with perfect glossy spheres. New York-based Brazilian jeweller Ana Khouri celebrates the beauty of misshapen baroque pearls, while Danish designer Sophie Bille Brahe mixes pinky-peach and ivory pearls to beautiful, complexion-enhancing effect.
London jewellery house David Morris is best known for its coloured gemstones, but in the Pearl Rose collection the delicate lustre of Akoya pearls takes centre stage. Paired with diamonds, graduating-sized pearls form voluminous cuffs, rings and earrings – just about anything but a necklace – while the Pearl Deco ring is a particularly beguiling blend of antiquity and modernity. For a more everyday option, look to the Forest Berry ring: a single Akoya pearl on a simple rose-gold band, set with a blue sapphire and diamond ower.
The return of yellow gold
The Nineties grunge look was inescapable on the autumn/winter 2019 catwalks: from Versace’s dishevelled models in slinky slip dresses to bucket hats at Burberry and Dior, and stompy biker boots at Alexander McQueen. But you don’t have to go the full Courtney Love to embrace the trend. Simply swap your delicately pink-tinged rose-gold for layers of chunky yellow gold, as the precious metal’s classic colour stages a triumphant return.
1. Atelier Swarovski Themis Z Evil Eye bracelet; 2. Boucheron Jack de Boucheron wrap bracelet; 3. Pomellato Brera choker 4. Tilly Sveaas T-Bar
On the runway at the JW Anderson show, models wore oversized gold chain chokers. But look to Italian fine jeweller Pomellato for a glamorous, Milanese take on the trend. Its signature Tango collection offers smooth, rounded links of gold – plain or embellished with gemstones. In the new Brera range, the chains are lighter and more refined, but just as impactful. For vintage vibes, opt for a gold curb-link necklace: try Tilly Sveaas or Stockholm-based brand All Blues, whose DNA necklace comes in two lengths, ideal for layering.
More is more with the yellow-gold trend. Wrap Boucheron’s gold Jack cable around your wrist, secured with an 18ct gold “headphone jack” – it’s an industrial-chic departure for this venerable French maison. Or dig out that other 1990s staple, the charm bracelet. If you don’t have a collection of charms at the back of your jewellery box, plenty of brands do the hard work for you. Atelier Swarovski’s collaboration with Greek designer Themis Zouganeli has a chain embellished with crystal-dotted interpretations of the evil eye motif: glamour, with a grungy edge. We’re mad for it.