A CHAIN NECKLACE
The spring/summer 2021 collections were awash with chains – snaking around hips, swishing from necklines and even slinking over toes, thanks to the continued success of JW Anderson’s cult leather slippers. To the fine jewelry designers who have made chains their signature, this comes as no surprise. “I feel like fashion is going back to basics,” says Paris-based jeweler Lauren Rubinski. “By basics, I mean a strong piece that has a lot of personality and can define an entire look,” she explains.
Californian jeweler Melissa Joy Manning goes as far as to compare a great chain with a great pair of jeans. “Chains show off your attributes and draw attention to where you want it – being aware of your assets will help you find the right chain length,” she says. It seems there is both artistry and mathematics behind selecting the correct length: a shorter chain or choker (14-16in) will highlight the neck, while longer lengths (18-20in) can bring attention to a beautiful décolletage. “They’re also fun to wear,” adds Manning, “and I think we all need more fun right now.”
Those struggling to forgo jeweled necklaces may be drawn to chains bearing contemporary pendants, such as State Property’s striking onyx and emerald design, or even a modern take on a pearl necklace by Spinelli Kilcollin.
A style perennial, hoop earrings are once again in the spotlight, and the options are more varied than ever. “In the resurgence of ’90s style, the humble gold hoop is the unsung hero: easy to wear, accessible and versatile,” says Libby Page, NET-A-PORTER’s senior fashion market editor. Gold hoops reign supreme, but one size doesn’t fit all. With various shapes, silhouettes and finishes, there’s a hoop for every mood.
Small, chunky styles by Balenciaga or Sophie Buhai are ideal for everyday wear: stack them up the ear and style with a tank top and tailored shorts for an instant summer update. Texture adds interest to the classic shape: try Loren Stewart’s twisted gold braids or Bottega Veneta’s rugged gold-tone hoops. Wear with your hair up for maximum impact.
“Hoops are timeless and universally flattering: the one style of jewelry that complements every face shape. I wear mine every day, for every occasion,” says jewelry designer Jennifer Fisher, for whom hoops have been a signature since she launched her brand in 2005. Her three-inch ‘Thread’ earrings are among the largest in her collection yet are lightweight enough to wear all day and night, thanks to their slender, hollow design. Throw them on with a lightweight linen dress for effortless glamour.
While the past year may have streamlined our wardrobes, fine jewelry is moving in the opposite direction. A heaped stack of bracelets is now de rigueur, and the more lavish the better. Carolina Bucci is the queen of stackable jewels, with her K.I.S.S., Forte and Florentine Finish collections all easily piled up into harmonious bundles, thanks to her unwavering belief in “more is definitely more”.
That said, even Bucci has words of caution when it comes to curating your wrist stack. “There is a fine line between layering with a sense of abandon and ending up with an old-fashioned mess,” she quips. “It is fine to mix gold colors, or gold with stones, or different designers, but there still needs to be some thinking about the harmony of [it as a] whole,” she explains. “You would never go into your wardrobe and throw multiple random things together – the same should be true of your wrist.”
Yvonne Léon describes her chain bracelets (which each have a single gemstone drop) as a “twisted and contemporary solitaire” collection. Their delicacy allows you to layer endless chain bracelets, and with two styles of chain in each piece, they add bonus variation to your stack. The trick is to select pieces that you love individually yet that harmonize together: Piaget, Messika and Octavia Elizabeth all offer bangles with varied personalities, while Boucheron’s supple ‘Jack’ bracelet is the perfect stack staple.
A PERSONAL TOUCH
Jewelry is more than mere decoration. It conveys who we are and reminds us of special people, places and moments. It’s one of life’s most personal purchases, and designers are recognizing its unique power with jewels designed to feel like precious heirlooms from day one.
“It’s all about styling vintage-inspired jewelry with your family hand-me-downs: the more personal the pieces are, the better,” says Page. If you haven’t inherited one, a contemporary signet ring by Anissa Kermiche or Alison Lou will soon become part of your everyday wardrobe, as will a timeless, wear-forever watch such as Hermès Timepieces’ signature ‘Heure H’.
We feel instantly connected to pieces that bear our initial, or that of a loved one. Wear yours loud and proud on a retro pendant by Chloé or Pacharee, or more discreetly in Mateo’s diamond and crystal-quartz ring.
New York-based label Foundrae has garnered a cult following for its antique-feel medallions adorned with ancient symbols representing qualities such as strength, wholeness and protection. Choose the charms that speak to you and layer them up to create your own, unique look. “They are tools for self-discovery as well as self-expression,” says founder Beth Bugdaycay. “Each wearer’s personal compilation communicates how they got here, as well as what they envisage for their next chapter.”
HEART TO HEART
In the space of a few seasons, heart-shaped jewelry has gone from sickly sweet to the height of contemporary cool. “Heart lockets have been a timeless jewelry staple for years, but now this trend has taken on a bolder personality with bright colors and diamonds,” says Page.
The options are endless: from everyday love tokens, such as Jennifer Meyer’s dainty diamond-encrusted or turquoise heart pendants, to Sydney Evan’s supersized style, set with more than three carats of brilliant-cut diamonds. Laura Lombardi combines two of the year’s biggest trends with a chunky gold chain strung with a heart charm: the only piece you need beneath a power blazer.
This season’s hearts have a chubby, child-like appeal that belies serious craftsmanship. Irene Neuwirth’s bubblegum-pink opal earrings are saccharine without verging on twee, while Lito’s 14kt hearts are embellished with another prevailing motif for 2021 – the evil eye – in meticulously hand-painted enamel.
Chopard’s signature Happy Hearts collection was first launched in 2015, and the latest additions are especially collectible. Designed to coincide with the Bond film No Time to Die [now delayed until later this year], they feature brushed-gold hearts crafted from ethically sourced rose gold and are subtly engraved with the 007 logo. When diaries return to their usual jam-packed state, pair with your finest Bond-girl evening gown for a truly knockout look.
Longer days and lighter mornings all point to one thing: before long it will be time to embrace the inevitable color shift from winter darks to energizing brights. An influx of rainbow hues provides an easy way to introduce color into your closet if you’re not ready to embrace it head-to-toe yet.
Roxanne Assoulin’s enamel bracelets come in rainbow brights or pastel hues, with geometric patterns or adorned with initials: stack them up to complement or clash with a colorful watch strap. Piaget’s ‘Possession’ watch comes with interchangeable leather straps – choose from raspberry pink, white or lapis blue. Hermès timepieces are easily transformed to suit your outfit and mood via a rainbow of straps, from taupe to cobalt; the house’s signature orange perfectly embodies summer’s vibrant mood.
Bea Bongiasca’s curling tendrils of colored enamel are topped with semi-precious gemstones, and heritage Italian brand Buccellati’s elegant ‘Opera’ necklace, inspired by opulent theaters, is given a contemporary update with a lick of shocking pink. Melissa Kaye brings fun to fine jewelry with neon-bright enamel and diamonds, while Marlo Laz uses it to create a tie-dye effect on pendants, symbolizing peace and love. Creativity is rife, thanks to this artistic addition to a jeweler’s toolbox – we expect this trend is here to stay.