The decorative technique of enameling first dates back to the Mycenaean goldsmiths of the 13th century, but it became particularly popular in sartorial circles during the 1920s Jazz Age, when flapper girls sported jewelry and vanity cases accented with graphic blocks of color. A century later, vibrant enamel accessories continue to prove a popular choice among fashion insiders. “In jewelry today, enameling enables designers to highlight vibrant colors of deep intensity and a saturation that lives perfectly on social media,” says Angelina Chen, senior vice president of Christie’s jewlery department.
One jeweler guaranteed to boost your profile is New York-based Alison Chemla of Alison Lou, who has incorporated enamel into her designs since her brand launched nine years ago. Its ‘Loucite’ hoops – beloved by actors Tracee Ellis Ross and Priyanka Chopra – are formed from clear Lucite that’s been hand-painted with enamel in tones of lime and clementine, tapping in to SS21’s affinity for optimistic rainbow brights. “Enamel can feel very vintage, but I like to make it more modern with the use of unexpected colors and patterns,” says Chemla of her designs, which also include graphic heart-motif hoops and checkerboard signet rings.
Beirut-based jeweler Selim Mouzannar also favors black-and-white color combinations, referring poetically to his enamel earrings and necklaces as “dances of light and color”. The Art Deco-style pieces in his Mini collection are formed from discs of enamel, rose gold and diamonds. Their colors would perfectly complement an elegant LBD or white tuxedo suit.
There’s a vibrant liquidity behind enameled designs, including Italian jeweler Bea Bongiasca’s bold rings in sorbet pink or sky blue, which fold around the finger like fluid tendrils of a plant (singer Dua Lipa favors a different color on each finger). New Yorker Melissa Kaye’s ‘Lola’ earrings are inspired by sewing needles and dangle from the ear in neon hues, like molten lava. “If you love color, we suggest mixing any of the neons together,” she says of her highlighter-pink, -blue and -green designs. Team with a pared-back white shirt to ensure all eyes are on your ears.