Certain pieces of jewelry are compelling because they remind us of our childhood; those first forays of pinching lobes with clip-on earrings, stringing wrists with friendship bracelets and admiring hands decked with gobstopper-sized faux gems. For many, bead bracelets fall firmly into this category – there’s a simplistic charm about a row of gemstone orbs that can be stacked, mixed and matched to bring bold color to sun-kissed skin.
“Bead bracelets can work from the beach all the way to dinner, and back to breakfast on the hotel terrace again,” says Carolina Bucci, who significantly upped the cool factor of beaded jewelry with the launch of her Forte Beads collection in 2018, which allows wearers to select individual gemstone beads to create their own unique combinations. Now, celebrities, models and fashion editors alike bedeck their wrists with Bucci’s beads as soon as the sun begins to peep from behind spring clouds. This summer, Bucci is exploring a cool and calming color palette. “Pale greens and blues are what I’m finding myself drawn to… amazonite, blue agate, chalcedony and moonstone are all at the top of my Forte Beads rotation. But then again, the beauty is that you can dismantle and start again whenever you want,” she adds. Indeed, the collection is a treasure trove for gemology geeks, with rare and unusual materials – from malachite to moonstone, tiger’s eye to rhodonite – to mix and match according to your mood.
How, then, with so many options, do you begin to decipher which beads are best for you, and in what combination? “I tend to find that people are naturally drawn to the beads they need; it is incredibly intuitive,” says Bucci. “Stick to the beads you are drawn to or start with a color you love. It’s important to understand your needs, or what provides you with happiness and fulfilment,” she says.
Ananya Malhotra, founder of Ananya, was inspired by the famed healing properties of different gemstones when she first conceived her cult ‘Chakra’ bracelet design. “In order to benefit from the healing qualities of a gemstone, it has to touch the skin, so I set about with the idea to create something both beautiful and meaningful,” she explains. If you wish to create a stack that harnesses mystical properties, Malhotra suggests rose quartz and emerald, while angelite is to be used for meditation and soothing anxiety, and lavender jade employed to channel wisdom and knowledge.
Gemstone beads can, however, be selected purely for their ability to bring bold color to a timeless stack of gold bracelets and bangles, too, allowing you to switch up your layered look depending on your mood or outfit. LA-based designer Rosanne Karmes, founder of Sydney Evan, has a veritable rainbow’s worth of beaded-bracelet options, from zingy green corundum and pastel amethyst to the neutral tones of white opal, mother-of-pearl and silverite. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to pairings, though; the key is to embrace the summer spirit. “Do you want to know their best companions?” asks Bucci. “A pareo, salty hair and sand between your toes.”