Caught between their better natures and a tough exterior needed to survive, more women are looking for fine jewellery that represents the two sides of their daily existence – the angel of the hearth and the corporate warrior in the boardroom.
From armour-inspired rings to bronze and leather chokers, this season has not disappointed. Large, stately pieces help to streamline the process of mixing and matching smaller items by serving as statement-making, standalone looks.
This year’s collections have been punctuated by a number of war-like pieces. Take Tom Ford’s gold tone, bronze and leather choker that made its rounds on the 2016 New York Fashion Week runways. Meant to be worn snugly around the neck, the piece can be fastened at the back with a sturdy leather strap and buckle. The rough-hewn bronze plaque possesses all the rustic charm of an antique suit of armour burnished to a shine. It floats on the delicate column of the wearer’s neck.
In the world of cuffs, similarly chunky pieces can be found in John Hardy’s Bamboo collection. The newest arrivals include the Bamboo 32mm Kick Cuff in silver and enamel and 48mm cuff in silver.
Some of the vintage cuffs, like the Elsa Peretti Bone Collection at Tiffany & Co. that has been around since the 1970s, have maintained their hold. The continued appeal of the Elsa Peretti Split Cuff from Tiffany & Co. is evident in Margot Robbie’s ensemble at the 2016 Met Gala. She wore the 18ct yellow gold versions of the Split Cuff like mini vambraces paired with an elegant Calvin Klein gown.
Chanel’s Coco Crush collection carries a lush-looking 18ct yellow gold cuff based on their iconic “matelassé” quilted motif found on their handbags. However, it is the rings that made a splash this year. From Kristen Stewart, the Chanel ambassador, to Lily-Rose Depp and Diane Kruger, a host of actresses have been wearing rings from the Coco Crush collection.
Another Chanel ring that has been soaking up the spotlight is the Lion ring from the Sous le Signe du Lion collection that comes in 18ct white gold and diamond or a plain 18ct yellow gold. The large ring sits on the finger like the family sigil of a proud and ancient house. Caroline Gaspard, designer of Akillis jewellery, who was known for her Big Bang bullet-shaped collection, found inspiration from Cleopatra for her new Python collection. Gaspard, a “warrior” girl who indulges in extreme sports , says she was intrigued “by the ancient mythology derived from the story of Cleopatra, queen of Egypt. A woman of character with powers of seduction. It is said she used to wear live pythons around her wrists”, Gaspard says of her collection.
In contrast, the Akillis line represents the reptile in its essence: its unmistakable skin pattern. “We use diamonds from GVS jewellers, so they are good quality. We use six-point settings instead of four, so the diamonds are unlikely to fall out.”
The trend of rougher finishes on fine jewellery pieces can be seen in some of John Hardy’s rings. In the Classic Chain Hammered Saddle ring, made in 18ct yellow gold, despite the ring of pave diamonds set around the edge of the polished metal top, it is the gilded top’s uneven texture that catches the attention.
What these rings have in common is the suggestion of wear and tear associated with battle-hardened combatants.
When it comes to earrings, a strategy to emphasise the essential nature of the materials used can be seen in Melissa Joy Manning’s elegant Three Drop Earrings that use raw organic stones and Kasumi Keshi pearls set in 14ct gold. The power behind these pieces comes from the irregular-shaped stones.
The authenticity of the form of these semi-precious stones held in minimalist gold settings bring to light the true strength of the elements despite their delicate look. These pieces highlight in the wearer, the sides of her dual nature as woman and warrior.
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