Professional Jeweller Assistant Editor Stacey Hailes explores how fine and fashion brands alike are bringing tropical trends to the city customer this summer, with beach motifs and vibrant colours.
Finally the days have got longer, the sun has started to shine and the summer clothes in our wardrobes can be dusted-off in preparation for another season of wear.
With the summer season comes a booming trend for jewellery that mixes bright statement colours with a range of shapes influenced by the beach. From sea animal charms to vibrant coloured gemstone rings, both fashion and fine jewellery brands have given their products a tropical twist this summer, providing exotic escapism for the urban consumer.
For many when they think of summer, images of ‘sun, sea and sand’ spring to mind, even if they live in the city. With the use of jewellery motifs such as dolphins, palm trees, shells and treasure chests, this stereotypical tropical picture can now exist in an urban setting.
Charms, for example, can be mixed and matched to tell the customers’ own story and represent what summer means to them. At Pandora, this takes the form of its SS15 High Summer collection, incorporating dolphin, anchor and palm tree charms. These can be complemented with the brand’s palm leaf-inspired pendant and ring, plus fresh green and blue leather wrap bracelets and pavé beads. Thomas Sabo has also launched a selection of tropical charms that capture the playful nature of summer days; this time focusing on sea animals and pops of colour. Similarly, Trollbeads has a selection of beach-inspired pieces including a sea horse clip, star fish beads and aquatic- toned glass beads with jolts of neon.
Orkney-based designer Sheila Fleet has created an array of unique collections influenced by the water surrounding her island home for the summer season, including Sea & Surf, Waves Surfers and Sea Motions. Alongside lobsters, sea horses and dolphins, a selection of green and blue enamel rings bring the ocean waves right to the customer’s hands. Fleet explains: “The colour and movement of the sea can be mesmerising. In the summer little splashy waves shine in a myriad of blues and greens creating a feeling of wellbeing and peace as well as a beautiful home for millions of sea creatures. These pieces interpret sea creatures and calm seas in sterling silver and vibrant enamel — a little piece of sand, sea and summer.”
Alex Monroe has also captured the romance of the ocean in its Beyond the Sea collection, featuring a matching double heart necklace and bracelet engraved with the words ‘Sail away with me’. These are married with other nautical seaside motifs including billowing ships, anchors and life buoys.
When bringing summer to the city the food that is best enjoyed in the sunshine can’t be forgotten. Designer Lee Renée’s 18ct gold-plated Miami Vacation collection includes an array of pieces featuring holiday favourites, including ice cream, pineapples and cocktails.
When asked about the inspiration behind the range, Renée says: “A photographer friend visited Miami and on seeing her pictures I fell in love with the clash of 1920s Art Deco architecture and the bright neon fun 1980s vibe that seemed to sit so well together there, so I tried to combine both these things in my collection — I’m also a teeny bit obsessed with pineapples so this theme was perfect to bring those design ideas to life.”
Fashion jewellery brand Fiorelli has also honed in on pineapples for its summer collections. Vicky Leyshon, head of design at Gecko Jewellery and co-head of design at Fiorelli Jewellery, explains: “A pineapple is one of those iconic motifs and immediately conjures up thoughts of tropical weather, poolside’s and palms… either nostalgic or in anticipation.”
Although not in the masses, fine jewellery brands have taken on tropical trends too. As part of Theo Fennell’s One-Off limited edition collection, the brand produced an incredibly detailed ring inspired by the world under the sea. The 18ct white gold Sub-Aqua creation features a 55.46ct rectangular cut aquamarine, surrounded by 1.71cts of diamonds and a shank enamelled with coral reefs and underwater scenes.
Italian fine jewellery brand Roberto Coin also presented its version of the tropical trend at Baselworld 2015 in the form of a statement bejewelled parrot ring. The piece is crafted in rose and black gold with diamonds, a range of coloured sapphires, green garnets and rubies. Anita Ko, Dior, Boucheron, and Annoushka are among others offering exotic fine jewellery, with ranges dusted with coloured gemstones to capture the joyful spirit the sunshine season brings.
Customers are not afraid to make bold choices this summer, with numerous brands opting for vibrancy. Cufflinks manufacturer Deakin & Francis has noted a shift in its customers, with founder James Deakin noting: “We tend to find that our colourful animals are far more popular than our plain silver versions.”
The brand has a vibrant selection of cufflinks on offer for the dandy gent, including parrots, shrimp, lime wedges and pineapples in bright enamel shades.
As the tropical trend grows it won’t just be beach-babes and surfer-dudes wearing shells and palm trees this season… keep your eye on the city streets and commuter hot-spots instead.
This feature originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of Professional Jeweller. Read it here.