TRENDS: Baroque’n’roll

Jewels go dark and romantic with crucifixes and filigree.

Jewellery design has undergone a renaissance of late as baroque and Italiante jewels come back into vogue with crucifixes, lace-like jewels and those with smatterings of dark gemstones with a gothic twist. Jessica Knowles delves into this darkly romantic treasure trove.

Maybe it is was the exceptionally long winter and chilly start to summer, or the equally gloomy state of our financial affairs, but either way the trend for baroque, almost gothic-inspired jewels is set to make its mark as we step towards AW13.

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In 2012 jewellers were presented with the punk-goth aesthetic: studs, leather and utilitarian themes dominated the runways and the translation into costume jewellery before being followed by fine jewellery designers. The Tough Luxe collection by Kirsten Goss and Juste un Clous by Cartier are examples of how punk-goth has filtered into the luxury market.

Looking ahead to AW13 it is classic gothic themes that are undergoing a glamorous revamp. This year baroque styles and filigree detailing give a delicate edge to designs. Bolder tarnished finishes and talismans featured in the Paris and Milan runway shows in February, along with an abundance of dark gemstones.

The baroque’n’roll trend has a decidedly Italian feel; think raven-haired Mediterranean sirens adorned with ornate, mysterious pieces.

Baroque structures tie into the new gothic trend by connoting ideas of religious symbolism. Ornamentation of this jewellery is akin to the decorative elements seen in churches or cathedrals and features heavy embellishment and regal gold tones. At Dolce and Gabbana, inspired by the Santa Maria Nuova cathedral, oversized gold crosses hung from necklaces, dangled as earrings and were the centrepiece for crowns, covered in ruby and smoky quartz coloured gems.

Filigree designs feature in many new collections this season nodding to the roots of the ancient technique which was used in monasteries during the 4th century to decorate the depictions of saints.

Fast forward to now and filigree detailing still holds the same reverence due to the intricate workmanship. For the gothic element of the baroque’n’roll trend, filigree will typically be oxidised silver, rose gold or blackened white gold set with black pearls, black sapphires and gems.

Swarovski’s Secret Treasures collection is inspired by four locations around the globe, one of which is Venice. The city and its romance, combined with its old town aesthetic and strong Catholic atmosphere, have inspired the brand create jewellery with a rustic edge.

Swarovski’s Vermeil Cuff from the Venice collection is an impressive piece made of layered solid black chains with a large brooch style centrepiece covered in black Swarovski crystals. On either side, smaller decorations are surrounded by shard-like stones and the detailing makes the cuff appear almost scorched.

At a fine jewellery level, Pacoma has used a filigree-inspired design for a collection embellished with 1ct of pave-set diamonds and finished with Tahitian pearl drops.

Symbolism is a strong feature of the baroque’n’roll trend and whilst the cross has become a classic Italianate motif, coins and cameos are becoming ubiquitous once more but with a darker, ancient quality. Combining the cross with dark coloured stones is the archetypal look but for next season modern interpretations are making this style wearable, and layerable, for everyday.

Jewellery brand Silver Service offers a number of gothic charms in her repertoire of composeable necklaces. Previous collections have featured black pearl crosses and tarnished cherubs. Both have an antique, aged feel but hung on silver chains the religious symbolism is juxtaposed with a modern vibe. The brand also offers tarnished brass and silver Dutch coin charms, launched recently and reviving the theme of antiquity.

Whilst Byzantine designs of the classic gothic cross were seen on the runway, it has also been re-interpreted at the other end of the spectrum. Smaller and daintier, the hard edge of the goth staple has been somewhat softened by brands such as ISWAI and designer Christina Christoforou.

ISWAI is the jewellery and fashion brand founded by former Made in Chelsea star Caggie Dunlop. It uses fine chains to link minute crosses across a multi strand necklace, creating a statement but with a subtler use of the crucifix motif.

Emerging designer and 2013 IJL Kickstarter Christina Christoforou’s Cross Collection is another example of a modern play on a classic symbol. Her work features small crosses linked horizontally on bracelets, embossed on pendants and used structurally for rings, all of which have tarnished finishes.

CW Sellors newest product, Cameo Italiano, is a range that uses the historic Roman art of relief engraving to hand carve shell into cameos. While traditional designs exist floral motifs, angelic carvings and opulent settings nod to the baroque trend.

Gemstone trend for the coming season are set to complement the oxidised finish of the metals they are set in. Onyx, ruby, black sapphires and brown diamonds with their dark and blood tones tie into the classic gothic ideas and can be seen in jewellery by Thomas Sabo, Swarovski, Ralph Lauren and Gucci.

A tarnished or oxidised finish is a key element of the baroque’n’roll trend; the antiquity nods to darker times and places before modern polishing and finishing methods were ever considered or available.

Roberto Cavalli’s winged serpents and Michael Kors’ oversized chain chokers at their AW 13 shows were both pewter coloured as were the coin pendants seen on tartan bracelets at Givenchy.

Rose gold also features heavily in this trend as a complimentary tone to the dark jewels. In the Gioia collection from Italian brand Al Coro, smoky quartz and diamonds are set in rose gold and, at Swarovski, the Venetie Cuff is rose coloured with an impressive centrepiece of black and white pearls as well as black, brown and clear crystals.

Of course a discussion of gothic jewellery is incomplete without Stephen Webster. The iconic designer has used rose gold in his latest Fly by Night collection with diamond studded, overlapping winged creatures adorning the Mothball ring and earrings. Rose gold has also been used by Stephen Webster for a set of stacking rings featuring blood-red garnets.

Black rhodium plating also ties into to the trend, as show by Loree Rodkin’s Armoury ring, a structured piece centres around a crucifix motif studded with rubies.

The baroque’n’roll trend is essentially about dark glamour and bringing antiquity to a modern era using traditional techniques and finishes. The variety of jewellery that falls under the definition adds to its appeal, meaning consumers can buy into the trend without having to don Versace’s nail earrings.

This trends feature was taken from the July issue of Professional Jeweller. To read the issue in full online, click here.



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