The curling, creeping nature of plantlife has rooted into jewellery.
The curling, creeping nature of plantlife has rooted itself into jewellery, say Juliet Hutton-Squire and Maia Adams of global jewellery trends analysis agency Adorn Insight.
In an increasingly urbanised world, we are all begging for a little bit of nature to brighten up our day-to-day lives. While the braver urbanites head for the sticks, those who want to stay in the big cities are sating their appetite for nature in other ways.
Moving on from the floral trend we featured in the March issue of Professional Jeweller, the botanicals trend is somewhat different — it’s less about colourful blooms and more focused on foliage, leaves, moss and forests. The muted colour palette of greens and browns and its moody characteristics differentiates the trend from its floral relative.
Nature has been a strong influence on design trends for some time. The desire to be closer to the greenery of the world has inspired artists such as Jaakko Pernu to create sculptures out of au natural materials such the sticks Pernu lathed together to create his oversized sculptures that he displays in public spaces across Europe and Canada.
Bringing a bit of nature indoors has also been an important influencing trend, whether that simply be using motifs to inspire homewares designs, such as Tazana’s Foliage lampshade, or by literally bringing the outdoors in through revolutionary homewares accessories such as designer Martin Azua’s Inner Life chair that doubles as a seat as well as a plant pot.
Fashion has also embraced the collective desire to be at one with nature, with brands such as shoe label Charlotte Olympia interpreting the trend quite literally, as shown by a shoe design called Leaf Me Alone. The heels have been designed with varying shades of green suede to represent palm leaves folding over to create the upper of the shoe.
Following in close pursuit, the jewellery world has already started to embrace the botanicals trend with a wealth of designers letting it creep into collections. Last month jeweller Theo Fennell transformed the window displays of its flagship store on London’s Fulham Road to create whimsical, humorous displays that set tiny figurines into a forest scene with jewels displayed on frogs sitting on lily pads, being dug out of the ground by mini workmen, dangling from the beaks of herons or dripping from flowers.
Using botanicals in a window display is a great way to inject the trend into your store, but buying in jewellery that references these influences is even better as we expect this trend to continue to be strong for some time.
The Merveille silver and crystal bracelet from Baccarat’s Les Sous Bois collection is a perfect interpretation of the botanic trend. The ends of the bracelet bulge out into twig-like structures that grasp hold of two lime green crystal globes in a muted colour suited to this trend.
While Baccarat has made the two crystals the central drama of its piece Dickson Yewn has opted to decorate its Garden Bracelet for London jeweller Annoushka with many tiny stones — diamonds, tsavorite, sapphires and pearls — to create a very organic design.
Both Baccarat and Yewn have been subtle in their interpretations of the trend, but our final bracelet by Vernissage Project, is much more literal with two hedgehogs and a frog crawling around a green central stone. As well as foliage, small woodland creatures such as these are also central to the trend. This design is a little more out-there, but that’s what we have come to expect from the highly conceptual Vernissage Project, a house set up by Ilenia Corti and Matteo Mena who create videos to complement each piece of jewellery they design.
As we have mentioned, pavé is key to this trend and the clever use of this is perfectly captured by Van Cleef & Arpels in the house’s Muguet clip. This platinum brooch features a wild twist of diamond-set flowers contrasted against a backdrop of emerald-encrusted leaves that give the white of the diamonds and platinum a colourful boost.
Cindy Chao’s design is a little less pretty and a lot more rugged and abstract, the turgid design mushrooming forth around the two central red stones with smaller stones covering the rest of the gold.
Jewelry Theatre continues the abstract theme with an organic, flowing brooch that swirls around two brilliant-cut diamonds and a polished emerald that offer a uniform contrast to the seemingly uncontrollable pavé-set twist below. The Jewelry Theatre brooch makes excellent use of this trend’s palette of greens and browns.
Alexis Bittar offers us a pared-down version of the botanicals trend with its muted grey Star Dust Long Leaf earrings crafted out of Lucite, a signature material for the New York designer. A liberal sprinkling of crystals suggests trickles of water or veins of a leaf whilst the iridescent Lucite fits in nicely with the fairytale elements of this trend.
Taking us back to something much more statement are Annoushka’s 18ct white gold, moonstone and jade Alhambra earrings. The choice to create cut-outs in the jade rather than carve it is an interesting one that makes the earrings appear even more leaf-like.
Dior’s gold earrings are even more elaborate, with minute pearl beading and impressive openwork that creates a 3D structure reminiscent of peering through the leaves of a bush.
Finally, we have golden earrings from Italian house Repossi. While these have obvious floral motifs it is the foliage that has been included in the design that makes these earrings an ambassador of the botanicals trend, and the boldness of the design ties in nicely with the continuing Rococo trend that is still strong.
Inspired by an old Chinese proverb that says “good luck for life is like dew for grass”, Van Cleef &Arpels has created a truly botanical confection within its newest collection, Palais de la Chance. Featuring diamonds, emeralds, tsavorite garnets, onyx, grey cultured pearls, chrysoprase beads and one 19.59ct emerald-cut pink tourmaline, its Hirondelles necklace is a great way to show a whole host of greens in a luxury setting.
Oscar de la Renta meanwhile has tackled the botanical trend but in a much more muted way by keeping its palette metallic with 24ct gold plate. The fashion house is gaining a reputation for being at the cutting-edge of trends in jewellery design and this necklace is a further example of this.
French jeweller Aurelie Bidermann has created a similar collar-like necklace but has really taken the nature theme to heart by dipping actual leaves of ivy in gold, layering them around the neck.
Versace, which unveiled its debut fine jewellery collection during the Fall 2012 Couture shows this summer, has taken on the botanical theme with a cocktail ring that shows foliage creeping up to support a pink stone that provides the central drama for the design.
We return to Jewelry Theatre for another great example of a botanical bauble. This time the Russian house has set a baroque pearl plumped onto some intricate openwork in gold and set with diamonds. This design sets a scene that is at once mythical, other worldly and edgy, but getting even more edgy is Cindy Chao with a very bold green gemstone ring that is almost overwhelmingly organic in its form and texture and which makes for an interesting design from every angle.
As we move into autumn and tones get a little more muted, the botanical theme, and its variety of styles, is sure to be one that keeps on growing.
This article was taken from the August 2012 issue of Professional Jeweller magazine. To see a digital version of the issue click here.