Gilded cages: architectural jewellery that will trap your heart

Trapped for eternity in striking architectural habitats, the trend for caged jewellery is back.

Jennifer Saker Chipperfield gold ring.

By Åse Anderson in London 

The expression "gilded cage" springs to mind when viewing these architectural jewels that incorporate striking interwoven designs and geometric structures.

But rather than having their freedom curtailed, the creators of these jewels - with their futuristic undertones and graphic shapes inspired by urban landscapes - are at the very forefront of innovation.

German jeweller Tom Rucker was one of the first to invest in a laser-welding machine especially designed for jewellery making. Deceptively light, his cleverly constructed jewels are made from hundreds of fine gold or platinum wires linked together to form intricate looking nests. Tom has received many international awards for his work and was selected to take part in a special showcase curated by renowned architect Zaha Hadid at this year's Goldsmiths' Fair.

Another jeweller to feature in Zaha's showcase was Jennifer Saker, whose work is heavily influenced by modern architecture and engineering. One of the first UK jewellery designers to use rapid prototyping to scale down architectural shapes to human proportions, Jennifer's jewels balance striking lines with gentle curves.

Known in the industry as "the architectural jeweller", Ute Decker hardly needs any introduction to regular readers. Her wearable sculptures combine minimalist dynamic forms with beautiful surface textures. Tying in neatly with the caged trend, Ute describes her pieces as "jewellery that can be inhabited" rather than just reinterpretations of real-life buildings. A leading proponent of ethical jewellery, she was also one of the first in the world to create a collection in Fairtrade and Fairmined gold. 

Established only four years ago, Roule & Co. creates bold yet feminine pieces using its signature wireform technique. The New York-based husband and wife team describe their voluminous jewels, which are inspired by both nature and architecture, as "heirlooms from the future".

Born in Hong Kong, Nicholas Lieou was an apprentice for designers such as Shaun Leane, Philip Treacy and Lara Bohinc, before launching his eponymous collection. Divided into two collections- Maximalist and Minimalist - Nicholas' obsession with linear symmetry and love for Art Deco classicism shine through in his work. The Vertigo collection with its graphic and austere shapes - inspired by the skyscrapers of New York City - sits firmly in the Minimalist camp.

Angular and graphic, these jewels are strikingly contemporary, but the caged jewel trend is not new. In 1941, Verdura created a Caged ring for style icon Dorothy Paley Hirshon that has become a design classic. The ring, crafted in rose gold and aquamarine, is now part of Verdura's "museum collection" of vintage jewellery but is still sold today, with the cages capturing different gems in a multitude of cuts, including rock crystal and citrine. In 2014, Verdura created a new Caged jewel for its 75th anniversary collection - a big, bold statement cuff filled with Herkimer diamonds that jangle gently on the wrist.

With all the talk about geometry, mathematics and symmetry, these jewels may sound incredibly complicated but, in fact, the clean lines and measured proportions make them not only beautiful to look at but also very easy to wear. 

Editor's Pick

The Jewellery Editor is for sale

Help us make the future bright

Since founding The Jewellery Editor in 2010, we have grown our digital magazine to be the number one global source of information and inspiration for fine jewellery and luxury watches.

3,500 articles, 150 videos with over 5 million views and a reach of over 2 million per month on social media later, we have offered unparalleled and highly respected coverage of our sector. However, despite our editorial success, we are financially struggling as an independent publisher.

Entirely funded, owned and run by Christine and Maria in London, we are now looking to sell The Jewellery Editor so that it can continue to grow. As e-commerce becomes a priority in our industry, we believe there is huge potential for engaging editorial content and are seeking a buyer who shares our values and passion so that under their guidance we can give a bright future to the platform and help us grow our business to the next stage.

If you are interested to discuss the above, please contact [email protected]

Alternatively, if you are willing to help, you can donate so that in the meantime, we can continue to publish more interesting content.

Terms and conditions

READ MORE

RECOMMENDED

MOST POPULAR

We use our own and third party cookies to improve your experience and our services. If you continue, we consider that you accept their use. You can get more information on your website at cookies policy.