The notion of the modern pearl is a concept that has been doing well in recent years, but how contemporary are you willing to go? For those with a taste for the avant garde, there is some amazing pearl jewellery out there for 2016 that is pushing boundaries ever further.
Central Saint Martins graduate Sammie Jo Coxon, who set up her eponymous jewellery brand in January, has already amassed a collection of strikingly contemporary pearl jewellery. She believes “pearl jewellery is at the forefront of current trends” and so has been finding new ways to present this lustrous gem, such as lining her Calendis earrings, which protrude in a half hoop from the back of the lobe, with freshwater pearls. “These earrings offer an exceptionally dramatic take on the classic pearl studs,” she says.
During Paris Couture Week in July, another emerging jewellery designer Katie Kovalenko – who goes by the moniker K Kova – presented the first collection of haute jewels from her one-year-old brand Kova. The collection comprised six architectural gold cocktail rings that deliver serious volume but are almost weightless, an engineering feat that took Kova 18 months to perfect. Each is designed around specially chosen coloured gemstones, and Kovalenko has chosen to incorporate pearls into half of these trendsetting rings.
Tiffany & Co has also been celebrating pearls in its latest Masterpieces collection of high jewellery, due for release this autumn. The Prism rings within this collection set golden pearls next to orbs decorated with gems like pink sapphires and tsavorites, designed to mimic the brilliance and colour of stained glass.
Bibi van der Velden also plays with the theme of orbs, but takes us on a celestial pearl journey with her Galaxy collection, which dresses up a Tahitian pearl as a Saturnesque planet on a pendant, with chips of diamonds, opal, blue sapphires and tourmaline in orbit. Colette Steckel also uses circular motifs to evoke modernity for her Colette brand with a collection of tight pearl torques and earrings that fan out pearls in a disk, nestling amongst emeralds set in black gold, which creates a futuristic, almost neon effect.
For the emoticon generation, Ruifier has snuck a few pearls into its Visage collection of pendants with precious faces. The Paola yellow gold pendant with a terse mouth of pearly whites almost seems to challenges us with its dark spinel eyes to take a chance on some truly contemporary pearl jewellery – will you accept?