I’m convinced 2019 will go down in history as an especially testing year, and in these times of uncertainty, nothing beats a big dose of fun. I love jewels that make me smile and I admire the designers who prefer not to take themselves too seriously. If I had the choice of owning a pair of huge diamond earrings or a magic mushroom pendant (below), it would be the latter every time.
New Yorker Alison Chemla has been a firm favourite with Millennials since she launched her label Alison Lou in 2012. She started out with a cute emoji-inspired collection and has been putting the fun into fine jewellery ever since with her candy-coloured creations. There is a wide-eyed innocence to everything she designs, shot through with a wicked sense of humour. Case in point, her new Pill by the Yard jewels – a cheeky hat-tip to Elsa Peretti’s iconic Diamonds by the Yard for Tiffany.
To tap into the minds of Millennials, it helps to be one. Bursting onto the fine jewellery scene earlier this year, EÉRA was founded by two young friends who grew up in the midst of the Milan fashion scene. Their debut collection is based on a very simple premise: each jewel features a simple snap hook (above) similar to the one you find on a carabiner, making it transformable. I recommend checking out the neon earrings for a jolt of 80s euphoria.
Infused with a happy kind of nostalgia, whimsical jewels inspired by childhood memories are the definition of fun. Brent Neale’s gem-set magic mushroom pendant, in the palest lavender blue chalcedony, is pure fairy tale, or slip into Aron & Hirsh’s mystical circus universe with the Brazilian designers’ prancing pony earrings (top). I was totally charmed when I first set eyes on Alina Abegg’s new Sugar High collection (above), inspired by the designer’s favourite sweets. The orange moonstone lollipop pendant has a carved raised line around the middle, a perfect replica of this most classic of confectionaries. And you can taste the nostalgia of girlie sleepovers, accompanied by a huge bag of popcorn, in Luz Camino’s hyper-realistic stud earrings (below).
Bibi van der Velden delivers a cuteness overload with one of my favourite jewels featured here – an incredibly lifelike millipede ring (below), with a carved chrysoprase head, that wraps its pleasingly plump form around the finger, its segmented body set with multi-coloured gemstones.
Meanwhile, Daniela Villegas, who has a knack for transforming the beastliest of bugs into the most adorable jewels, focusses her attention on birds with her Do Re Mi earrings (below), the name inspired by the stars of the show: two lovable dodos.
For a more grown-up take on fun fine jewellery, Retrouvaí has blown up a pair of gold XO stud earrings (below) and adorned them with on-trend black onyx polka dots, while Glenn Spiro proves that playfulness is always welcome, even in the rarefied world of high jewellery. Snow set with vibrant pink sapphires, his supersized Clover Leaf stud earrings are crafted from titanium, which means they are light as a feather to wear, not to mention enormous fun.