The Tropical collection by British jeweller Theo Fennell offers pure escapism

Theo Fennell's jewels are so evocative they have the power to transport you to a different place: a remote tropical island or a magical underwater world.

TheoFennellTropical6

Theo Fennell's flagship boutique on the Fulham Road in London is a sparkling window into the world of this one-of-a-kind designer. On my last visit, the store was showcasing the winners of this year's Theo Fennell RCA Awards, with glass display cabinets filled with everything from solid-gold moulds of body parts to alchemic jewels created from solid perfume.

While Theo Fennell's jewels are crafted using traditional materials, they are anything but traditional. Fennell has a wildly inventive imagination, hence his close affinity with the Royal College of Art. Venture further into the boutique and you will find skulls covered entirely in pavé diamonds, forest creatures reinvented as colourful pendants, hummingbirds carrying precious cargo in their claws and, in the darkened back room, a fantasyland filled with Theo Fennell's Masterworks - one-off jewels so distinctive they could be designed by no-one else.

Fennell's Masterworks are so evocative they have the power to transport you to a different time or place - none more so than his Tropical Paradise Opening ring. Like skulls, bees, birds and religious iconography, the boundless biodiversity found at the equator is a theme close to Fennell's heart. From every angle, the ring offers a new tropical scene to marvel at, with tiny hand-enamelled paintings of parrots and flamingos hidden behind palm leaves, tropical flowers engraved in gold and a rock crystal dome that opens to reveal a tropical island, complete with a miniature palm tree.

This kind of tropical oasis is a theme that Fennell returns to often in his designs, perhaps because these jewels offer the same feelings of escapism that you get when you holiday in more exotic climes. Or perhaps it's because Fennell is so often inspired by his materials - gemstones in particular. Knowing the way his mind works, I have no doubt that he took one look at the remarkable 44.86ct blue topaz in the Under the Sea ring and felt compelled to place it in an ocean setting, resembling a piece of sunken treasure.

Fennell would then turn to his Moleskin notebook full of sketches he has made while on his travels or pondering a scene that has captured his imagination. A sketch could spark an idea and, together with the stone, the form of the jewel takes shape in Fennell's mind. After sketching the final design, the piece will then be made by hand in the workshop on top of the Fulham Road boutique.

This magical underwater world is also depicted on a pair of Oceania Drop earrings, the sea creatures so perfectly realised you could be peering through the glass of a tropical aquarium. Topped by two vivid blue topaz, Fennell offers another surprise: the drops can be removed and the topaz studs worn separately, should you not be feeling in a suitably tropical mood.

I have tried these jewels on and, while undeniably precious, they are incredibly fun to wear. On those too frequent rainy and overcast days in London, I would never grow tired of opening the lid of my ring to take a peek at that little golden palm tree.

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

Shop this article

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.