Craftspeople around the world have worked with wood for thousands of years, yet it has rarely been used in the realm of high jewelry. Designers today, however, are rediscovering its many luxurious and versatile possibilities, allowing us to appreciate its natural beauty in a whole new light.
Avant-garde high jeweler Hemmerle is no stranger to unconventional materials. Here it applies the sublimely curved grain patterns of exotic pock wood to its signature Harmony bangles. The neon brilliance of the green demantoids that cap each end are highlighted by the leaf-green tones and warmth of the wood.
Silvia Furmanovich has long been inspired by the rich, natural world of Brazil. For her latest collection, she traveled to the Brazilian rainforests where she discovered a marquetry technique of pressed thin sheets of native colored woods in extraordinarily rich, natural hues. Vibrant woods such as the blue Azul Carvalho, which is the result of a reaction between coal and organic tree material, make for a distinctive and beautifully textured collection.
The Shoelace cuff from a range of iconic David Webb jewelry was first created in enamel and diamonds nearly 40 years ago. It has been recreated in an equally luxurious wood version as part of the Woodworks collection, with its three polished gold laces standing boldly against the red-brown warmth of bloodwood or deepest ebony.
Marc Alary's animal jewelry combines luxury with a touch of whimsy. His elephants are available in many different versions and the wooden pieces are some of The Jewellery Editor's favorites, especially when combined with mother-of-pearl in graphic marquetry designs or feminine florals.
The smoothness of polished rosewood contrasts against faceted diamonds in these elegant Fred Leighton hoop earrings, while blackest, matt ebony provides a chic frame for Nicholas Varney's iridescent discs of mother-of-pearl and diamond pavé links.
New York-based designer Antonia Miletto seeks to preserve the craftsmanship traditions of her native Italy. She worked with wood carvers to create richly textured and bold Macassar wood links, which alternate with the sparkle of gold and diamonds in her wooden bracelet.
Texture, too, is the key to the impossibly elegant Pamela Huizenga drop earrings in fossilized oak wood, which are complimented by rose-cut black and white diamonds. This is truly wood with a story to tell.
Discover more unconventional organic jewelry by Pamela Huizenga