Rapaport Magazine
Style & Design

Great escapes


Colorful jewels that take us away to a fantasy wonderland are just the ticket after a dark and difficult year.

By Francesca Fearon


Warm sunshine, waves lapping the shore, the feel of white sand underfoot — such dreams of a palm-fringed paradise washing away life’s stresses are an escapist fantasy that many have shared during the pandemic. Designers have realized that happy, colorful jewels are the perfect mood-boosting accessories for those who can finally jet away — and those who can’t.

This year, summer jewelry is especially vibrant, invested with heartfelt messages of love and delight. There is plenty of joy to share, which is plain to see in the rainbow-beaded wrist stacks, gypsy bracelets, bright enamel rings, and shoulder-duster earrings currently on offer. Diamonds and colored gemstones that catch the sun’s rays are summer favorites, from opals to lagoon-colored Paraiba tourmalines and turquoise.

A perfect example is the Floating Islands opal collection from designer Tayma Page Allies, owner of Tayma Fine Jewellery. Allies took her inspiration from a bird’s-eye view of Australia’s Lizard and Heron islands, with pieces reflecting the blues of the Great Barrier Reef.

Other offerings that spread joy and optimism include the gem-set Girandola pinwheel pendant and ring by Carolina Bucci, while at jewelry brand Sydney Evan, designs this season include motifs like happy faces, flowers, animals, and a rainbow of gemstones in every color.

“With the difficult year many of us have had, I wanted to design a collection that would make people smile,” says Sydney Evan founder Rosanne Karmes.

The vivid, tactile Mikado Flamenco bracelet by jeweler Tamara Comolli is another celebration of colored stones. Travel is one of the inspirations for her works, she says, “be it sourcing gemstones in India or discovering the different styles women love.” She describes her gem-set gypsy bangles as “the expression of love for a nomad life and a taste of India.”

Here are some of the main trends giving jewelry a pick-me-up this summer.

Boho beads

“Holidays are often on my mind,” admits Diane Kordas. “After a long winter, I’m always ready to shed my [sweaters] and leap into designs which are colorful and have the nostalgia of long summer nights with the sensation of weightlessness.”

The designer’s new Hippie collection reflects that sensibility, comprising strings of bright beads and gem-set woven bracelets with a 1970s vibe. It’s wistfully bohemian and “effortlessly luxe, yet [with] a free-spirited sensibility,” she says.

Colorful hippie beads interspersed with diamonds are also a feature of collections from Carolina Bucci and Sydney Evan. Bucci’s Forte Beads line, which draws on her childhood summers making bracelets for friends in the Italian seaside town of Forte dei Marmi, adds the playful element of letting customers design and string their own combinations. They can pick and choose from hardstone, gold and diamond pavé beads, and layer them with her gold Twister Luxe bracelets. Sydney Evan’s beaded bracelets are equally popular.

“Our customers love to collect and stack them, and to layer in new bracelets and charms with each new season,” says Karmes, who personally enjoys creating a statement wrist stack for vacations (a favorite combination is Peruvian opal and turquoise) while mixing in other luxe elements such as her diamond Icon bangle or diamond pavé link bracelet.

Enamel

Cheerful rainbow enamels on sunny gold emerged as the perfect chromatherapy to see us through the dark days. As we start to taste freedom, eye-popping colors and precious gems are still much in demand.

Alice Cicolini’s Memphis collection — inspired by the Memphis Group design movement from 1980s Milan — sparked a collaboration with retailer Liberty London, where her 14-karat gold rings in neon pinks and oranges sold out before Christmas. Her summery Candy bands, with stones such as rubies, emeralds and polki diamonds, are popular for stacking.

“I love to find colors that pull tones from the gems, but also offer color pops and unexpected juxtapositions,” says Cicolini. It is a palette inspired by her many years living in India, but also her travels to Japan, Mexico and Colombia.

The colors she’s advocating this summer are far subtler, in champagne tones but shining with diamonds. They have “the light, bright sparkle that the summer sun requires, bringing a diamond flash to that day-to-night holiday feeling,” she explains.

More flamboyant is the spectrum of colored enamel decorating Aisha Baker’s One and Only ring and earrings. Hailing from her Masquerade collection, they spell out “Love” in diamonds — a style that recalls the 1990s rave scene.

L’Atelier Nawbar, meanwhile, has chosen the smiley emoji in yellow enamel as one of its eye-catching new designs. The Lebanese jewelry brand features rings in clashing neon pinks, oranges and yellows, juxtaposed with colored crystals.

Gold

Yellow gold is a favorite with designers for the way it glows on sun-kissed skin. There’s the frosted Florentine finish on Bucci’s rings and bracelets and a polished shine at Tayma Fine Jewellery, Sydney Evan and Tamara Comolli.

Nina Runsdorf likes a rose gold, which she uses in her Tree of Life collection “because it’s so warm and it goes with your skin, whether you’re light- or dark-skinned — every type of skin tone to me looks amazing with rose gold on vacation.”

She has no qualms about traveling with precious gems. “I consider all my jewelry to be travel jewelry. Nothing is ever too precious to wear, [so] you should bring all of your jewelry on holiday.” Tree of Life pieces are perfect travel companions, she says, with their beautiful tree opals, fossilized Indonesian wood, bright turquoises and greens alongside brown and icy diamonds and Paraiba tourmalines.

Paradise blues

Opals, Paraiba tourmalines and turquoise are perennial summer favorites for Comolli and Allies. The combination of turquoise and yellow gold is a color sensation that Comolli says “celebrates that never-ending-summer feeling.”

The desire to travel has always underpinned Comolli’s “barefoot luxury” philosophy, a characteristic nurtured, no doubt, by her nomadic childhood. “I love the beach, and you can always find me near water, my very personal source of energy.”

Meanwhile, a passion for blues anchors Allies’s collections; she’s spent most of her life in the tropics and is celebrating her 30th anniversary in Hong Kong. During the pandemic, she dreamed of going back to her Caribbean roots. “I remember swimming in the crystal-clear turquoise sea at Pigeon Point Tobago, where my future love affair with Paraiba tourmaline began, and collecting huge conch shells.” Now, she says, “I’m thinking of designing a Caribbean collection with conch pearls and Paraiba, with gold flying fish, palm trees and hibiscus flowers.”

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - June 2021. To subscribe click here.

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