The fine jewellery transformers
When is a necklace not just a necklace? When it’s also a tiara and a pendant; as is the case in Cartier’s exquisite Queen Mary’s Pearl necklace, unveiled at the Biennale des Antiquaires last autumn. Thanks to complex inner mechanics, the piece can be worn on the forehead or at the neck, while its central Persian pearl (which once belonged to Queen Mary) can be detached and worn as a simple pendant.
Getting three jewels for the price of one not-inconsiderable sum may not be the chief concern of whoever owns this royal piece, but its multi-use nature is becoming more common in the jewellery world – and not just in the realms of High Jewellery. Fine jewellers too are acknowledging their customers’ desire to wear their jewels in more ways than one.
Earrings are a prime suspect for the transformer treatment and many interchangeable styles cater for the capricious. British jeweller William & Son’s new Beneath the Rose collection includes a pair of earrings whose cascade of pink sapphire detaches from a simple diamond and pink sapphire teardrop stud for the ultimate night-to-day flexibility.
Simple but effective, a similar detachable design transforms Tomasz Donocik’s black diamond earrings from a single celestial star to a dangling duo; while Kiki McDonough has cannily created a whole range of “detachable drops” – beloved of the Duchess of Cambridge – to mix and match onto simple diamond pavé hoops.
Calling on her architectural training, Lebanese jeweller Alia Mouzannarcreates feats of engineering for the earlobes; foldable earrings that transform from everyday studs to party chandeliers at the flick of a pin. And fashion’s favourite fine jewellery designer Noor Fares offers the choice of dangling one or two star drops from the ears, or sliding the drops off altogether and opting for a simple geometric stud; a versatile way to create the earlobe asymmetry that’s currently in vogue.
Elsewhere, Sybarite’s multi-coloured lollipop earrings can be fastened together and worn around the wrist as a bracelet, or reduced to a single colour-pop stud. Similarly multi-hued is the Circus collection from Robinson Pelham, whose interchangeable hoops and charms allow you to custom-build a pair of kaleidoscopic earrings as big as you dare. Milanese jeweller Buccellati goes one step further with earrings that transform from studs to chandeliers which can then be threaded onto a chain and worn as a pendant.
The mutable fun doesn’t stop at the ears; Amsterdam-based jewellery designer Bibi van der Velden has created a “ring on a ring”, in which a simple rose-gold panther band emerges from a cocktail ring’s writhing mass of brown diamonds. Glenn Spiro’s G London Reveal rings can be worn with petals closed, or twisted open to reveal their inner gemstone treasure (perfect for those who like to fiddle with their jewellery) while Avakian’s Riveria series features interchangeable drops in a range of 10 different stone settings, allowing the wearer to change their ring, earrings or necklace to match their current outfit and mood.
The diamond face of Chanel's elegant Première Pearls watch is suspended on a string of 194 Akoya pearls, which can be wrapped multiple times around the wrist or strung around the neck, sautoir style. And when it’s not being worn Boucheron’s Fleur du Jour bracelet can be straightened out to stand on a mother of pearl base to become an objet d’art; the most striking way to store fine jewels we’ve seen.
The queen of transformable jewellery though is Cypriot designer Myriam Soseilos, whose Transformers collection is the fine jewellery equivalent of a child’s toy box. It includes rings that can be worn a staggering 18 ways and the limited edition Falcon, which is a bejewelled bird, ring and pendant all in one. In these economically volatile times, even fine jewellers have wised up to the fact that canny consumers want maximum bling for their buck.