Isabel Bonner’s Brutalist jewellery gets graphic
Isabel Bonner is inspired by Brutalist architecture and modernist design for simple jewellery which stands out
‘There is an abundance of jewellery already out there, so for me it always has to be a little more than just an earring,’ says Isabel Bonner on the pieces she creates, which could be jewellery or objet d’art in their own right. From bases in London and her native New York, Bonner has sought to encapsulate the sculptural modernity which fascinates her in her eponymous jewellery line.
Her pieces combine traditional metals such as sterling silver with more unexpected materials such as exotic and petrified woods from furniture off-cuts, which become statement earrings. In other jewels, she lets simple forms do the talking, with pearl earrings, studs and hoops all redrawn in bold Brutalist-inspired lines. For her latest campaign, she has got personal, inviting friends and family to model her pieces which are a love letter to those close to her.
‘The three-part rings from the first collection which incorporate different types of wood were actually quite difficult to figure out technically and required a lot of troubleshooting,’ she says. ‘Originally I wanted to use horn, but it is difficult to source sustainable, ethical horn that comes in large enough pieces. So the material choice evolved from there. I still wanted something that felt soft, natural, almost gooey, to sit against the cold, highly polished silver.’ The limited edition and one-of-a-kind pieces were created with a heavy press, the wood carved by hand using saws and grinders.
‘Collection II plays with the idea of negative space, balance and bold simplicity,’ Bonner says of her Brutalist-inspired jewels. ‘For example, the pairing of a boxy shape with the softness of a pearl is intended to feel both minimalist and entirely feminine. From the outset, the collection was designed to be wearable and easily integrate into different peoples’ wardrobes.’ Bonner describes her aesthetic as refined, elegant and clean. ‘It’s a kind of simple strength and straightforwardness. I want my woman to convey that relaxed, chic feeling that comes from feeling strong and comfortable, not overly done up or fussed over.’ §