Dries Criel draws on his dance background for jewellery pieces characterised by a contemporary fluidity, with earrings, pendants, rings and bracelets cutting sharp and sensual silhouettes.

After originally training as a ballet and contemporary dancer in Antwerp, Criel launched his first fine jewellery collection in 2017, translating his fascination with movement into strong geometric lines. ‘I strive to design pieces that are timeless and wearable with a contemporary feel, while at the same time holding a wonderful element of human history inside them,’ says the jewellery designer. ‘My overall aesthetic is graphic, linear and filled with strong but lively colours such as green and purple. It is jewellery designed with a free and open vision, looking to be worn by individuals who are full of character.’

diamond earrings by Dries Criel

The pieces are handcrafted in 18ct gold by Antwerp-based artisans, who fuse traditional materials with modern techniques, lacing webs of diamonds in bold strokes of enamel for vivid pops of colour. ‘I find a continuous inspiration in ancient Egypt – the colour combinations, the distinct shapes – and blend it with my contemporary vision of fine jewellery,’ Criel adds. ‘I redefine a classic, both inspiration- and material-wise. The pieces merge many parts of life that affect us all, and I hope they give strength and power to the wearer.’

For Criel, the focus on functionality particular to jewellery shapes the aesthetic of his pieces. ‘There are many challenges in designing, and all of them, I believe, are necessary to come to a good creation. As I try to “redesign”, I find it very important to always make sure the pieces are wearable; I don’t design jewellery to be put in a vault. Striking the right balance between strong, geometric design and wearability is the starting point.’ §

diamond earrings by Dries Criel
pink diamond ring