Odd couples: the elegant imperfection of off-kilter jewels
From Victoire de Castellane’s stone clashes at Dior Joaillerie to Boghossian’s diamond and pearl switch, asymmetric earrings are having a moment
Designers are increasingly embracing the notion of casual imperfection with a relaxed attitude to precious gems that doesn’t forego the precise nature of their craft. Their playful response fuses signature design codes with a blase approach, creating not-so-perfect pairs for those who take their jewels seriously, but still want a whole lot of fun.
Victoire de Castellane has always enjoyed teasing traditional concepts of high jewellery, in the past favouring asymmetrical earrings and vivid stones. These themes recur in her new Dior et Moi collection, and her joy at the amalgamation of stones, cuts and colours she creates is clear to see. Gold is painstakingly coated with layers of Indian-style lacquer sprayed on to the gold in 15 vibrant shades. There is no obvious pattern to Castellane’s pairs of earrings, where sapphires and emeralds nestle alongside her beloved opals, yet the overall design symmetry of the pieces creates a pleasing uniformity.
Mexican-born Sara Beltran is inspired by the wilder aspects of nature, creating pieces for her jewellery brand Dezso which unite traditional precious metals with more unexpected materials including shark teeth, polki diamonds and fossils. These fish earrings, newly available at Matches Fashion, are a case in point, pairing mismatched coral fish studded with princess-cut diamonds. Sculpted so realistically they appear to wriggle down the ear, the purposeful mismatching only serves to emphasise the playful realism of these fun little fish.
Ara Vartanian’s gently subversive jewellery designs, characterised by a surprising use of materials and an innovative rethinking of how jewellery is worn, lend themselves well to mismatched earrings. Here, understatement is key in his twisting of traditional jewellery concepts: emeralds and diamonds appear perfectly symmetrical, the clash of geometry only revealed upon second glance.
French fashion label Jacquemus intuitively taps into the zeitgeist, flitting from overblown romance to slinky silhouettes depending on the rapidly changing mood. These Les Mimosas asymmetric beaded earrings, available at Browns, encapsulate jewellery’s new mood for whimsy, eschewing matchy-matchy perfection and having fun with gleefully feminine shapes and materials. Playing with proportions, one cascade of beads grazes the shoulder while the other falls below the chin, allowing the wearer to turn the other cheek with style.
Geneva-based jeweller Boghossian cast optical illusions in rare diamonds and pearls, pairing precious stones that don’t quite match. Two cream natural saltwater pearls are the same tone but have their own distinctive rounded silhouettes, one a button-shaped clam and the other a simple drop. They are complemented by shades of brown, and a baroque drop-shaped natural saltwater pearl creates a symmetry of sorts when contrasted against a fancy orangey brown diamond. §