Mask jewellery: mask chains are both practical and chic
Mask chains, a hygienic way to hold on to your mask, also look good as a stand-alone accessory
As the new normal evolves into routine, it has become natural to grab our mask as we head out the door along with our keys, phone and purse. But what then? The etiquette for masks when they aren’t needed isn’t yet clear, but leaving them in a pocket or dangling from a wrist clearly isn’t the most hygienic way forwards. Jewellers are solving the problem for us, redefining functionality in aesthetically pleasing new ways to create chic mask jewellery.
Machete’s first eyewear collection encompasses both sunglasses and chains in silver, gold, and multi-hued sustainable bio-acetate. Chains come complete with a pair of link earrings, making looping them on to your mask a breeze. We love this chunky chain in chequered tortoise.
Astrid & Miyu
Astrid & Miyu translate the fun summery aesthetic of their jewellery into mask chains. This piece teams gold with pearls for an understated embellishment, and with part of the sales of every mask going to a charity which supplies PPE to NHS staff, there’s really no excuse not to add it to your collection.
Knobbly Studio at Jeryco
Mask always slipping down your nose? Knobbly Studio can fix that. Their mask bridge piece, available in either sterling silver or gold vermeil, neatly hooks the mask onto your nose to prevent it sliding down. The coiled edges, studded with a sparkling gem, add an elegant touch to an everyday essential.
For Art’s Sake
For Art’s Sake craft their chains from 14kt gold, leather, pearls and sustainable acetate for fun and flexible pieces which work just as well with your glasses as your mask. This simple piece taps into the mixed metals trend for a timelss chain both practical and stylish.
Much like a sunglass chain, switching up your mask jewellery can be a quick and easy way to update your look. By experimenting with both precious and costume pieces, mask chains can become an effortless adornment. Alison Lou rethinks more affordable materials for her Jelly Mask Chain which adds a playful touch to a practical piece. Crafted from clear lucite and painted in baby blue enamel, its both light and comfortable to wear.
Wolford may traditionally be known for their lingerie but that hasn’t stopped them venturing into mask accessories, with two new styles which double up as necklaces. The high quality and careful attention to detail they are loved for carries through into this new extension of their repertoire, which adds subtle embellishments to a traditional chain. The 24-karat gold-plated chains play with classic links, interspersing them with pearls or upping the proportions for bold pieces which don’t require a mask to make an impact.
Motley frequently capture the zeitgeist with their innovative and cool curation of jewellery. Now, they have created something both functional and aesthetically pleasing out of upcycled necklaces with these newly launched mask chains. Thoughtfully designed - the chains have clips at each end so they can easily be moved between reusable masks - these elegant links are an understated and practical adornment.
Shihara craft sculptural silhouettes in precious metals, adding an edge to minimal pieces with unexpected design details. Their link necklace, composed of delicate and graduating gold links, is a classic design here rethought as a mask chain, making for a chic and useful accessory.
Räthel & Wolf
No piercings are required for Räthel & Wolf’s non-invasive jewellery which play with the silhouettes of the body. Their new Text collection, while nodding to current times with the inclusion of mask and face shield chains, stays faithful to their simple aesthetic with finely interlinked metal chains. The resulting smooth texture of the metallic ribbon aims to bring a welcome tactile element back into our socially distanced interactions.
Munich-based jeweller Saskia Diez has created a series of cotton masks and detachable chains with the signature edge which undercuts everything she does. Her jewels often offer barely perceptible twists on classic design; worn in unexpected ways or crafted from surprising materials, they encapsulate contemporary cool. This mask chain in fat black nylon offers new juxtapositions; despite a heavy industrial appearance, its lightweight nature means you’ll barely even notice you are wearing it.
Jill Martinelli and Sabine Le Guyader, the duo behind Lady Grey, learnt the jewellery basics while working in prosthetic dentistry and orthodontics as teenagers. It was a fitting training for jewellers whose pieces, playing off the curves of the body, have a thoughtful wearability at the heart of their design.
They have been quick to catch on to the need for a new kind of functional adornment. ‘At first we made mask chains just for ourselves and family to have but they became so crucial to our everyday lives we decided to make them available for our customers,’ they say. ‘We found ourselves pulling our masks below our chins or hanging off one ear when we had a minute alone and it wasn’t comfortable. Our mask chains keep your mask clean and accessible, and out of your handbag, picnic blanket or floating around your desk, plus they look cool and can be worn as a necklace.’
The chains are available in tightly knitted or more generously proportioned links of rhodium- or gold-plated brass. ‘They really do make mask wearing so much easier – and any little thing we can do to encourage people to continue wearing masks is so important,’ Martinelli and Le Guyader add. §