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.

Shihara
 

Shihara mask chain

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

mask chain
Photography: Andrew Gough

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.

Saskia Diez

saskia diez mask chain

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.

Lady Grey

mask chain

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. §