The popularity of earrings has swung throughout history, from being important in antiquity to times when they were not worn at all, but last year saw a resurgence of earrings of every variety, matched or mismatched, and the momentum continues now, with statement chandelier and hoop earrings as well.
Demand for ear embellishment has spawned new pieces like ‘ear-cuffs’ and crawlers extending up the lobe and for a personal mix-and-match, no-rules ‘ear stack’. Or the equally eye-catching alternative is to wear one striking statement earring.
Evidence of the trend is the success of Maria Tash, designer and retailer of jewellery for 20 years in the USA, who opened a branch of her New York piercing studio in Liberty London jewellery hall in July 2016, offering expert advice, piercing and jewellery for ‘enviable ears’. (www.libertylondon.com)
British jeweller Dinny Hall launched The Singles Bar in 2016 to focus on ear embellishment and in June opened their fourth standalone store in Covent Garden, selling her signature style staples: hoops, single studs, stacking rings and directional new collections. (www.dinnyhall.com)
Maria Black Jewellery’s collections including earrings in silver or solid gold that ‘adorn the ear in a contemporary but unconventional manner’. The latest collection, Disruption, interestingly launched on social media, offers newly invented features like a hoop-lock on earrings, creating a seamless look, and chunky and versatile hoop earrings that are encouraged to be mixed, not paired, Many earrings also accommodate those who only have one piercing, by cleverly emulating, for example, the look of three piercings. (www.maria-black.com)
At GFG Jewellery by Nilufer, founder Nilufer KIzilkaya aims to create timeless beauty using precious metals, with bespoke cut gemstones, diamonds and pearls. To celebrate the current Year of the Red Rooster, the Seraphina collection features responsibly sourced rubies, with 18ct gold, in partnership with Gemfields. Ruby is the birthstone of this month of July, but looks set to be in fashion for the next A/W season. The outstanding earrings, designed to adorn multiple holes, include Seraphina studs, drop earrings, ear climbers, long wing earrings and Seraph Halo studs, as well as the Claire Huggie diamond hoops and Ellie beaded gold hoops. (www.gfgjewellery.com)
Tomasz Donocik’s beautiful Dune earrings were showstoppers at the 2016 Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Awards when they won the IJL Gold Award, and at Couture 2016 where they won two Couture Design Awards including the prestigious Editor’s Choice. Part of the Stellar collection, inspired by the vivid paintings of 1970s artist Frank Stella, Donocik has created a ‘utopian landscape of precious opaque and translucently invisibly set baguette cut stones,’ using 18ct rose gold, ruby, pink opal, white agate, hematite and white diamond. The versatile earrings can also be worn as ear cuffs by removing the detachable cascading drops. This year he launched a new version of the earrings, Sand Fall, where the drop tassels are combined with Stellar stud earrings to enhance the fluidity of movement. In autumn a new colour palette will be launched, and the earrings and new pieces will be exhibited at IJL 2017 and at Goldsmiths Fair 2017. (www.tomaszdonocik.com)
Ana Verdun’s jewellery is decorative, modern yet timeless, and loved by a dedicated client base. This year’s large earrings, inspired by firebirds and night royal birds, or the Oriel Collection’s hoop earrings in blue topaz, are especially flattering to wear, in sterling silver, 22ct gold vermeil and precious stones. (www.anaverdun.com)
Farrah Al-Dujaili’s debut Oddical collection won the Gold Award for Fashion-Led Conceptual Jewellery at the Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Awards in February. The collection takes inspiration from plant and skeletal structures to create stunning eye-catching earrings printed in lightweight SLS nylon, gold plated, and finished with hand painted turquoise accents. Oddical has been selected as one of this year’s Kickstarters at IJL 2017, and for the Beyond the Blue exhibition at Gill Wing Gallery (see below) (www.oddical.com)
Jacqueline Cullen, renowned for her contemporary jewellery in Whitby Jet, launched her new Atomic collection at Couture Las Vegas in June. The darkly sensual and large dramatic pieces feature a pure spherical shape embedded with tiny twinkling black diamonds that burst and flow out of hand carved fissures, with 18ct gold details. The collection comprises stacking bracelets, a mix and match ring set, and bold ball top drop earrings and glitter ball earrings. (www.jacquelinecullen.com)
Wonders of Nature is a new collection from Lebanese designer Azza Fahmy taking inspiration from the magical wilds of the jungle, encapsulating nature’s forms in butterflies, ladybirds, hoopoe birds and the Indian peacock, together with flowers and the exotic bird of paradise. Textured bracelets, a cuff with 3D form, a double-finger ring with stylish interweave detail in 18ct gold or Azza Fahmy’s trademark mixed metal layers of 18c gold units with sterling silver, and hand carved stones. Victoriana meets Egypt in the Wonders of Nature ‘Classics’ with chandelier and hoop style earrings, including the show stopping 18ct gold serpent hoop earrings. (www.azzafahmy.com)
Gaelle Khouri, another Lebanese talent, launched in 2015, and will join the edit of designers at the prestigious Browns fashion store this month, with her Cage and Soft Deconstruction collections in 18ct gold and sterling silver, set with diamonds and sapphires. Designs include a lattice effect choker, ring, hand bracelet and shoulder skimmer earrings. (www.gaellekhouri.com)
For the last 25 years Gill Wing, in Islington, has been a maker’s gallery showing contemporary jewellery from established and emerging designers. The gallery is welcoming summer with an exhibition, Beyond the Blue, celebrating the colour blue with shades of Azure, Prussian and Lapis Lazuli jewellery from over 50 jewellery designers and offering a multi-sensory experience incorporating a specially composed soundscape. From 7 July to 31 August (www.gillwingjewellery.co.uk)
I last wrote about Beau Han Xu last August, with his incredible SPLASH Diamond Couture Jewellery Collection and Beau Cut Glassware and Artware, all featuring diamonds swimming in a unique carrier liquid beneath specially durable glass. The latest jewellery collections were shown in June in a glittering catwalk show in Claridge’s Ballroom introducing a stunning tiara, rings, back piece, bracelets, neck ring, earrings, and hairpins. (www.beauhanxu.com)