Since the earliest days of humanity, we have adorned ourselves with jewellery. 10,000 years ago, we decorated ourselves in shells, stones, and amber, and with the new methods of copper and bronze processing, we produced not only axes and hatches, but rings, armbands, and necklaces. Jewellery has long been a non-verbal symbolic system whose identity-defining character allowed social, territorial and religious groups to visually differentiate themselves. To some extent, this is still valid today, with jewellery expressing something about its wearer: a fine diamond ring still stands for pure elegance and quality, extravagant earrings speak of a strong demeanour and angular jewellery expresses masculinity and directness.
In this spirit, we want to showcase designers who not only create unique pieces, but also combine their work with quality and craftsmanship. This list is also quite perfect for all those special-occasion-gift-seekers who want to give with a clear conscience this holiday season.
Renowned for artisanal craftsmanship since its inception a half-century ago, the luxury fashion house out of Venice has reached a whole new level of covetable creation under the direction of designer Daniel Lee (recently named Accessories Designer of the Year), some of whose most inspired inventions are to be found in the realm of jewellery. While recent collections have boasted many bold and inviting statement pieces, these silver earrings are fusions of lasting allure, offering a classy and timeless look for an everyday wear with a creative swirl as a fresh detail, echoing the curvilinear movements of Lee’s most distinguished designs in footwear and bags. Forego your standard silver hoops and opt for the hottest accessory designer on the market – with this pair, you’re sure to stand out.Shop now
No jewellery box is ever complete without a touch of Tiffany. A beacon of Fifth Avenue and icon of elegance, the brand has become synonymous with ravishing modern jewellery, first established in 1837, but reaching its greatest heights in the 1950s under legendary French designer Jean Schlumberger. Consistently producing collections ranging from subtle to extravagant, Tiffany offers a little something for everyone, setting the standards for accessories of romantic luxury. With its latest additions to the iconic ‘Tiffany T’ line, the brand reveals its ever-evolving ingenuity in modern takes on the legendary ‘T’ motif, a symbol of bond and connection at the heart of its design. These polished golden earrings find the sweet spot between understatment and statement piece, capturing beauty in refinement that will sure to draw attention.Shop now
Looking for a piece that really tells a story? As a student of Italian and French at the University of Oxford, the London-born and Zambia-raised Rosh Mahtani fell deeply for the Italian poet Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, and was compelled to create a line of modern heirlooms based on the pre-eminent work. Each gold talisman from Alighieri is a handmade production capturing a moment from one of Dante’s 100 poems, imbued with melancholic imperfections and mythical beauty that are eye-catchingly unique. Committed to sustainable production and local craftsmanship, the brand is already a name on everyone’s lips in its home-base of London – where Mahtani received in 2020 the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design – and is rapidly sweeping across the globe. With its oval-shaped pearl atop a broad gold plate, the Remedy Chapter ii necklace will be a distinctive addition of elegance and gravitas to any jewellery box.
Darling of Los Angeles and go-to for all Hollywood celebrities, Jennifer Meyer crafts jewellery guided by simplicity and enduring charm, centred on a philosophy of jewellery as an extension of yourself and commemoration of life’s precious moments. After working for big names like Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani, Meyer started her own line of sophisticated gold pieces made of simple lines and high-quality materials and quickly became a fan-favourite. Her pieces are now on display at her pink-and-gold boutique in the lush Palisades Village. Adding a dash of sweetness to a classic tennis bracelet design, this 18-karat piece’s slim shape and heart-shaped links make it the perfect gift for a very lucky loved one – or an exquisite addition to your own everyday outfit if you can’t bear to give it away (we won’t blame you).Shop now
The bold red lip, an icon of classic fashion, reimagined into an icon of modern jewellery design: meet Solange’s ruby-red Hotlips ring. On the advice of friends lusting after her inventive self-designed engagement ring, the London-based Solange Azagury-Partridge started producing bold, idiosyncratic pieces in 1990, and since made a name for herself as one of the industry’s most exciting, often provocative, cutting-edge designers. In 1995, the same year her seductive red-velvet studio became the talk of London, the Hotlips ring made its first appearance. A pop-art evocation worn by all the world’s most stylish and an emblem of modern design on display at the V&A Museum, this is one undoubtable must-have for every jewellery aficionado.Shop now
Traditional Florentine craftsmanship finds a vibrant, youthful centre stage in the atelier of Carolina Bucci. Backed by four generations of fine jewellers, Bucci designs her elegant works in a family studio that sits in the heart of Florence’s goldsmiths’ corner – an atmosphere permeating each invention with rich heritage, artisanal intricacy, and established standards of excellence. Her signature Forte Beads are colourful expressions of individuality and character, collections of polished beads shaped from an array of precious hard-stones. This exclusive iteration is part of a collaboration with New York City lifestyle brand LoveShackFancy, the bohemian-chic fashion house led by top stylist and designer Rebecca Hessel Cohen. This splendid bit of arm candy will surely add a splash of fun and femininity to any outfit.Shop now
A classic of design history and protagonist of stories revolving around romance and class: Cartier is one of those brands that requires no introduction. With timeless elegance and a sensibility for fashionable style, the brand has inspired royalty, Hollywood divas and lovers of classic sophistication. In 2019, they shook up tradition with their audacious and edgy ‘Clash de Cartier’ line, made of pieces emphasizing the meeting point of two contrasting aesthetics. A tour de force in the craft, typical for the luxury brand, the Clash de Cartier ring has been spotted on the finger of every A-list celebrity. Now its latest XL iteration is even more striking and bold: it’s an extra large model blending white gold, diamonds, and imposing onyx truly embodying the ‘clash’ between classic and eccentric. A ring like that is a doubtless collector’s item and a sample of brilliant innovation. With Cartier’s commitment to the fight against conflict diamonds, the brand sets a strong example of corporate responsibility and is a pioneer for many. After all, jewellery is not only beautiful, but also valuable – just like those who wear it.Shop now
Talk about natural beauty – a dazzling, uncut diamond is the centrepiece of innovative German jeweller Leo Wittwer’s newest Rough Cut line, an unfiltered stone on full display within a handmade white or rose gold cage. Unveiling the diamonds in their natural form evokes the piece’s story prior to its creation, referencing the millions of years of geological history that give new meaning to the term ‘timeless’. Leo Wittwer founded his manufactory in the city of Pforzheim – which itself has a rich history of jewellers and watchmakers – in 1920, starting out designing small crosses and dainty angel amulets with the desire of creating something the wearer would carry with them every day. Now in its third generation, the brand is headed by designer Frank Meier, who draws his inspiration from travels across the globe as well as an intensive appreciation of the incomparable beauty to be observed in the details of our natural world. Exhibiting high-quality luxury characteristic of this atelier, the Rough Cut Macramé’s woven band makes it also wonderfully casual, easy to stack with others on your wrist, and wear day-to-day just as Leo Wittwer first intended.Shop now
As we’re approaching the end of the year, maybe you’re looking for that special (well-deserved) treat for yourself, or maybe a token of appreciation for a supportive loved one. No matter who wears it, a thoughtful, lasting, and emboldening piece of jewellery from any of these exceptional creators is sure to be a cherished and precious keepsake for many years to come.