Unusual jewels – and where to buy them

This Christmas there’s a whole of array of colourful and bold jewellery to hunt out

Unusual gems and quirky designs are increasingly popular among jewellery-lovers, and there’s currently a vast array of designers and brands offering idiosyncratic pieces to help you stand out from the crowd. So, whether you’re looking to treat yourself or are after a Christmas present for that special someone, here’s a selection of unconventional sparklers to consider…

Solange Azagury-Partridge

Bamboo ring: £47,000

Bamboo ring: £47,000

Solange started out in Notting Hill, but now has boutiques in Paris and New York. Every single collection is completely different to the next. Solange told Spectator Life that she believes unusual jewellery is becoming more popular because ‘when people are committing to a piece of fine jewellery, they want to know it has a unique, special quality to it. It should have the quality of art and craftsmanship and intrinsic value.’ Her tips for first-time buyers? ‘Make sure you love it wholeheartedly, that you feel that now you have seen it, you can no longer live without it.’ For those of us who can’t afford the more expensive Solange pieces, she has recently launched a more accessible HotLips collection. www.solange.co.uk

Annoushka

Lobster Seafood locket: £7,500, Crab Seafood locket: £8,900

Lobster Seafood locket: £7,500, Crab Seafood locket: £8,900

Any hunt for jewellery during the Christmas rush should involve a stop off at the newly enlarged Annoushka concession in Harvey Nichols, London. Annoushka Ducas’s pieces are about as bold and lavish as they come. The new Seafood lockets certainly don’t come cheap, but are out of this world. Both made from 18ct rose gold, the Crab has been pavéd with rubies and pink sapphires, while the Lobster is set with orange and yellow sapphires, ruby and black diamonds. www.annoushka.com

Monica Vinader

Gold green onyx Siren Wire earrings: £125

Gold green onyx Siren Wire earrings: £125

Monica Vinader is relatively new on the scene, having launched her maiden collection in 2002, which was focused on bespoke designs. Four years later, she changed direction and began creating pieces that were available to larger audiences. Today, Monica Vinader is a major player in the jewellery market for young professionals, and her jewellery empire consists of multiple boutiques across London. Her signature stacking rings are vibrant and elegant and have the added bonus of being unique to the individual: you can choose the gems and cuts of the rings for extremely appealing prices. The Duchess of Cambridge wore the gold green onyx Siren Wire earrings on her recent Canadian tour – and you can too, for just £125. www.monicavinader.com

Cassandra Goad

Temple of Heaven Girandole earrings: £1,585

Temple of Heaven Girandole earrings: £1,585

Cassandra Goad is another jewellery designer who had a piece worn by the Duchess of Cambridge during a royal visit earlier this year. This time the Duchess was in India where she wore Temple of Heaven Girandole earrings, one of many Cassandra Goad piecesinspired by journeys. Those particular earrings took their lead from Chinese architecture, while Brazil, Scandinavia and Sicily are other destinations that have given Cassandra the spark she looks for to get the creative process going. As well as her multi-faceted collections that put diverse and unusual stones front and centre, Cassandra also offers a bespoke service for people looking to create their own unique pieces. www.cassandragoad.com

Fabergé

Devotion ruby drop earrings: £16,250

Devotion ruby drop earrings: £16,250

Fabergé has responded to recent trends by launching the Three Colours of Love collection. Focusing on the emerald, sapphire and ruby, the collection is comprised of traditional designs with a contemporary twist. The collection was launched alongside a social media campaign, #SayYesInColour, which encourages couples to share their engagement stories on social media. Three Colours of Love was launched in the view of replacing the white diamond engagement ring and is described as ‘the colourful renaissance of old-age commitment to enduring love.’ www.faberge.com

Legge & Braine

Granny Drops Acid ring: £950

Granny Drops Acid ring: £950

Legge and Braine is the lovechild of London-based jewellery designers Charlotte Legge and Kate Braine. The designs, the majority of which are rings, resemble sculptures more than jewellery pieces. Each collection has a sufficiently wacky name – from Nipple of Venus to Granny Drops Acid – and the collections feature animal eyes, faux chocolates and unexpected stones. Braine has said that the duo made a conscious decision to make their rings ‘bigger and more exciting and more wonderful’ – a goal that they have certainly achieved. And, the best thing about Legge and Braine is the prices: expensive but not absurd, the collections start at £250. Worth saving up for. www.braine.com

Kiki McDonough

Florence Amethyst Flower stud earrings: £1,100

Florence Amethyst Flower stud earrings: £1,100

If you want to make a statement with a splash of colour then Kiki McDonough is the designer to plump for. Kiki started designing in 1985 and since then has built a reputation for creating jewellery that dazzles with its use of brightly-coloured gemstones. kiki.co.uk

Two more to try…

Nigel Milne is a fantastic family-run business that specialises in contemporary and 20th century period jewellery, as well as offering a bespoke service. The company sells its own designs alongside the work of three of the very best Italian brands; Marco Bicego, Vhernier and Villa Milano. nigelmilne.co.uk

Designer Bear Brooksbank has created the Fur & Claw collection for Humphrey Butler, comprising jewellery that is both striking and utterly original. The line consists of three couture and 16 ready to wear pieces. The concept combines the fur and claw of the black bear, contrasting highly polished gold against black diamonds. www.humphreybutler.com


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