Forget diamonds. A growing group of contemporary jewelry designers is tossing out the rule book, working almost exclusively in metals and recasting traditional baubles as modern, wearable forms of art. For her latest line, Mounser designer Amanda Assad eschews colorful gemstones for a pared-back approach that favors simple, sizable shapes rendered in gold and brass. The resulting pieces bring to mind the work of Constantin Brâncusi or Richard Meier rather than classic feminine confections, an effect Assad credits to looking toward architecture and fine art for ideas on “scale, gravity, and the relationship between positive and negative space,” she says. “In a way, a building is just one big, intricate sculpture.” Assad and others are also finding new ways to play with hue and tone in the absence of jewels, by mixing metals. It seems color-clashing can sometimes be a good thing.
These Mixed-Metal Earrings Are Like Sculptures for Your Face
11 jewelers are ditching the gemstone and reinventing the earring as a miniature, wearable form of art.by Lauren Joseph October 02, 2017
Over her decades-long career, Greek sculptor and painter Sophia Vari has often created wearable versions of her art in limited batches. There are just eight of these sterling silver and 14-karat gold earrings available online.
Sophia Vari “Pélias” earrings, sterling silver and 18-k rose gold, $12,245; galerieminimasterpiece.com
Charlotte Chesnais spent nine years honing her craft under Nicolas Ghesquière for Balenciaga before launching her namesake jewelry line in 2015. Signature pieces include deconstructed hoops and multi-loop rings and bangles.
Charlotte Chesnais “Maxi Endless” earrings, silver-and-gold vermeil, $490; charlottechesnais.com
Texas-born, New York–based Amanda Assad counts works by Mark Rothko, Dan Flavin, and Isamu Noguchi as inspiration for her mobile-like statement earrings. This pair comes from a capsule collection created exclusively for Barneys New York.
Mounser “Mycenae” earrings, rhodium, yellow gold, and rose-gold-plated brass, $175; barneys.com
Annelise Michelson has quietly built a following for her collection of heavy-metal jewelry‚ made in small batches in Le Marais in Paris, counting Carine Roitfeld, Alexa Chung, and FKA Twigs as clients.
Annelise Michelson “Trilliptic” earrings, gold and silver plated bronze, $545; annelisemichelson.com
After years designing jewelry at Lanvin under Alber Elbaz, Elie Top began his own line of highly mechanical, fantastical jewelry. Each piece swivels, hinges, and twists to reveal different stones and metals.
Elie Top “Pluton” earrings, diamond, 24-k gold, and silver, $12,198; matchesfashion.com
Minimalist, mismatched bars in silver and gold add a touch of surprise when the wearer turns side to side.
Jil Sander earrings, $290; jilsander.com
Los Angeles–based Kathleen Whitaker strayed from the more typical stone choices for this collection. Standouts include painted Venetian glass and the oft-overlooked over pyrite used in these earrings, which give a fresh spin to the mixed silver-and-gold look.
Kathleen Whitaker “Large Pyrite Cabochon” earrings, pyrite and 18-k gold, $2,215; kathleenwhitaker.com
The linear, web-like jewels created by Russian-born, London-based designer Katie Kova appear to highlight the precious metal structure of the piece over the gemstones themselves. Kova cites the linear work of Russian artist Alexander Rodchenko as inspiration for her pieces.
Kova Earrings, diamond, pearl, and 18-k rose and white gold, $3,035; brownsfashion.com
Since joining Loewe as creative director in 2013, Jonathan Anderson has made heavy hardware a brand signature, using it everything from handbags with oversized logo plates to statement jewelry, like these silver-dollar size earrings.
Loewe “Earth” earrings, gold and palladium plated brass, $375; loewe.com
Hannah Keefe handmakes each pair of these brass-and-silver solder earrings, allowing for little eccentricities in each pair. Her “Sunrise” earrings feature a soft brass fringe that shimmies as the wearer moves.
Hannah Keefe “Sunrise” earrings, silver and brass, $229; valerydemure.com
Francesca Grosso of Sorelle studied architecture before starting her jewelry line in New York at the age of 24. “Sleek, sexy, Italian craftsmanship of the ’60s and ’70s definitely informs my pieces,” Grosso tells us.
Sorelle “Kaia” earring, silver and gold vermeil, $165; sorellenyc.com
Yves Spinelli has expanded upon his multiband Galaxy rings with a collection of mixed-metal pieces for ears, necks, and wrists, too. Plus, you can always customize your piece to achieve your desired ratio of pavé sapphires, silver, and rhodium through the website or at the brand’s Los Angeles studio.
Spinelli Kilcollin “Alexa Gris” earrings, sterling silver, rhodium, and 18-k rose gold, $3,200; spinellikilcollin.com