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Wearable Sculpture: Artful Jewellery

We're focusing on gifts for body & person this week. Yesterday, we shared all our favorite clothing items but today we're scaling down to focus on a smaller fashion element: jewellery. Not just any jewellery, however. This jewellery gift list is all about pieces that are, in and of themselves, sculptural works of art; pieces that transform you into a walking gallery, showcasing phenomenal art and—by extension—an undeniable eye for style. These masterful pieces provide your gift recipients with the opportunity to adorn themselves with beauty and that alone is a gift to be cherished this holiday season.


We start off with the Norther White Faced Owl Brooch from woman-owned brand Trovelore, available at Tom Foolery London. This fully embroidered owl is an exemplary exploration of texture. Whisps of staggered, silvery thread evoke the plushness of downy feathers while tight, saturated orange surrounds two glistening black orb beads, eliciting the glow of nocturnal irises. A collection of glass beads, varying in size and shape, are seeded thoughtful the threads to create a symphonic compilation of texture. This glorious raptor holds all the gravity of night and will certainly bless any recipient with wisdom and unquestionable style.


Moody Arts out of the Netherlands follows suit with a similarly crepuscular work that will transform any wearer into a seductively botanical gallery with all the mysticism of a chilled, dense woodland. The shelf fungi pin series features sets of sculpted mushrooms that, when worn, seem to pullulate from the garments they cling to. We love the suppleness of their organicism against a rigid black suit or a blank white dress, backdrops that demand but don't challenge the statement of these pins. The pins themselves are profoundly aesthetic and display the inconspicuous gestures of excellent craftsmanship. Each set of five forms a perfectly sized collection so your loved ones can effortlessly decorate themselves without concern for looking like an overgrown Vin Diesel at the Infinity Wars Premiere (although we can't say we disapprove of that look!). There's just something about wearing shelves of mushrooms that enliven our veins with mycelic energy, a sensation we're eager to share with those on our holiday gift lists.


Lorenzo Pepe is the brilliant creative mind behind our next pick: the Posidonia Anillo Flor ring. Six large silver petals emerge from, and open atop, the simplistic band of the ring as though they are blossoming from a delicate sepal. The gentle undulating curves of each petal capture light and cast soft shadows and reflections that dance across the surface neighboring petalled silver. Pepe has masterfully applied the luminescence and soft femininity of flowers to the stolid, occasionally benumbed, medium that is silver. The Flor ring is nothing short of magnificent and it will unfailingly elevate and accentuate any wardrobe.


We turn now to Paris to find Tzuri Gueta and this incredible red Jungle brooch. Created by allowing red silicone to extrude through tight netted, web forms of viscose, the brooch is a highly visceral piece that is full of intriguing texture and fascinating crevices. While the artist writes that the brooch is reminiscent of the structures of aquatic coral, we find the brooch—particularly in this luscious red colour—to recall the image of an anatomical heart. Rather than outstretched tendrilic fingers of coral columns, the forms of the brooch, to us, are arterial, which is all too appropriate for a breasted brooch. Not for the faint of hear (pun very much intended), this striking piece will be the show stopper of any outfit.


While Tzuri Gueta fills its mesh forms, Popova Ksenya leaves the mesh open, enabling the hollow arrangements to cast a smoky, ghostly shadow of wings. Various lengths of mesh tubes align like feathers and denote the lightness and aetheriality of flight. Available in a variety of styles, this avant-garde statement necklace offers the wearers a silken reminder of travel through the sky.


In the words of designer Sara Chyan, "life is too short for boring jewellery"(1). With this sentiment in mind, Chyan's one-of-a-kind blue crystallized bismuth choker is a welcomed addition to any intrepid life. Prismatic facets, submerged within an iridescent blue wave, coil up a sterling silver band to form a galactic necklace that is out of this world. The organic minerality of the bismuth stands proud and is perpetually illuminated by the element's own ever-shifting colour. The result is an absolutely heavenly piece of sculpture.


When we think art, Egon Schiele arrives prominently at the forefront of our minds. Artist Derya Çiçekçiler offers this incredible Hands brooch that captures all the mangled and tortured contours we love in Schiele's iconic painted hands in a wearable form. While reminiscent of Schiele, the piece is a work of art all its own. We love that Çiçekçiler translated the likeness of abstracted hands to the smooth flat silver surface, a minimalist medium that allows the winding lines of the shapes to entwine without any compromisation from texture or colour. The simplistic nature of the design emphasizes the mastery behind ever artistic choice that went into the creation of this excellent piece.


Blown glass is a medium uniquely appropriate for sculptural jewellery. Lightweight and delicate, glass can be manipulated into spectacular forms without compromising wearability with added weight. Artist Agustina Ros offers blown glass pieces that epitomize the playful fluidity of glass and the sensationalism of sculptural jewellery. We are blown away—another pun, we're just on a roll!—by Ros's Outside brooch constructed of borosilicate glass and gold plated silver and her pink ring featuring a corporeally creased, blown bubble, fumed with gold for an iridescence that reflects the golden metallic shine of the band. We find these pieces duly suitable for galleries and wardrobes alike.


If the delicacy of Ros's pieces doesn't align to the aesthetic of your gift recipient, try the Brincos VII by Brazilian artist Virgilio Bahde. Glowing embers of citrine set within rigid, dark ionized shards offer an agonizingly beautiful and contemporary interpretation of gemstone jewellery. Bahde's earrings are a deliciously vicious presentation of minerals, imparting a brutal severity and devastating chicness that are sure to wow any lucky recipient.


Capturing the luminosity of Ros's glass and the drama and dark brutalism of Bahde's earrings, Evangelina Dimitriou offers two Water Rings that showcase magnificent blocks of chipped clear acrylic material set atop a minimalist metal 't' beam that serves as the ring base. One simply sets their fingers along the bar to reap the unparalleled reward that is the icy slag. The sheer aesthetic, industrial minimalism of the unlabored design is almost too striking to put into words. In addition to its form, the material's clear neutrality allows the pieces to effortlessly accent any outfit making them ideal gift choices.


When it comes to minimalist industrialism, the Surgical Steel Cage Brooches from Eleanor Whitworth are in a league of their own. Three dimensional interpretations of sketched cubes, the brooches feature slightly distorted and illustrated forms constructed of stern and rigid surgical steel. A stunning marriage of innocently gestured design and the juxtaposing criticalness of steel, each cage frames a void of negative space above one's hearts that can serve as a gentle reminder to remain open and live with a love free from the confines of any box.


The nylon cube brooch by Floor Mommersteeg, on the other hand, is a box we'd love to live in. Reminding us of the Accessions of Eva Hessa and Sol LeWitt's modular cubes, the brooch boasts a gradient grid that physically and aesthetically stands out. We love the subtle transparency of the material which offers a necessary lightness against the caged form. Mommersteeg manages to construct a piece that inserts itself into the space between two people without obstructionism or intimidation. It's a brooch that occupies space with demureness, fragility, and grace, offering beauty without demanding attention.


Rounding out our list is the Parmelia brooch by Kate Bajic. Handmade from assayed sterling silver and detailed with 18ct gold, the brooch is an unfathomably stunning piece inspired by the organic ruffles of lichens. The undulating borders of hammered silver plates overlap one another to form an assemblage of texture that is simultaneously organic and refined. We are smitten with the broadness of the pin's silhouette, as it allows the curves of the surface cratering and lobate edges ample space to perform. In spring, the brooch is a floral flourish and, in winter, an abstract, kaleidoscopic silver snowflake making it an outstandingly versatile accessory and an ideal holiday gift.

In the same way larger installation sculptures can be formed from a seemingly endless range of materials, wearable artworks are as diverse as the artistic minds that create them. Too often we find that people bind themselves to the association of jewellery with metalsmithing and luxury with arrangements of gold and diamonds. While metal jewellery holds a deservedly prominent place in the world of artistic jewellery and gold and diamonds are undeniably opulent, the mediums and designs of exceptional jewellery are infinite. More often than not—our favorite pieces are those that don't conform to the standard gold metalwork jewellery model as these pieces, free from the constricting grasp of expectation, can capture sculptural forms that otherwise only seen in galleries.

The list of jewellery pieces we've shared barely skims the surface of what contemporary artists are offering, but we hope the evident diversity of materials, styles, and textures inspires you to explore this vast sculptural world as you compile your holiday gifts! Later on, our journey through the 2021 Holiday Gift Guide will circle back to jewellery, so stay tuned for more of our selections if you are searching for more simplistic styles!



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