Blogs: On Your Market / Fashion

Wild Whimsy: The Latest Animal-Inspired Fine Jewels


It’s not that we haven’t always been enamored of animals in jewelry—butterflies, for instance, have long spoken to jewelry wearers with their beauty and meaningful messages. And, of course, there are snakes.

Less iconic but still well loved are our other insects, birds, reptiles, marine life, and four-legged friends. Some have seen their demand come and go, with spurts of popularity stemming from pop culture cues or astrological signs.

Fine jewelers have often dabbled in whimsical animal jewelry, making one-of-a-kind pieces destined for collectors—a horse brooch here, a tiger bracelet there. But none of it ever felt mainstream or particularly accessible.

L'Atelier Nawbar enamel necklace
Necklace in 18k yellow gold with enamel and diamonds, $1,800; L’Atelier Nawbar
Delphine Leymarie Boheme octopus charm
Boheme La Pieuvre octopus charm in 18k recycled yellow gold with vintage turquoise bead and tsavorite garnet, $1,650; Delphine Leymarie
Brent Neale large snail pendant
Large snail pendant in 18k yellow gold with carved Brazilian opal and multicolor sapphires, $6,450; Brent Neale
Eva Theuerzeit My Dear ring
My Dear ring in 18k yellow gold with freshwater pearls, welo opal, tanzanite, sapphire, and diamonds, price on request; Eva Theuerzeit
Smiling Rocks Fishy pendant
Fishy pendant in 10k white gold with 0.16 ct. t.w. lab-grown diamonds; Smiling Rocks
Eden Presley Believe in Love necklace
Believe in Love pendant in 14k yellow gold with 1.63 cts. t.w. multicolor sapphires on 16-inch Believe in Love necklace, $3,600 (pendant)–$10,400 (necklace); Eden Presley
Susan Gordon Caterpillar stud earrings
Caterpillar stud earrings in 22k yellow gold with 0.1 ct. t.w. diamonds, $2,400; Susan Gordon Jewelry

But recently, it feels like more jewelers (and their customers) are up for a little fun. Designers are playing with animal life in their designs, some in subtle ways, others going hog wild (pun intended) with unique animal pieces. Le Vian, for instance, recently introduced a collection entirely devoted to the animal kingdom, covered here on JCK by our editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky. Harwell Godfrey also recently released an animal-themed line, with designer Lauren Harwell Godfrey’s signature spin bringing some of our favorite creatures to brilliant life (her masterful mandrill is pictured at the top).

Cicada Toucan brooch
Toucan brooch in 18k yellow gold and enamel with 20.13 cts. t.w. conch pearls, 18.47 cts. t.w. blue-green tourmaline, 1.69 cts. t.w. rubies, and 2.02 cts. t.w. diamonds, price on request; Cicada
Sauer underwater ring
Sea Life ring in 18k yellow gold with pearl and diamonds; Sauer
Retrouvai monkey brooch
Monkey brooch in 18k yellow gold with lapis and bicolor tourmaline, price on request; Retrouvaí
Jen Volkodav hummingbird necklace
Hummingbird necklace in 14k rose and white gold with 0.21 ct. rose-cut diamond and 1 ct. t.w. emeralds, $8,799; Jen Volkodav
K&C Drops of the Ocean ring
Drops of the Ocean ring in 18k rose-gold plate and rhodium with yellow and brown diamonds, orange sapphires, blue enamel, diamonds, and blue sapphires, price on request; K&Co. London
Alison Nagasue Hope Cat pendant
Mini Hope Cat pendant in 18k green gold with Colombian emerald, $4,600; Alison Nagasue
Lagos pink sapphire seahorse necklace
Rare Wonders seahorse necklace in sterling silver and 18k yellow gold with pink sapphires and diamonds, $6,000; Lagos

Credit Y2K mania, call it a yearning for lighthearted style, a break from our troubles, a desire to connect with nature—just don’t call it a fad. If it were, it wouldn’t make sense for so many brands to introduce such pieces in fine materials, with retail prices that don’t necessarily warrant impulse purchasing. We may be experiencing a bejeweled wildlife boom, but styles like these have the capability of hanging around for generations.

Top: Mandril pendant in 18k yellow gold with turquoise, 1.98 cts. t.w. sapphires, 0.75 ct. t.w. champagne diamonds, and 0.32 ct. t.w. diamonds, $58,000; Harwell Godfrey

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By: Brittany Siminitz

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