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.
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).
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 GodfreyFollow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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