Pearl is a June birthstone, but time of year isn’t the only reason the gem is stealing the spotlight this month. Pearls have reached next-level popularity, with designers experimenting with them in fresh and intriguing ways, and a wider array of consumers (men!) looking to wear them.
Bibi van der Velden is a reliable source for adventurous pearl pieces, and the designer’s latest jewels are no exception, utilizing the gem to its fullest potential as it represents the place of its origin—the sea.
Waves, the newest collection from van der Velden, takes inspiration from the ocean and its regenerative properties, and the 30 different pieces—yes, 30!—prominently feature pearls, other seaworthy gems like aquamarine and quartz, and diamonds decorating Bibi’s expertly sculpted gold.
The different Waves pieces range from sculptural interpretations of waves and rock pools to iconic mermaid tails in a variety of forms. Of course, you can’t hear “mermaid” without thinking of the new Disney film that just hit theaters, so the timing on the collection has pop culture resonance, too.
We had a few questions for van der Velden on the release of Waves, which debuted at last week’s Couture jewelry show in Las Vegas.
What inspired your new collection?
My collection stems from my love of the ocean and surfing every day. I live by the sea in Portugal with my husband, kids, and dogs. I have been working on this collection for over two years, since I moved the family from Amsterdam just before COVID to beautiful and wild peninsular coastline of Portugal. The sea and nature, with a touch of the wilderness of my beach in Portugal, and the fairy tales and legends of old sea stories are blended into Waves.
A 30-piece collection is a big one! Do you have a favorite?
My favorite piece is the big Crashing Waves necklace [pictured at top]. The incredible baroque pearl took me ages to source, and I probably won’t be able to find another quite like it! The way the gold dolphins jump joyfully around the gold and diamond waves that dance around the wearer’s neck. It is a piece in the collection that takes the raw beauty of the sea, and as a sculptor I have tried to capture that moment when you catch a wave and nature engulfs your soul as a wearable piece of art.
What are your thoughts on the “mermaidcore” trend sweeping fashion?
Fashion always picks up on global and cultural news for inspiration. So with the combination of climate change being high on the international news agenda, and on the arts side, Disney re-creating the classic The Little Mermaid with the stunning Halle Bailey as Ariel, of course the fashion world created mermaidcore!
Top: Crashing Waves necklace in 18k white and rose gold with South Sea baroque pearl, olive green enamel, and diamonds, $90,000; Bibi van der Velden
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