Coins & Medals Add Charm

Designers are doing renderings of Caesar and godly saints in popular charm motifs this season. While coin jewelry is a perennial favorite, the style of wearing an assortment of religious medals or crosses as charms seems to be driven primarily by the design team at Dolce & Gabbana, which recently introduced its first fine jewelry collection.

“This Just In,” the headline from the December 2011 issue of Marie Claire proclaims: “No two men have done more for Sicilian style than Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. Now with a massive 80-piece collection of fine jewelry—their first ever—the design duo further annexes our wardrobes under the banner of the Mediterranean island. Religious icons, filigreed charms, and black-jade rosaries champion an Old World, everyday-Italian sex appeal.” The magazine features one elaborate multistrand necklace from the collection.

The December 2011 issue of InStyle also devotes a full page to the new Dolce & Gabbana jewels, declaring them “simply divine.” InStyle comments about the three-strand necklace shown at top left: “Handpainted porcelain medals adorn these saintly strands.” The hoop earrings at bottom right incorporate clover, horn and horseshoe charms for good luck. “We are very superstitious,” Gabbana is quoted as saying: “What can I say—we are Italians!”

The December 2011–January 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar reports that Dolce & Gabbana’s new fine jewelry line is inspired by the isle of Sicily, and pictures a charm bracelet with dangling crosses, medals and flowers.

The same issue of Harper’s Bazaar highlights a coin pendant necklace from Bulgari’s new “Monete” collection. Noted at the bottom of the page are a huge shark-tooth pendant from Givenchy and graphic black and white skunk figural drop earrings from Prada.

Madonna is pictured in the January 2012 issue of InStyle wearing a Cartier charm bracelet with jeweled crosses inspired by a similar bracelet worn decades ago by the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson. Madonna’s new film, W.E., which marks her directorial debut, is based on the life of Simpson. A cuff bracelet from the new jewelry collection by Wildfox Couture is also pictured on the page.


Actress Felicity Jones, pictured in the November 2011 issue of Elle, wear a coin charm bracelet and coin ring from Bulgari with a cape ensemble from Valentino. She also wears gold bolt earrings from Jennifer Fisher, a gold and diamond bangle from Cartier, a brass ring from Maison Martin Margiela, beaded bracelets on leather cords from Michael Kors, and a pavé crystal bracelet from Swarovski.

A circa-1960s photo from a family’s archives inspires the choice of jewelry in a fashion spread in the January 2012 issue of Lucky: a gold-plated coin link bracelet from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, along with gold-plated pendulum earrings from Tuleste Market.

Lest you think that these coin and religious medal motifs are too staid, the November 2011 issue of Marie Claire highlights their edginess on a page labeled “Crazy Sexy” showing model Erin Wasson in her own shirt from Erin Wasson for Zadig & Voltaire worn open, with no other garment but briefs from Dolce & Gabbana. Her jewelry is also partially her own designs—the coin necklace and ring are from Low Luv x Erin Wasson. She also wears her own earrings and thin chain, not otherwise identified.

The January 2012 issue of Town & Country displays a collection of nine charm bracelets, which “have always been a kind of jeweled autobiography, each dangling trinket a tangible remembrance of things past.” In that tradition, the magazine notes, Dolce & Gabbana has launched a line of charm bracelets inspired by “The Leopard, Lampedusa’s epic 1958 novel about the fading 19th-centruy Italian aristocracy, later adapted to film by Visconti.” The Dolce & Gabbana bracelet, pictured at center, features heart-shaped charms. The coin bracelet shown upper right is from Verdura, as is the bracelet with dangling Maltese crosses.  The other bracelets pictured are from Elizabeth Locke, Sally Sohn, Chartreuse, Monica Rich Kosann, Pomellato Dodo, and Van Cleef & Arpels.  

Although ready-made charm bracelets and necklaces aren’t genuinely autobiographical, putting together a collection of charms personal to the wearer is always an option. I’ve been admiring a necklace strung with miniature Fabergé eggs and religious icons and medals a cousin acquired in shops in St. Petersburg and Svirstroy, a tiny village in Russia, while on vacation during the summer of 2010. What’s especially delightful is that charm jewelry strung with medals, coins, and other items creates a look reflecting one’s unique personal taste and style.



Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine