Here’s What the Iris Apfel x Bernardaud Jewelry Looks Like

Things you do with a toddler on a Saturday afternoon when you live in small-town Connecticut: attend a live demonstration of four different species of owls native to the area. And while I must admit I find birds of all kinds abundantly fascinating, I did my find my mind wandering a bit during the rundown of facts about Eastern screech owls, barred owls, barn owls, and a very dear little one-eyed Northern saw-whet owl.

And that’s why I’m focusing on one of this fall’s more exciting jewelry launches today:  Be Bold Over, a collaboration between Iris Apfel and the French porcelain tabletop and giftware company Bernardaud.

Apfel, now 98, has an affinity for owls, which appear in this collection, as well as in Rara Avis, Apfel’s jewelry and accessories collection with HSN. The bird is generally thought to be a reference to her signature oversized glasses.

Iris Apfel owl brooches
Chouette Noir and Chouette Rouge brooches in porcelain and 22k gold, $385 each. The diamond-like lenses are a digital print applique´.

Like the owl, Apfel is also a creature of the night, maintaining an action-packed social calendar that takes her to events all over the world. In fact, the Be Bold Over collection is the result of her meeting Michel Bernardaud, the company’s fifth-generation CEO, at a party in Paris.

The collection, which took two to three years to materialize, with frequent meetings in both New York and Paris, consists of brooches, earrings, cocktail rings, and a number of necklaces in various lengths. All reflect Apfel’s maximalist aesthetic in terms of scale, and in layering the pieces, especially the necklaces, to dramatic effect.

Iris Apel sautoirs
Tube Blanc, Tube Rose, and Tube Noir necklaces (left), $1,210; and Perles Jaune long necklace, $1,320

Surprisingly lightweight, and appealingly cool to the touch, the pieces are made in the Bernardaud factory in Limoges, France. There, each jewel might pass through 50 hands as part of the production process.

Bernardaud has pursued a number of artist collaborations over the years (see Jeff Koons’ balloon animals), but Apfel represents the first time the house has partnered with a style icon from the world of fashion.

There is one limited-edition piece, a rather ginormous figural necklace with articulated limbs and a 22k gold loincloth. See it below (modeled expertly by its creator), along with other highlights.


Iris Apfel Adam pendant
Limited-edition Adam long necklace, $2,640
Iris Apfel coral disc ring
Disque Corail ring, $385
Iris Apfel Blue Chinoiserie necklace
Disque Bleu de Prusse choker, $430


Top:More is more and less is a bore” is Iris Apfel’s mantra, exemplified here in her Be Bold Over jewelry collection with Bernardaud.


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All That Glitters writer