From Aurate x Halston (pure Peretti chic) to Bea Bongiasca x Wolf Designs (electric youth elegance), it was hard to narrow down the year’s best jewelry design collaborations. Some raised awareness of important issues and historic events. Others simply delighted the senses with a unique expression of beauty, novelty, and ingenuity. Here, a look back at eight memorable matchups.
Even though Patek Philippe’s limited edition of its soon-to-be-discontinued Ref. 5711/1A Nautilus steel wristwatch, dubbed Ref. 5711/1A-018, debuted at select Tiffany & Co. stores this month, it’s already off to a running—and headline-making—start: One of the 170 watches just sold for $6.5 million at an auction run by Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo.
The Game Changer
While there is still much work to be done when it comes to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the jewelry industry, this collaboration brought the work of six emerging BIPOC designers to a wider audience. The EDDI provided the designers with valuable access to suppliers, public relations support, and mentorship. When seats at the proverbial table are an ongoing challenge, NDC and Lorraine Schwartz’s efforts were a step in the right direction and will hopefully inspire other organizations to pursue similar projects.
The Master Stroke
Where some collaborations are a creative experiment in pursuit of nothing but novelty, the Meisterstück Spike Lee Special Edition pen felt like a true meeting of minds—two legends commingling their DNA in perfect harmony. “Not only is Spike Lee an exceptional storyteller and artist, writing by hand is at the very core of his own creative process. He pens all his work by hand because he genuinely believes in the power of handwriting. It’s this shared belief with Montblanc that makes this writing instrument so incredibly special,” said Montblanc CEO Nicolas Baretzki in a prepared statement at the time of the launch.
Showcasing the beloved book’s signature star shape in various earrings and pendants crafted in silver, gold, and diamonds, this collection is the first in a series by Brooklyn, N.Y.-based designer Serena Van Rensselaer in partnership with the Société de Gestion et d’Exploitation des Droits Dérivés de l’Œuvre d’Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (SOGEX), the licensor for all rights to Le Petit Prince®. “I hope it will become something timeless—something for collectors,” Van Rensselaer told JCK in October.
The “Shelfie” Star
Divine on decorative shelves and dressing tables alike, the acclaimed jewelry designer’s line of porcelain trinket trays created in collaboration with design legend Jonathan Adler elevated the idea of “jewelry for the home” to a whole new level of chic. And introduced Kalan’s signature Fireworks motif—“scattered” baguette diamonds set just so—to a wider audience.
The Tight Squeeze
When the vaccines became available and we began to think seriously about shedding our leggings in favor of wearing actual pants, this crystal-bedecked denim capsule was tailor-made for reentering the public sphere in a scintillating blaze of look-at-me glamour. The sheer novelty of this collaboration was perfectly suited to the moment—who else remembers being ready to rock out with wild abandon? And all these months later, joke’s on us I guess: Our leggings are still in heavy rotation.
The Toast Master
Back in March, we called the Emerald Isle collection whiskey set “a dragon’s lair in miniature” with its first-of-its-kind Celtic Egg and an Altruist timepiece—both from Fabergé—and a bottle of ultrarare, 30-year-old, triple-distilled Irish whiskey. Each set also included a humidor with two Cohiba Siglo VI Gran Reserva cigars, a gold-plated cigar cutter, a gold-plated water pipette, pure obsidian whiskey stones (for drink cooling), a hip flask, and a carafe filled with Irish spring water from the same region where the whiskey was made. Sláinte!
Top: The history maker. Coinciding with the Met’s groundbreaking new period room celebrating Seneca Village, a predominantly Black settlement that flourished in New York City until its demise in 1857, the museum asked Ten Thousand Things to create a capsule of “elegant pieces that a woman living in Seneca Village today would wear,” according to cofounder David Rees. Small lapis crescent hoops earrings in sterling silver, $350; Ten Thousand Things x Met.
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