Trending From Quarantine: Key Jewelry



I sat here for a good long while trying to figure out what other “new” (revolutionary, recycled, reused) jewelry look I could write about this week. How many jewelry trends have been born of quarantine, and how many have we yet to cover here?

While there will no doubt be more to discuss in the time to come—trends have been derived from necessity, creativity, perhaps even boredom, and most importantly, a desire to keep the industry and its sales afloat—I can’t help but wonder what we as individuals are finding ourselves gravitating toward in the comfort of our own homes and with little audience.

Jade Trau Catherine Key necklack
Catherine key necklace in 18k yellow gold with 0.34 ct. t.w. diamonds, $3,200; Jade Trau

Some of our self-designed trends will ultimately be similar (like, can we all agree that old baggy T-shirts and bike shorts are the ultimate in fashion right now?), while others will be randomly acquired through the things we see on TV, read in books, or whatever else—insert your source of fashion inspiration here. We might dig out an old piece from our archives that hasn’t been worn in years, remembering how good it felt to do so, giving it new life. We might see something on Instagram and not procuring our own. As for me, my latest obsessions have jumped from the pages of a book series.

Foundrae True Love Golden Key pendant
True Love Golden Key in 18k gold and 18k gold–plated brass with 0.95 ct. t.w. diamonds, $4,400; Foundrae

I’ve referred to the particularly compelling books I’ve been reading in a past blog post—The Graveyard Queen by Amanda Stevens, a series about a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts and falls in love with a haunted man. It’s been my quarantine obsession or perhaps one of many (most involve some TV show or other). The reading has stirred an interest in a variety of topics and especially aesthetics—memento mori, the flora and fauna of Charleston, S.C. (the author paints an illustrious picture through her descriptive writing), old historical cemeteries—and keys.

JoJo Rings Grace key wraps
Grace collection convertible wrap necklace/bracelet in silver or brass and leather, $45 (each); JoJo Rings

Keys become a central theme in the fourth book, and from there on, our protagonist wears a key on a ribbon around her neck. Although the item is never simply referred to as “necklace,” I am still pleased to find that a piece of jewelry plays an important role in the story.

And so here we are with keys. A typical pendant probably won’t have the power to ward off evil spirits, but its meaning is versatile. Broadly, a key represents opening and closing—the power to unlock freedom, love, knowledge, or whatever desire the bestowed feels most.

Celeste Starre key necklace
Key to My Heart necklace in 18k gold–plated brass with CZ, $95; Celeste Starre

Key jewelry can be a powerful symbol anytime, and during the pandemic, it’s another icon that possesses the power to inspire. Whether it’s a token of love, a symbol of protection, or something that’s pleasing to the eye of the purchaser, the key is yet another piece to help us express ourselves.

Sofia Zakia cutomizable Grand Budapest set
Customizable Grand Budapest set in 14k yellow gold, $298; Sofia Zakia

As I was pondering my newfound interest in keys, an Instagram post from Danielle Miele of @gemgossip reinforced the feeling. One of her quarantine buys, an enchanting key pendant with personalized tag from Sofia Zakia (similar to that pictured above), is precisely the kind of thing I’m dreaming about (no surprise that the Montreal-based designer has exactly what I want, it’s not the first time).

So whether this is a trend I’m declaring all by myself due to what I’ve been reading or a bigger thread, I don’t think retailers would have any trouble stocking a bit more key jewelry—in charms, pendants, rings, mix-and-match stud earrings. It’s an enduring symbol that’s been with us through the ages, and even as its demand rises and falls over time, it’ll always have a place in our hearts (and collections).

Top: Large Cosmos key necklace in 18k gold–plated brass with white sapphire, $252; Sewit Sium

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