Meet the Parrots: Lydia Courteille’s Wild Mayan Bird Earrings



A recent trip to sunny Guatemala inspired Parisian jewelry ­designer ­Lydia Courteille to create a collection of vibrantly colored pieces that pay ­homage to the ancient Mayan civilization that once flourished in Central ­America. Along with jeweled odes to Mayan embroidery, worry dolls, and ­architecture, Courteille ­conjured these exquisite mismatched parrot earrings. “I saw a lot of parrots, and it felt [obvious] for me to put some in my collection,” says the designer, who imbued her birds with “a touch of fantasy, using stripes like you would see in Mayan fabrics.”

Feathered Friends

Courteille’s been making mismatched earrings for 20 years, but says until recently they could be a hard sell. “Now everyone makes them, so it’s easier,” she notes. Both parts of her avian odd couple feature post backs—while the larger parrot also boasts an ear-climber hook affixed to its whimsically long tail feathers.

For the Birds

The parrots were forged in 19k white gold and collectively set with one 0.13 ct. diamond, 45 rubies (1.02 cts. t.w.), 111 fancy sapphires (3.84 cts. t.w.), one 3.9 gram orange opal, and 89 tsavorites (0.22 ct. t.w.).

Ear Factor

The birds were fabricated in Courteille’s Parisian workshop by “at least 10” craftspeople, says the designer, adding that the larger parrot with the climber hook doesn’t fit every ear. A retail obstacle? Perhaps. But she rather relishes the Cinderella-like challenge of “finding the ear it fits.”