The good news is that if you’ve been comfort-buying jewels online throughout lockdown, you can now wear them all – maybe even all at once – as a stand-out feature of today’s maximalist look. The jewel rules have been ditched this season in favour of piling on lashings of gold and glint or donning big, chunky styles. Channel Liza Minnelli, Elsa Peretti or Paloma Picasso. Or better still – all of them.

Diana, Princess of Wales, at the premiere of Hot Shots in 1991
Diana, Princess of Wales, at the premiere of Hot Shots in 1991 © Getty Images

Chunky chokers and chains

Chopard white- and rose-gold, ruby, sapphire, amethyst and tsavorite floral choker, POA

Bulgari gold, diamond and Roman bronze coin Monete necklace, POA

Bulgari gold, diamond and Roman bronze coin Monete necklace, POA

Solange gold Solar necklace, POA

Solange gold Solar necklace, POA

“Maximalist jewellery is the perfect way to uplift a more pared-down look but equally looks great with bold prints and colour – it all depends on your mood and personal style,” says Tanika Wisdom, jewellery buyer at MatchesFashion. “We have seen our customers gravitate towards chokers, by Lauren Rubinski, for example, while beads have also proven popular from brands such as Rosa de la Cruz, Jacquie Aiche and Diane Kordas. Wide gold bangles from the likes of Bottega Veneta, Sylvia Toledano and Completedworks, oversized clip-on earrings from Saint Laurent, and heavy chains and medallions have all been highlights.”

Pomellato rose-gold and jet La Gioia Melody of Chains necklace, POA
Pomellato rose-gold and jet La Gioia Melody of Chains necklace, POA

The maximalist-phobic could choose any one of these as a singular mega-statement. Take the choker necklace, which was popularised in the ’80s by Diana, Princess of Wales, and has been revisited in the wake of the many dramatisations currently refocusing on her life. It can be worn alone or layered with chains or beads – and is best teamed with oversized earrings for full-on face-framing drama. Bulgari too is reliving the ’80s through the re-energised choker. The One Colour Treasures collar, part of its Magnifica high jewellery collection, is paved in diamonds between mother-of-pearl segments and centred on a colossal (71.15ct) luscious rubellite; while a new Monete choker in diamond-set geometric openwork is embedded with an antique Roman bronze coin. Cartier’s Juste un Clou collar, in gold with a diamond nail head, layers perfectly with gold chains or a long sautoir; or for a contemporary classic, there’s now a choker in Dior’s Rose des Vents collection.

Necklaces come ready layered to create the “more is more” effect – ideal for covering autumn’s sweaters with little glistening medallions. Pomellato reworks its fundamental gold chain into the new three-tier Fantina necklaces, held by a diamond-set clasp, or in its high-jewellery collection La Gioia, where vintage collars taken from its own archive are draped across the chest. These can all be layered up with other gold chains – from Tiffany’s City Hardwear collection, for example, with its rhythmic, rolling ball and chain links, or Solange Azagury-Partridge’s Solar necklace from her new all-gold Solid collection (extra points if these are teamed with matching earrings). Even formal diamond necklaces are multi-layered and tastefully tangled, as in Harry Winston’s Secret Combination necklace, composed of strands of fancy-cut diamonds that can be assembled, arranged and transformed into seven different configurations according to mood and whim.

Statement earrings on the Saint Laurent catwalk, spring/summer 2022
Statement earrings on the Saint Laurent catwalk, spring/summer 2022 © Gorunway.com

Colour bursts

Kiki McDonough gold and fire opal Ripple ring, £2,300

Kiki McDonough gold and fire opal Ripple ring, £2,300

Goossens gold-plated cabochon earrings, £255

Goossens gold-plated cabochon earrings, £255

Fawaz Gruosi rose-gold, diamond, garnet and sapphire Waterfall earrings, POA

Fawaz Gruosi rose-gold, diamond, garnet and sapphire Waterfall earrings, POA

Harry Winston gold, platinum, diamond, garnet, peridot and sapphire ring, POA

Harry Winston gold, platinum, diamond, garnet, peridot and sapphire ring, POA

Explosive colour is a key maximalist feature too, exuding a joyously unruly mash-up of unexpected tones and shades, textures and translucencies. Goossens’s recent reinvigoration underlines the return of the globular cabochon, while Kiki McDonough has mastered the pop-of-colour cocktail ring. In Chopard’s latest Red Carpet collection, Paradise, artistic director Caroline Scheufele pushes gem colour to its limits and beyond, injecting preciousness with a daring contemporary fashion edge. A spectacular, flashbulb-popping necklace is encrusted with ruby briolettes, pink sapphires and amethysts, centred on a luscious 126.29ct oval cabochon ruby, while a cuff bangle is designed to evoke a rich tapestry of organic shapes and natural colours. “I think after the years we have all experienced, customers look for one-of-a-kind designs,” Scheufele says. “We have noticed a growing demand for exceptional haute joaillerie creations – particularly those composed of big colourful precious and semi-precious gemstones.” No one does daring theatricality quite like Fawaz Gruosi, and the creations in his new Berkeley Square boutique are loaded with intense colour and unexpected combinations of materials; his Waterfall earrings cascade with pink sapphire beads, purple garnets and diamonds, tumbling around the neck from a voluptuous curl of gem-paved titanium. 

Movement is key, and casually chaotic tangles of tassels, often on long beaded necklaces, come into play here. Moussaieff specialises in extravagant bead and tassel necklaces dripping with lush strands of precious beads, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and rubies. Alisa Moussaieff calls it “avant-garde chic”, explaining that she also sees the prevailing maximalist mood in an eclectic mix of traditions. “This fusion of cross-cultural influences is all pervasive, across the arts and design,” she states, adding that she sees a definite trend towards infusing precious materials with a high-fashion flavour.

Elsa Peretti photographed in the late 1960s with her dog, wearing her Tiffany Bottle pendant and Bone cuff
Elsa Peretti photographed in the late 1960s with her dog, wearing her Tiffany Bottle pendant and Bone cuff © Tiffany & Co/Hilda Moray

Bold cuffs and bangles

Fernando Jorge gold Flame bracelet, £16,000

Fernando Jorge gold Flame bracelet, £16,000

Verdura Theodora cuff, $103,500

Verdura Theodora cuff, $103,500

Tiffany & Co Elsa Peretti gold large Bone cuff, £24,100

Tiffany & Co Elsa Peretti gold large Bone cuff, £24,100

Buccellati yellow- and white-gold and diamond Morgana bracelet, POA

Buccellati yellow- and white-gold and diamond Morgana bracelet, POA

When it comes to wrist candy, forget itsy-bitsy, barely there bracelets: bangles are big, bold and strong, yet still worn layered – like Nancy Cunard’s famous stacked bangles. The enduring classic and most potent starting point is Elsa Peretti’s iconic Bone cuff, originally from her earliest collection for Tiffany in the ’70s. You could then add a silky Buccellati cuff, with its signature hand-engraving of gold, to replicate the sheen of satin, or for something more graphic, opt for Fernando Jorge’s sensually linear Flame bangle. Or for a sense of history, Verdura’s Theodora cuff recreates Chanel’s Maltese cross bangles designed for and with her by the Duke of Verdura. The cuff bangles that she wore all the time, one on each wrist, are the perfect foil to the radical, modern simplicity of her clothes.

Floral explosions

Moussaieff ruby and diamond brooch, POA

Moussaieff ruby and diamond brooch, POA

Victoire de Castellane white- and pink-gold, diamond and lacquer Lunae Magic Lumen ring, POA

Victoire de Castellane white- and pink-gold, diamond and lacquer Lunae Magic Lumen ring, POA

Cindy Chao gold, titanium, sapphire, diamond, emerald, tsavorite and lacquer Black Label Masterpiece VII, POA

Cindy Chao gold, titanium, sapphire, diamond, emerald, tsavorite and lacquer Black Label Masterpiece VII, POA

Van Cleef & Arpels rose-gold, diamond and carnelian Rose de Noël clip, £15,300

Van Cleef & Arpels rose-gold, diamond and carnelian Rose de Noël clip, £15,300

The finishing touch has to be the mega flower – a nod to Carrie Bradshaw’s oversized corsage in the original Sex and the City as well as the wearable sculptures of Claude Lalanne, whose intricate petals adorned one of Anthony Vaccarello’s recent Saint Laurent collections. Today there’s a whole fantastical garden of floral jewels to choose from: Moussaieff’s magnificent blossoms are made from titanium and paved with multicoloured diamonds and rubies, while the petals on Van Cleef & Arpel’s Rose de Noël clip are crafted from carnelian. But the queen of the contemporary flower is Cindy Chao, who sculpts in wax to bring her masterworks to pulsating three-dimensional life: curling petals glistening with diamonds, around a central star sapphire protected by stamens of bright yellow lacquer. The colours of life, a lunge at rebirth – and the surging energy of maximal jewel dressing.

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