If you’re bored of basic faux pearls and “boho”, moon-shaped blings, you’re in the right place. Mass, thoughtless production is out, and sustainability-forward creativity is in. Also, no need for Tiffany’s and Cartier (although I would never refuse them as a gift!). Now, thanks in large part to Instagram allowing brands to share their wares and us to discover emerging talent, there’s a plethora of brilliant jewellery labels making high quality pieces that won’t break the bank. Ahead, feast your eyes and souls on the following 10 niche brands that amaze in the world of jewellery.
From New York, with love. Dauphinette was founded in 2018 by Olivia Cheng, debuting with one-of-a-kind, Made-in-New York outerwear from recycled and byproduct fur and leather, vintage, and artisanal components. Cheng has since grown the brand to include handbags and accessories, plus a tightly conceptualized selection of ready-to-wear. The result is a dreamy collection of complex, optimistic, storied pieces – a feeling Cheng hopes to inspire in our wearers. Dauphinette’s jewellery line is all about fresh-from-the-garden flowers, planted on their signature wildflower seed paper cards. Each earring is one of its kind, while the bloom will always stay with you, regardless of the season. More on their site.
This brand will make you rethink jewellery. After obtaining a diploma in Fashion Design from Instituto Polimoda, the Florentine jewelry designer, Marco Panconesi, refined his craft at Givenchy under Riccardo Tisci before joining Balenciaga as director of men’s accessories. Before launching his namesake jewelry line in 2019, Panconesi originally sought a career in archeology; this affinity for the design sensibilities of ancient Greece and Rome has defined his oeuvre – his pieces resemble ancient artifacts that have been reworked, updated, and modernized. Heritage pieces are given a contemporary industrial twist: undulating shapes are engineered to express movement and mismatched elements complement one another to find new harmony. Hoop and drop earrings feature colorful gems and crystal-cut detailing while rings with precious stones appear as if recently excavated. By reinterpreting the past through a contemporary viewpoint, the Parisian label treads new aesthetic ground, creating pieces that are definitely unique in their approach to design construction and visual appeal. As heirlooms, Panconesi’s polished artifacts are intended to be passed down through the generations, coming to life with each new wearer. You should see those purple pearl enamel earrings or the spectacular crystal collar necklace. Oh, and of course this!
If Grainne Morton was to have a spirit animal, no doubt it would be the magpie. Instinctively and obsessively drawn to collecting and hoarding anything miniature or precious that catches her eye, many things you or I would overlook, Grainne has amassed an incredible collection of objects – all destined to find their place among the tales she weaves within her jewelled compositions. Born and raised in Northern Ireland, by creative and antique-loving parents, Grainne was immersed in and surrounded by the traditional crafts, folklore, music and fairy tales of the country. Perhaps it’s this beginning to her story that has now imbued her work with it’s somewhat contradictory nature? All at once vintage and contemporary, precious and non-precious, spontaneous and ordered, junk and treasure… this could well be a description of Grainne’s motherland, itself. Her individuality, and the expression of that – primarily through clothes, style and the considered presentation of herself – is engrained in each piece of jewellery she makes. Each piece, carefully choreographed, the arranging and re-arranging of little objects, and precious things, moved and re-placed until they establish a relationship to each other. And tell a story to the viewer. Discover the label right here.
English artist living in Rome, Joanne Burke creates exquisite pieces of jewellery made from bronze. An antique jewellery collector herself, Joanne always knew she wanted to make her own jewels. She wanted to create pieces that translate her own world rather than someone else’s symbology and beliefs. For Joanne it was never about designing trends or collections; she started making “little sculptures”, as she describes them, for herself and her friends wanted to buy them. Taking inspiration from women, men, magic, power, animals, ugliness and humor; her pieces are like little creatures full of character and a soul of their own. More of her artworks are here.
Furmanovich’s label might be the priciest in this pack, but no wonder why. Her designs are true treasures. The designer was born in São Paulo, Brazil, to a line of Italian goldsmiths. Her great-grandfather created sacred adornments for the Vatican and her father worked as a goldsmith. “He taught me the importance of craftsmanship,” she says. “I learned to pay attention to every hinge and every clasp.” She established an appointment-only jewelry business in 1998 and opened her first standalone boutique in São Paulo in 2009. She now has two boutiques in São Paulo, where her atelier is located. Furmanovich’s daring designs combine her meticulous attention to detail with her wide-ranging passions for innovative craftsmanship, the natural world, ancient cultures and unusual materials. And while her lifelong love of travel has informed many of her collections, her interpretation of those cultures – from Egypt to Japan – is rarely straightforward. Employing a unique alchemy of found artifacts, traditional techniques and materials both humble and precious, the designer creates wearable art that feels timeless and one-of-a-kind. Among the unusual elements she has used in her collections are wood marquetry, ebony, oxidized copper, vintage lacquer, shells, woven bamboo and netsukes (small sculptural adornments worn on kimonos); these are balanced by the rich opulence of yellow gold, rose gold, diamonds and the dazzling colored gemstones for which Brazil is known. What do you say about those glorious marquetry masterpieces with moonstone and diamonds or the ones with citrine stones?
Georgia has its finest fashion designers: Demna Gvasalia, Lako Bukia, Gola Damian, George Keburia, Aleksandre Akhalkatsishvili… how about jewellery? Recently I’ve discovered Sopho Gongliashvili, who as well does incredible knitwear (this needs a separate post!). Sopho tells stories through her jewels and the art of cloisonnè, also know as byzantine luster, wich becomes even more precious in her pieces. The use of colors and the ability to build micro-stories by drawing with those tiny silver threads makes her work a true stand-out. More of her brilliant works are right here.
If your jewellery aesthetic is close to vintage Christian Lacroix and Chanel, Mondo Mondo is the contemporary alternative. Natasha Ghosn creates her a jewellery and fragrance label in Los Angeles. Mondo Mondo provides a visual and sensual world inspired by archaic wonders and baroque ornamentation. The brand’s name utilizes the ancient art of storytelling to guide our designs to fruition. Intrinsically archetypal, Ghosn’s pieces become both personal and universal. If you love it the way I do, click here.
Buhai is my favourite jewellery brand from USA. Sophie’s boutique jewelry company is as well based in Los Angeles. Masterfully handcrafted by local silversmiths of sustainably-sourced sterling silver, each of Buhai’s pieces showcases the designer’s refined vision. Recalling the elegant minimalism of 1970’s modernism, tubular chokers and egg-shaped pendant necklaces rendered in solid polished sterling silver feature sculptural silhouettes and organic geometries. Oblong hoop earrings, bangle bracelets, rings, and spherical drop earrings possess a timeless quality, with tiger’s eye and lapis lazuli gemstones lending a touch of novelty. My current favourites coming from the label’s spring-summer collection: silver heart ring, essential pearl earrings, an elegant scrunchie in yellow, the gorgeous gold-tone multi-stone earrings and the timeless large pearl choker.
Launched in 2014 by Rosh Mahtani, this London-based jewellery label is inspired by Dante Alighieri’s epic poem Divine Comedy. Cast in 24 carat gold-plated bronze, Alighieri’s medallion necklaces, mismatched earrings and hair accessories are influenced by literature and adventure. The designs are battered, imperfect and a little bit infused with melancholy, with each one crafted sustainably from recycled bronze through the process of lost-wax casting. From whirlwind adventures and mythical creatures to scraggy landscapes and passionate mistakes, each one has its own story. Fall in love with “The Curator” amulet, yellow gold “The Dusky Hue” bracelet, “The Initial Spark” earrings, “The Curator of the Moon” earrings and “Gold LIncognito” necklace.
The Milan-based label has one of the most fantastic jewellery lines in town. Their silver brass rounded earrings won’t get unnoticed, since each of them is individually hand-rubberized in boldly-coloured rubber. Sunnei’s other jewellery feautures fun XXL-sized rhinestones that hang on chains in a nonchalant, arty manner. See the entire selection here!
One more thing… this silk hair clip by Sophie Buhai! Hair accessories are jewellery in their own rights.
That’s it! If you’ve got a great jewellery discovery to share or think that the list misses something – would be grateful to see your comments below!
P.s. In this post, I happen to endorse products I genuinely love. If you end up buying something through the links, my site might earn an affiliate commission – which is always nice!
Collage by Edward Kanarecki