This year has seen the jewellery world celebrating the wonders of sea life in many unique ways. Early summer was punctuated by the mermaidcore trend and it was everywhere. From fashion runways to fine jewellery collections, this aesthetic defined the 2023 summer look – shimmery silhouettes of magical underwater creatures.
But that was just the tip of the iceberg. Several high jewellery collections took jewellery lovers on an underwater journey of discovery and enchantment. Gem materials like pearls, coral and shell, that speak intimately of the sea, featured front and center in these collections, as did colored gemstones in saturated or iridescent tones of blue, aquamarine, green and mauve.
Here are some ocean inspired jewellery collections that have been making a splash this past year.
MIKIMOTO’s Praise to the Sea
This year MIKIMOTO is celebrating its 130th Anniversary. It’s not a coincidence then, that their high jewellery collection is an homage to the sea, the very element that started their pearl culturing journey. “Praise to the Sea” is a jewelled celebration of the bounties of sea life and captures the movement as well as the stillness of the sea in lyrical jewellery designs and detailed craftsmanship. Apart from a deliciously decadent use of iridescent pearls, and diamonds, the colour palette of this collection mainly features blues, greens, turquoise, violets, pinks and a host of other pastel as well as deep toned hues that encapsulate the enchanting hues of aquatic life.
Like all MIKIMOTO high jewellery collections, “Praise to the Sea” has been designed to evoke a sense of wonder. But, with this being the brand’s 130th anniversary year, it has also been designed as one of its most iconic jewellery collections.
Le Vian – Sea Creatures from the 2024 Trend Forecast
Le Vian’s annual trend forecasts predict upcoming jewellery trends with indisputable accuracy. With its fingers firmly on the pulse of jewellery lovers, the brand’s Escape collection (from its 2024 Trend Forecast) is a distillation of the feelings evoked by an escape to a seaside paradise.
“For Le Vian, this trend is a tantalising vision of clear blue skies, swaying palm trees and the sea scintillating in the sun,” observed Eddie LeVian, CEO of Le Vian. The collection features enchanting sea creatures, found both above and below the surface of the ocean. From diamond-set turtles to finely detailed octopi and sea shells, this collection reminds jewellery lovers of the serenity and lushness of sea life. The jewellery pieces feature lustrous white freshwater pearls, as well as a carefully curated selection of blue gems including sapphires, topaz, turquoise and aquamarines alongside diamonds.
“Out of the Blue” with Tiffany and Co.
Inspired by the deep, blue sea, Tiffany & Co.’s Blue Book 2023 Out of the Blue high jewellery collection takes jewellery lovers down a nostalgic memory lane as it celebrates the genius of Jean Schlumberger and his fascination with sea creatures.
“My first Blue Book collection for the House is a deep dive into aquatic life that both honors and reimagines Schlumberger’s vision,” explained Nathalie Verdeille, Chief Artistic Officer, Jewelry and High Jewelry, Tiffany & Co. about the overall design aesthetic of this collection.
This is the brand’s largest ever high jewellery collection and has been launched in two phases. Summer saw the brand showcase stunning jewels encompassing five themes – Shell, Coral, Star, Starfish and Urchin. With the arrival of Fall, the brand has debuted its Sea Anemone jewels.
Silvia Furmanovich’s Shells Collection
Jewellery designer Silvia Furmanovich’s use of unusual jewellery materials and artisanal jewellery craftsmanship techniques make her unique and inspired jewellery pieces so remarkable. Furmanovich has always been drawn to natural materials and has combined them with diamonds, pearls and other precious gems, further enhancing their value.
Her Shells collection brings a host of unique sea shells into the sphere of fine jewellery. Commenting about her choice of jewellery materials for this collection, Furmanovich said, “When I was younger, I read a book called “Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh which uses shells as a metaphors to contemplate ideas about patience, love, relationships, aging and faith.”
Interestingly enough, Furmanovich’s inspiration for this collection did not come directly from the sea. “I was also looking closely at Native American cultures for inspiration. Many tribes such as the Navajo and Hopi have used shells throughout the centuries to create intricate pieces of jewelry.”
Aurelie Gi’s Unique Take on the Mermaid Core Aesthetic
Aurelie Gi is a US based demi-fine jewellery brand, that handcrafts elegant and very delicate pieces using only 100% recycled precious metals. The brand has set itself apart with its delicate yet evocative jewellery designs. Stacking and layering pieces to create a unique and very personalized look is how jewellery lovers have come to enjoy Aurelie Gi’s different collections.
Their latest collection, called Siren Song, has been inspired by mermaids and the ocean, but in a highly unexpected way. “Siren Song is our edgy, slightly moody, take on the sweet mermaid-core trend we’re seeing everywhere. Sirens are the more mischievous mermaids who inspired Aurelie Gi’s new collection,” explained Katherine Whitacre, the US National Sales and Marketing Director at Chic Pistachio (Aurelie Gi’s parent company).
While the pieces of this collection do exude the brand’s signature delicate look, the mix of sharply curved edges alongside softly lustrous pearls and sparkling white sapphires are reminiscent of the dark possibilities that may lurk in aquatic depths.
Ocean Inspired Antique and Vintage Jewellery at A La Vieille Russie
The ocean has always been a muse for jewellery makers. The deep mystery and boundless symbolism of the sea has a strong pull, and artists have surrendered to this pull since antiquity.
In this regard, jewellery artists are no different. Antique and vintage jewellery pieces are a treasure trove of ocean inspired jewellery. This is particularly true for Victorian jewellery, an era defined by its daring sea voyages and discovery of new and unknown species, which included unusual aquatic flora and fauna.
A La Vieille Russie boasts a large and exceptional collection of ocean inspired antique and vintage jewellery. While talking about the recurring theme of the sea in many antique jewels, Adam Patrick, the Manager at A La Vieille Russie observed, “The ocean is bold, powerful, and mysterious and its depth of inspiration is vast from the myths of Neptune and Poseidon to the incredible ecosystem of marine life that continues to intrigue and delight as a source of inspiration for jewelry.”
Elaborating on the predominant use of pearls, aquamarine and coral in sea life jewellery, Patrick noted that “the gemstones often used in ocean-inspired jewelry evoke the serene and captivating qualities of the sea. From aquamarines to black opals, the ocean’s range of colors has served as creative inspiration and will surely continue to keep jewelry designers under its spell.”
Maui Divers Jewelry’s Spotlight on Sea Life Around Hawaii
Hawaii based fine jewellery brand, Maui Divers Jewelry have been handcrafting pearl and precious gemstone jewellery since 1959, seeking the native flowers and wildlife of the Islands of Hawaii as inspiration for their designs. Many of their jewellery pieces feature sea creatures, such as turtles, manta rays, whales and jellyfish. Set mainly with pearls, opals, turquoise and diamonds and finished with crisp, glossy enamel, these jewellery pieces evoke the serenity and calmness of the vibrant ocean waters around Hawaii.
The brand recently debuted the “Ocean Dance” collection, which features dark and shimmering Tahitian pearls and diamonds, as a tribute to the graceful ocean life teeming in the waters around the islands.
Just Keep Swimming
The ocean has forever been a muse for jewellery artists. As a source of inspiration, the sea is generous. From its colourful underwater life to the mesmerizing shades of blue, green, azure and silver glinting on its surface, the ocean has a lot of offer to jewellery artists. What’s more, ocean inspired jewellery refuses to be just a trend, receding into the shadows as the weather turns. Instead, like the sea, its not going anywhere and continues to make waves.
Featured Image: MIKIMOTO “Praise to the Sea” high jewellery necklace with Akoya cultured pearls, diamonds, beryl, tanzanite, tourmaline, amethyst, garnet, sapphire, spinel, alexandrite and aquamarine, set in 18K gold.