Home News Revolutionizing High Jewellery: A Subversive Take on Chunky Chains

Revolutionizing High Jewellery: A Subversive Take on Chunky Chains

by Madonna

In a surprising departure from the traditional realm of high jewellery, chunky chains have taken center stage in this year’s collections, infusing an air of subversion and streetwise flair into the opulent world of precious materials. The pulsating beats of Salt-N-Pepa’s 1987 hit, “Push It,” echo in the backdrop as designers embrace the boldness of oversized chains, challenging the conventional norms of high jewellery.

Ehssan Moazen, the creative director of Chaumet, an esteemed jewellery maison nestled in Paris’ iconic Place Vendôme, acknowledges the unexpected convergence of luxury and streetwear. Reflecting on Chaumet’s ‘Tulip’ necklace from the Le Jardin de Chaumet collection, Moazen notes its subtle nod to 1980s streetwear and a touch of punk. Despite the apparent departure from the maison’s historical focus on timeless craftsmanship and quality, Moazen sees the ‘Tulip’ as a daring exploration, weaving the essence of tradition with a contemporary edge.


For Pomellato, the Milanese jewellery house, this venture into chunky chains is not a recent phenomenon. Established in 1967, Pomellato has a longstanding association with fashionable chains, infusing its signature 18kt gold finesse into symbolic pendant designs favored by the hippie movement. Vincenzo Castaldo, Pomellato’s creative director, explains the inspiration behind the Castello chain, a standout piece in the ‘Ode to Milan’ high jewellery collection. Rooted in a 1970s choker from the archives, the Castello chain blends Milan’s history with Pomellato’s heritage, resulting in a powerful yet delicately adorned creation featuring rubellites and diamonds.


The intersection of high jewellery with broader cultural inspirations seems timely, considering the recent boom in global high jewellery sales during the pandemic. Direct-to-client video calls have become a norm, offering an effective way for brands to engage with clients. Surveys predict exponential growth in the market for highly precious designs by 2025, fueled by the allure of exclusive, one-of-a-kind creations and the rarity of earth-born gemstones.


Even venerable houses like Chaumet, with their rich history, are embracing this cultural shift. Moazen and his team at Chaumet are blending high-jewellery tradition with contemporary influences in designs like the Tulipe. Initially conceived as a chain, the Tulipe transcends its abstracted tulip inspiration to convey a sense of ‘power’ through an outstanding gemstone.

As the high jewellery world flirts with urban aesthetics, reminiscent of the rebellious spirit seen in music subcultures of the past, it’s evident that the appeal of chunky chains is not lost on designers. Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s former creative director, incorporated a non-gendered street appeal in his inventive high jewellery collections, featuring pendant-focused designs that wouldn’t have seemed out of place on a hip-hop album cover.

The marriage of resilience from high-jewellery tradition and the edginess of contemporary street style is becoming a defining characteristic for these esteemed houses. While chunky chains may evoke memories of pop divas dripping in urban-jeweler’s gold, the high jewellery expressions, such as Chaumet’s Tulipe, offer a level of sophistication and intricacy that demands a double take – a seamless fusion of tradition and rebellion.


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