Traditionally we’re used to our jewellery being made out of one of the precious metals, but just looking through the high street wares jewellery now can be made out of pretty much anything.
Personally I’m a fan of wood, I love wood, it’s all over my home and I can’t resist a bit of wooden jewellery. My favourite piece is this wooden bracelet, I bought it in Prague I think from memory and wore it continually for ages.
On the other hand I’ve had more of an issue with wooden earrings, I have 2 pairs but I can’t help thinking that they look a bit clunky when I wear them…perhaps I just don’t have the right look for them rather than the other way round…
Plastic beads are also always a pretty safe bet…although my baby does like to chew them (top tip try www.gumigem.co.uk if you also struggle with this). It has the benefits of being relatively durable and cheap as well as fabulously versatile in terms of shape and colour.
Glass has been used for many years to imitate gems in jewellery and is great in terms of different colours and effects, just check out Working Glass Jewellery to see the stunning designs that can be achieved, some of their pieces are so beautiful I could actually eat them…but I won’t.
But there are also more modern approaches to jewellery, 3D printing has become useful in jewellery making and is allowing more unusual materials to be used in jewellery, for example the stunning Phase collection from Lynne MacLachlan where large statement items of nylon jewellery are surprisingly lightweight.
So while many of us may dabble with alternatives to precious metals, will they ever become our ‘go to’ material? Whilst cost of the alternative is generally lower, particularly on the high street, high-end pieces can easily reach the same prices as gold and silver pieces. Check out this amazing twister bracelet from Carolina Bucci, or Bex Roz Gina twisted bracelet.
In short I doubt that anything will ever completely remove our love of shiny metals, and the durability of these in contrast to many of the alternatives is clear. But I think that the metals and non metals work at their best when they work together giving that stunning contrast. I’ve failed to mention that fallback for jewellery makers of leather, the contrast with metal can be amazing and Givenchy certainly knows how to make the most of this with simple clean lines and minimalist look. There’s something so beautiful about a worn piece of wood or soft leather which is so tactile and appealing and the contrast with other materials can be really striking even when on a smaller item of jewellery.
That said when my metal jewellery gets scratched or dull I can find it frustrating, it sometimes adds character but sometimes completely detracts from the item of jewellery. We certainly “wood” consider alternatives and love the innovative ways jewellery is being made out of all sorts!