In the first part of our blog looking at jewellery through the ages, we were inspired by a quote from VOGUE, saying that ‘This season, designers nod to every era from Edo to Edwardian’. We thought how apt the quote was for jewellery design as well as fashion design.

In the first part of our blog we looked at the tradition of ultra-fine jewellery in ancient times and, as a parallel, the history of adornment for the world’s poorer peoples and the making of jewellery from the leftover bounty of nature – shells, leaves, stones, nuts and beads. We saw how this ‘organic’ tradition still has a huge influence also on modern-day jewellery design.

In many cases, we are still using exactly the same materials today. The pearl is one of the most enduring icons of jewellery design, for example, seen here in earring form

or, in deep grey cocktail ring

or in this exquisite bracelet piece of the very finest jewellery from our bridal jewellery collection, where pearls are set in white gold and alongside 0.15ct diamonds – 

In this second of our blog on jewellery of the past, we pick up where we left off and look at the tradition of colour, especially riotous, clashing colour, which wasn’t really seen in European jewellery before the advent of modernism, but which had been a huge historical part of the ‘ethnic’ adornment tradition, especially in Asia.

The liberation that this exposure to the richness of colour gave rise to can still be seen today in the designer jewellery of Philippe Ferrandis, for example, whose necklaces play with juxtaposed colour with supreme skill…

Another interesting non-European influence on contemporary design came from the Indian and East Asian use of sound into jewellery, often via the integration of small bells.  Although none of the jewellery on our site features bells, the echo of this desire to make pleasing, discrete sounds can be seen in this piece from our Riviera Collection in gold vermeil with zirconia studs.  The coin-like disks that hang from the necklace also allude to an African tradition of incorporating European coins into hand-made head-dresses and other ornamentation –

Glass beads have been used for jewellery since 3000 years BC, if not earlier.  Archaeologists have discovered quantities of glass beads in the Caucasus that date from the Mesopotamian era. Like the pearl, the glass bead has been a constant element of our jewellery ever since and will never go out of fashion or cease being used in jewellery design.

In this designer necklace by Philippe Ferrandis, glass beads are mixed with Swarovski crystals in a wonderful clash of old and new –

The matching Philippe Ferrandis cuff also has more than a hint of the past in its bold design, echoing the amulets of ancient Egypt!

You can find a great selection of unique designer earrings, necklaces, bracelets and cuffs at expressionsdesbijoux.com .