Humor is not a quality usually associated with fine jewelry—that is, until now. Two very different designers have become the accessory world’s equivalent of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Emoji symbols and visuals puns seen in the Alison Lou collection are Creative Director and Designer Alison Chemla’s particular brand of fun. Meanwhile Holly Dyment has a sophisticated sense of whimsy that comes through in her depiction of the days of the week (inspired by ayurvedic tradition). Both use colorful enamel techniques—in essence, a form of glass fused to gold—to irreverently express themselves.
The serious expertise involved in manufacturing enamel belies the lighthearted looks of these two collections. A venerable material with an illustrious history in fine jewelry, enamel designs can be traced back to the Byzantine era and Mughal period in India beginning in 1526. During the mid-20th century, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels used enamel in whimsical brooches. The great American jeweler David Webb has employed enamel on its stunning animal designs consistently since the 1960s.
Today craftsmen with the skills to execute enamel magnificently, however, are few and far between. Dyment travels to India several times a year to meet with the ninth generation jewelers that execute her work. Master craftsmen in New York create the Alison Lou collection. This kind of labor means the jokes in the enamel gold and gem-set jewels, well, are not cheap. Yet the quality ensures the joy they provide will last a lifetime.
Shop the looks below!
Alison Lou Love U Cuff
14k gold cuff with diamond “U” and red enamel heart; $2,400; alisonlou.com.
Alison Lou Love Struck Face Pendant
14k gold with enamel heart eyes on 14k yellow chain; $595; twistonline.com.
Holly Dyment Tuesday Enamel Skull Ring
14k gold, white and brown diamond, sapphire and ruby; $9,750; stoneandstrand.com.