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By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
They’ve always been a favourite with Goths and Rockers, but now snakes, skulls and other ‘scary’ themes in jewellery have gone mainstream. Frequently seen on the catwalks of Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander McQueen and even Valentino, insect and serpent motifs have been seen in the form of bag clasps, textile prints and accessories.
We laud this nod to nature, and believe a little creepy crawly eco jewellery always adds a bit of killer cool to get that femme fatale touch. Here’s a selection of some of our favourite design brands.
Rachel Entwhistle is one of Eluxe’s favourite jewel designers for the way her sleek talismans with protective symbolism are forged using ethically sourced and recycled materials. In her Metamorphosis and Scarabaeidae collections. the scarab rules supreme as messenger of eternity and creature that can enlighten you a crossroad. If you’re more into skeletons than bugs, her bony Memento mori jewellery range has a ‘zombie chic’ touch.
2. Pamela Love
Like any rock chick, jeweller Pamela Love favours eagle claw necklaces, dagger earrings, and serpent rings in her jewel box. The former experimental film director instills eco-kudos in her bijoux by ensuring that all her gemstones and semi-precious stones are ethically sourced, and of course she hand-makes each piece in her own New York based studio.
Husband and wife design team (Ashley Lowengrub & Dara Gerson) create unique jewellery forged from 100% reclaimed metals. Alkemie’s noble mission is to translate something that would otherwise be landfill-bound into wearable art. What’s more, part of every purchase is donated to a charitable organisation, according to the principle of giving back. Whether you choose their hawk cuff, wolf ring, or skin-textured bangles, your outfit will look truly wicked.
If you want to reach the peak of creep, pick a jewel that upcycles…human parts. Yep, that’s right: Polly van der Glas creates her bijoux using materials that were once attached to our bodies- human hair, teeth and (gasp!) fingernails. All works are handcrafted and designed in her Melbourne studio, setting raw materials from the body that are filed, shaped, thoroughly sterilised and then handset in metal. Van der Glas uses this transformation, she says, “to destabilise ideas about beauty”.
Natalie Frigo is inspired by black cats, eagles and all things sharp and clawy. Faves of ours include her sabre-tooth and pearl earrings and angular cat cuff. While her objects may be scary, her ethics totally aren’t: she utilises gemstones that come from mines that are guaranteed to provide safe working conditions and protect the environment by limiting dangerous chemicals to a minimum, as well as developing plans for restoring the land after mining is complete. Natalie’s lower Manhattan studio is the eco-smithy par excellence.
Jewellery by this brand is perfect for any occasion–especially if that occasion is Hallowe’en or Day of the Dead! Their stupendous subtle skulls gold bracelet, lengthy necklace and earrings are subtly done–from a distance, they just seem to be chunky chains. The collection makes social responsibility effortless and luxurious, using gems and gold obtained conflict-free, along with recycled metals that are moulded in organic shapes and distinctive silhouettes.
More skulls are coming from the “Creative Director of Eco Age, Queen of the Green Carpet, wife of the King in Spanx and professional agitator” (as she likes to define herself on Twitter). Livia Giuggioli Firth is launching her very own eco-friendly fashion label, which will feature a small line of luxury clothes and accessories designed by Mrs. Firth herself, produced with “love, fair trade rules and environmental standards in mind.” The first piece from the collection to be released is a limited edition bronze Skull Necklace. Why is it eco? It’s made in a solar powered factory, using a technique developed by the Ancient Egyptians over 4000 years ago.