Many of the retail shifts we have seen in the past year of lockdowns have been highly predictable, such as the spike in sales of jogging bottoms, jigsaws and Farrow and Ball anything. The increased sales of fine jewellery are one shift I would have never predicted, however, this is a luxury sector that saw impressive (and unlikely) growth last year.
"We have had a brilliant reaction to fine jewellery, which has grown 150% year on year," says Natalie Kingham, fashion and buying director at Matchesfashion.com. "I certainly think women still want to treat themselves, especially at this moment. I have invested in several pieces recently knowing that I will love and treasure wearing them far longer than a season. You can wear fine jewellery every day and can't underestimate how it can lift a simple white T-shirt or black sweater."
Fine jewellery is also a category that is expanding at Net-a-Porter, as Libby Page, senior market editor, notes: "We now have 95 brands and we started with five in 2012. We've seen success in timeless pieces—pieces that customers can buy now and wear forever, and we're also seeing growth in the emerging fine jewellery world. There is a younger customer looking for investment pieces that speak to them, so we are broadening our assortment of fresh and exciting talent."
You might have all heard of Cartier or Chopard, but there is also a rising group of lesser-known labels in the fine jewellery arena that create items that are unique but timeless enough to still all be future family heirlooms. Keep scrolling for some of the brands to note.
Matthew Harris, the designer behind Mateo, taught himself and his aesthetic is simple and timeless but has a modern sensibility thanks to his use of pearls, coloured stones and bold shapes. In a Net-a-Porter fine jewellery presentation, he said, "My process always starts with a sketch. I take inspiration from contemporary art. From a sketch, we do a technical drawing, and then I go over everything, Every piece I make has to be wearable. My jewellery is made to be worn every day." Michelle Obama is also a fan.
Viltier was founded by childhood friends Iris de La Villardière and Thomas Montier Leboucher and all the pieces are handmade following sustainable practices in Paris. All the pieces in the current collection all play with the shape of a magnet, with diamonds and colourful stones set into the magnet frame. The pair say of this motif, "We thought the magnetic symbol showed our relationship. It had a retro vibe to it that we thought was chic and playful."
Suzanne Kalan certainly isn't a new name in the fine jewellery world, as she started her own company in 1988 and has an impressive roster of celebrity fans, from Jennifer Lopez to Lady Gaga. Suzanne is known for her use of colour, as you'll find her rings, necklaces and bracelets are all a rainbow of vibrant stones.
Marie Lichtenberg was an editor at French Elle for twelve years, and got her love of jewellery from her mother who worked in antique jewellery. Her 18th-century-inspired lockets are made from 10kt gold and her early designs were a reworking of a necklace she was given for her 14th birthday from her mum. "This is a very special piece of jewellery for us," Marie told Forbes. "My mother family is from Martinique. I wanted to create an heirloom type of collection and thought of my own daughter and giving her something which has emotion and significance—pieces that mothers like me would want to give their daughters and pass down through future generations.”