by Tanya DukesJune 24, 2016
What comes to mind when you think of enamel jewelry? Century-old Art Nouveau design? Elaborate Victorian brooches? It’s time to update your references. Enamel has been adopted by the current generation of young designers and they’re banishing the material’s dusty reputation.
Part of enamel’s appeal is that it’s adaptable to any aesthetic sensibility. At The Couture Show a few weeks ago, Brooke Gregson showed haute boho wedding bands and a knockout one-off bracelet that layered translucent enamel over engraved gold. A few paces away Erica Molinari introduced modern Gothic designs bearing opaque black and white enamel on simple bands, hoop earrings and even a coffin-shaped pendant that popped open to reveal a skeletal occupant. And the mother-daughter design team behind NC Rocks creates updated Art Deco designs coated with bracingly bright enamel.Budding brand Foundrae makes enamel a central feature of many of its designs. Colors from bottle green to vermillion brighten talismanic pieces in gold that are often emblazoned with words like “karma” and “sueño” (Spanish for “dream”).
Alison Lou tops motifs from hearts to flowers to emojis with enamel, which gives a sense of timeless craft and upbeat color to her pieces. And Brooklyn-based Nora Kogan sometimes uses enamel to create anatomically correct lipstick red pouts, among other body parts.
With designers (and shoppers) embracing color wholeheartedly, enamel offers another way — beyond gemstones — to bring it into the mix.