The highstreet might be grinding to a halt, but luckily we all still have access to the internet. So whilst we're all stuck at home self-isolating or social distancing, I've rounded up the latest jewellery brands with the best online offering for those still wanting to buy presents for loved ones or indeed themselves. Of course buying jewellery is not a priority at the moment, but if you're going to buy anything for now or the future, independent jewellers and makers are where we should look in times like this.
It's extremely rare that I will spend hundreds on 'non-fine' jewellery; I am good at hunting down great design from the highstreet, such as Cos or & Other Stories, and often feel it's not good value for money to buy vermeil or plated jewellery if it's just going to wear away. However, there are a handful of jewellery brands where this rule definitely does not apply, simply because the design is just so good.
There are three things that make a fashion-fine or demi-fine jewellery brand exceptional and therefore worth spending larger sums of money on; truly original and exciting design, impeccable craftsmanship and manufacturing (including gold plating that could pass for solid gold), and an authentic point of view. Basically - brilliantly designed, unique, high quality jewellery, designed by smart, talented people.
A truly exceptional jewellery brand, Completed Works tick all of the above. The quality is incredible, looking and feeling like solid gold, the vermeil pieces are beautifully designed with highly original silhouettes, structure and feeling. Thoughtfully created, they are also lightweight and wearable, look way more expensive than they are, and are suitably under-the-radar so you won't find everyone at a wedding in the same earrings. Yet.
The earrings are a highlight for me, and I am in an on-going tussle with myself as to which pair to buy to compensate for not being able to go out for the next few months. Available at www.completedworks.com.
This scottish designer has recently achieved cult status for good reason - each piece of her handmade jewellery is made up of found or vintage elements that she has obsessively collected over the years, set in silver and plated in 18k gold. These tiny worlds are laden with symbolism; protective eyes, a palm of a hand, suns and moons...and the wearer naturally imbues a meaning in them that is truly personal and special. Available online at The Crop or from the Grainne Morton website.
This Belgian based designer spends half of the year travelling to and from Jaipur, India, to hand select the beautiful gemstones she encorporates into her miniature worlds of wonder. A strong talismanic feel, these jewels feel special not just due to the level and detail of the design, something I always look for, but also in the meaning. Totemic plaques of intricately detailed gold lie flat against the wearer's chest, and feel protective and powerful, depite their tiny scale.
With some of the highest quality of vermeil jewellery I've ever seen (I once spent a good few minutes inspecting a piece with a fellow jewellery expert and we literally couldn't tell if it was solid or plated gold) Flora Bhattachary creates sculptural, bold styles in 18k as well as vermeil, using a beautiful selection of bright gemstones.
With a new line in cocktail rings, as well as a new alternative engagement ring collection, her talismanic designs are less literal than others, using geometric patterns and rythmns reinterpreted from Indian architecture and mythology, with a deeper meaning drawing from her Indian heritage and connections.
Available to buy now at Flora Bhattachary.
To see more images and videos of the jewellery featured in this post being worn, head over to The Cut London Instagram. If you'd like help buying a specific piece as a present, or for yourself, please get in touch at email@example.com.