“It is not always easy to understand the passion and inordinate delight these precious ornaments can inspire. There are those less susceptible to such treasures who prefer their wealth in the form of healthy bank balances and real estate. However, the possession of a fine, large diamond is not only a source of joy in beauty but, nowadays, an effective hedge against inflation,” writes RL Austen in his book, ‘Gems and Jewels’, an informative and entertaining account of the history and value of jewellery. Austen’s independent family-run business was established in 1794. It was the jeweller to Princess Charlotte and is now based in Chichester, UK.
His reflections on the origins of jewellery begin with the development of metalwork. Unable to put a date to when mankind first started working with metals, he surmises that “early attempts must have demanded a material that excited attention”, was workable with the most primitive tools, and was attractive to the eye. Gold. Inspiration from nature is revealed in an ornamental scarab dating to around 1885 BC. The scarab symbolised immortality in Egypt, and this piece displayed enamel in cloisons typical of the work style at that time.
Here follows our pick of eye-catching adornments by luxury jewellery designers inspired by nature.
Panthère de Cartier
Cartier jewellery incorporating elements of the emblematic animal, whether just the head or the entire body, is admired for its clean, precise lines and the savoir-faire required to make it true to life. Designers and gemsetters have one brief – to represent the animal’s spirit, breathing life into it and giving it personality rather than merely imitating its likeness. Enriched by the magnetism and aura of the feline, the Panthère de Cartier creations symbolise the panther’s essence – a manifestation of free-spirited, assertive, elegant, and sensual femininity.
Garrard Wings Rising Collection
Garrard Jewellers, the first official Crown jewellers, have transformed their original Wings jewels to outline an abstract, winged silhouette characterised by sleek lines and angular feathers. Departing from their angelic essence, the revamped designs are reborn as vibrant and worldly creations, exuding strength and inspiring women to celebrate themselves. Sara Prentice, creative director, says: “Wings Rising honours the women who inspire our designs: strong, successful, independent women who live and fly by their own wings.”
Graff Butterfly Collection
For over 50 years, Graff has dedicated itself to transforming rare diamonds into exceptional jewels. The Butterfly collection showcases this mastery, capturing the creature’s delicate form with wings outstretched. The Butterfly Silhouette collection, designed for everyday wear, features exquisite arrangements of round and marquise diamonds. In contrast, the Pavé Butterfly collection offers rings, pendants, earrings, and necklaces with bold clusters of pavé diamonds and coloured gemstones converging on a single marquise diamond. The Classic Butterfly collection combines pear-shaped and marquise diamonds to recreate a butterfly’s outline, with multi-shape stones forming a radiant ribbon of light around the jewel.
Chopard Happy Spirit
Chopard’s Happy Spirit collection is characterised by the perennial beauty of the circle, a multicultural symbol of femininity, fertility and perpetual rebirth. The design inspiration was a childhood moment – skimming a pebble across the water and watching the ripple effect. The resulting collection is full of symbolism, reflecting vibrant momentum and the spirit of a mineral heart – the dancing diamonds set in ethical 18-carat white gold that move with joyful abandon.
Fabergé Egg Pendants
Surprise, surprise! Fabergé’s fine jewellery egg pendants and lockets are handcrafted from 18k gold and feature gemstones such as rubies, emeralds, sapphires, diamonds, and guilloché enamel decoration. The lockets conceal a mini surprise, opening to display animals, insects, and flowers like this one – the Fabergé Essence yellow gold, yellow sapphire and emerald anemone locket.
Sabbia by Pomellato
Sabbia, the Italian word for sand, is a distinctive Pomellato design that evokes the play of sunlight on shifting sand shapes. The jewellers achieve this by strategically placing diamonds of different sizes to create the illusion of a randomly organic drift onto gold discs. The collection captures the irregular beauty of nature, paying homage to the mesmerising patterns found in sand.