Fashion accessories are one of the most effective ways for a wearer to add his or her personal style to an outfit. Over the years, traditional jewelry in gems and precious metals, bags, gloves, hats, stockings, even hair or tattoos have been used as some form of accessory—to define a “look” and express one’s mood or personality.
Jewelry and accessories have come to be associated with specific eras and places, and with individuals throughout history. Wealthy ancient Egyptians developed a taste for showier jewelry, using metals of all kinds and colorful stones and glass. They also created motifs that we still identify with their culture: scarabs, deities, sphinxes, and a variety of animals. Pre-revolution France was often all about bows, pearls, and later—cameos. (Josiah Wedgewood, of Wedgewood pottery, designed some of the first porcelain cameos to be used for jewelry). The Great Plague inspired jewelry referred to as memento mori, intended to remind the wearers and all who saw them of their own mortality. And much later, “love beads” and flower crowns became synonymous with the anti-war and hippie movements of the 1960s and 70s, and safety pins and spikes were adopted by early punk rockers.
Iconic accessories are forever linked with entertainment and Hollywood Stars. Marilyn Monroe famously sang “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” while sporting the 24-carat “Moon of Baroda” diamond; Mad Men’s Joan Holloway was rarely seen without her gold pen necklace; Elizabeth Taylor’s massive jewelry collection was so impressive that she wrote a book about them; and Breakfast At Tiffany’s Holly Golightly (famously played by Audrey Hepburn) wore strands of Tiffany pearls in one of the most iconic movie images of all time.
Alabama Chanin’s jewelry collection has its own unique sources of inspiration—including natural elements, our own embellishment and embroidery techniques, and inspiration from Anni Albers’ weaving—and now, Marcie McGoldrick’s Victorian-inspired porcelain-cast cameos (more about Marcie next week on the Journal). You can search all current accessories online in the Collection.