BLUE FOR YOU:
SAPPHIRE’S RETURN TO FORM
BY MAIA ADAMS, ADORN INSIGHT
Rich, dark blue is one of those colours that never truly goes out of fashion, but if its liberal application to design across the board these days is anything to go by, it’s rapidly becoming one of 2016’s hottest hues. At Baselworld, blue was the standout luxury watch colour trend with brands including Breguet, Victorinox and Emporio Armani updating best-selling watches with straps, dials and bezels in a palette of cobalts, indigos and navies.
On the spring and fall catwalks, fashion designers like Lacoste, Jason Wu and Anya Hindmarch worked rich navy fabrics - plush velvets, tactile ponyskin, supple leather and luxe wool – into collections. Elsewhere, designers deployed dark blues directly into striking beauty looks: Mary Katrantzou’s models sported thickly clumped royal blue eyelashes whilst over at March Jacobs they rocked sapphire blue smudged eye shadow. At Thierry Mugler, nails popped under a slick of glossy navy polish.
Adorn Insight Elena Guidobono Milan
The influence of the global cosmetics industry on consumer trends is well documented, so the fact that brands such as YSL, Sephora, MAC and Urban Decay have added dark blue pigments to their ranges is significant. Indeed, once mocked as an 80’s throwback, the ‘blue eye’ look is seriously back in vogue and the subject of make-up videos by powerhouse bloggers such as Jaclyn Hill whose online tutorials reach a worldwide audience of millions of viewers. Unsurprisingly, given their omnipresence on the consumer radar, deep blues are infiltrating jewellery too, with blue sapphire in particular enjoying a major resurgence amongst a new generation of jewellery-lovers.
According to London-based auctioneer Bonhams, demand for sapphires is on the increase with many stones dramatically exceeding pre-sale estimates at auction. In the bridal sector sapphires (symbolic of faithfulness and sincerity) give brides looking for something more individual an alternative to the traditional diamond engagement ring. The unveiling last year of Boucheron’s Bleu de Jodhpur collection – whose showpiece is a reversible necklace made from an unorthodox combination of marble, diamonds, rock crystal and sapphires – indicates that even in the rarefied world of high jewellery, sapphire is the stone of choice when an icon needs an update.
When seen within the context of a wider millennial-friendly trend for classic designs rejuvenated with a contemporary flourish, this revival in the iconic sapphires’s fortunes explains its moment in the spotlight. At the Met Gala in New York in May actress Naomi Watts hit the red carpet wearing a pair of diamond and sapphire bracelets by Fred Leighton. Bee Shaffer – daughter of US Vogue editor Anna Wintour – opted for an antique cabochon sapphire ring.
At the Academy Awards in February, blue gemstones also gave more traditional diamonds a run for their money. Tina Fey sparkled in a Bulgari sapphire choker whilst Sofia Vergara wore sapphires by Lorraine Schwartz. The freshest look, however, was a pair of earrings (also Lorraine Schwartz) worn by Glee actress Lea Michele. Rather than opting for the more obvious statement stone, Michele’s earrings comprised delicate clusters of small round sapphires, set into drop silhouettes that were organic in form and all the more interesting for it.
Ring by Pesavanto made with Swarovski Blue Sapphire
This use of small sapphires of uniform colour and size, pavé set and clustered to create a contemporary fine jewellery aesthetic has, in part, its genesis in designer fashion jewellery. At their pre-fall and spring shows respectively, Christian Dior and Alexander Lewis spun simple strands of identical dark blue crystals into youthful, movement-filled designs. An open ended, Deco-style necklace at the Atelier Versace couture show, and handkerchief earrings at Guillarme, both featured blue stones pavé set to create a flattering ombré effect. And on the streets of Paris, New York, London and Milan, subtle sapphire-inspired looks are the statement of choice for cool girls and guys.
For fine jewellery designers looking to interpret this versatile look into their own collections, Swarovski’s Round Brilliant Cut Genuine Sapphires offer the perfect solution.
Naturally radiant (thanks to optimal girdle and crown proportions), and richly coloured (across the entire sapphire palette), the precision-cut symmetry of these gems will underpin a look that manages to be two things at once: totally on-trend, and timelessly appealing.