Thursday, May 23, 2024

The jewelers’ love affair with Art Deco shapes shows no signs of slowing. And the latest form to steal the limelight? The hexagon.

The six-side geometric shape has recently been appearing in jewels through either patterns fashioned in precious metal or stones cut into hexagons.

Natalie Wansbrough-Jones, a fashion stylist in London who has worked with Elle and Grazia magazines, called the hexagon an unusual shape that lends itself to “really artistic and quite architectural” designs. The shape, she said, has been notably embraced by jewelers who have “quite a creative brain.”

Jewels featuring hexagons are playful in style, she said, and “offer another layer in the uniqueness of the jewelry that’s being produced, which totally inspires me.”

This summer, the shape was front and center in the fine jewelry collection at Gucci: Its signature horsebit (celebrating its 70th anniversary) was intertwined with geometric shapes, including the hexagon, on yellow gold rings, necklaces and single- and double-row bracelets.

Hexagonal stones cropped up at Eugenie Niarchos’s brand, Venyx, which often features angular, geometric jewelry designs. A pair of Hex earrings ($8,660), for example, showcased two emeralds totaling 6.18 carats that were ringed in pavé diamonds and topped with a gold star set with an emerald bead. A yellow gold choker also played with the theme by using a 7.9-carat hexagon-shape emerald framed by a double band of pavé diamonds, and set on a gold chain ($20,350).

And the London jeweler Hirsh recently sold a Keystone Tourmaline ring in platinum, set with a 3.84-carat sea-blue indicolite tourmaline (price on application). To emphasize the stone’s hexagonal shape, each of its six sides were accented with tiny triangular orange garnets.

For more than a decade, the hexagon has been the cornerstone of Chaumet’s Bee My Love collection; a natural pairing, given that a honeycomb is a mass of hexagonal cells. In 2021, the house extended the connection by creating its own proprietary hexagonal cut, Taille Impératrice (in English, Empress Cut).

“We thought: ‘Let’s go back to the origin, the core of what makes Chaumet a jeweler in general,’” Jean-Marc Mansvelt, Chaumet’s chief executive, said, “which is the metal and stones, particularly the diamond.” The Taille Impératrice has 88 facets, producing more light and reflections compared with other diamonds (a round brilliant-cut diamond, for example, has 57).

The Taille Impératrice cut now appears throughout the Bee My Love collection, punctuating the likes of a bold gold cuff of interlocking hexagons or topping bee-themed pins and mismatched earrings.

The cut is also present in the house’s high jewelry creations, including Le Jardin de Chaumet, the collection presented this past summer. The collection’s Magnolia set juxtaposed Taille Impératrice-cut diamonds, ranging from 1.05 to 3.15 carats, with diamond shapes such as baguette, square and marquise, all complemented by brushed gold flourishes.

Taille Impératrice, Mr. Mansvelt said, was a reflection of Chaumet’s ability to innovate while also offering “additional value for clients in terms of ‘wow.’”

In addition to the hexagon’s symmetry, some jewelers are drawn to its believed spiritual qualities.

Krishna Choudhary is a 10th-generation jeweler and founder of the contemporary Indian house Santi. In Indian culture, he wrote in an email, the hexagon is a symbol of sacred geometry, found in temples and used for spiritual practices.

“The shape signifies the union of feminine and masculine energies,” he wrote. Mr. Choudhary recently celebrated the shape in a ring that was set with an antique hexagonal emerald surrounded by six hexagonal diamonds, all presented on a diamond pavé platinum band (price on application).

The goldsmith Sabine Roemer, who was born in Germany and now works in London, said she was drawn to the hexagon as a “symbol of unity and balance.” It appears in her new high jewelry Bee You disc earrings (price on application). She set 100 round brilliant-cut peridots into a web of interlocking green titanium openwork hexagons, topping the design with two emerald-cut citrines that total 20 carats.

The stones were round, but “I like the architectural conversation with the hexagons,” Ms. Roemer said. “I like the contrast.”

For the citrines, she used a rub-over setting — the stone is held in a metal collar, rather than a nest of prongs — to create a strong, encased look. “The very square, structured corners again play with the hexagons,” she said. “But then I softened the whole thing with the round disc.”

The British jeweler Graff also has played with architectural looks. Its Laurence Graff Signature diamond pendants line (from $6,600) uses round brilliant-cut diamonds in hexagonal settings, adding sparkle to the jewels.

This year, Lily Gabriella, a London jeweler, introduced Hex, a collection dedicated to hexagons that reflects the designer’s Deco-inspired aesthetic. Pendants of cabochon stones, for example, rest on hexagon shapes (from $4,600) and stud earrings of round brilliant-cut stones have hexagon settings painted in black enamel (from $15,740).

The round stones are intended to create optical illusions and play with volume and negative space, said Ms. Gabriella, who studied fine art at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. She has always been drawn to architecture and sculpture, she added, especially the work of the Icelandic Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. “He’s really clever in the way that his sculptures interact and play with light and shadow,” she said. “I’ve always been fascinated by the sculptural aesthetic in terms of trying to carve out light and shadow, and play with that space.”

Also, her hoop earrings (from $4,600) pair hexagons with round stones, while a yellow gold bracelet ($10,280) with a line of hexagon cutouts is accented in black enamel.

Ms. Wansbrough-Jones, the London fashion stylist, described the piece as “very beautiful, symmetrical and pleasing,” but noted that a male colleague who saw the bracelet likened it to a masculine animal’s tail — which just emphasizes just how broad the hexagon’s appeal can be.

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