In an unexpected turn of events, the minimalist jewelry trend that has reigned supreme over the years finally has some competition, and it’s coming with a bang. Along with the return of trendy prints and oversized evening wear, the “re-emergence style” is now also evident in eye-catching jewelry. Step into playful, artisan-inspired bead jewelry, led largely by emerging brands that are all over our Instagram feeds – and which have only been launched for a year or two. The fun aesthetic is hard to miss, and like many of the biggest trends these days, it’s a cheerful nod to Y2K fashion and ’90s style.
Childish, nostalgic jewelry was already a trend long before the pandemic, but lockdowns, Zoom meetings, and midlife boredom have largely fueled its widespread attention. With a new outlet for creativity, the designers have dubbed the style even more whimsical and kitsch than ever before, or reversing the trend and offering more understated pearl jewelry for those who are still minimalist at heart.
The telltale sign of a fashion trend guaranteed to explode? A handful of famous fans. Dua Lipa, Bella Hadid and many more were spotted wearing a few beaded beauties, quickly making this style of jewelry a very popular item. Coming up, see how some of our favorite pearl brands are tackling the growing trend.
For Los Angeles-based designer Lisa Sahakian, a gift of handmade jewelry to her boyfriend would be the fortuitous start of her cult brand, Ian Charms. Sahakian says she was looking for “weird” and “funny” jewelry, and when she couldn’t find exactly what she wanted in the market, she created just that. “I think people want to wear things with personality, which is why jewelry and handmade clothing is becoming so popular right now,” Sahakian told NYLON.
Naturally, it’s the necklaces filled with the brand’s personality that draw fans in, with anything but average charms. From sushi, broccoli and popcorn pearls to charms with medallion-style images of celebrities, such as A $ AP Rocky, Kris Jenner and Justin Bieber (his mug shot, to be exact), Ian’s pearl designs. Charms are the epitome of wearable humor.
Designer Katie Rawsthorne diverts punchy undertones that are often important in the pearl jewelry space and instead addresses a pastel color palette. In the case of its brand Picnic Blanket, however, the soft hues don’t equate to less than a statement. “I’m a maximalist who loves miniatures,” Rawsthorne told NYLON. On the brand’s Instagram page, Rawsthorne often stylizes the layered beaded necklaces and then complements them with matching pearl earrings. “More is more,” she notes.
Unique animal-shaped torch glass beads are the brand’s signature, from pigs and rabbits to yellow ducks. In addition to creating cottagecore-friendly jewelry, some may also find sentimental value in the charms of Picnic Blanket. “Customers have sent me a message saying that they chose a particular room because this little animal meant something to them or reminded them of a happy memory,” says Rawsthorne.
Designer Gena Wachendorfer launched Shroom Spoon in 2020 with just 15 single earrings, and the brand is destined to become a go-to for all your ear candy needs. Buying simple earrings may seem counterintuitive, but with that comes the added benefit of endless possibilities for mixing and matching.
“It is of my utmost importance that the people who wear my jewelry really feel like they are creative when choosing my pieces,” Wachendorfer told NYLON. For this reason, she even encourages customers to send her a DM on Instagram for personalized orders. Beside the beads, many of Shroom Spoon’s beads are hand painted, a product of one of Wachendorfor’s quarantine hobbies. “I dove deeper into interior design and was captivated by the 1970s Murano glass lamps,” she says. “I started looking for the grooviest pearls I could find. The intention was to create funky and refined jewelry.
Midlife boredom led model Yasmin Moon and the co-founder of boutique consultancy firm Mary Anderson to start making necklaces for each other, a meditative hobby the two have. found relaxing in New York’s fast-paced environment. Quickly forward a few personalized friend requests later, and Mudd Pearl was born as a subtle and elegant pearl jewelry option for minimalists.
“While we love the playful and colorful aesthetic that has become very popular, we wanted to bring something sexy and sophisticated to the market, while still being fun and young,” Anderson told NYLON. By using unexpected shapes and varied neutral shades, the brand forgoes brightly colored charms and instead focuses on pearl-centric designs. And Mudd Pearl’s styles are also quickly spreading in the celebrity space, having graced the necks of Bella Hadid, Barbie Ferreira, Emily Ratajkowski, and more.
Lemondropbeads necklaces have an alluring glow, with detailed elements like blue Biwa beads, shiny agate, and even blown glass charms that glow in the dark. According to designer Camille Shakirova, the brand is strongly inspired by nostalgia. “[My pieces] are inspired by toys, little trinkets from childhood and old album covers – little nuances that went unnoticed, but take us back to when we see them again, ”Shakirova told NYLON.
For example, you will find Hello Kitty and Winnie the Pooh charms among the works of Shakirova, as well as other kitsch figures, such as dolphins and pink strawberries. The designer says she has a knack for handmade creations from a young age, and environmental responsibility fuels her practices as well. “I’m also passionate about sustainable brands,” Shakirova says, adding that she buys her supplies from sustainable brands. “I wanted to follow suit in my own way, by supporting these companies and individuals and then adding my own vision through them. “
With honey please
Describing itself as “Victorian aesthetics meets’ 90s nostalgia,” With Honey Please is a testament to the versatility of pearl jewelry designs. “You might think they’re related by what could be created with pearls, but we see endless possibilities,” Eunice Wong, who founded the brand with her mother, Cecilia, told NYLON.
Together, the pair produce styles characterized by tiny pearl clusters, strands intertwined with each other, and chandelier-shaped silhouettes. “We treat each piece like a painting – there’s the composition, the depth and the dimensions,” says Wong. “Most of the time you may have to look at the pieces from a distance to ‘see’ the image, like impressionist paintings. In addition to the statement charms – think lemons, flowers, hearts and more – designers even handcraft their own figurines, including rabbits, berries, or vines, from tiny beads.
Petit Moments designers Alexandria Rosa and Regan Lowe have always used beaded charms and jewelry to accentuate the brand’s classic metallic styles, but the duo started incorporating more colorful knickknacks with the launch of their Dreamland collection in 2020. “We were in the midst of a pandemic at the time and wore only basic hoops to dress up our matching tracksuits,” Rosa told NYLON. “We were hungry for color and really wanted to offer pieces that spark joy during such a dark time. ”
Offering everything from gold chains embellished with charms to beaded bracelets and anklets, the brand serves as a one-stop-shop for your jewelry needs, as well as an affordable price. Some of her necklace options hover around $ 35 a piece, so you’ll tend to snag a few layering styles and can do it without breaking the bank. There are even trendy beaded phone straps that you can stock up on as well.