Having spent some time organising my incredibly messy collection of costume jewellery and feeling inspired by the recent Cartier exhibit at the Singapore History Museum, I'm doing a post on my favourite jewellery designs.

I have to start with Tony Duquette, whose designs opened my eyes to the limits of what jewellery can look like (I was raised on a diet of very conventional-looking designs from Tiffany & Co. and so on). Tony Duquette was an artist who also did costumes and stage design for MGM films in Hollywood during the glamourous 1930s, and he continued to design well into the 90s until he passed away in 1999 (see his website for more details).

His designs are bold and kind of crazy and exuberant - I am always drawn to things that could border on tasteless, especially when it comes to accessories. I especially love his rings -

This necklace is so much more interesting than your usual zillion-carat white gold and diamonds combination -

And my sisters think this is the ugliest bangle they've ever seen, but I think it's gorgeous.

This one is the perfect bold everyday piece -

His designs don't shy away from colour and everything feels like it's designed to make you take a closer look. And for more evidence of his vivid imagination, check out his interiors -

It's fantasy come to life.

I also like designs from the Art Deco period, and yep, Cartier does those very well. I visit the estate jewellers SJ Phillips's website very often just to look at their excellent selection of antique jewellery.

I really like this watch, even though I don't usually fancy small timepieces -

It's from a diamond and sapphire piece from1925, and it still looks incredibly modern to me.

And this brooch has all the stark and yet intricate geometry of classic Art Deco style -

This watch isn't Art Deco, but it's beautiful nonetheless -

And this bracelet is good enough to eat -

Looking at the other estate jewellery on the SJ Phillips site can keep me occupied for hours - i especially love antique pendants - and occasionally something like this amazing pendant will show up and get me all covetous and hot and bothered -

I love the colour of the stone (it's an emerald) and the carving of the coat of arms (of the Marquise de Rosny, circa 1610) is done very beautifully and simply.

And don't get me started on the rings -

This one from the 1800s is antique ruby, emerald and diamond. I love the aged look of the stones, and how it isn't all sparkly, and I love the delicate carvings at the side.

This necklace from the 1900s has a vaguely Peranakan feel doesn't it (don't get me started on Peranakan jewellery - I won't stop) -

It has an inscription on the back : 'M LE BATTEUX', 'R. MOYSAN', '29 OCTOBRE 1901 29 OCTOBRE 1911'. Gets me all imaginative about the story behind this necklace. That's the fun bit about antiques.

More Art Deco -

This one is French, and I love it for the colour (I like anything that looks like candy) and the geometric pattern is really intriguing, like they're trying to be opulent and streamlined at the same time. Think of the Chrysler Building in New York -

I have to read up more on this period; it's just fascinating.

Finally, on a more modern note, here are some beauties from my current obsession, Subversive Jewelry by Justin Giunta.

Again, notice my fetish for the exuberant. The baseline is, I don't like jewellery that ONLY looks expensive. I don't care whether it's costume jewellery or the very priciest from Fred Leighton - I want the design to be unique and the piece to be well-made.

Continuing on my wedding fantasy, I will assemble a separate post on my fantasy engagement ring.

Pictures from,,, (for Chrysler Building)


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