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In a world where the human body is judged, criticized, and on display with a simple click of a mouse, there are some designers that want to show it off through jewels. For centuries, jewelry designers have pushed the boundaries by recreating the human body through gold, diamonds, and precious jewels. And even today, there are some that are giving the jewelry world a full body scan.
The anatomical body has been present in jewelry for years, ranging from Elizabethan skulls to Victorian portraits. However, the human form was never so present as it was during the heyday of Surrealism. With the help of jeweler Carlos Alemany, artist Salvador Dalí introduced a number of surrealist jewels to the public during the 1920s and 1930s. The jewels were inspired from animals like lobsters and insects, but there was also a portion that were made up of eyes, lips, and hands.
Some of Dalí’s pieces include the world famous Ruby Lips brooch, which is a set of lips made from red rubies and pearls as teeth. Other highlights include “The Eye of Time” brooch and a set of gold “hand” brooches made to resemble leaves.
This collection of jewels was made famous by a Man Ray photograph of a model posing with all three mentioned brooches together on her face. Even today, the photograph has a surrealist edge by distorting the visage via beautiful jewels.
Today jewelry designers are still channeling Dalí’s surrealist jewels, but some are putting the human body on display in a new way. French jewelry designer Anissa Kermiche channels a “curious, independent spirit and an appreciation for the exuberant, eclectic and unseen” for her female oriented jewelry. Kermiche offers clients choices of necklaces with nude breasts, buttocks or vagina with legs, earrings designed to look like a fist raising a middle finger, or a pair of stud earrings that appear as hands holding a precious gem. Anissa’s work combines feminist thought with the natural human body that is as shocking as Dalí’s originals.
For her Anatomik Collection, jewelry designer Delfina Delettrez has taken up Dalí as inspiration, but in new shapes and forms. Delfina likes to add a quirky twist to her high end jewels that is unlike her fashionable heritage, she is a descendant of the Fendi family.
Much of Delfina’s pieces tell a story, like the diamond encrusted Stonehand Ring that has long spindly fingers with painted nails that grasp around the wearer or the aptly named Polifemo earring that suspends a bejeweled face that looks on with a solemn stare.
With a number of other jewelry designers seeking a human touch, even Celine’s jewelry line is embracing the trend, jewelry has come closer to the body than ever before. We’re guessing the next trend will be something a bit more…internal?