By Harriet Guildford
Are you in the market for a brooch, but a necklace, pair of earrings, and even a ring are also on your wishlist this festive season? We are delighted to inform you that we have the perfect solution; the ingenuity of convertible jewellery!
The roots of convertible jewellery can be traced back to French parures, which consisted of a suite of jewellery, usually a combination of a matching necklace, earrings, brooch and bracelet. Each individual element could be added to or removed from each piece, allowing the wearer to adapt to changing fashions in jewellery over time. The first examples of this were seen during the reign of Louis XIV, but became more well-known in the 19th century, as royals across Europe commissioned such pieces to suit different occasions!
For example, Napoleon gave a number of parures to his first wife, Empress Joséphine, including pieces that members of the royal families of Sweden and Norway wear to this day.
In the Victorian era, day-and-night earrings were popularised. These fascinating pieces allowed women of status to have a more subtle, understated option for the day time, and by night, a piece could be added to elongate and add grandeur for evening soirees.
Whilst such pieces were previously very much exclusive to the highest of society, convertible jewellery started to become accessible to the wider public during the Great Depression. When the stock market crashed in 1929, jewellery became a luxury item for most women. As people were forced to become more frugal with their finances, jewellers saw this as an opportunity to make jewellery in a more affordable way.
These pieces demonstrated incredibly intelligent craftsmanship, with an array of clever mechanisms such as clips, pin stems and removable frames. Remove a section from your necklace, and it becomes two bracelets! Detach a frame from a brooch and it transforms into an elegant pendant! This created appealing versatility, without having to compromise on the quality of a piece.
The years of the Great Depression juxtaposed the vibrancy and glamour of the current art movement- Art Deco! Therefore, much of convertible jewellery expressed the avant-garde designs of the time, including popular geometric motifs, contrasting colours and striking statements.
Designed with sleek, discreet fittings that showcase the jeweller’s design skills alongside their technical genius, here at Berganza, we have a wonderful array of convertible jewellery to choose from. Therefore, if you are undecided on what accessory to gift or adorn yourself with this festive season, why not invest in a piece that can transform depending on your mood!