Recently a very chic Frenchwoman wandered into my shop and I couldn't help but comment on her fabulous, oversized clip-ons: they were unlike anything I'd seen before. Later on she returned with a jewellery pouch and showed me her holiday capsule earring collection: every pair was the work of Parisian jeweller Jean-Louis Blin. She put me in touch with the designer and, after streamlining a selection of pieces (this was really hard: I loved everything I saw) I'm now able to count myself among the lucky few who stock his wonderful work.
Although superior craftmanship and artistry can be seen in each pair of his earrings, Blin's jewellery is anything but uniform - every design looks markedly different from the last. While other designers often find a style that sells and stay with it, Blin takes risks with every piece of jewellery: so much so that costumiers at Moulin Rouge recognised his exceptional talent for innovation and commissioned him to create bejewelled accessories for their dancers.
Blin and wife Claudine run a shop in Paris dedicated exclusively to his designs. Besides this, they supply only a small number of external stockists, so these designs are well worth coveting when you find them!
All the jewellery is handmade by the Blins plus a three-person team of talented artisans. This commitment to hands-on craft is evident in the quality and intricacy of each piece.
Blin infuses his Art Nouveau-inspired designs with a bold, modern aesthetic and decorates them with splashes of colour. His palette is muted: bright colours are offset by cooler, gentler shades, making these oversized earrings tasteful and wearable. The comfortable clip-on fittings can be worn on pierced and unpierced ears: they're well made and don't pinch.
Philippe Ferrandis has provided us with the perfect way to bring summer warmth through to the colder seasons: his ultra-bright neon 'Bounty' range. These simple designs stand out due to his masterful use of distinct shapes, bold colour pops, and subtly contrasting finishes that see smooth opalescent crystal pieces paired with reflective faceted glass. The neutralising white stones are key: they prevent the pieces from looking too gaudy.
Their understated design means these bright pieces are surprisingly versatile. They look great against clothing in muted tones, monochrome outfits or perennially-stylish grey shades. To avoid overkill, stick to a just a few neon accents per outfit.
For a different look, innovative Spanish jeweller Anton Heunis makes these pretty neons, embellished with a frame of minute crystals:
Continental style by way of the Pacific Islands: my latest shipment from Philippe Ferrandis's Paris workshop draws its inspiration all the way from the shores of Hawaii. Philippe's celebrated skill with colourways sees the collection's soft blues, teals and sea greens contrasted and complemented with flashes of warm coral, pale lilacs and vivid limes to create a hazy, Hawaiian-postcard colour scheme.
The earrings in the collection, though simple and unfussy, are expertly designed: a milky, opaque glass stone sits atop a glistening, intricately cut swarovski and an extra-long iridescent resin teardrop with a textured surface completes the piece.
This gorgeous, glowing jewellery deserves to shimmer in strong summer sunlight, whether at home in the city or on holiday at the beach. It's wonderfully light to wear, so the hook fittings will not weigh heavily on pierced ears, and the clip-on earrings feature rubber pads to ensure hours of comfortable wear.
This statement necklace, with its tessellating ovals, triangles and oblongs, is a perfect piece of colourful summer jewellery, with softened neons sitting alongside perennially-fashionable pastel shades. My personal favourite, though, is this bold collar, which Philippe has given a sharp, modern edge with the addition of a chunky silver chain.