Do you spend much time thinking about our generations’ place in society, on the meaning of the human condition, or our role in collectively changing and shaping the way we do things for the better? Whether or not you do, I would assume that you wouldn’t think any of these things have a connection to jewelry.
Have you heard of Biomimicry? If applied correctly, this new discipline, or study, of science and nature, can be used in direct co-relation with jewelry design. “Biomimicry is innovation inspired by nature. In a society accustomed to dominating or ‘improving’ nature, this respectful imitation is a radically new approach, a revolution really. Unlike the Industrial Revolution, the Biomimicry Revolution introduces an era based not on what we can extract from nature, but on what we can learn from her.” – Janine Benyus One wouldn’t normally associate such things to Chanel, but when I first saw the Fall/Winter 2012/13 jewelry line, featuring Amethyst and other natural rocks, Biomimicry is the first thing I thought of. I can’t tell you that this new way of thinking was Karl Lagerfeld’s intention when overseeing the design work, but I am certain that is not how the pieces were made, unfortunately. Either way, the visual conceptualization of the honest pieces of earth jutting out from a Chanel clutch or cuff, is great to see, and the ideas certainly run parallel to each other. I am extremely excited about this line and think the designs are just gorgeous, some barely accenting the simple cut slate of an Amethyst. When returning to the basics for glamour, Chanel can do no wrong. As my girlfriend and I were glancing through a magazine together, we happened upon an ad for this collection and both stopped to discuss. She told me that the line is very retro, conjuring up images in her mind of what the seventies looked like to her. This idea was very poignantly drawn from the Amethyst pieces I was referring to above, especially because of the larger cut size of them. The dominance that the rocks hold upon one’s chest when wearing the necklaces is just awesome, and definitely loans to a vintage feel. This attribute of the line (the harrowing of Earth’s natural wonders) also remains prevalent in the other, more tame and traditional pieces. Moonstones are set inside a gold Chanel monogram for a quiet broach, and various rocks and gems are set almost archaically on thick silver cuffs and daintier necklaces. The Amethysts steal the show for me, though, and led me to do some researching on Chanel’s sustainability practices. Although, I haven’t been able to uncover much when it comes to the sourcing of their metals and gems, I was pleasantly surprised to find that when it comes to packaging for their cosmetics, Chanel is taking a big step towards Biomimicry. Chanel has actually invented a new system of analyzing and production to “green” up their practices and share this software with other companies, free of charge. Lagerfeld’s personal environmental concerns may not be massive, but he has certainly picked up on the collective consciousness of our generation with this exquisitely rock-inspired line. My advice to you, especially following last week’s article, What Your Jewelry Costs the Earth, is to do your own research before every purchase, ask questions about the sources of materials. Chanel is not the only jewelry line out there right now that is avidly applying large and minimally cut rocks and gems to their pieces. Take a walk around some independent boutiques around you (Santa Monica and Venice are great if you are in Los Angeles) that carry jewelry lines. I guarantee that you will find something similar while making less of an impact on the environment (and your wallet) by supporting a local artist! If you can’t, I’m always available for commission!
“It would imply the regeneration of mankind, if they were to become elevated enough to truly worship sticks and stones.” – Henry David Thoreau
*for more information on Biomimicry – biomimicryinstitute.org
*for more on Chanel and more images – Chanel.com