Boodles is known for high jewellery, and reaches some of its loftiest peaks when it ventures to Wonderland – the brand’s semi-regular (and always eagerly anticipated) exploration of bejewelled flights of fancy. Cast free of all limitations, this is where the designers and craftspeople at this quintessentially British company really let their imaginations run riot. The resulting collections – revealed only once in roughly two years – are guaranteed to set pulses racing.
The 2019 showing is no exception. The fifth in almost a decade, its title is Always a Story – and inspiration seems to have been gleaned from far and wide. There are 27 individual pieces, with names ranging across a vast span of sources. Classical legend provides the seed for The Garden of Hesperides, a place where nymphs guarded orchards of golden-apple-bearing trees from Hercules’ pilfering hands. The Sea Turtle’s Tale, which features pink star sapphires and vibrant green tourmalines, incorporates a motif from the British Museum, representing a turtle on his deep-water journey.
A sense of mystery
Strawberry Picking stems from closer to home: this pink- and white-diamond necklace sings of family picnics in summer, and days spent gathering baskets of strawberries. As always with the brand’s high-jewellery collections attention to detail is second to none: the clasp incorporates a miniature diamond strawberry, and the reverse of the necklace includes tiny pip motifs engraved into platinum, symbolising the texture of a strawberry. Whereas Bamboo in the Moonlight takes us off to the east, Sandstorm and Solar Eclipse marks a trek through the desert, perhaps towards a sparkling oasis. The cuff features white and yellow diamonds, contrasted with black star sapphires, which evoke a sense of energy and drama. Small strokes symbolise calligraphy motifs, in keeping with the theme of the collection.
Wonderland revisits some much-beloved Boodles themes: the mythical and fantastical, stories and legends. But unlike previous offerings, this year’s is made up of 27 unique high-jewellery pieces rather than designs grouped into traditional suites. So each is a real one-off. No two pieces are alike and each one tells its own story.
“Our Wonderland collections are always an opportunity for our design team to let their imaginations run wild,” explains Boodles head of design, Rebecca Hawkins. One piece that exemplifies this perfectly is Just Beyond the Setting Sun, a breathtaking white- and pastel-coloured diamond cuff that took craftsmen over 400 hours to create. So complex was the making of this piece that each layer had to be crafted separately before they could be joined together to create the final cuff. Coloured diamonds radiate out from a large central yellow diamond and evoke a sense of hopefulness at the start of a journey or tale. No less enchanting is Dragonfly & Dahlia, in which precious stones including rubellites and pink diamonds create the shape of a flower, while at the same time reflecting an ampersand, one of the motifs that unites the collection. Visually, the repeated ampersand shape is amplified and extended through the jewellery, thanks to delicate brushstrokes with a calligraphic air. It’s a motif that pops up in quite a few pieces, hinting at the sense of connection and relationship that all stories hinge on, allowing a lightness and playfulness with pure colour that dazzles and at the same time delights.
One of the standout pieces for us is The Songbird & The Waterfall, a stunning statement necklace. Rebecca Hawkins is inclined to agree: “Yes, we’ve created some truly showstopping pieces. We are thrilled with the results.”
We’re thrilled too. Where Always a Story is concerned there are treats to be found in every chapter.