I first discovered Emily Satloff’s wonderful vintage-inspired jewellery a few years ago, after I was outbid at an auction for an antique rivière necklace of – I think – citrines (the estimate was £600 to £800, I bid £1,200 and it went for almost £20,000). Then, lo and behold, I learnt that Satloff’s Larkspur & Hawk label was selling rivière necklaces beautifully made using identical techniques to those first employed in the 18th century – and not only were they well under £5,000, there was a ready supply from its little atelier in Manhattan.
Rivière necklaces (Anna Wintour is almost always photographed wearing at least one from her collection) are simple strings of faceted stones, often graduated in size and backed historically with painted foil, a technique Satloff, a former curatorial consultant at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, has resurrected. And while Larkspur & Hawk always has a selection of these necklaces – beautiful round or oval stones set in yellow or rose gold – Satloff has expanded her range considerably since her early days.
New rivière designs (£4,700) – alongside wonderfully vintage-looking earrings (from £1,625) with circular or oval stones – come in carefully calibrated colours such as peacock blue (worn by Sarah Jessica Parker), grass green, peach and tea rose (“a blend of red, violet and a hint of honey”).
Then there are two glamorous new collections. Polar Vortex, in icy blues, whites and greys, is inspired by “the big chunks of ice” Satloff saw floating down the East River in New York last winter. Necklaces (from £3,400) and earrings (£1,350) come in foiled quartz and white or black rhodium.
The second, launched this autumn and called Caprice, is a range of one-off pieces designed to capture the romance of old-world glamour. Special gemstones and vibrant foils are paired to capture the colours and textures of exuberant 18th-century taffetas and velvets. There are gloriously ruby-red (£9,700) or lavender (£10,500) earrings, as well as more subtle golden citrine and diamond earrings (£6,700) against mint-green foil, with a matching rivière necklace (£29,750). The collection is only available from Fred Leighton in New York or the Larkspur & Hawk website, but it’s worth the effort.
Another company creating compelling vintage-inspired jewellery is T Arrigoni. The Brazilian label, launched 10 years ago, grew out of Tatiana Arrigoni’s passion for scouring antiques markets and fairs in foreign countries, as well as her very rich cultural background (she’s married to a Belgian, has an Italian father, a Brazilian-Italian mother and a Brazilian-German grandfather). Sometimes she’s struck by a particular place, sometimes a special piece – the regal shape of a Georgian design perhaps, or the dancing colour of a specific stone.
She translates these ideas into jewellery, creating, for example, chunky (from £120) or delicately ornate (£250) cuffs in old‑gold-plated brass with pale-pink and emerald Swarovski crystals; floating (from £98) or pendant (£90) evil-eye earrings; and ethnic-looking hairpieces (£95). Produced in her workshop in the small town of Itu, every piece is handmade and takes three to four days to complete.
These intricate designs employ techniques such as lost wax, precision casting, stamp and hand-welding, and Arrigoni is also pioneering an embroidery technique that combines colourful fabrics with crystals and jewels, seen in beautiful cuffs (from £110) and earrings (from £118). The result is an aesthetic all her own – making for some splendidly original and interesting presents.