Sunday, 6 June 2010

Birds, chains and Skirt

Bird necklace, £75, Alice Eden

Skirt boutique is one of the most quirky and original places to shop in Newcastle. As well as stocking some intriguing Scandanavian designers, they always have an interesting selection of jewellery on display. On my last visit, it was necklaces by Alice Eden that stood out. Her themes aren't groundbreaking – stars, birds, hearts, horseshoes – but the pieces have a simple charm. The flock of birds seen on skirts, bags and shoes at Miu Miu this season seem to have migrated into silver and gold: Eden’s sterling silver hoops decorated with bird charms start from £40, and the punky yet pretty long necklace with silver bird charms enamelled in black is £110. In other collections, the jade tusks on a long silver chain have been a big seller, and her long star necklace has a touch of Chanel about it (£77); all are also available in gold. An ex-stylist, Alice Eden is now stocked in shops around the world, from Jess James and Supragirl in London to Smock in Dublin, and online. Also at Skirt you'll find the more affordable Swallow necklaces by Maria Allen, £18.

Silver bird necklace, £75, Alice Eden

With feathered friends as a theme Eden is following in the footsteps of jeweller Alex Monroe, who has been crafting birds and bees, flowers and feathers since he set up in 1986. Now sold everywhere from Liberty to Fenwick, his delicate pieces featuring bumble bees through to buttercups sell like hot cakes to those who want something a bit different and fashionable, yet enduring. Monroe’s latest collection, Eyebright, branches out into precious stones, from citrine to sapphire, held on tiny slim bands. Also check out the Trunk Show pieces on his website to bag one-offs such as this nautical bangle.

The other jeweller ahead of the game is acclaimed designer Scott Wilson, based at Cockpit Arts studios in London. I remember seeing his exquisitely made silver feathers on long chains at the regular studio sales years back (and still kick myself that I didn't buy one). Wilson now designs pieces for designers such as Peter Pilotto, Matthew Williamson and Jaeger (s/s 2010) and his online store opens shortly.

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