Conscious uncoupling is gaining new momentum – on our ears at least. During the February and March fashion weeks, designers showcased “perfectly imperfect” pairs of earrings. For her final outing as creative director at Givenchy, Clare Waight Keller created sculptural silver earrings in different proportions, recalling the mobiles of Alexander Calder – each adorned with a dangling pearl. In London, Preen combined recycled plastic cutlery and gold to create mismatched styles that looked like shards of molten glass, while at Moschino, Jeremy Scott, in typically flamboyant style, designed gargantuan pearl-encrusted peace-sign hoops to partner earrings with pearly “M” motifs. As Kate Moss declared in 2017: “Nobody wears pairs of earrings any more; it’s old-fashioned.”
Victoire de Castellane, artistic director of Dior Joaillerie, has been designing odd “couples”, as she calls them, for more than 20 years. Her newest high-jewellery collection of 39 pieces, Dior et Moi, is a sweetie box of kaleidoscopic stones and colourful lacquer, and her 10 signature couples look good enough to eat. “It’s an homage to art deco, but in 2020,” says de Castellane of the pick-and-mix collection, which features teardrop emeralds hung with milky opals, blue sapphires that hang below the lobe, and pink sapphires suspended over contrasting stones. “These pieces are like little imaginary towns.”
Colour lovers will also appreciate the Kissing earrings by family-run, Geneva-based jeweller Boghossian. They are made from electric-blue and green iridescent Australian opals, set with heart-shaped cut diamonds, but one is 18ct white, the other vivid yellow. Or, for something a little more on the wild side, Boucheron’s Paris, vu du 26 collection features an exotic ear cuff in the form of a titanium parrot, set with aquamarine, beryl, sapphires, tsavorites and diamonds in hues of turquoise and cerulean. The bird’s feathered tail swoops gracefully down the edge of the ear, while its ear-mate is a simple aquamarine stud.
“I like to see contrast and difference, and with mismatched earrings there is an opportunity to express personality,” says Valérie Messika, whose eponymous label offers asymmetrical diamond ear cuffs in 18ct white gold and includes a striking creation that lines up five uniquely cut diamonds upon a single metal thread that creeps up to the top point of the ear.
“The diamond must have an edge, be innovative, cool and easy to wear,” says Messika, whose fans include Beyoncé and Millie Bobby Brown. “Modern women are more daring and courageous.” Mismatched earrings, she argues, lend them the edge and individuality they seek.
This sentiment is echoed by de Castellane. “Today’s customers are young girls and women who like to wear jewellery in different ways to how their mothers or grandmothers did. It is more cheeky to wear asymmetrical earrings and create a less traditional look.”
More minimal jewellers are also fond of asymmetric touches. Anna Jewsbury, founder of Completedworks (worn by actress Jodie Comer and supermodel Adwoa Aboah), works in a palette of white ceramic and gold. Her Crumple earrings, in wrinkled gold vermeil and ceramic beads and pearls, are one of her most popular pairs. Rome-based Delfina Delettrez, known for her surrealist jewellery, offers a restrained Dot collection of single earrings, often hung with pearls, that can be worn alone or in mismatched clusters that stud along each ear.
When styling, de Castellane advises: “Wear them as if you had two different stories to tell; one for each ear.” As for which lobe gets to tell which story – that’s up to you.