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Trend File: The Summer of Shell Jewelry

At Prada’s fall-winter 2017 runway show, designer Miuccia Prada marched models down the runway in high-fashion versions of a tourist’s favorite: the shell necklace.

Worn with cozy cardigans, bulky sweaters, and even a knit bikini top or two, Prada’s puka shell necklaces (mixed with Southwestern-inspired silver) conjured twilight walks on the beach and kids playing dress-up amid boxes overflowing with fabrics and trinkets.

Shells had already been creeping into jewelry design at that point—French designer Aurélie Bidermann, for one, had debuted her popular painted shell necklace design, Merco. But the Prada show rechristened the folksy shell as high-fashion fodder.

Prada fall 2017 runway show shell necklaces
Shell necklaces at Prada’s fall-winter 2017 runway presentation—the show that launched a thousand crustacean cases! (image courtesy of Prada)

There’s no telling how widespread the trend will be, but surely we’ll be seeing jewelry lovers flock to simple-and-chic shell jewelry this summer—and my guess is that we’ll be seeing shells for several seasons.

Shells and shell motifs have also infiltrated designer accessories for the upcoming summer—check out this Tory Burch bag studded with pearlescent shells and these shell-inspired stilettos from Christian Louboutin.

Jewelry retailers not within 60 miles of a coast should strive to stock creative, and even quirky, shell designs—not snoozy shell-motif metal charms and the like. The emerging trend centers on inventive and elegant applications of humble puka, conch, and other shells.

Below are a few of my favorite innovative shell jewelry pieces on the market.

Vanessa Montiel shell jewelry

Vanessa Montiel Golden Puka earrings with sustainably sourced puka shell and 22k gold vermeil on sterling silver, $295

Vanessa Monteil golden puka bracelet

Vanessa Montiel Golden Puka bracelet with sustainably sourced puka shell, stone emerald, and 22k gold vermeil on sterling silver, $305

Aurelie Biderman Merco necklace

Aurélie Bidermann Merco necklace with genuine lacquered shell mounted as a pendant on an 18k gold chain, $470

Rebecca De Ravenel shell earrings

Rebecca De Ravenel Ariel 2 Drop black wooden shell earrings with turquoise stones and clip back, $315

Tohum Concha bracelet

Tohum Design Concho Puka Bracelet 11, $297

Tohum concha cone earrings

Tohum Design Concha Cone earrings (price not listed)

Albus Lumen X Ryan Storer Shell choker

Albus Lumen x Ryan Storer shell-embellished choker, $220

Top photo: Rebecca de Ravenel Tallulah Charm hoop with natural wood and topaz stones, $495

JCK Magazine Editor

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