Our inspirations from week four of the New BBC2 show ‘All that glitters’.
In the final episode of the season, working with 18ct gold the remaining contestants had to create a pair of stand-out drop earrings, followed by their own version of a Maang Tikka – a traditional Indian bridal headpiece.
May 6th, 2022
Iconic Silhouettes: Part 1
Welcome to Iconic Silhouettes, a celebration of our innovative design handwriting and refined craftsmanship.
No.1 Large Earring in Silver
#1 - The No.1
The No. 1 marks the beginning of the House, the first piece of jewellery created for the Shaun Leane collections (1998). Designed to be worn single, it has a punk attitude, a notable anti-establishment feel.
Born out of the work on the Alexander McQueen catwalk show the Hunger, this piece is highly significant and set the tone for the Shaun Leane brand going forward.
Shaun was asked by McQueen to create a stag horn silhouette for the clothing, and later, a larger structure that would adorn and wrap the models thighs in stag horns. In the studio, he casually held one of these horns up to his ear, and McQueen was sold. A symbol of Elegant Empowerment. Shaun created the earring. One was enough – to set the tone. Made in lengths ranging between 6inch and 12inch, each model wore just one.
A single earring, symbolic of individualism and anti-establishment.
The earring was spirted, lively in its movement, elegantly working with the body and promoting a fearlessness that was so attractive and empowering to see. It was a daring & provocative silhouette, due to the length, that sharp point and the fact it was a single powerful statement. Moreover it was refined, the details were considered and proportioned to perfection.
The silhouette, aptly named Tusk in-house became the No. 1 – owing to it’s place as the first piece for the House.
The No.1 being worn in Alexander McQueen's show The Hunger 1995
Spotted in The No.1
A refined line with its considered curve, is suggestive of strength and energy. Elegant in its movement, it portrays a fearlessness. It’s provocative and daring.
The generous tubular shape, the graduated length together with the rounded curve yield a look of simplicity but in reality, one that is super complex to achieve. The simplest forms are often the hardest to create and perfect.
This No. 1 has evolved over time. Changing proportions and lengths. It has been embellished with diamonds, as singular stones or pavé, as well as Aquamarines & Rhodalites. The materials have also evolved, from the original nickel silver on the catwalk to 18ct gold & a lightweight Aluminium. Textures have varied from polished to pavé to anondised.
In 2015, a 3ct pear shaped diamond dressed the ear lobe while 10ct of Diamond pavé adorned the drop silhouette. The ultimate drop earring, a refined and elegant showstopper, that exudes fearlessness. A bespoke commission and a signifier of the power of the silhouette.
The No. 1 represents the beginning, and sits at the heart of the House. That crucial graceful curve of fearlessness. It was launched in 3 sizes.
The original tusk silhouette, which was the foundation for the No. 1 is significant for the house as this silhouette ran through many collections, forming the design handwriting of the house, and becoming more refined and known today as Sabre.
No.1 with a 3ct Pear Shaped Diamond and 10ct of Diamond Pavé
"“Shaun’s creations are absolutely unique: the strength and fragility they gather reveal a powerful beauty that has been often imitated but never duplicated”
Hook Fine Earring and Large Earring in 18ct White Gold & Diamond
#2 - The Hook
Born from the Hook my Heart collection, (2005). Every House has a Heart motif, and we wanted to create the Shaun Leane Heart. We wanted it to not represent love, but also the energy & passion that goes with it. Our heart is like no other – it has a bulbous concave, sexy curve & twist, culminating in a point.
What sets it apart is the clasp, how a hook infiltrates that generous heart – it feels strong & passionate, you can see the tension, that pull of attraction representing that moment when you fall in love. It perfectly portrays the passion of love.
The Hook represents that bond, that power of love – because in falling in love you render yourself powerless. Devotion steps in. You are hooked.
The hook became a motif of its own.
Hook is based on a line, and where it differs is the presence of the knife-edge, which adds a preciseness, a sharpness to the silhouette, creating facets & shadows on the polished surface. Knife -edge adds refinement and serves to lighten the look, creating an illusion of that hook going seamlessly through the ear, with a front to back execution indicative of the House.
Knife-edge is an ancient technique learned by Shaun when he worked in antique jewellery restoration. It was used in Edwardian times, and Art Deco pieces to suspend stones and create refined lines and lightness in a piece.
The Hook earring hooks in, seamlessly front to back. It appears to the onlooker as integral, part of the wearer. The size 2 with its dramatic & graduated drop, dresses the neck – that delicate beautiful but vulnerable part of the body. The hook protects the neck and also draws attention to it. The hook frames the face, taking the line of the wearer, complimenting and highlighting as it moves with the body. It invites intrigue and caution with it’s beauty.
Hook Chain Ring in Silver
The Hook in Action
The Hook earring has evolved in length & proportion, and materials have included silver & gold. It has been adorned with ceramic and enamel and embellished with brilliant-cut Diamonds, in black & white and precious gemstones such as Sapphires & Rubies.
Hooked Pearl Ring in Silver Black Rhodium and Yellow Gold Vermeil
#3 - Hooked Pearl
Another first for the House. First & foremost about precious metal, and how it protects the fragile beautiful pearl. The silhouette resembles a precious metal cage – through which you can admire and view the pearl – but you cannot reach it.
Influenced by the barbed tusks wrapping the thighs of a model for an Alexander McQueen show, it resembles a layer of protection, concealing something precious, that you can see, but you cannot touch.
Anita Rani wearing Hooked Pearl Earrings
A jewelled cage, holding two pearls. Rounded wire, shaped, graduated and arc’ed to a rounded point.
Prior to this pearls were seen differently – used in traditional classic pieces, they appeared controlled and regimented - everyone had a view as to how they should be set in Jewellery. They were seen on a pendant or on a clasp or knotted and strung into a necklace. They were rarely seen on their own, suspended or floating entirely or embellished with precious metal.
This was a chance to break with tradition & change the perception of how pearls were seen. To celebrate their natural beauty by embellishing them with something voluminous - that could feel light and precious, and invite intrigue.
This ring is about volume and presence. The voluminous thicket, organic shapes of precious metal, little structures protecting and framing this lustrous pearl. It feels light & delicate, hard & soft, protective and yet open. It feels natural and organic, free and soft.
The Pearl is the centre of attention - but protected.
It demonstrates the fragility and the power of Nature.
#4 - The Talon
The original Talon was introduced after Hook, to celebrate these beautiful sculptural elements from the animal kingdom. Elegant symbols of protection.
At that time Shaun became fascinated with the animal kingdom, with not only the creatures but their feathers, bones and tusks, but their claws, sharp talons and beaks, having explored them in collaboration with Alexander McQueen.
There was something about the way these sharp structures protruded out from the body of the animal and how their curves varied animal to animal, from rounded ends to sharp pointed ends. The lines and shapes were mesmerising. Understated yet daring, they are ear hugging and discreet - an alternative stud of sorts. They have a discreet symbolism to them.
The Talon Large Hoop in Gold Vermeil & Talon Small Hoop in Silver
Talon Earring in Silver
The Talon is rounded – there is no knife edge. The roundedness is gently flattened and graduates to a generous pointed tip. It’s elliptical in form, and yields a different perspective, depending on your viewing point, from the front or the side. It feels protective & integrated with the body, the way the front follows through to the the back.
It’s about tactility, following the graduated curve around and it’s about strength.
They have evolved in size – from the small, alternatives to the stud, to larger sized pieces. Materials evolved to from silver and gold to ceramic inlays. They have been adorned with black & white diamonds.