Purposeful Jewels: Wearable Ornaments with a Unique Task

Not too long ago, the world was full of wearable and uniquely ornate precious everyday objects. From hand-engraved mother of pearl perfume-bottle pendants to the enamel and gold chatelaines that were popular in the late 19th century, the world seems to have lost its love for precious and purposeful jewels. Let’s look at the brands that are bringing these decorative wearable objects back to centre stage.

It seems that today, perhaps the only reason to wear an elegant and lavish piece of jewellery is to show that you are engaged or married or to bring an added dose of glamour and sparkle to an outfit. Jewellery has become a form of self-adornment, limited to all things aesthetic. However, in the past, some jewels had a purpose beyond being visually pleasing and intriguing. Yes, we have always had lockets and high jewellery watches, which can be considered purposeful jewellery pieces. However, a handful of designers today are creating luxury wearable items that have an entirely separate purpose to their beautiful form. The brands below have decided to bring back what we are calling ‘purposeful jewels’ using innovative materials, mediums, and designs for today’s generation of jewellery aficionados.

Simone Jewels

Singapore-based high jewellery brand Simone Jewels is famed for creating high jewellery pieces that tell a story through luxurious materials and intricate craftsmanship. It comes as no surprise that brand founder Simone Ng often chooses to include a purposeful piece of jewellery in her collections, one that is more than a wearable ornament. In her own words: “At the core of my designs lies philosophy and storytelling. I passionately marry the art of storytelling and history, infusing it into my exquisite luxury jewellery pieces. I aim to create high jewellery that celebrates individualism, to establish a deep connection between the wearer and the jewels, ensuring a meaningful experience for customers”.

Focusing on fusing luxury with history, the From Europe with Love Royal Perfume pendant draws inspiration from vintage perfume bottles. The pendant itself, created from rose and white gold, set with Burmese red spinels, diamonds, white quartz and enamel, can hold a few drops of perfume so that the wearer keeps their preferred scent fresh throughout the day or evening. When opened, the inside reveals a beautifully crafted enamel interior with intricate gold carvings. Another pendant with a specific task is the Da Capo Bombshell Music Box pendant, set with blue spinels, tourmaline, diamonds and Tahitian pearls. When pressed, the harp-shaped pendant will play a soft melody, audible to the wearer and those close to them. Finally, the Tattoo Key to Love ring is a unique locket ring that can be opened with the help of a red spinel and diamond embellished key. When opened, the ring reveals a secret compartment where the wearer can keep a message or small personal token. The key can also be worn separately as a pendant, whilst the ring can stay behind in your jewellery box.


The iconic Maison of Hermes is recognised and celebrated for its plethora of patented symbols and motifs that are featured repeatedly across all its luxury products. From handbags to plates, a Hermes object is something instantaneously recognisable, thanks to these design elements. One such pattern is the Chaîne d’Ancre – a nautical-inspired chain invented by Robert Dumas in 1937 after taking inspiration from a boat off the coast of Normandy. The chain was first brought to life in the form of a bracelet consisting of soft oval silver links with a partition down the centre. Hermes Creative Director Pierre Hardy decided to play with this legendary motif in his latest high jewellery collection, Chaîne d’Ancre, which includes the Sac bijou Chaîne d’Ancre - a small handbag that can be worn either as a necklace or a wrap-around bracelet. The entire structure is one long series of Chaîne d’Ancre chains made of white gold and diamonds, all of which are interlinked to create a fluid strand woven into a soft bag. Imaginative, useful, and beautiful, this bejewelled handbag features almost twelve thousand diamonds, totalling at 99.07 carats. By exploring the archetype of form, Hardy has brought back purposeful jewels into the Hermes jewellery repertoire.

Hermes Sac bijou Chaine d'Ancre in white gold set with 11,668 diamonds totalling at 99.07-cts


This last couture season saw many impressive creations; however, perhaps the most talked about were those from Boucheron’s More is More high jewellery collection. Through her childlike spirit, passion for lesser-known materials and overall exceptional taste, creative director Claire Choisne brought purposeful pieces of jewellery to the forefront. One of the first pieces Choisne exhibited was a hair jewel inspired by the spheres, cubes and graphic stripes of pop art culture. Composed of an almost invisible black elastic band, topped with an eye-catching cube and sphere made of titanium set with tsavorites, mother-of-pearl and lacquer, this unique piece is decorative yet purposeful, adding a punch packed full of colour and fun to any hairstyle. Another such piece is the In the Pocket high jewellery accessory. Created from a 3D-printed titanium structure mounted on stretch fabric elements, this precious pocket can be added to any piece of clothing thanks to a magnet that fits the structure from the back of the wearer’s garment. This incredible jewel made of white gold and titanium set with onyx, diamond and lacquer, blends seamlessly with any garment, bringing a seventies pattern and pop of sparkle to a dress, skirt or pair of trousers, all whilst giving the wearer more room to store their personal belongings (only very small ones albeit!).


Last but not least, London-based Thai jewellery designer Patcharavipa has created a lighter case available in white or yellow Siam gold. This spiderweb-inspired design consists of strands of hand-worked gold welded together to create an elegant yet edgy case for a lighter that can easily be hung from a simple necklace or chain. The inspiration behind the piece comes from Patcharavipa’s love of adding value to seemingly mundane objects, not only increasing their physical value but also creating a sense of attachment for the owner. In her own words: “Most often, we always lose lighters after a night out with friends. With a gold case, you want to make sure it stays with you once you go home”. Simple yet effective, this design perfectly displays how luxury and utility can go hand in hand.

Patcharavipa hand made Bic lighter cases in Siam gold and white gold

As you can see, purposeful jewels are finding their way into collections of high jewellery houses as well as contemporary and independent designers. Their ability to create physical beauty whilst also having a hidden purpose gives these pieces an edge that guarantees they will be cherished for many lifetimes. Let us know if you have seen any interesting purposeful jewels on the market; we would love to see more of them!

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