The UK jewellery scene has been abuzz with news of a new fine jewellery launch from heritage British brand Boodles. The collection is called Pas de Duex, and as you might have already guessed, it is inspired by ballet.
Boodles has teamed up with The Royal Ballet to create a collection of diamond and platinum designs, with head of design Rebecca Hawkins, a keen ballet fan herself, working closely with the dance company’s associate director Jeanette Laurence.
“Speaking to Jeanetta helped me get a feel for ballet as a dance form, and helped me see everything that makes The Royal Ballet so special,”
says Hawkins, who would often trace the outlines of images of dancers to incorporate them into the designs.
“We discussed what sets ballet apart, the feeling of being on stage, and what makes the perfect dance partnership.”
During the design process she was given exclusive access to rehearsals, the costume department and The Royal Ballet archives. What emerged is the Pas de Duex collection, inspired by the dance duet and comprising more than 30 elegant platinum jewels, from studs to collars, set with kite-shaped diamonds, rock crystal, kunzite and Paraiba tourmaline.
Earrings from the Pas de Duex collection by Boodles
Fellow London jeweller Kiki McDonough also recently released a gold and diamond collection inspired by ballet, which was designed in collaboration with dancer Lauren Cuthbertson. Like the Boodles collection, the Lauren collection is free from ballet slippers and ribbons. Instead it takes a wider approach to the design and centres on leaves, in reference to Cuthbert’s habit of battling stage fright by pretending to be a child kicking in the leaves, and also her performance in Alice in Wonderland.
A gold and diamond pendant from the Lauren collection by Kiki McDonough
This Lauren collection follows on from Aurora, another ballet-inspired collection, this time inspired by Sleeping Beauty, also created by Kiki McDonough, who is well known for her love of the ballet and support of dance charities.
Other jewellers inspired by ballet include ethical brand September Rose. Its gold Couru pendant is inspired by Rose Adagio from Sleeping Beauty and was first designed for founder Samantha Rose’s mother, who is a retired ballet dancer.
A Couru pendant in Fairtrade gold by September Rose
Cindy Chao last year teamed up with actress Sarah Jessica Parker to create a gold and titanium Ballerina Butterfly brooch set with brown and white diamonds, slices of brown rough diamonds and conch pearls to raise funds for the New York City Ballet through a sale at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong. It sold for US
The Ballerina Butterfly brooch created by Cindy Chao and Sarah Jessica Parker
For some brands, just the association with ballet and its elegance and grace is enough, and it is a popular theme for marketing materials. Continental Jewellery has run a particularly successful advertising campaign for its wholesale jewellery collections that stars ballerinas in action.
There are many parallels between ballet and jewellery design – grace, elegance, precision, beauty, purity – and it is proving to be an alluring theme in jewellery design and promotion.
An image of a ballet dancer used by Continental Jewellery for its ad campaign