Variety is the spice of life — but having endless options in your closet can also create clutter and wreak havoc on your bank account. After spending the past year at home amongst our things, many people have started to take inventory. While a closet purge isn’t unusual from time to time, the consumer mindset has started to shift into a more meaningful gear where one-outfit-wonders are trending down. In-turn, shoppers are seeking signature jewelry styles that chameleon into wearable options. Despite the modern feel of this fashion movement, multipurpose jewels spur from retro roots.

Beginning in 1929, convertible jewelry was cleverly created in response to the Great Depression. Influenced by the mass financial hardships of the times, craftsmen sought a way to turn one luxury item into several. Pendants doubled as brooches, necklaces became multiple bracelets, and so on. A pretty paradox that stood in stark contrast to the tribulations of the era, multi-use jewels evoked a sense of escape while also encompassing an impressive artistry of craft. According to Steve Workman of the Gemological Institute of America, “with its multipurpose invisible catches, convertible jewelry pieces were essentially sophisticated mechanical devices that had to be highly functional and secure. Making one required that a master jeweler have an extraordinary level of skill and knowledge. It was truly a high-watermark in the history of the craft.” A distinctly technical trend, many high-end jewelry houses tried their hand at the accessory of the age as well, which ultimately aided in the longevity and success of the style. Van Cleef & Arpels famously spent nearly 20 years working on a convertible creation commissioned by the Duchess of Windsor. The zipper-style piece was crafted of precious metal and proved that popularity of this trend wasn’t specific to class. A unifying yet stylish art form, the circumstances of its inception mirror the moment we are experiencing in the present.

True to its cyclical roots, fashion breeds repetition — and our style response to recent events is no exception. Giving someone options in a time where those might seem limited generates a liberating fashion phenomenon. Touted as the latest it-trend, fashion fave Chiaria Ferragni suggests “using your bracelets like a necklace, it's the ultimate smart way to customize your accessories depending on your look.” Not only do multipurpose styles support the individuality and creative freedom of the wearer by giving them room to play, jewels designed with this thinking in mind also helps to optimize your collection. For example, our Kings Layers can be worn as a necklace, bracelet and belt — eliminating the need to purchase three separate pieces. Another plus to versatile convertible styles: they reduce production resources and decrease the impact on our environment. 

Looking to pair-down while showing up for yourself and the planet? Shop our selection of multipurpose styles HERE.