Taking the stage in Toronto in July during her Renaissance World Tour, Beyoncé emerged in a glitzy minidress made of a multitude of diamond-studded strands.
The designer? Tiffany & Company — which also provided her custom Tiffany Victoria Diamond Anklet in platinum and a pair of vintage Swirl Earrings in gold and diamonds.
It was a prominent example of jewelers flirting with fashion, a trend in recent years that parallels fashion houses introducing high jewelry collections (most recently, at Fendi) and sending models out with jewels doubling as clothing (including the Loewe spring 2024 show, with Jonathan Anderson’s design for a top that looked like hundreds of leaf brooches).
As for the Tiffany project, “the custom pieces created for Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour allowed our design team to experiment and uplift many of the designs from our legendary archives,” Alexandre Arnault, Tiffany’s executive vice president of product and communications, wrote in an email. He was referring to the diamond strand mini — inspired by a mesh design and the Diamonds by the Yard look, both created by Elsa Peretti, one of the house’s most famous designers — and to two other dresses that it created in collaboration with the British designer Giles Deacon for the Beyoncé tour.
The Peretti heritage had surfaced previously, when Tiffany created a gold mesh bra for Zoë Kravitz to wear to a 2019 Oscars party, echoing a design that Ms. Peretti had conceived in the 1970s after seeing metal mesh being made by hand in India.
Cartier also has been in on the fashion trend. At an Oscars party earlier this year, Zoe Saldaña wore the Tressage cape, part of the Cartier Libre collection that highlighted experimental designs and techniques.
The house said the cape, the result of two years’ work, comprised 67,000 chain mail links assembled by hand; 150 diamonds; and 14 zippers, seven at the front and seven at the back, and each zipper pull tipped with a faceted onyx pendant. Ms. Saldaña wore the piece with the zippers closed, but if she had unzipped some of them, the shoulder-covering segments could have been removed, reducing the cape to a choker with bib-style accents.
“The Cartier team informed me they had an exceptional, one-of-a-kind piece in the making, which I saw in Paris while I was there for couture in January,” Petra Flannery, Ms. Saldaña’s stylist, said. “It was extraordinary, and I immediately thought Zoe, with her poise and elegance, was the perfect person to pull this off.”
After considering many options, “we ultimately decided to wear it as a full cape and pair it with a black column skirt by Michael Kors,” she said.
There also has been the Calliope camisole made entirely of pearls and introduced in 2019 by the London jewelry house Alighieri. It was named for the Greek muse who presides over epic poetry, a nod to the Italian poet Dante Alighieri, whose work inspires every piece from the brand.
“I’ve always thought of jewelry as armor,” Rosh Mahtani, the brand’s founder, said, “and wanted to push this concept and create atelier pieces that felt talismanic.”
The camisole was made of about 1,000 pearls wire-wrapped by hand and pieced together like a puzzle. It took Alighieri’s atelier 96 hours to create, weighed three kilograms (6.6 pounds) and was priced at 12,000 pounds ($14,855). “It is not an everyday piece,” said Ms. Mahtani, who has been commissioned to make three so far, two of them for weddings.
And Chopard is planning the next steps for Caroline’s Couture, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival early this year as a 50-gown collection by Caroline Scheufele, the house’s co-president and artistic director.
For years, Ms. Scheufele said, she had seen gowns by other designers at the event — but “there was no harmony between the dresses and my jewelry.”
So she decided to do something about it, creating gowns that, she said, framed the “real star of the look, the jewelry” — and presenting them on models such as Helena Christensen, Eva Herzigova, Naomi Campbell and Natalia Vodianova during the festival, an event the brand has been sponsoring since 1998.
Other jewelry brands have ranged from introducing full sportswear lines (such as the fashion jewelry business Éliou in the United States) to a kind of fashion accent collection (like Messika’s diamond chains that clip on clothing). And there has been jewelry made as parts of clothing, notably the magnetized black and white stripe pocket and the green tsavorite-studded cuff that debuted in July as part of Boucheron’s More Is More high jewelry collection.
“I was fascinated by models walking down the catwalk with their hands in their pockets,” said Claire Choisne, Boucheron’s creative director. “I found it stylish, and it is a gesture I naturally do, so I wanted to offer this style with a piece of jewelry.” (The collection also included a jeweled hoodie toggle and a hair scrunchie in saturated colors.)
And at PAD London in October, the Spanish designer Julia Muñoz, who now works in Paris, showcased a collection of gold-plated bronze pieces resembling — and meant to be worn in the same manner as — shirt collars and cuffs.
Louisa Guinness, owner of the eponymous gallery in London that specializes in art jewelry, said she sees the intersection of clothing and jewelry as a return to the past. “Look at the portrait paintings from the past,” she said. “Clothes are always decorated with gems, and making buttons was often the job of a jeweler.”
At her gallery, Ms. Guinness is displaying a Rectangle Necklace made of multiple strands of pearls and oxidized silver chains. Measuring 16 inches long by 10 inches wide, it can be worn as a capelet, bib or assymetrical scarf and is the work of Melanie Georgacopoulos, a jeweler who lives in Hamburg, Germany.
“People look at it and are intrigued by it, but it still hasn’t found the special lady who wants to wear it,” said Ms. Georgacopoulos, who designed the piece in 2012. “Some pieces need to be seen more than once, they need to be seen at the right time to be appreciated.”