Men’s jewellery has undergone a transformation in recent years – something amplified by lockdown as BBC drama Normal People sent sales of whisper-thin men’s silver chains, now forever known as Connell’s Chain, rocketing.
Long before this, jewellery designer Joanna Boyen started forming a vision or her own collection of men’s jewellery. Boyen founded her brand Biiju in 2015 and has specialised in luxurious, colourful gemstone jewels for women, but this year she has expanded into the booming men’s jewellery market.
With a vision to bring something different to the table, Boyen started experimenting with alternative materials, such as granite – the sparkly rock more commonly used on kitchen worktops, as well as in the construction of the Red Pyramid of Ancient Egypt – and playful uses of rhodium, a special plating applied used to darken precious metals.
The debut Biiju men’s jewellery collection is called Camouflage, and it reimagines a classic fashion motif in precious metals.
Boyen worked with artisans in London’s famous jewel hub Hatton Garden to perfect a technique that would allow her to create solid silver camouflage. Each design is cast in solid silver before being hand painted with different shades of silvery rhodium to create a classic camo look on pendants and the clasps of hefty silver bracelets.
Granite also plays a role in Biiju Camouflage, cut into bullet-like tips to adorn cufflinks. The collection also includes stacking rings – a key trend in men’s jewellery right now – in varying hues of rhodium-plated silver, with undulating cuts that mimic the dapples of camouflage.
“We wanted the thought and attention to detail which has gone into each piece to be as evident as the quality of craftsmanship, and hope that the ethos behind the collection will be an inspiration,” says Boyen, who adds that 10% of the profits from this collection will be donated to agencies that focus on environmental causes.
“We are ecstatic about the emerging market trend toward purchases which have more meaning and are designed to endure – evidence of a heightened respect for intrinsic as well as environmental and social values. This may be one of the silver linings of the pandemic, hopefully one which is here to stay.”
The Biiju Camouflage collection is available on the Biiju website, priced between £225 and £525.