We all remember the days when we’d spend most of a school trip in the gift shop, trying to find our name stamped onto a metal bracelet (shout out to all the kids who could never find theirs); a garish charm attached loosely relating to the place we’d just visited. Then came the Carrie Bradshaw phase, when we upgraded to custom cursive script necklaces spelling out our whole names. Now, however, sporting your entire moniker around your neck or wrist is no longer de rigueur.
Enter the sophisticated initial. Not a new concept, but one that jewellers are really taking a shine to, with nearly every brand jumping on the bandwagon to release an initial collection that will appeal to the masses. Not only has the initial replaced name jewellery, it allows us to include friends, family and loved ones as we build up letter charms.
A famous benchmark moment for the initial jewellery revolution was when Meghan Markle sported a Maya Brenner necklace featuring the initials M and H, before she and Prince Harry officially became an item. Mega influencers, such as the Kardashians, regularly don the initials of their children, and Instagram bloggers are repeatedly snapped in jewellery emblazoned with the letters of their own first names.
Though initial jewels are easy to find, it does not mean that every collection is the same. Designers enthusiastically throwing their hats into this ring might be constrained by the 26 letters of the alphabet, but each has managed to emerge with their own style in tact, with little twists applied that appeal to their tribes. Annoushka, for example, has chosen a bold, block font for its capital letters, which are set with diamonds in blackened settings and placed within a halo of brushed gold. Alison Lou also uses block capitals but has recently updated its vast collection of initial jewels with a diamond pavé letter accented with an enamel shadow in the colour of your choice.
For something a little softer, Aurum + Grey has designed minuscule initials that can be added to earrings, necklaces or bracelets, making them ideal for stacking, while the pinched, chubby curves of Kelly Bello’s charms bring helium balloons to mind. Alex Monroe is a brilliant example of a jeweller that has fully embraced its own botanical DNA while tapping into this trend by creating unique letters that are overgrown with flora motifs.
As this small cache of examples show, the freedom to personalise your initial jewel doesn’t end when you’ve picked a letter. Yet, the allure of initials is not just that they are personal, but that they are timeless. After all, how often does a person change their first name? So whichever style you are swayed by, what you’ll walk away with is a forever jewel.
Silver Elsa Peretti Letter H pendant, Tiffany & Co, £225
Gold-plated silver Alphabet letter necklace, Alex Monroe at Liberty, £135
Initial Thoughts collection in gold, Aurum + Grey, from £65
Diamond letter with enamel shadow necklace, Alison Lou, $4,645
Designers enthusiastically throwing their hats into this ring might be constrained by the 26 letters of the alphabet, but each has managed to emerge with their own style in tact, with little twists applied that appeal to their tribes
Gold and diamond Initial pendant, Annoushka, £450
Covet Pavé Initial gold and diamond necklace, Stella & Dot>
Gold, enamel and diamond Petite Champleve Alphabet Medallion, Foundrae, $1,295