Remember when you used to make matching friendship necklaces and bracelets out of beads? You’d weave multicoloured beads of all shapes and sizes onto strands of fishing wire and thread, smug at thought of being a semi-pro jeweller and chuffed with your efforts. Now, the beaded jewellery of our youth has staged a comeback – not surprising given our predilection for nostalgia but surprising enough to warrant a story (and not just any story, a Fab Five).
But this ain’t quite like the beaded jewellery Sabrina the Teenage Witch was wearing. No, the humble bead has had a bougie update. Take, for example, Roxanne Assoulin’s candy-like gems. Indeed, they look good enough to eat, but with a price tag north of the $300 mark, best keep these delicious jewels on your wrist. Resuscitating a jewellery trend all but buried with the body gel and butterfly clips, Assoulin’s high-shine, high-saturation bracelets and chokers can now be seen on every It-Girl from Dua Lipa to Dilone. Intended to make you smile, they’re made from kaleidoscopic enamel tiles and beads that add colourful polish to an outfit in need of pizzazz.
Closer to home, Australian jewellery sisters are doing it for themselves (and us) with beaded jewellery just as glorious and endearingly nostalgic as Assoulin. Carly Paiker is punctuating her polymer clay beads with freshwater pearls in fun shapes for a fresh take on beading. While VacancyMode is serving up balmy idylls via its achingly cool and pretty damn perfect beaded necklaces and bracelets hand-strung in Sydney with love. In a special collaboration with the perkiest travel bible around, Cool Guides, their dedicated destination edit isn’t as much about Lipsmacker and low-riders as it is about too much wine and the pink glow of holidays. A collection that takes you from Puglia to Cuba, it’s reminiscent of those random gems you find in knick-knack stores in the middle of nowhere that become tangible (and wearable) memories forever.
But should you wish to turn back the clock (hi, hello, yes), then Carolina Bucci’s crafty DIY beads will have you harking back to the good ol’ days in no time. From a family with a rich history of jewellery-making, her pieces are hand-woven with coloured silks on a Florentine textile loom dating back to the Renaissance, and totally customisable; bracelets and necklaces come in DIY with varying beads made from rare stones to mix ‘n’ match accordingly.
So whether it kindles the kind of travel mementos we’re craving so dearly right now or reminds you of your BFF in high school, beaded jewellery is back in a big way and we couldn’t be more pleased. So without further ado, here is this week’s Fab Five featuring some of the best to string singularly or stack with gusto (including a body chain by Éliou, how retro indeed).
And if you close your eyes really tight you can pretend you’re in Puglia – or drinking goon and giggling behind the school shed.
Rainbow Lite set of three enamel and gold-tone bracelets, Roxanne Assoulin at net-a-porter, $364.25. shop now
The Puglia Choker, Cool Guides x VacancyMode Exclusive, $95. shop now
FORTE Beads 18-karat gold and Lurex multi-stone bracelet kit, Carolina Bucci at net-a-porter, $759.22. shop now
PINATA STICK PEARL NECKLACE, Carly Paiker, $149. shop now
Victoria gold-plated, bead and pearl body chain, éliou, $340.17. shop now
Tile and Cover Image: Instagram, @roxanneassoulin