We’re fifty years out from the summer of ’69 and there’s a distinctly groovy vibe in the air. Tie-dye is the newest neutral. Caftans have usurped the little black dress. Edie Parker, the brand known for technicolor minaudières, has even brought cannabis to Madison Avenue with a haute headshop. Break out the patchouli and let your hair down, the age of Aquarius is upon us again.
Jewelers, too, have felt the boho revival brewing and answered with an array of gemstone beads — elevated riffs on the “love beads” that were a hippie staple. They’re the jewelry equivalent of those aforementioned caftans: earthy, effortless, quietly luxe. From delicate strands to sculptural baubles, the latest generation of beads imbues precious and semi-precious stones with a free-spirited ease.
“We’ve been obsessed with ancient beads our entire career; I imagine most jewelers are,” says David Rees, one half of the duo behind Ten Thousand Things, whose latest collection centers around beads of custom-cut aquamarine, citrine, lapis and more. “They are classic and simple and strong, minimal objects.”
The inspiration behind Ten Thousand Things’ collection goes back much further than the 1960’s to trade beads, the very earliest form of currency. It’s that primitive provenance that made the style a hit with the counter-culture — and it’s particularly attractive today. “I think any reference, even subconsciously, to ancient cultures is important,” says Rees. “It connects us to history in a way that we need right now.”
To help you get into the groove, here are some of the best beads of the moment.
TENTHOUSANDTHINGS aquamarine trade bead on 18k gold chain, $2,445
SILVIA FURMANOVICH jarina seed and Canadamark diamond necklace, $12,350
DEZSO BY SARA BELTRAN citrine and coco shell puka, $3,600
RETROUVAI one-of-a-kind aventurine and agate bead necklace with tourmaline, mother-of-pearl, and dumortierite, $8,995
HARRIS ZHU rainbow sapphire necklace, $825
ME&RO ruby nugget necklace, $3,200
CAROLINA BUCCI multi-stone bead necklace with diamond and sapphire pavé pendant, $12,380
COOMI garnet and diamond necklace, $6,900
LOREN NICOLE emerald and 22k gold necklace, $6,660
IRENE NEUWIRTH one-of-a-kind opal necklace, $11,720