This past spring, The New York Times published an article announcing astrology as the next big thing in venture capital. The current appetite for all things astrological has the “mystic services market” valuated at $2.1 billion. By all accounts, it’s clear that our collective sights are set on the stars. Of course, astrology is far from new — its roots can be traced to ancient civilizations from China to Greece. But in times of uncertainty, such as our present moment, a system that makes sense of the daily turbulence is especially attractive. As a result, talismanic zodiac jewelry, arguably the most personal way to connect with the cosmic powers, is hotter than a supernova.
Astrology has long had fashionable following: Coco Chanel (a Leo) and Christian Dior (Aquarius) were both known to be fervent astrophiles. Chanel’s good friend Fulco di Verdura (Pisces) was another astrology devotee. In 1944, he created the Constellation Cuff for Minnie Astor, embellished with diamonds in the form of various star signs’ constellations. His earlier 1930’s designs for cigarette boxes hand-engraved with various zodiac glyphs and dotted with diamond constellations were recently reconceived as pendants, being released each month over the next year. Ever the trendsetter, Verdura was ahead of his time.
Jewelry’s love affair with astrology really peaked in the 1960’s and 70’s, another era when political and social unrest had people looking to the stars for answers. Social upheaval saw astrology go from a niche interest to a pop culture phenomenon (see Diana Ross & The Supremes’ No Matter What Sign You Are). Soon, the esteemed likes of Boucheron, Cartier, and Van Cleef & Arpels were turning out boho-luxe zodiac pendants — now highly-coveted gets on the secondary market.
How did mysticism find its way into the rarefied salons of the Place Vendôme? “All the houses struggled to adapt to the 1970’s and appeal to the radically changed cultural moment,” observes Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos, who boasts an especially impressive cache of these rare jewels at Mahnaz Collection. “In some ways, we are reliving the late 1960’s and 1970’s when zodiacs became popular — a time of youth culture, a search for self and for deeper meaning.”
Now, a new generation of designers is reviving zodiac jewelry for the age of Instagram. Given our current fixation with personal branding, on social media and in our wardrobes, star signs are an apt expression of individuality — one that is removed from issues of race, class, gender or sexuality. “Wearing our zodiac sign,” says Ispahani Bartos, “speaks to both the mysterious nature of our own personalities and communicates that we share a celestial language and commonality.”
What’s your sign? Flaunt it with one of our favorite zodiac jewels, below.
DAVID WEBB 18k Capricorn pendant, $7,200 by special order
SIDNEY GARBER 18k Pisces pinky ring, $2,500
ANITA KO 18k rose gold and diamond Cancer necklace, $8,200
KIM DUNHAM 18k Leo ring, $2,900
JACQUIE AICHE Taurus pendant in turquoise, onyx and bone inlay with diamonds, $8,500
STEPHEN WEBSTER pearl and 18k gold Taurus necklace, $1,000
MILAMORE 18k Libra earring, $900
BROOKE GREGSON 14k gold and diamond Aquarius necklace, $2,200
ARIEL GORDON 14k Capricorn necklace, $900
SORELLINA black onyx and diamond Sagittarius ring, $2,500
SYLVA & CIE Aries pendant in fossilized Jurassic coral with diamonds, $11,875