DRAMA QUEEN

WHAT'S HOT: HEMATITE & ONYX

Fashion is having a baroque punk moment. From Versace to Chanel, Givenchy to Alexander McQueen, Saint Laurent to Anthony Vaccarello, leading fashion houses went wild this season for edgy, dark looks. And keen-eyed fashionistas noticed a new trend among the distressed fabrics and safety pins: the return of hematite and onyx as dramatic jewellery and accessories for a bold, androgynous style.

Both hematite and onyx have long been used in jewellery. The Egyptians wore polished charcoal hematite as a decorative amulet while Roman warriors would sport it as protection during battles, believing it made them invincible. Glossy black onyx was used in ancient Chinese seals, in Victorian cameo brooches and as long black beads.

Both semi-precious stones are said to have mystical properties. Formed by iron oxide, hematite is grounding and calming. Celebrities often wear hematite shambala bead bracelets, which can help to overcome negative thoughts and improve self esteem. Onyx is a type of quartz with protective qualities. It’s used to help to increase intuition, to focus and make wise decisions. It’s also great for breaking bad habits and restoring life balance.

These days, hematite and onyx is often used for dramatic accessories. Chanel recently released their Premiere jewellery collection of rings, necklaces, cuffs and watches in gold, diamond and inky black onyx. Over at Givenchy, Ricardo Tesci used onyx embellishments in his resort collections while jewellery designer Eddie Borgo used Cleopatra as inspiration for his onyx cuff with carnelian inlay.

Hematite is also versatile, appearing as a sweet but steely pair of bow studs from Marc Jacobs, a dramatic Cabochon-cut Swarovski ring and a hematite choker in designer Brian Atwood’s debut jewellery collection.

Both hematite and onyx can be featured on their own, or they work well with other metals and stones. Onyx looks particularly dramatic when set with diamonds or pearls, while hematite is often combined with silver or even leather. So whether you are inspired by the mysterious onyx or attracted to the shiny strength of hematite, both will make a striking style statement this season.