An Ocean of Style: Sealife Inspirations for Fashion Accessories

Design Idea A32A Necklace
by Barbara van Look, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Like fashion, the ocean is always changing. So it's natural for the ocean to inspire and influence the world of style. A number of jewelry and accessory designers found inspiration in the aquatic, making it a key trend for 2012 and resulting in a variety of expressions.

In the fashion world, Chanel went literal with seashell bags, Gucci created ocean-themed metal components, Givenchy worked sequins into fishscale-inspired designs and Armani used romantic seaweed-esque organza ribbons to mimic the movement of the waves. accessory designers such as Mesi Jilly, Iradj Moini, Love Moschino and Miriam Haskell took a different tack and drew directly from the images and themes of the sea for their creations. Seashell rings, starfish necklaces and sealife sandals are just a few of the possibilities.

From the elegant to the whimsical, there's an ocean of interpretations out there. Chart a course to your own.

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Ocean-inspired jewelry and accessories draw on a number of similar elements, keeping this style distinct from the nautical/sailor fashions of the 1990s. Shapes from nature such as shells, seahorses, starfish, lobsters and crabs are used while avoiding manmade objects such as boats, lighthouses and buoys.

Natural shells, pearls and coral are the touchstone gemstones of this trend. While all three materials naturally come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, designers can also find them dyed to a range of delightful colors, from rich oceanic blues and greens, to bright tropical fish pinks and yellows.

Charms and pendants in recognizable shapes such as starfish are extremely popular. Designers are also embossing and stamping designs on fabrics and papers, then embedding them in colorful resins and under clear cabochons for "under the waves" looks.

Design Idea C114 Necklace and Earrings Rippling organza ribbons replicate seaweed swaying in the undertow, while oversized starfish and scallop shells cling to fingers in ring form.

Even the guys get to dip their toes into this trend, with metallic-finished shark's teeth and deep-water shades like dark green, midnight blue and black.

Other Accessories
Images of sea life are being used to enhance other accessories: clutch purses made out of entire shells, summer shoes bedecked in beads and charms, mermaid-draped purses and fishscale-inspired sequin and chainmaille metallic components.

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