Tassels and fringe are in the swing again

Special to the Los Angeles Times

When actress Natalie Portman walked this year's Oscar red carpet, raspberry tasseled Tiffany earrings swinging, jewelry aficionados took notice. Tassels and fringe are popping up all over, on earrings, necklaces, bracelets, anklets, rings — as well as purses, scarves, belts and shoes.

Today's tasseled-themed jewelry is a bit Art Deco, a bit hippie '70's revival, a bit ancient Egypt and a touch old-world Venetian, all threaded together with a 21st century sensibility.

"Tassels are very feminine and also very tactile," says London-based jeweler Carolina Bucci, who regularly uses them as a signature part of her collection, when asked why they reappear in fashion so often. "They help jewelry achieve its potential, which is to turn metal or material into something fluid and feminine, something that draws attention to a body part as we move."

Here is a small sampling of some of the season's loveliest tasseled jewelry.

Padma: Created by Padma Lakshmi, the Emmy-nominated co-host of "Top Chef," these delicious and delicate tasseled earrings remind the Indian-born Lakshmi of her native country. Ten-karat yellow-gold tiny scrolled hangers hold dozens of topaz beads, which drip from hundreds of garnet briolettes. $750. Available online at Neiman Marcus, http://www.neimanmarcus.com, or visit http://www.padmalakshmi.com for stores and more information.

Theodora & Callum: Launched just this spring, the new accessory brand's '70s revival of all things hippie-ish and Mediterranean is hot. The company, named after partners Stefani Greenfield and Desiree Gruber's children, has jewelry that's bold but feminine. This convertible gold-plated tassel necklace with turquoise glass stones fulfills multiple functions: wear it as a choker, a long solo chain or even as a belt or bracelet. $325. Available at http://www.theordoraandcallum.com.

Juicy Couture: Juicy's spring line shows tassels and fringe on earrings, bracelets, necklaces, scarves, hats, handbags, even headbands. Not for the timid, the bold medallion-and-tassel Drama necklace makes quite a statement. Tassels dangle from gold-plated spheres with faceted clear glass stones. $178. Available at http://www.neimanmarcus.com or go to http://www.juicycouture.com for similar styles.

Carolina Bucci: The great-granddaughter of a Florentine jeweler creates lush pieces using looms and tools similar to those her relatives used nearly 125 years ago. She weaves intricate silk and yellow gold into this five-strand Lucky Bracelet, elevating the traditional friendship bracelet to fine jewelry. It comes in a variety of colored silks such as yellow, orange, pink, red, turquoise, violet, beige, burgundy, brown, light and dark green, denim or black and woven with 18 karat gold. $2,540. Contact her New York showroom, (212) 682-3238, or http://www.carolinabucci.com. You can also order Carolina Bucci jewelry from Roseark in Los Angeles, (323) 822-3600.

Sachin + Babi: Manhattan lifestyle power couple Sachin and Babi Ahluwalia both grew up in India in fashion-oriented families and met in New York while studying design. Sachin + Babi combines pretty with trendy in intertwining graduated, golden-plated brass orbs with pyrite teardrop stones dangling delicate link tassel chains. Sodalite cube stones hook the upper rings of their Milano ear bobs. $110. Available at Greta in Beverly Hills, (310) 247-1006.

Jose & Maria Barrera: The husband-and-wife team create splendid Spanish-influenced ornate jewelry. An intricate, bright and bold statement necklace with 24-karat yellow gold plate with coral-dyed shell beads has a thick tassel that drips down the center below a huge medallion. $915. Available at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills, (310) 550-5900.

Philippe Audibert: The Parisian designer is known for his exotic silver and gold-plated tin and pewter bead jewelry. A gold-plated pewter tri-bracelet with scores of beads and a solo tassel can bump up a casual look. All pieces are handmade in Audibert's Paris studio. $280. Available at Net-A-Porter, http://www.net-a-porter.com, or find similar bracelets and earrings at http://www.philippeaudibert.com.

Solange Azagury-Partridge: The eccentric London designer's exceptionally creative jewelry is as unique and exotic as her name. Her elegant flat Fringe ring is from the Beauties collection and is available in 18-karat white and 18-karat yellow gold, with tiny diamonds at the tips of some of the tassels. $5,400. Available at her eponymous Rodeo Drive boutique, (310) 276- 4500. See more on her website, http://www.solangeazagurypartridge.com.

Victoria Fahardo: The South American-born designer makes stunning tassels for the home. People began to wear them as jewelry, and so Fahardo now creates necklaces and earrings more body-proportional but just as elegant. Her Egyptian necklace has scores of elongated gold-plated drops held together by black onyx semiprecious stones and tiny gold-plated columns, crowned by a large black onyx that supports a cascade of thousands of golden leaves. $525. Available at http://www.victoriafahardo.com.

Mallary Marks: The New York jewelry designer loves color, and her one-of-a-kind jewels vibrate in all shades. Her Dancing Confetti Earrings are 22-karat and 18-karat gold with 2.15 carats of Mandarin citrine, 2.85 carats of navy blue sapphires, 3.65 carats of cabochon pink tourmaline, 4.75 carats of cabochon jade, 4.05 carats of yellow diamonds, 4.95 carats of navy blue sapphire beads with cabochon hot pink spinel drops. This glory will set you back about $4,900. She makes breathtaking similar-styled tassel necklaces that run from about $11,500. Contact Barney's New York Fine Jewelry in Beverly Hills to order. (310) 777-5877.

Fortune Favors the Brave: Southern California best friends Julia Wilson and Shannon Davenport started their wonderfully named jewelry line in August after both moved to New York City. Choice silver and gold-plated concho pieces have a Southwestern and Native American edge, but with a sweet and stylish trendy twist. Their thick, heavy, silver-plated bangle with slotted concho motif has swishy, chain-tasseled fringe. $175. It comes in 22-karat gold-plate as well for $225. Available online at Azalea, http://www.azaleasf.com, or http://www.fortunefavorsthebravenyc.com.

A Peace Treaty: From the luxury accessories brand, these Afghanistan-inspired Sunari collection earrings (meaning "female goldsmith" in the Pashto language) are handmade and thus just a touch rough and irregular. Partners Farah Malik and Dana Arbib say this gives their jewelry the just-pulled-from-a-trunk-in-an-ancient-bazaar look. The 24-karat gold-plated Konduz earrings are geometric triangles and squares with dangling chains of triangular tassels. $170. Available at http://www.apeacetreaty.com or at Barneys New York stores.

Nicole Romano: You'll recognize her jewelry from "Sex and the City," where her pieces were regularly worn by the famed fashionista foursome. From her newest Assemblage collection, a cream faceted bead necklace with textured red beads and gold-plated chains has large, fun earrings to match. $400. Available at Madison 3rd Street in Los Angeles. (310) 275-1930.


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