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It’s hardly a stretch to make the argument that last year’s biggest overarching jewelry trend was the Instagram-famous coin necklace, endorsed by countless influencers, style editors and street style stars alike. It makes sense that this classic jewelry style went remarkably viral, as coin necklaces offer the utmost versatility, thanks to their infinitely stackable appeal (the coin and nameplate duo have remained a popular layering combo)—punctuated, of course, by their inherently vintage charm. This spring, though, there’s a new influencer-approved jewelry trend on the block: seashell jewelry.
Not only are gilded seashell-shaped designs cropping up as adornments on necklaces, but the resort-ready motif is also a dominant embellishment for rings, statement earrings and hair accessories this season. Even ’90s-era puka shells are coming back to life in modernized jewelry styles that—don’t worry—aren’t exact replicas of the throwback styles beloved by teenage surfers of decades’ past.
Before you begin to cringe at this beachy trend’s somewhat startling resurrection, know that today’s puka-imbued jewelry has been revised with polished updates that prevent the designs from looking like an artifact of ’90s ska culture—or some overpriced souvenir purchased at the hotel gift shop during your childhood family vacation. And, if you still need further proof that the unlikely style’s return to fashion is, in fact, a thing, look to none other than Gigi Hadid, who was spotted sporting a puka choker during Paris Fashion Week. (Of course, the S/S ’19 runways also seem to confirm that seaside embellishments will not only be a summer-exclusive resort style, but will transition into a cross-seasonal statement piece as well—with design houses like Altuzarra, Chanel, Gucci and Stella McCartney showcasing the budding shell motif throughout their respective collections.)
Of course, if you can’t even entertain the idea of bringing back the summer vacation-inspired chokers of your youth, there are plenty of other shell-designed iterations of this under-the-sea trend that feel a bit more refined. Traditional conch shell designs, spiraling shark eyes, and sophisticated sand dollars with opalescent finishes feel more sophisticated (and office-appropriate) than kitsch or novel.
And let’s be clear about one thing: 2018’s coin necklaces are a timeless, ultra-wearable jewelry piece, so we’re certainly not writing them off as a thing of the past. But if you’ve grown tired of the endlessly ubiquitous coin trend, opt for one of these fresh, under-the-sea (and summer-ready) alternatives, instead.
1. Kopi Mini Shell Necklace, $50 at Urban Outfitters
Ariel may have approved of this playful seashell necklace, but the pendant’s subtlety and modest sizing makes it the perfect trans-seasonal piece.
2. Shashi Gold Shell Drop Earrings, $48 at Shopbop
A charming statement earring with a touch of pink.
3. Gucci Star and Shell Embellished Cuff, $1,742 at Matches Fashion
If both Gucci and a Hadid are backing a trend, we can get behind it too.
4. Lagoon Layer Necklace, $38 at Free People
A statement necklace that will look just as good with a bikini beachside as it will dressing up a denim-and-tee combo.
5. Tohum Puka Gold-Plated Shell Ring, $410 at Net-a-Porter
This defiantly grown-up puka shell ring proves that the old-school trend doesn’t have to look juvenile.
6. Shell Bobby Pin Set, $18 at Free People
Tackle two current trends in one with these seashell-adorned bobby pins.
7. Conchi Shell Layered Necklace, $28 at Topshop
Layered to perfection with just the right balance between seaside charms and delicate chains.
8. Beachcomber Slide Bracelet, $18 at Free People
Ditch the white puka shells of your past, and opt for luxe gold designs, instead.
9. Loren Stewart 14k Gold Shell Charm Necklace, $200 at Need Supply Co.
A barely-there shell and chain piece offers a touch of seaside seduction.
10. Kenneth Jay Lane Gold Tone Clip Earrings, $70 at Net-a-Porter
These statement earrings definitely remind me of Ursula’s magical necklace in the Little Mermaid, but I’ve (admittedly) added them to cart, anyway.
11. Chan Luu Abalone Mixed Shell Necklace, $145 at Shopbop
This multifaceted charmed piece mixes traditional shell designs with glimmering abalone for textured look.
12. Lani Statement Shell Hoop Earrings, $24 at Urban Outfitters
These pearly-pink shell earrings add a splash of beachy allure to any look.
13. Shashi Caroline Bracelet, $50 at Shopbop
Bring a piece of the beach to the street (or wherever else you’re headed).
14. Tohum Mega Plated Gold Crystal Necklace, $285 at Net-a-Porter
Who would’ve thought seashells and crystals would compliment one another so beautifully?
15. Loren Stewart Hoop Earring, $133 at Nordstrom
Give your go-to hoop a summer makeover.
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