A model walks down the stairs of Villa Erba in Lake Como, Italy, wearing two earrings, an ear cuff and a necklace at Dior’s high jewelry presentation in June, with index fingers Wears two rings and a bouquet of flowers around his right ankle. Diamond flowers on a fabric strap.
“It’s very much about using the body as a playground—from earmuffs to anklets,” Victoire de Castellane, creative director of Dior jewelry, said in an email about the brand’s wrote in an email from the latest collection, Les Jardins de la Couture.
Anklets have been a staple in the Middle East and South East Asia for centuries, but they didn’t catch on in the West until the mid-20th century, and even then they were mostly seen as teenage fashion or playful accessories for a day at the beach.
In recent years, however, designers have been experimenting with the style. Parisian designer Valérie Messika has included anklets in most of her collections since launching her eponymous diamond label in 2005, and in 2021 collaborated with Kate Moss on the design. “Jewelry should not be limited to our fingers, wrists, necks and ears,” Ms. Messika wrote in an email. “I like to get creative and wear jewelry on my body, and anklets create an elegant and cool effect.”
Ms Messica’s sentiments were echoed at recent red carpet events such as Dolce & Gabbana’s haute couture presentation in Puglia, Italy, last month, where Kim Kardashian ) wore her own diamond anklet with a gorgeous purple gown. Lucia Silvestri, executive creative director of jewelry at Bulgari, wore a diamond-encrusted Serpenti bracelet at the opening of “Serpenti Metamorphosis” in London in November, an exhibition celebrating the 75th anniversary of the brand’s iconic reptile design.
“The supply of ‘high-end’ anklets is definitely going to increase,” said Alyse Chirumbole, director of fine jewelry and watches at Threads Styling, an online personal shopping service. She added that while anklets are worn year-round, sales of anklets spike between early spring and late summer in the northern hemisphere, and that doesn’t include bracelets or necklaces shoppers buy.
When socialite and British Tatler contributing editor Sabine Getty posted photos on Instagram of her vacation in Greece this summer, it included her favorite gold Payal anklet from Venyx. “I wear it every day throughout the summer,” she said in a phone interview, “and in the winter, I like to wear it over black bodysuits at formal events, just to make the look more fun and sexy.”
Eugenie Niarchos, founder and designer of Venyx, started designing anklets about six years ago and launched the Payal collection in 2020 when she opened a pop-up store in Mykonos, Greece, initially in 18-karat gold but later switching to Payal series. to 14 carats to save weight (2,400 pounds, or $3,060). Ms Niakos said the collection’s name, “Payal,” refers to the Hindi word for “ankle”.
Venyx also offers an 18-carat gold large pearl anklet with 31 pink pearls (£1,200), a silver Mykonos shell design (£585) and a children’s version of the 14-carat Payal (£1,980).
Ms Niakos said she posted a photo of herself wearing the anklet with the hashtag #wearyourankletsalldayeveryday. She started noticing that “customers became so attached to them that it was almost impossible to remove them,” she says. “Some people even wear them in the winter.”
“The previous trend was to wear tight anklets and sit high around the ankles, usually around only one ankle,” she notes. “My design, however, is a low-set design that sits just below the fibula to add some shine to the instep.”
Nikita Binani, head of jewelery sales at Sotheby’s in London, said anklets were historically worn by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. In India, she added, “anklets have always been worn and are traditionally a sign of wealth and status for both men and women.”
Ms Binani said Payal anklets, also known as paijeb and paizeb, are gifts given to brides to wish them prosperity and protection from the evil eye. The designs are often ornate, such as an anklet studded with table-cut diamonds, or a pair of anklets featuring antique enamel work and green glass pendants sold at Christie’s 2019 Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence sale.
Ms Binani, who trained as a professional dancer in India, described an anklet known as a “ghungroo”, which can have multiple chains extending down the calf and can weigh up to a kilogram (2.2lb) , and most importantly, it has enough support. The jingling of beads becomes part of the music: “It’s music, dance, jewelry all in one.”
Krishna Choudhary, designer of Santi Jewels in London, says anklets are often mentioned in Indian literature and even Buddhist scriptures, and are one of 16 traditional ornaments that Hindu women should wear. For example, Mr Choudhry said: “My mother gave my wife an anklet as a wedding present.”
While jewelers in the West have started offering specific designs, Francesca Ruggiero, founder and designer of London-based jewelry brand Kiaia, says most customers are simply buying bracelets or necklaces to wear around their ankles.
Ms Ruggiero said a sales associate at the brand’s pop-up store on the Italian island of Capri this summer saw a customer buy a 22-karat gold Kiaia Snake necklace (starting at €2,100) and immediately put it on her ankle superior.
Lily Gabriella Elia, a London-based fine jewelry designer, said she made her first anklet in 2019 for a Brazilian client who also commissioned a matching arm chain, but Most of the customers requesting anklets are from the Middle East.
“In the beginning,” she says, “we did more classic sapphire-encrusted tennis bracelet styles, but now we’ve been more successful with the Talisman collection, which has a customizable evil eye.” (Prices start at £1,250 for each piece.)
Tokyo-born designer Mizuki Goltz of New York-based fine jewelry brand Mizuki said she believes the current popularity of anklets reflects a renewed focus on self-care and well-being that began during the pandemic.
“I like to think of my anklets as lingerie. The power of lingerie isn’t in showing off, it’s in knowing that your ankles look nice and sexy even under a long dress or trousers,” she says. “Whether you see it or not, it always adds something special.”