LONDON — There are few people who will swoon over a safety pin. But Vivienne Westwood, the flame-haired mother of punk fashion, is one of them, which is why she’s turned it into a precious piece of jewelry.
The designer’s first collection of diamond jewelry is filled with white gold safety pins — some shaped liked penises, others with diamond pendants dangling from them and still others paired with broken arrow and heart shapes to form a necklace.
“Safety pins are really brilliant things. They’re lovely to look at, and they’re very effective to work with, which is why I started with that shape,” said the designer, who will unveil her collection, Vivienne Westwood Hardcore Diamonds, in Paris on Tuesday. The jewelry also will be featured in her catwalk show that same day.
Westwood said she designed the line in a couple of hours, drawing on paper and making makeshift prototypes with safety pins, paper clips and tape from her worktable.
The collection features other motifs as well, including Westwood’s signature orb logo, which is covered in diamonds for cuff links and earrings; arrow shapes for rings and earrings, and paper-clip chains, broken arrow and heart shapes for necklaces.
Westwood, who is working with one of the Diamond Trading Co.’s sight holders, has used both rough and polished diamonds.
Despite her countercultural fashion beginnings, Westwood is as much a fan of tradition as she is of bending its rules. Safety pins have been part of her oeuvre ever since she was designing be-pinned T-shirts for the Sex Pistols, so it’s only natural they would form a centerpiece of her fine jewelry line. But while she’s always been a fan of the humble safety pin, only recently did Westwood realize she was a diamond lover, too.
“About five years ago, during a trip to Salzburg [Austria], I tried on a pair of earrings with dangling pea-sized diamonds. And I was astonished. The diamonds created light around me. I didn’t buy them because they were too expensive, but I regret not getting them,” said Westwood during an interview at her design studio in Battersea, south of the river Thames.
That’s one reason why Westwood set out to create a line with a lot of glitter value.
Retail prices for the safety pin part of the collection range from about $600 to $650; orb cuff links and earrings cost about $1,500, and the broken arrow jewels range from $5,000 to $10,000.
The heart necklace, which is set with a mix of rough and polished diamonds, is priced at $15,000. Special pieces, such as the diamond-covered devil-horns tiara that Westwood wore during the opening party for her retrospective at the Victoria & Albert Museum, can be made to order.