Fusing mythical worlds and magical creatures, the fantasy genre has captivated audiences since the earliest written documents. And while literature might be the traditional medium for such tales that explore themes of power, brutality, love and adventure, fantasy-based films and television shows are becoming increasingly popular.The success of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy – and more recently The Hobbit, The Hunger Games and widely popular television series, Game of Thrones – have arguably helped to create an enormous interest in the genre, and savvy businesses appear to be taking notice, jewellers included.
A recent collaboration between London-based Crow’s Nest Jewels and Walt Disney is one of the many jewellery collections that have emerged from a fantasy juggernaut. The parties joined forces to create a limited edition seven-piece range based on Walt Disney’s movie Maleficent, which tells the story of the evil queen, played by actress Angelina Jolie, in the Sleeping Beauty fairytale.
Drawing inspiration from the film’s protagonist and prominent motifs such as fire, dragons and thorns, Crow’s Nest Jewels founder and creative director Daniel Belevitch designed a collection featuring black diamonds and pear-shaped onyx.
Commenting on the partnership, 27-year-old Belevitch says, “Working with Disney is like a dream come true, an honour for me to have been given this opportunity so early in the brand’s history. The Maleficent collection has enabled me to create a collection that is dramatic and beyond anything I could have ever imagined. It’s fierce.”
The Maleficent range, available through the jeweller’s website, includes bracelets, an ear cuff and a statement ring showcasing red and yellow sapphires.Similarly, television network HBO formed a partnership earlier this year with Canadian jewellery business Pyrrha to create a range of Game of Thrones-inspired rings and necklaces featuring the symbols of the several noble houses that exist in the television series’ fantasyland, Westeros.
The joint venture has seemingly been successful; with an ongoing partnership being confirmed where additional designs are to be released. Not only are the pieces promoted on the Pyrrha and HBO websites, they will also be carried by select jewellery retailers – including a number in Australia.
It’s not only the international jewellery industry, however, that is getting in on the action. A discussion about the fantasy genre wouldn’t be complete without mentioning The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, something local supplier Worth & Douglas knows all too well.
The New Zealand-based business has licensing rights for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings jewellery, including the famed “One Ring”.
Worth & Douglas head of sales and marketing Chris Worth confirms that while collectors of the range are passionate about the product, it appeals to a wider market than one might expect. “The Lord of the Rings trilogy scores high with audiences of all ages,” Worth says, adding, “What was originally thought to appeal to a largely male demographic, The Lord of the Rings films have become a ‘family classic’, attracting male and female audiences as early as pre-teen.”
Unlike the Game of Thrones books where the recent rise in interest is arguably due to the HBO television show, Worth says the appeal of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit jewellery extends beyond the successful movie franchise.
“So many people have read, loved and grown up with the books, which made the movies and the associated jewellery that bit more precious to them,” he explains.
Another local supplier that has tapped into a consumer’s desire for fantasy is Disney Couture, which specialises in jewellery inspired by Disney animation and movies.
Like Worth, director Phillip Corelli believes the popularity of recent fantasy-themed television shows and films has only further emphasised the attraction to “what we feel has always been a hugely popular genre”.
“Everyone has an affinity or attraction to the fantasy genre in some form or another. Whether it be fairytale, science fiction, dark fantasy, magical or mythical,” he explains, adding that the Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and Pirates of the Caribbean collections consistently are top sellers.
Endless design possibilitiesHobbyist jewellers are also capitalising on the success of these franchises by creating designs that appeal to an ever-expanding fan base.
Handmade jewellery and craft website Etsy features thousands of listings for jewellery pieces that have been inspired by these fantastical stories.
Greg Aplin, co-owner of US-based Madame Poindextra – a “shop” on Etsy that specialises in a range of Game of Thrones pendant necklaces along with other fantasy-inspired pieces – believes that the demand for fantasy jewellery has not appeared overnight.
“The market was always there, but media has made it more mainstream, more accessible, and more embraced by society in general,” Aplin explains, adding that the business receives regular purchases from Australian and New Zealand customers.
From a design perspective, Marty Bobroskie of Marty Magic believes customers have an open mind to the unfettered design choices she makes. Bobroskie offers a range of The Hunger Games-inspired jewellery that incorporates motifs featured in the franchise.
Emma Langhorne, founder of Littlegorjussthings, another business operating on Etsy, is someone else whose jewellery offering focuses on The Hunger Games series. She finds that the genre’s appeal lies in creating a sense of escapism.
“Fantasy allows us to escape from everyday realities. It lets our imaginations unleash a wider spectrum of possibilities that our human body cannot perform but can indulge in,” she explains.
Langhorne’s comment sounds like the perfect anecdote for selling jewellery, and given that the popularity of the genre – and jewellery as an extension – doesn’t appear to be slowing, loyal and dedicated consumers await.
See more fantasy- inspired jewellery