Gen Z’s newest style trend starts with staring deeply into your lover’s (or dog’s) eyes

    Eye-color bracelets are the latest jewelry trend for Gen Z.

    Getty Images; Jenny Chang-Rodriguez/BI

    Couples, friends, and pet parents are sharing DIY beaded bracelets on TikTok and Instagram reels.The carefully chosen beads in each bracelet match their loved one’s eye color.This trend echoes the sentiment and imagery of Georgian “lover’s eye” jewelry.

    If you stumble across the song “Trees and Flowers” by ’80s group Strawberry Switchblade on TikTok or Instagram reels, you’ll find a slew of beaded bracelets looking back at you — literally.

    In a recent trend, romantic partners, friends, and pet owners are using each other’s eyes as inspiration for their DIY summertime accessory of choice.

    Some of the most popular videos are racking up over a million likes and over 15 million views on Instagram and TikTok.

    And whether the creators know it or not, they’re connecting to a rich history of eye-related tokens of affection, too.

    The trend starts with color-matching beads to a loved one’s eyes

    Creators use multiple beads to recreate their loved one’s eye color in a bracelet.

    Ben Bailey/Getty Images

    This modern trend starts at a craft store. There, creators root around for the beads that most resemble their loved one’s eye color — a step executed with varying degrees of success.

    Some of the beads, though, are striking matches, with the chosen eye reflected down to the undertones and small flecks of color.

    Then, it’s time to string them together. Among the finished products, you might see a pair of besties rotating back and forth between their green- and blue-eye-inspired beads or find pet parents incorporating their fur babies’ eye colors into their jewelry strands.

    After all, wearing the colors of someone’s eye is even more personal and less obvious than wearing their initial.

    As antique jewelry dealer and owner of 21st Finds Anne Bos put it, knowing the fine details of someone’s eye color is a sign of a deep, intimate connection.

    “To know someone that closely that you know their eye color is a sign of personal connection,” she told BI. “For instance, I know the color of my husband’s eyes pretty well, but I don’t know the color of my neighbor’s eyes — even though we chat quite frequently.”

    Gen Z isn’t the first generation to incorporate eyes into jewelry

    Eye imagery has been integrated into jewelry for thousands of years.

    The style and sentiment behind this modern occurrence, though, is particularly reminiscent of Georgian eye miniatures, later termed “lover’s eyes.”

    “They were sentimental pieces of jewelry created with the notion that an individual’s eye conveys something intimate and deeply personal about an individual,” said Graham Boettcher, art historian and coauthor of “Lover’s Eyes: Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection.”

    Lover’s eyes became particularly popular in the late 18th century.

    Social customs at the time often required young people to be separated from their potential romantic partners, which is why Bos describes one’s gaze as far more intimate and powerful.

    You may be most familiar with such formalities from “Bridgerton” and its “Queen Charlotte” spin-off. Incidentally, the mythology behind lover’s eye jewelry is rooted in the tangled love story of Queen Charlotte and King George III’s son, the future King George IV.

    George, then the Prince of Wales, became enraptured by a woman named Maria Fitzherbert. This royal romance was controversial at the time because Fitzherbert was twice-widowed and Catholic.

    A portrait of Maria Fitzherbert.

    Print Collector/Getty Images

    As the story goes, George still pursued her and professed his love by sending her a miniature portrait of his eye.

    Bos said a portrait of his eye was seen as far more romantic and intimate than a full portrait of himself. Apparently, it worked. Maria eventually became George’s longtime companion.

    After the royal’s big move, lover’s eyes became an even bigger trend.

    “You’d go to a miniaturist and say, ‘I want to give my eye to my wife, my mistress,'” Boettcher told BI. “Both genders were commissioning them.”

    Bos said lover’s eyes were huge for about 50 years — until around the time the photograph was invented.

    The beauty of the current and past trend is that it can be a secret for the person wearing it

    Some lover’s eyes were worn openly as bracelets or brooches, and others were tucked away in layers of clothing or hidden inside lockets.

    Regardless, part of the charm of this jewelry was that the identity of the eye was a secret kept between the subject and the wearer — or, as Boettcher added, an open secret (as was the case with the Prince of Wales).

    With Gen Z’s modern take, the fact that the eye “has been reduced to just the eye color adds that element of secrecy even with it being out in the open because only the wearer knows who it refers to,” Boettcher added.

    Like a Georgian lover’s eye, the modern bracelets are a physical link of love — and they can still carry a secret (but perhaps only if your video about making them doesn’t go viral).

    Read the original article on Business Insider


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