INTO: Ottolinger’s Post-Apocalyptic Prom Necklace

Published October 14, 2019

“Into” is a series dedicated to objects, artworks, garments, exhibitions, and all orders of things that we are into — and there really isn’t a lot more to it than that. Today: Writer Madeleine Holth explores her infatuation with a faux diamond necklace that looks like it was fished out of a swamp.

Jewelry sucks. From the minute you purchase it, a piece of jewelry’s existential clock starts ticking toward a gruesome, oxidized death— unless of course, it’s fine jewelry. Nothing within the realm of jewelry speaks to me. It always tends to feel generic, or too trend-centric to be worth the buck. That’s why I don’t own any precious, or even semi-precious, necklaces or bracelets. However, in a post-fashion week scroll down the rabbit hole that is my Instagram feed, I came across a recent post by the fashion label Ottolinger, and had to put my thumb to rest and evaluate how much I needed the necklace I was admiring through my cracked retina screen. Ottolinger hails from Switzerland, the world’s third-biggest exporter of fine jewelry, so it’s no surprise that jewelry making its way into the brand’s repertoire. The brand is primarily known for its destructive nature, and has created the necklace of all SS20 necklaces: a faux diamond filigree half-dipped in black silicone.

The necklace has its genesis in the the décolletages of 19th century women attending the opera and other extravagant soirees that call for white gloves and floor-skimming gowns. It’s one of those necklaces that you wear once a year at best; it’s too vulgar for a staff meeting on a Monday and too extravagant for your friend’s dinner party, but with this silicone-based rendition, its functionality appears to have shifted and left the banquet hall where it came from. It’s as if Ottolinger threw Marilyn Monroe’s Harry Winston jewelry from the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in a pool of tar and resurrected it. I’m into this necklace because it feels so incredibly wrong—a middle-finger to upper-class pretension by covering up the majority of the stones in swamp-like discharge. Fifty percent debutante ball and fifty percent post-apocalyptic goth, it’s a perfect union of opposites. It’s like a daydream of belonging in a society so far away from my current reality, with an added dark and dystopian plot twist towards the end. This post-apocalyptic depiction of a prom necklace will be mine in approximately 6 months, regardless of the price tag. I can only hope those aren’t real diamonds hiding under that opaque shell of silicone.