JUNE 16, 2016
The Old-School BFF Bracelet Gets a Seriously Luxe Upgrade
Ah, camp. The s’mores, the bonfires, the canoeing, crafting lanyards . . . Abril Barret, a Los Angeles–based brand launched last year, is riffing on those quintessential childhood pleasures in ultra-luxe ways, turning out some of the most unexpected fine jewelry we’ve seen. Designed by Florida-born, Los Angeles–based sisters Stephanie and Katie Theofilos, the line started with camp bracelets created for their mother’s 50th birthday festivities, which were whipped up in the traditional materials—plastic block letters, et cetera. Their creations were a hit, and the project soon escalated. The pair (one is a mind behind ready-to-wear line The Squad, while the other is an entertainment lawyer) began casting from those little beads—a tall order, they soon learned, given that plastic is poorly suited to making molds. They lucked out when they stumbled upon some original molds for the beads from the ’70s.
Today they’re creating versions in solid 14-karat gold “beads,” shelling out phrases that range from the classic—“Super” or their “Bestie” set—to the saucy—“Booty Crush,” “Vices,” et cetera. If you’re feeling ultra-spendy, you can even splash out on fair trade white diamond pavé lettering.
The styles brim over with what Stephanie aptly dubs a sense of “nostalgic play.” Abril Barret is an undeniable breath of fresh air in the still sometimes fusty world of fine jewelry, and the sisters Theofilos are unafraid—no, gleeful—at the prospect of teaming 14-karat gold with the humblest braided nylon. As such, they’ve been met with some old-world pushback about what sort of pieces should be made from precious materials. They seem more bemused by that than anything—“it’s like, chill out!” Katie laughs. It’s tough to see how anyone could argue with high-low creations like their sparkly Technicolor gummy bear charms on a yellow gold chain, or 14-karat lockets engraved with everything from pyramids to planets, which open to reveal a pool of bright enamel. Then there are the duo’s most haute pieces: a classic tennis bracelet in rainbow sapphires and yellow gold; or a stunning, almost gumball-size pink tourmaline on a chunky gold ball chain. Bijoux like that should give the fine jewelry police plenty to talk about.