Thursday, 31 May 2018

Erstwilder South American Socialites Brooches

It was only last week that I was raving about Erstwilder's Australiana brooch collection, and now I have another new jewellery collection to show you that is so good it almost puts the last one to shame- The South American Socialites collection!

Designed for Erstwilder by graphic designer Lorri McPherson, the South American Socialites collection features twelve stunning handmade resin pieces including ten brooches, one mini brooch duo, and a necklace, in the design of some of South America's most iconic animals. There are macaws, capybaras, alpacas, sloths, and even my favourite animal- the tapir! The collection is amazing, and showcases so many cute and unusual animals you don't often see made in to jewellery, with plenty of bold, bright colours, heaps of pink, and so much glitter! It has to be my favourite Erstwilder collection yet.

Being a brooch addict and a huge animal lover, I instantly fell in love with the entire collection, and may have gotten a little carried away and treated myself to six of the brooches. Yep, half of the range... That's what happens when you let yourself shop at 7am, minutes after waking, with a rebate burning a hole in your pocket. There were so many fantastic designs that I was powerless to resist them and I knew I had to have these six in my brooch collection. It was impossible to say "no" to brooches of some of my favourite animals that you rarely, if ever, come across in jewellery form,

If you're a novelty brooch lover, you'll understand by the time this post is through.

Keep reading for close up photos and reviews of each of the six brooches I bought...

First up is Chaz the Chinchilla; one of my favourites from the collection, and undeniably one of the cutest. Chaz is a matte purple chinchilla with pale pink ears, hands and feet, and a glittery pink tail. He's a cheerful looking chinny and eager to get the party started with a little green star-print party hat crowning his head. He's absolutely adorable, and also one of the largest in the Socialites collection at 7.5cm tall, so he's a really great statement piece. He'll be particularly perfect for wearing on birthdays and other special occasions. I'll definitely be pinning him to my outfit on my birthday in July.

Next we have Rita the Anteater, who's just dying to meet ya. Rita is a glittery pink anteater (and one of my favourite animals!), and she has to be the prettiest, glitteriest anteater I've ever seen. In fact, the only parts of her that don't glitter are her tongue and inner ears, which are matte. She has a glittery salmon-pink body, salmon and hot-pink legs, and a coral-pink head with her cute purple tongue poking out. She's also fashionably accessorized with aquamarine cat-eye glasses over her closed long-lashed eyes, so she's an anteater after my own heart. I love the choice of colours, and the way the glitter glistens like a diamond mine in the sunlight; she's so beautiful, and definitely one of my favourites. I think she'll look amazing worn with pastels for Spring and brights for Summer.

If you love Rita, you might also like Sara the Capybara, the world's largest (and pinkest!) semi-aquatic rodent. Sara is a matte, pale pink capybara with a hint of lilac, with long black eye lashes, and a happy pink smile on her little face. She's dressed for a cold, rainy day with a cosy pink scarf around her neck, and glittery yellow and turquoise rain boots on her feet so she can splash in some puddles without getting her feet wet. I personally would have preferred her without the wellies, or at least with pink or purple ones instead of yellow, as I think they're a little bright for her pastel-colouring, but she's so darn cute her choice of footwear isn't important. I adore capybaras so I just couldn't resist her, rain boots or no rain boots.

Another of my favourite South American animals has to be the colourful blue and yellow macaw, so I was thrilled to discover Erstwilder had included one in the collection. (I've always loved macaws, and when I was seventeen, I got to do work experience with some in the bird gardens at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park for a week. I even got to hold a couple, which was an amazing experience, and it's one of the reasons I chose this brooch). Let me introduce you to Corey the Macaw! Corey is a stunning, vibrantly-coloured little dude, with a glittery bright yellow body, and a bold turquoise head and wings. He has matte navy tail feathers, a little white face and a black beak, just like a real macaw, which help to make those bright colours pop even more. With his navy, red, and white high-top sneakers, and matching baseball cap, Corey is the coolest parrot in the Amazon- and he knows it. Who's a pretty boy then? Corey is! He's another of the larger pieces in the collection at 7.5cm tall (about the height of my ring finger), so he's definitely designed to be seen, and will make a statement pinned to any outfit. 

One of the smallest and most unusual creatures in the collection has to be Alex the Axolotl. If you're not familiar with axolotls, they're an adorable species of salamander that, unlike most amphibians, don't go through metamorphosis so remain fully aquatic in to adulthood. They also have the ability to regenerate limbs, so they're pretty awesome little guys. When I was studying animal care at college, we had a couple of them to care for in our animal units, and I've found them fascinating ever since, so I had to have this adorable brooch in my life. He is the cutest amphibian on four legs. Alex is made from ruby red resin, with a matte face and dorsal fin, and a glittery body and legs that sparkle like Dorothy's slippers. I'm impressed by how precisely his tiny little feet have been cut in to shape; that must have taken some skill. The cutest thing about Alex is he is rocking a pair of chunky navy glasses over his sweet little eyes, with a little smile on his face. He's so precious I can't take it!

And finally, we have my favourite from the collection, Tabitha the Tapir. Tapirs are one of my most favourite animals, so I could not believe my eyes when I laid eyes on this brooch in the collection. I actually squealed out loud with excitement! I've wanted a tapir brooch for as long as I can remember, and now, thanks to Erstwilder, all my brooch dreams have come true. I could not check out fast enough. Tabitha is a beautiful black, grey, and white tapir, and I fell in love with her instantly. She has a marbled black and grey body with a subtle glitter, two matte light grey legs at the back, and a stunning white pearlescent saddle that shimmers blue, green, and pink in the light. (Sadly, my photos haven't picked that up well). If this tapir brooch wasn't pretty enough already, she's also stylishly accessorised with a string of pearls around her neck, and a matching bow beside her ear. She even has her toe nails painted! Could she be any more glamorous?! She's absolutely perfect, although, there is one teeny mistake I think Erstwilder failed to recognise- she's been modelled on the black and white Malayan tapir which are only found in Asia. The three species of tapir that are native to South America are all solid brown in colour and don't have the white saddle markings of their larger Asian cousins. I'm not sure if it was an innocent mistake or whether they just preferred the markings of the Malayan tapir from a design point of view. Maybe Tabitha was born and raised in South American by migrant parents, or became a South American socialite by marriage? Who knows? Even if Tabitha is an impostor masquerading as a South American socialite, who cares? I won't tell if you won't! The important thing is she's so beautiful, and I finally have the tapir brooch of my dreams. Thank you, Erstwilder!

I'm completely smitten with all six brooches and I'm so happy to have added such weird and wonderful animals to my brooch zoo. The designs are all amazing, and the quality and attention to detail to each piece is incredible. They're so perfectly made it's almost hard to believe each one has been made by hand, but just like all Erstwilder jewellery, they sure have.

Erstwilder have designed some fantastic collections over the years, but The South American Socialites collection has got to be my favourite one yet. I love the designs so much, I'm tempted to go back for more. I'd love to get my hands on Alan the Alpaca and Francie the Flamingo

I purchased all but one of these brooches from UK stockist Glitterally, and then tracked down Alex the Axolotl from Lottie and Lu, which was sold out from Glitterally at the time. You can also find available pieces from the range from Erstwilder, and other UK stockists Daisy Park, Kitty Kat Accessories, and The Midget Gem. Most of the pieces are still available, so snap your favourites up while you can!

I can't wait to see what Erstwilder come up with next! I'm already looking forward to the Africa collection they're promising later in the year, although, I doubt anything will ever beat this amazing South American Socialite collection!

Which brooch is your favourite? Have you purchased anything from The South American Socialites collection?

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