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Boho jewellery evolution - from the western tribal cowgirl to the urban bohemian

And in the beginning, a goddess created Boho

What started it all? This ever-changing, ever unique Boho style - the trend on everyone's lips that is once again dominating fashion sites and catwalks.

Go back far enough, and you might think it was John Wayne's cowboy boots. Honestly. As everyone knows, cowboy boots are a huge mainstay of boho fashion. Maybe it was Custer's Last Stand and the gorgeousness of Native American tribal jewellery - still an incredibly popular element of boho jewellery today. (And no wonder, is there anything more beautiful than Native American tribal turquoise and silver!) Or were the lavishly adorned gypsies and fashionable Moulin Rouge artistes behind the birth of boho jewellery and fashion? 

A true boho original, John Wayne's cowboy boots

A true 'boho' original, John Wayne's cowboy boots recently sold for over $US10,000! (Photo courtesy

After all, boho is just a shortened form of the word 'bohemian', which essentially means socially unconventional, non-conformist, free spirited, avant-garde, original, rule-breaker and artistic.

That's a pretty broad definition, and as you'd expect, there are many 'styles' of boho covered by the term. 

It's likely all of these players had a role in the creation of boho, particularly distinctive boho jewellery - although I secretly want to believe boho is the divine creation of a bohemian goddess, come to shatter the restrictions and rules of fashion.

Bohemian queen in magnificent boho earrings (Photo: courtesy Herb Ritts for Gitanes)

Bohemian rebel queen in magnificent boho jewellery (photo courtesy Herb Ritts for Gitanes)

The only rule in boho is that there are no rules

In fact Jane Birkin was doing Parisian bohème chic years before Sienna Miller did her 'boho' thing and I totally trashed my closet trying to duplicate her amazing 'new/old' boho look. My innate desire to defy convention found me desperately scouring op shops and harassing ageing relatives for vintage pieces - now boho jewellery is as close as the nearest stylish fashion outlet.

Jane Birkin - an icon of French bohemian chic

Jane Birken, the icon of French bohemian chic, in a signature peasant blouse. Birken popularised both boho jewellery and clothing in an otherwise mod look fashion era. (Photo courtesy 'My Vintage Dream')

The American West boho style - the rebel

Sienna Miller certainly put cowgirl boho on the map, and suddenly the Buffalo Girl look was everywhere. Cowboy boots were de rigeur footwear. Boho jewellery hung around every fashionista neck. A western hat was a must. A slouchy shirt, checked or peasant style, accompanied every pair of well-worn jeans or swinging western skirt.

 Sienna Miller's cowgirl boho look takes over the fashion world

Sienna Miller's buffalo girl look caused a major style revolution and showed everyone that boho is an 'always-relevant' fashion trend. (Photo courtesy Getty Images) 

Not all boho is about cowboys and buffalo girls, though that's certainly an ongoing popular look. The bohemian comes in all shapes and sizes.

The tribal boho style - the searcher

Look for turquoise and lots of silver. Leather tasseled bags and tribal fringed moccasins or boots. Look for beautifully plaited hair, long and wind-blown. The tribal trend brings with it the scent of deserts and the sense of deep, lost canyons. It is a look beloved of the freedom seeker, the traveller, the restless spirit, the searcher. There is a sense of things long gone and a nostalgia for all the lost beauty of the world. Tribal boho is nature-based, organic, tribal, ethnic, earth-friendly, and pulsating with the spirit of the earth mother. Bones, feathers, wood, natural hand-knapped gemstones, crystals and handcrafted silver dominate this style of boho jewellery. I imagine a tribal princess overlooking an endless prairie, silver and turquoise jewellery twined in her hair, exquisitely crafted tribal totems hanging from her neck.

Her Lovely Bones jewellery attempts to capture this elusive spirit in its Buffalo Girl range of tribal necklaces.  

The tribal boho spirit captured in Her Lovely Bones tribal pieces

The tribal spirit captured in earthy, organic stacked bracelets, necklace and bone earrings.

The gypsy boho style - the traveller

Who hasn't fantasised about living the fabulous bohemian gypsy life - a caravan draped in embroidered silks, curtains made of antique coins, a sprawl of vintage cushions and a traveller's life forever! Gypsies have worked what we now call boho jewellery to the max. Lush, extravagant, exotic - imagine the wild music of gypsy violins around a campfire, and gypsy women with their coined head-dresses dancing ecstatically.

Not possible for all of us alas (though I'm working on the caravan!) - but perhaps we can capture a touch of that wonderful existence in the jewellery we drape about ourselves, the wonderful embroidered scarves, imagining for the moment that we are in fact gypsy souls!

The urban gypsy wrap necklace

The perfect wrap necklace for the 'stuck in the city' urban gypsy - dream the dream in boho jewellery until you get your own caravan!

The bohemian artist style - the creator

Unconventional? Determined to standout from the crowd? Determined to be different? Love one-off handmade pieces created by artists working in metal? Then our artisan jewellery collection may be exactly what you're looking for. Specially designed components created by metal smiths and artisans, these limited-edition (and often one-off) boho jewellery pieces are examples of a definite evolution of the traditional boho style. It has been transformed for a new generation, for a new and discerning artistic sensibility. The origin of these pieces may be as disparate as Byzantine curves or the beauty of an ancient Greek column. Art is their inspiration, just as the organic elements of the earth are the inspiration behind traditional boho jewellery.

The Byzantine curve of The Tear necklace, the statuesque column of the long bar turquoise earring, the Egyptian gleaming copper of the talon earring - all echo their boho artistic heritage.

The boho artisan leather wrap necklace The Tear

The artisan leather wrap necklace 'The Tear' and artisan arches earrings.

The metro boho style - the urban bohemian

Boho jewellery has come a long way from its leather and lace beginnings. Once the staple of festivals, hippie chicks and rebels, it's now an important element in designer collections and catwalks world wide. 

The new boho jewellery has evolved and adapted to suit the needs of the urban girl. It's just as much at home in a city office as at the Coachella festival.

Metro boho is a chic and often minimalist interpretation of boho jewellery. It is always unique, different- a touch of wild in the city. It's a new boho that is still provocative, yet subtle. Yes, the original elements of boho jewellery are all there - bones, leather, turquoise, handcrafted silver - yet the design is minimalist. You don't have to be staid or conservative when dressing for the office or business meeting. There's a metro boho piece to suit every occasion. The delicate bone crescent necklaces are a perfect replacement for the ubiquitous chain. And the Hanging Rock pendant (below) makes a magnificent statement at your next cocktail party or glam event. 

Hanging Rock pendant - the perfect urban boho glamour piece

The fabulous Swarovski Hanging Rock pendant - metro boho jewellery does minimalist glamour.

You've come a long way baby!

So where did boho come from? It's pretty clear that there are dozens of different sources and influences which contributed to form the style. Boho has transformed and morphed to fit the aspirations of the each generation, and remained both relevant and loved through the decades. From Calamity Jane to Sienna Miller - from the Bohemian gypsy or tribal princess to the perennial hippie. From the radical artist to the present day designers - the fashion artists dictating what we see on the catwalks today. Whenever you look, the spirit of boho lingers. The spirit of freedom, of originality, of standing out from the crowd. In it's latest transformation boho has embraced and incorporated the style of the city. It has absorbed within itself the elements of urban fashion without losing its sense of freedom from constraint, it's love of individuality, making it accessible to all.

With metro boho jewellery, the bohemian evolution is complete. 

See the evolution of boho and the complete range of metro boho styles at Her Lovely Bones Jewellery.

*feature photo courtesy (left) Herb Ritts for Gitane (right) Maria Palm for S Modal