Jewellery that is all smiles
The first person to cash in on the smiley face was American graphic designer Harvey Ball, who was paid $45 to create a symbol to cheer up staff at an ailing insurance company. Before that, smileys had cropped up in various guises – Czech monk Bernard Hennet used them in his signature in the 1740s, while a crudely drawn face was discovered on a pot from 1700BC. But it was French journalist Franklin Loufrani who would finally trademark the image, launching The Smiley Company in 1972 as an uplifting symbol of “good news” in France Soir.
The emblem has endured: at 50, Smiley is registered in more than 100 countries, and distributes 68mn beaming products per year. Even jewellers have cottoned on, with designers using smileys to embellish earrings, pendants and diamond-speckled bracelets. Some pieces have full grins, their mouths filled with coloured sapphires; others add simpers to freshwater pearls. Layer with warm metals to give a cluttered, sunny twist.