Tortoise-shell acetate is one of life’s certainties in the world of eyewear (luckily gone are the days when the real thing was used), and often it is a blur of likey-likey-ness as far as the eye can see.

The general Joe will always veer towards a standard “tort” of the Havana flavour, or a typical brown and black speckle.

For our debut 6 of the best The Eyeconomist team present their favourite “alternative” tortoise shell creations from our brands – brighter and better – new twists on the old classic.

AM Eyewear Ava Blue Old School Sunglasses

Ava by AM Eyewear

One of our more subtle choices, Ava, this wearable unisex silhouette by Aussie upstarts AM Eyewear really comes to life on closer inspection. Tortoise shell acetates are generally inspired by warm burnt colour palette, yet this unique “Blue Old School” has a granite like feel to it with it’s dark grey tone, interspersed with chips of cobalt blue, that compliment the sleek silver stainless steel temples perfectly. An easy and luxurious classic.

Shop the Ava by AM Eyewear HERE.

Hall by Kaleos Eyehunters

The Hall sunglass by Barcelona’s new kids on the block Kaleos Eyehunters is pushing boundaries in every direction. Let’s start with this explosive Red Tortoise Shell acetate. Resembling the aftermath of a berry massacre, this unusual acetate is made up of a deep red palette, subtly highlighted with splashes of lilac. The oversized and exaggerated ladies cat-eye silhouette of Hall make this sunglass both classic and directional at the same time.

Shop the Hall by Kaleos Eyehunters HERE.

Kaleos Eyehunters Francis sunglasses
TYG Gunta Havana Red Sunglasses

Gunta by TYG Spectacles

Inspired by the Bauhaus textile designer and founding member Gunta Stölzl, this incredible multi material sunglass by TYG Spectacles fuses gold metal temples with this scorching “Lava” tortoise shell acetate. Almost volcanic in it’s appearance, it is really an enriched tone of Havana with the red and orange elements replacing the usual brown. The architectural sculpting of this ladies sunglass silhouette, with it’s cut away lenses and craftsmanship make this frame a serious piece of design work.

Shop the Gunta by TYG Spectacles HERE.

Comic Strip by Smoke & Mirrors

As tortoise shell acetate’s go, this “Marble Glam” shade of white tortoise shell from Brooklyn’s Smoke x Mirrors brand is not overly unusual – what really makes this unisex sunglass a worthy “6 of the bester” is the unique reworking of a vintage American style, with the accentuated top gold bar across the silhouette. American retro at it’s finest, and aptly named Comic Strip, the perfect sunglass for those with modern vintage tastes.

Shop the Comic Strip by Smoke & Mirrors HERE.

Smoke x Mirrors Comic Strip Marble Glam Gold sunglasses
Thierry Lasry Intimacy Tokyo Tortoise sunglasses

Intimacy by Thierry Lasry

If it’s luxurious, unusual and rare acetates you are after, look no further than Paris’s iconic luxury des-eye-ner, Thierry Lasry. A high profile career built on vintage and unique materials, this tortoise shell creation is pioneering in it’s approach. The Intimacy sunglass, a glamorous and over-sized A list favourite, takes a traditional tortoise shell and uses new printing techniques to add on the of overlaying burst of colour. This smudge of rainbow colour adds a touch of “new romantic” to this luxury ladies sunglass.

Shop Intimacy by Thierry Lasry HERE.

Tutor by Established

Pioneers of a rampant Aussie streetwear scene,  Established eyewear’s Tutor sunglass takes the traditional Havana Tortoise Shell acetate and takes it on a trip! Acid Havana, we like to call it at The Eyeconomist HQ, this beefy acetate and metal men’s sunglass is the perfect bit of a kit for those who like large, bold sunglasses with a bit of character. The perfect choice for this Summer’s festival circuit.

Shop the Tutor by Established HERE.