I am currently reading a biography of Coco Chanel entitled, Mademoiselle. It is a fascinating book, thorough in its coverage of one of my fashion heroes. I highly recommend it. Chanel broke all established rules of design, and her brilliance in creating a new modern style has been well covered by her fans. Her love of costume jewelry was even more interesting considering she owned many precious gems and fine jewelry. She loved her fake pearls and wore them proudly, even defiantly, and often left her real strands in her jewelry box.
I adore jewelry. My short time working at a luxury retailer has brought to my attention an interesting observation—many women have no idea how to collect jewelry. The jewelry is treated as a disposable pleasure, and their frenetic lack of planning results in a mish-mash of pieces that don’t flow together. In my last post I wrote about organizing your jewelry. If you’ve done that now is the time to add a few key pieces to your jewelry collection.
- Pearls are a staple in every well-dressed woman’s collection. It doesn’t matter whether they are real or faux; they coordinate with all types of outfits. I love to pair my seventeen-inch necklace with a simple top, jeans and high heels. The same pearls work with a navy or black sheath dress. Incidentally, pearls need to be worn, and should not be stored in your jewelry box because they will dry out. They will darken, and once this has happened there is nothing you can do about it. Because they are a porous shell, nacre, they absorb perfume and lotions, too. Therefore, put them on last, after you have used your hairspray, etc. Add pearls to your jewelry and wear them proudly, just like Coco.
- Diamond stud earrings, real or a cubic zirconia substitute, are my second suggestion for an addition to your jewelry collection. I have both, and wear them depending on my mood. My czs are a simple brilliant cut stud, about two carats total in size, and I receive compliments on them all the time. My diamonds are set in a 14k yellow gold and are a bit smaller.
- A bracelet stack is the big trend and here is where you can have some fun. You can mix whatever you like—silver and gold, real and faux. Express yourself! I have a couple of different stacks and I love mixing and matching. There is a famous photo of Babe Paley smoking a cigarette, the elegant simplicity of her white dress a backdrop to her elbow high stack. I cannot place the photo in this post, as it is copyright protected. Google it and see.
- Your watch is a personal expression of your taste. I sell a lot of watches and am fascinated at how my customers will stare at the watch face as they make their decision. The younger generation is beginning to embrace the watch as an accessory, even as they carry their phone in their hand and can always find the time easily. I also have met people who collect watches, and their inventory shows their appreciation of one of the most important accessories a woman can have.
- Silver and gold… you need both! Fashion has for years pushed silver and white gold, but designers like Lana, favored by celebrities and those looking to invest in a special piece, are leading the charge back to yellow gold. I like both silver and gold, and make my choice depending on the outfit.
- Fashion jewelry that is trendy is the fun part of the collecting equation. Fashion jewelry doesn’t mean cheap jewelry—it simply means the stones won’t be precious gems, and the metal may be gold vermeil, or plated. The stones can be man made, which is just fine when you’re talking about a line like Kendra Scott. Her jewelry is highly collectable. In this category you can add fabulous statement necklaces, cool cuff bracelets, midi rings—whatever intrigues you.
- And speaking of statement jewelry…you need it! It can be the oversized earring or a truly fabulous necklace. Once you have it don’t hide it in a drawer, display it using my suggestions from the post of organizing your jewelry.
- Vintage pieces are highly collectible. Brooches, odd necklaces and earrings, whatever catches your eye. Drop a hint to the older women in your family. They probably have drawers full of of pieces they no longer wear. Flea markets and consignment stores are another great place to look for unique pieces.
Have fun and let me know what great pieces you collect.