There was a time when the essentials of building a jewelry collection included classic diamond studs, a diamond solitaire pendant and a diamond line or tennis bracelet—all ageless, timeless and enduring pieces that could be worn alone or mixed in with others in a jewelry wardrobe. These were styles that earlier generations of young women might have been presented for college graduations, gifted for romantic occasions or for the birth of a first child.
But as times changed over the past 10-15 years and more and more of us began purchasing for ourselves, the idea of the core pieces of a jewelry collection changed along with it. Particularly now, when online and brick and mortar stores are cracking the code of marketing to millennials, staples and status have been replaced by story and symbolism when it comes to what young women should consider when starting to build a jewelry collection.
in this day and age when bending rules and standing out from the crowd rather than blending in has become de rigueur, modern women desire pieces that express their specific personalities, beliefs and connections to where they have been and where they are going in their lives.
Here are six essential pieces that can be worn every day and combined in imaginative ways with your existing classics. These styles will provide you with jewelry that you can wear well into the future.
1-Signet rings began to see a return to popularity approximately four to five year ago. Antique and vintage styles started filling up ring displays in dealer’s cases after years of being tucked away. Modern-day designers quickly picked up on why they would be popular with modern women. These rings literally offer the wearer a mark of distinction —one that can be as simple as monogrammed or engraved initials or more intricate looks depicting mottos, messages and motifs that reflect beliefs, dreams and hopes for the future. “Signus” means sign in Latin, and the rings (dating back 4000 years) were, in fact, used as a form of signature—the image of the ring in relief, when impressed on wax, sealed deals, identified ownership and authenticated documents. The images were engraved into a range of materials including intaglios, which were then set into gold shanks. They originally represented classical and mythological subjects. They began to evolve into symbols of power and affiliation and went on to depict occupations and hobbies. Married couples’ initials were engraved and linked together in a delicate design, sometimes accented by meaningful leaves and floral motifs in all gold designs. Today’s rings are either clean-lined or featured intricated shanks and blank tops left for you to engrave. This type of ring definitely allows you to leave your own stamp of style.
2- Small pendant or double drop earrings in diamonds or gemstones are perfect for any time of the day and offer you a swingy, sparkly look. Sure we all are happy to have the perfect stud, but after a while, you need to change up your style. Both double drops and pendant earrings were popularized in earlier times and have never really gone out of style in some form or another from the 1700s until now. Double drops, which featured one stationary stone fixed on a wire mechanism, and one that dangled, offer more movement and light than a stud fixed on the ear. Same holds true for pendant drops which usually feature a smaller stone on top and longer pear, rectangular or marquise shaped stone, dropping down. Depending on your personal tastes, you can find them in all diamonds, but with all of the amazing gemstones shown these days, why not try a pair in emerald or with tonal or contrasting color top and bottom. All the looks in these style earrings work to light up the face. And today, with all of the different styles being shown and worn and multiple piercings, you can wear the smaller double drops in your first holes and then graduate to the longer pendant earrings in your 2nd holes and go from there, depending on the amounts piercings in your lobes.
Today we are seeing pendant earrings with a variety of cuts of colored gemstones in settings that range from prong to bezel or those with pave surrounds. They are easy to wear and versatile enough to work with any outfit when you are rushing to get out of the house.
3- A Statement Chain can become your signature piece from which to hang one or more medallions or talisman or to wear alone. Whether you choose from an array of antique, vintage or modern chains, be sure that it has presence without overpowering you. I first started noticing the trend to weightier, bolder and gutsier chains in 2016 and they are being linked and looped together in creative ways. One of the edgier antique or vintage looks combines two different shorter watch for styles into one longer necklace and contemporary designers have hooked into this look, featuring different links in one chain or adding on additional closures that become part of the entire look. You can create lariats, Y-styles and a few other imaginative silhouettes.
4- Charms and Talisman are the perfect add on to these chains or to layer on shorter and slightly more delicate chains. In either case, amulets and symbolic pendants date back to the beginning of jewelry’s history and they have been a way to wear your beliefs, hopes and dreams close to your heart, ward off and shield you from evil and bring love, luck, guidance and protection into your lives. From Victorian sentimentality to various cultures of healing powers and spirituality, designers have picked up on these messages and motifs that speak to each of us in different ways, depending on our life experiences. They reflect our past and represent what we hope for in the future.
5- Hoop Earrings in a medium size, yellow gold and a swirly almost organic shape can be worn every day and on every occasion. These style of earrings are perfect for just that reason, but as independent women with different moods and different attitudes, we would prefer to make them part of our jewelry rotation. Hoops have been around for centuries and in all cultures and civilizations. They had quite an historical past and traveled to Africa, Asia Ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece. They have symbolized everything from tribal identity to religious beliefs. Hoops also had a bad rep during earlier times. They were worn by slaves (hence the term slave hoop) pirates and later associated with women in the ‘sex trade.’ But, since their welcome return during the free love, free-spirited ‘60s and the feminist movement of the ‘70s, hoops circle back into designer’s collections every few years. Medium size hoops have become the favorite style of earring in a women’s jewelry wardrobe due to their versatility and wearablity.
6- A Diamond Bracelet is always a must in a woman’s jewelry wardrobe/collection. Choosing the style that is right for you will depend on the other bracelets you wear. However, the two styles that mix with just about any other metal color or style are diamond bangles or the new version of the diamond tennis bracelet in a range of diamond cuts or alternating diamond and gemstones look with a pull-tie closure. Both of these can be stacked with other diamond bangles, wider textural or engraved styles, link chain bracelets and/or the icon Carter Love bracelet and/or your favorite watch. Or, you can wear it alone for a quiet, unstudied and elegant look.