One of the questions I get most often is how to put together a basic jewelry wardrobe. Building or updating your jewelry collection doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. What’s most important is to consider what works with your lifestyle and compliments your personal style; having a jeweler, stylist or friend whose taste you admire and trust also helps. With that in mind, let’s have a look at the basics and some ways to give them a little extra panache.
1. Pearls: Whether you prefer white, gray or golden, a great strand of pearls is one of the basics you’ll reach for time and again. While you don’t have to spend thousands for South Sea or Tahitians like these, quality is important. Unless your profession requires formal business attire on a daily basis (think attorney or financial advisor), I recommend a less serious approach to the traditional strand of pearls. Maybe have your gray pearls knotted on fuchsia or purple silk or have your grandmother’s white pearls wrapped in gold or silver wire (à la Chanel). Either of these is a great way to breathe new life into a time tested classic.
2. Long Chain Necklace: When your outfit needs a little something extra, a long chain is an easy and elegant way to add some finesse. Chains like the Van Cleef and Arpels Alhambra made famous by Grace Kelly are great because they can work in many ways, depending on the look you’re going for. They can be worn long, can be doubled for a layered look, and can even be wrapped multiple times around the wrist as a bracelet. While an Alhambra necklace isn’t in the budget for most of us, there are plenty of options in a wide range of prices that are just as versatile, easy and fun. Shown are multicolored sapphires in 18k gold.
3. Turquoise: We all need a splash of color every now and then to spice things up. Turquoise is a perfect choice because it looks great in every season and compliments everyone’s coloring. In fact, makeup artist Bobbi Brown maintains that the best remedy for the dark circles and puffy eyes that come from jet lag and late nights is to wear a turquoise necklace or scarf. If you prefer for something slightly more subtle, opt for turquoise earrings.
4. Hoop earrings: Be it large and bold or small and dainty, a classic hoop is a must in every girl’s bag of tricks. Hoops come in all different sizes, shapes and dimensions so pick what feels comfortable and works with your budget. The right hoop will show off your style and work with a variety of outfits. They are the perfect “I don’t have to think about it” accessory that you will be sure to go to often. I’ve been wearing these 18k gold and diamond briolette hoops for years and still get compliments on them.
5. Modern pearl earrings: A great way to modernize your look is to take a classic pearl earring and add a dash of the unexpected. These earrings can transition into any season and be a piece that will stay in style forever. This pair with diamonds is my current favorite.
6. Bangles: Whether gold or silver, plain or studded with stones, bangles are a staple both timeless and contemporary. Take delicate bangles and stack them with other bracelets to create an urban look that compliments many different outfits.
With these six staple pieces, you’ll have something to wear for any occasion. Remember that jewelry is your chance to show off your personal style. Pick out pieces that reflect who you are. Don’t be afraid to mix and layer them with an unexpected piece to round out an otherwise classic outfit!
All photos copyright Lisa Aronow Atelier.
Lisa Rose Aronow is a metalsmith and jewelry designer who works with a wide variety of precious and semiprecious stones, high karat gold and sterling silver. Her work can be found at Gus Mayer in Nashville, TN or online at Facebook.com/LisaAronowAtelier.