Rethinking Jewelry

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by Sharon Mosley

Go big and go bold. It’s the mantra of jewelry designers everywhere this year. The bigger the bauble the better. From pearls to pendants, jewelry is once again making a big fashion statement—popping up not only on celebrities strutting their multimillion-dollar sparklers on the red carpets, but in the accessory wardrobes of women who are scoring great finds from local artisans and vintage flea markets.

It’s time to rethink your own collection of jewelry. Here are some quick ways to update your decorative treasures right now:

Make a statement. It’s all about impact when it comes to jewelry trends. Don’t be afraid to be bold with your choices whether it’s fine jewelry loaded with semi-precious stones or 1950s costume jewelry that you picked up at your neighbor’s yard sale. The oversized statement piece is one of the best investments you can make in creating a wardrobe that has lots of personal style.

Mix classic with contemporary. Have a favorite pearl necklace you inherited from your grandmother? Add a modern twist to it by teaming it with a leather cord lariat or a detachable pendant or brooch. Mixing materials is one of the best ways to update old jewelry. Don’t be afraid to combine different metals and gemstones, as well as gold and silver. Mix, don’t ever match. It’s called “coordinating”! 

Layer, layer, layer. More is more when it comes to accessorizing with jewelry. Layer necklaces, combining long and short for more impact and creative style. Stack a dozen thin slivers of bangles in an artful mix of silver and gold, some dangling with your favorite charms, for a delicious dose of arm candy at its best. 

Change up your chains. Wear solid link chain bracelets with snake chain or beaded chain bracelets. Combining different textures is a quick way to make your jewelry much more interesting. Chunky chain cuffs are another way to pump up the glam factor. 

Buy local and personalize. Necklaces or bracelets that sport various words or slogans continue to be a popular way to express a special occasion. But necklaces and bracelets dangling with pendants and charms can also be a creative way to tell your own personal history. Check out local jewelry artisans in your area to find unique pieces that can be customized just for you. 

Go for the “multiple” experience. There are plenty of ways to get creative when it comes to accessorizing with jewelry. In the spirit of “more is more,” consider wearing multiple rings on your hands, whether it’s one ring across several fingers or two or three rings on one finger. Ditto for long necklaces, earrings or bracelets. 

Try a new trend. Perhaps it’s tassels dripping from a hand bracelet, feathers fanned out over a brooch or a single earring dangling with stones. Whatever you decide to try, the latest jewelry trends are a fun way to indulge your fashion fantasies. This year, the “arts and crafts” look will update your wardrobe of basics. Also on the jewelry trend radar: tribal-inspired designs, mirrored metals and geometric shapes.

Make it versatile. Think about wearing a piece of your favorite jewelry in a new way. Pins and clips can function as fasteners on dresses and blouses as well as an accent on scarves, belts, hats and shawls. Scout out special clasps that allow jewelry to be worn in different ways. A hinged “oyster” clasp is one of your best bets. And if you’ve got a drawer full of old mismatched pieces of jewelry, think about creating a whole new life for your memorable treasures—decorate picture frames; cover pillows; create a “bouquet.” Remember: think outside the jewelry box!

Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association. Photo courtesy of  Roberto Coin Black jade Collection. Available at Forsythe Jewelers

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