From the jingle-jangle of bangles to colorful turquoise chunks or the “bling, bling” of diamond or gemstone arrangements, jewelry pieces can add an unexpected element of charm, quirk or elegance to your fashion statement. Like our ancestors, adorning our bodies with jewelry is a way to distinguish our identity and perhaps for some, social status. Throughout the ages, jewelry was once only accessible to the elite, however, thanks to the technological advances of our generations and the variety of materials used today, making a statement with jewelry at any price-point has become within reach.
Building a jewelry wardrobe or expanding what you already own can be both exciting and overwhelming. Like all things fashionable, trends come and go, and what you love today may not be a list-topper 10 years from now. Some see jewelry as an investment, so selecting pieces with careful consideration can feel essential.
Knowing what style, era or type you want to purchase can be tough. But, it’s essential to remember that like fashionable clothing or any other accessorizing, building or expanding your jewelry wardrobe should be fun—an extension of your personality.
Connie Garcia, owner and designer of Connie’s Art Jewelry in Longmont, says so long as you cherish the piece you select and feel it’s good quality, it will make for a timeless purchase, without fail. And, the selection of jewelry available is endless, but finding pieces that “speak” to you is a good place to start.
History In The Making
Historically, jewelry has been used, and in some cultures still is, as a form of currency. From many generations past, jewelry has been made from just about every material possible, including elements from the land such as vegetation, stones, bones or shells and now from the gemstones we mine, uncover from the sea or create in a laboratory. And like history past, jewelry pieces can still denote the faith to which you belong—think the current, on-trend cross charms or Star of David, (known as the Jewish Star), symbol, etc.
From the Egyptian-era, working as a jewelry designer or craftsman has been recognized as a profession. And now that jewelry isn’t only created to indicate societal status or specify religious or spiritual symbolism, the craftsman’s professional focus has turned to creative design, form and function of the piece on the body, according to the Victoria and Albert Museum, a London-based industry leader of historical exhibitions of art and design.
Commonly, jewelry has become one of the best ways to express your artistic flair or simply accessorize the perfect outfit. And, metalworking techniques have revolutionized how intricate, decorative or bold our flair can be.
With rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces, it’s unlikely you can adorn each body part with new purchases all at once. Knowing which body part to place the focus, from which era or style you want to derive inspiration or how or where to find designers or stores first can help you road-map your jewelry-expanding path before you begin, but no cardinal directions included.
“For myself, I like rings first. That way, I can always look at my hand and enjoy the gemstone or design of the metal. After that, I go with earrings or necklaces before I go with a bracelet. A bracelet with gemstones can be expensive, so I build up everything else first, and if I really love the wardrobe even after months or years, then a bracelet is great to have,” Garcia says.
Evidence of generations past lends many quality design inspirations, so choosing just one era to build and encompass your jewelry style may be too limiting. “I think that one should go with a variety of styles. That way, if you want to dress up and be sexy, you have the jewelry to make you look and feel that way. If you dress for a fun day, jewelry that matches can top off your wardrobe,” she says.
Let’s say you’ve picked a body part to place your focus and perhaps an era that inspires you, what’s the next step? Garcia recommends “going with your gut.” “Go with what you love. Sometimes, shopping around will open the doors to lots of unique styles and designs. If you find a jeweler you really love, then that’s a great benefit, too,” she says. “Sometimes, building a relationship with that jeweler can have benefits like discounts and specialty items that no one else has.”
To get started, if you’re keen to keep your jewelry selection on-trend, browse through the pages of current fashion magazines and take notice of what pieces are styled with the clothing. If you’re in the market to work with a jewelry designer, make a point to visit their local store or studio to see their selection of designs and get an idea of whether their style matches yours. In addition, you can visit a variety of jewelry stores or designers online to browse the variety of options.
No matter what you choose, it’s essential that you love the piece and feel it reflects your personality and style. From dainty and intricate to bold, chunky and show-stopping, you can’t go wrong. Wear your pieces with confidence and enjoy the process of building or expanding your jewelry wardrobe. And if ever a moment of doubt, take it from an industry expert, “I don’t think a lady can have too much jewelry,” Garcia says.
Story by Dominique Del Grosso, Photos courtesy of Connie’s Art Jewelry