December 13, 2014
It can happen to any of us – you wake up in the maturity of your life to find that you own a piece or two of really REAL jewelry – the kind of stuff that requires a special mention on your home owner’s insurance. The kind of stuff that could be flogged in an auction, or pawned in a moment of spite.
But instead, you decide that this stuff is really quite beautiful, and you’d like to wear it more often. Much the wisest course, I’d say.
Before you get carried away, however, let’s address a couple of serious (and frivolous) essentials:
- Make ABSOLUTELY sure that your goodies are insured. Ask a lot of questions about deductibles, conditions of when and where you were when the item might vanish etc. You don’t want to find out that your insurance in invalid if you’re at a sporting event, or in a foreign country, or eating Thai food…
- And be COMPLETELY certain that you can face the possible loss of this jewelry with equanimity. If losing an earring is going to make you cry for 3 days, then wear these things around your home and enjoy the heck out of them in a place where they’re completely secure. On the other hand, if you could be just fine with insurance money, drag these babies out and give them some air and sunlight!
- Accept that, unless you want to be on a very unflattering reality television show, you should NOT be wearing these lovelies to the gym, camping, or any other place where jeans or sweat suits are the standard. While we’re going to dress things down a notch, there’s a limit beyond which fine jewelry might be awkward. Unless you would be happy wearing these to the gym, in which case, ignore me. Your happiness is the only issue here!
So how to break these gems out of their rut?
- Beautiful jewelry really stands out over a sweater and floral skirt, or a sweater and silk pants. Silk pants elevate the dressiness factor of ANYTHING.
- Your simplest solid dress will change completely with this jewelry. And a very ordinary black sweater and skirt become suddenly much more amazing with the right earrings and/or pendant.
- Dress up a beautiful silk blouse, or a simple, classic cardigan with your gorgeous jewels.
- Accent a gorgeous 2-piece dress with the earrings, or let the pendant shine again a simple top and wool trousers.
I find that after I’ve pulled together a few outfits for a particular theme, the “ensemble” of garments and accessories almost always make a wonderful travel capsule wardrobe. You can see another 8 outfits (at least) hidden in this grouping. And note that I re-used shoes and trousers here, to demonstrate the versatility of well-designed, classic neutral items.
I love the idea of designing a daily wardrobe around an important piece of jewelry instead of saving it for some vaguely-imagined special occasion. And yes, those gorgeous amethyst-ruby earrings would make every day special!
Julie Bower says
Your article is one of the first to appear each day. First cup of coffee to savor, the Vivienne Files to absorb, new inspirations to plan for…I LOVE the mornings said the night owl to her puzzled mate.
I am with Julie. Vivienne files always opened first and sadness on Sundays! It is great to celebrate jewelry that has been in the family for a long time. Someone made that beautiful piece and someone purchased it for a relative. So, when I wear a mourning brooch with my great, great, great, great grandfather's hair in it, I don't feel morbid, I feel connection.
Most of my heirloom pieces are tiny and I wear them every day. My mother gave me a ring with a fairly big (for me) stone and I admit I did feel rather self-conscious wearing it on my travels. These are all family pieces, so the value–to me–is about 99% sentimental.
I just peeked at your scarves–sending my daughter a pic of one I THINK might work for me–so far, she's said "non' to everything!
So many "why didn't I think of that"s! Why? because I'm not Janice!! Just beautiful–wonderful, wearable ideas. I'm printing this to add to the notebook that lives in my closet.
sandy in spain says
If you have a lovely piece of jewellery, wear it and enjoy it. It won't look as good in the safe as it does on you
Coco Colmani says
Thank you Janice for another wardrobe-opening tip. I don't have much in the way of heirlooms or high-class jewelry but what I have (Nana's pearls, the garnet earrings from Prague, the sapphire engagement ring) can all be worn much more often to add zing. Your suggestion to wear these items with plainer but quality clothes makes wonderful sense. More and more versatility for us from your fertile imagination!
Absolutely stunning! and sandy in spain is bang on. And you have inspired me to write a post on insurance ins and outs, so stop by my joint in the new year!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, this is perfect! I did find that all of my lovely necklaces look even lovelier against the background of my simple, classic, high quality black cashmere sweater, so I can say "right on!" to all of your tips in this post! Merry Christmas to all!
Just wanted to add a personal note — please do wear the "special" jewelry. It's not just a return on a financial investment. It's a return on your life investment. Every day is precious and every person is special. My good friend passed away a month ago from a very difficult battle with cancer. Her legacy is to live each day to it's fullest. Love your family and friends. And wear the "good" earrings.
Beatriz Fortes says
Yes! Jewelry is meant to be worn and enjoyed, not to sit in a dark vault somewhere. I love the colour combination and the outfits are lovely.
My own everyday jewelry are some pearl strands (gorgeous ripple and keshi pearls, not the usual white rounds), a gorgeous blue tourmaline ring or a really cheery pink spinel. They all look great on my neutrals and work well with my accents.
Yes, yes, yes about insurance! I lost the diamond from my engagement ring on holiday and a loophole in my damn travel insurance meant that I didn't get a dime.
Also, do get settings checked annually for security. I didn't know that the setting on my ring was getting loose…
I struggle a bit with feeling frumpy wearing small bits of precious jewellery. I do pop them out occasionally, but my usual style is a big statement necklace.
Water Park in Delhi NCR says
I don’t know how should I give you thanks! I am totally stunned by your article. You saved my time. Thanks a million for sharing this article.
Elegant Axe Handle says
My best piece of jewelry is a ruby necklace and matching earrings. I wear them all the time, but because they match, I don't wear them together. Am I being silly, or am I avoiding matchiness?
Janice Riggs says
Are you uncomfortable IN YOURSELF wearing them together, or do you avoid it because of exterior judgments? If you're comfortable, go for it, and the "rules" can go hang. Make your own rules!