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Building a jewelry collection is as important as the wardrobe in your closet. The right pieces add polish to any outfit and help you express your distinct personal style.
Collecting jewels that complement your clothes doesn’t need to break the bank. Consider a mix of fine jewelry pieces and everyday items to make your style shine for all the world to see.
Here’s our list of the essential items every woman needs in her jewelry box.
1. Statement Cuff Bracelet
A statement cuff bracelet is an excellent way to add personality to even the simplest outfits. Use your cuff bracelet to dress up a t-shirt and jeans, or add a high-impact style for your next formal event.
With these eye-catching designs, you’ll be able to keep the rest of your jewelry minimal—perhaps a subtle pair of stud earrings to add the finishing touch. In terms of budgeting for this item, there’s a cuff bracelet out there for any price range, from splurge-worthy diamond and jewel-encrusted heirlooms to fun and funky enamel designs.
2. A Dramatic Cocktail Ring
Like a cuff bracelet, a cocktail ring is meant to be worn with a sense of fun and adventure. They have a way of commanding attention. These pieces are all about being fun and flashy for moments when you need a little extra pop. So don’t be shy about going for something in a vivid color or a piece with extra sparkle.
A pro tip: The next time you shop for vintage clothing, trawl those vintage shops and antique markets for cocktail rings of all shapes and sizes. Chances are you’ll find something incredible and made to stand the test of time.
3. Playful Hoop Earrings
Once upon a time, hoop earrings seemed to be reserved exclusively for the young. But this trend has proven it is here to stay. There’s a hoop for every woman and every sense of style.
What size you choose depends on your lifestyle and preferences. Want to convey some serious attitude? Go big and bold with a 70-80 millimeter hoop. Need something high shine but a little more modest for a date night or outing with friends? A 30-40 millimeter hoop might be just right for you. And if you prefer an understated look that still takes advantage of the versatility and playfulness of a hoop earring, picks a 20-millimeter hoop for a practical yet posh finishing touch.
This handy hoop earring size guide will help you understand how each size hoop earring will look on you.
4. A Classic Pearl Necklace
Nothing channels timeless style like a classic pearl necklace. Think of Audrey Hepburn with her cocktail dresses and strands of pearls in her Breakfast at Tiffany’s era: the picture of refined elegance. Designers and fashionistas also say that the iridescence of pearls acts as a wonderful pick-me-up for any complexion, adding a little extra natural glow.
You can personalize your pearl necklace depending on your preferred look. Length is one of the first considerations you should make when shopping for a pearl necklace. Long strands of pearls elongate your body by drawing the eye downward, and multiple long strands can be layered for a multi-dimensional look.
Size is the second consideration to keep in mind, as each pearl’s diameter will affect your necklace’s overall style. Graduated pearl necklaces combine different-sized pearls, with the largest ones making a focal point at the center of the strand, while more petite pearls, like freshwater pearls, create a delicate, dainty impression.
5. Chic Diamond Studs
Nothing says understated beauty like a sleek pair of diamond stud earrings. While diamonds tend to convey luxury and sophistication, diamond studs are a great investment that you can wear every day without overdoing it.
Stud earrings are practical in terms of shape and comfort, while the diamond stones telegraph your refined taste and subtly draw attention to your features with the barest hint of sparkle. Looking for a budget-friendly option? Consider just-as-chic moissanite for a similar look.
6. A Glitzy Tennis Bracelet
Want a piece in your jewelry wardrobe that conveys refinement and adds a little something special to any outfit? Invest in a fine jewelry bracelet made from precious metals and stones, and you’ll always feel put together and pretty.
Tennis bracelets are sophisticated and add appeal to casual and dressy outfits, making it worthwhile to seek out a version that works for you. If you prefer a more cutting-edge shape and style, opt for a linked bracelet embellished with accent stones to achieve that high-style shine.
7. Glam Chandelier Earrings
There are occasions when bigger is better. When you need to add that wow factor, there’s nothing like a pair of fabulous chandelier earrings. When thinking about the best chandelier earrings for you, choose materials that complement your skin tone and eye color.
Cooler skin tones look best with platinum and white gold, while warmer skin tones are perked up by yellow gold and rose gold. A great pair of chandelier earrings will pull together any look, from that little black dress to a black tie event.
8. Layerable Necklaces
Layering necklaces have been all the rage for some time. This is another one of those trends that have become a staple among the high-fashion crowd. And the appeal is clear: layering lots of simple or subtle necklaces or pendants together is an opportunity to articulate your style to a t.
Why limit yourself to one pendant or charm when you can wear several strands together to make a statement about who you are and what you care about? The key here is finding pieces that convey your personality and unique point of view.
Think birthstone necklaces, delicately beaded necklaces, initial charms, and symbol pendants that signal who and what matters most to you. The personal touch makes layered necklaces feel both meaningful and fashion-forward.
9. A Classic Watch
Function meets fashion with a classic watch that will add subtle shine and polish to any outfit. While many of us have hopped on the Apple Watch bandwagon, there will always be room for a traditional timepiece in every woman’s wardrobe.
Watches convey elegance and sophistication—a perfect option for big client meetings, work interviews, and everyday looks. Watches with leather bands are comfortable and chic, while bracelet watches with linked bands are a nice way to get some extra shimmer.
There’s a watch for every personality. The one for you depends on your signature style preferences. Are you a minimalist at heart? Seek out watches whose faces have simple roman numerals and graceful details with one tone of metal like silver, gold, or rose gold. Do you feel like more is more? Go for a watch with a diamond-encrusted face for some wow factor, or consider a complex and detailed chronograph-style watch that has features to remind you of the date and the passing seconds.
10. An Elegant Bangle
Bangle bracelets are a staple that will translate across any outfit choice and event. Some modern trends in bangle bracelets include studded bangles for a rocker-chic edge or enamel bangles for a classic and vintage-inspired style. Thicker bangles offer substance and weight and work as a statement piece, while delicate, thin, dainty bangles have a more ethereal and understated effect.
Like layered necklaces, you can stack multiple bangles together for a dimensional effect that expresses your one-of-a-kind collection. The key to a good bangle stack is texture. Don’t be afraid to mix and match materials like gold, silver, and rose gold, as well as bangles with diamonds and gemstones, charms, or beads.
11. A Decorative Brooch
Most people think of brooches as a little bit old-fashioned. But lately, many tastemakers have been making a strong case for bringing this jewelry back into the limelight. Fashion-savvy women like Kate Middleton have been rocking brooches for years. Major fashion houses and jewelry designers like Gucci have also been showing jeweled brooches on the runways.
Add a brooch to your favorite denim jacket or wool coat for an unexpectedly fresh and high-fashion upgrade.
12. Signet Rings
Signet rings have been popular for hundreds of years. It’s safe to say they aren’t going out of style any time soon. Originally, signet rings featured family crests or initials to stamp documents. These days, fashionistas still gravitate toward signet rings because they can be personalized with initials, a lucky number, or other designs.
A custom signet ring can be embellished with your initials or the initials of someone you love. And there are even designers that offer extra details, like birthstones for a piece you’ll treasure and wear day in and day out for your whole life.