When Statement Jewelry Says, “Shhhh!”

Quiet dressers have had a rough couple of years. Beset by ubiquitous pops of color, huge bags, inches of platform soles, and bling, (the term “bling” says it all), we are apt to run off in a swivet and hide under the sartorial table in despair. Even whimper a tad.

One must reclaim style one step at a time. Let’s say we give jewelry a go?

Unfortunately, some jewelry  starts out quiet but takes up the brand cry and end up shouting, “Look at me!” Too bad. I love the Van Cleef and Arpels Alhambra line to pieces. Especially in turquoise.

Modernism whispers well. We’re talking about simple industrial lines. Silver textured discs make more of an impact than plain silver hoops, a gold band has more effect when sliced than whole.

Oddly, delicacy makes its own statement, particularly when offset by the quirky, the mineral, and the rough. Kittens, lapis, and uncut colored diamonds. That teeny sparkler in the blue rock just slays me.

Unexpected materials always speak to us. Here, an orange leather bracelet, or a signet ring in silver instead of gold. For some reason, text and numerals amp up simple ornamentation. I haven’t yet figured out why. Perhaps you have.

Finally, there’s grotesquerie. An approach not limited to our generation, by the way.

So intricate and pretty, until you get too close.

One last idea. If a girl were tempted by full-throated baubles, (isn’t everyone, sometimes?) and if nobody stepped up with a sapphire parure, and if that girl were me, I’d be all over Wendy Brandes’ Empress Wu earrings. I think you can choose their eye color. Aquamarines, anyone?

It is the Year Of, after all. No point in chasing pearls if we can’t bite down.

Thank you to @aleatha on Twitter for the inspiration.

Paloma Picasso diamond “X” via Beladora
Alhambra turquoise earrings via Pinterest private collection
Silver discs via Charm and Chain
Gold ring via Beladora
Oxidized silver and raw diamond earrings via Ylang23
Gold kitty ring via Catbird
Lapis ID bracelet with tiny diamond via Ylang23
Leather Lapland bracelet via Ylang 23
Silver signet ring via Catbird
Ant necklace via Catbird
Empress Wu dragon earrings via Wendy Brandes

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  • There are days for statement jewellery and days for delicate pieces. I adore both. In general, I prefer antique jewellery or colourful hand-made beads for the hands, but I am a mix of antique and modern – if such there be;-)

  • I love the Alhambra set in turquoise, too. So simple but incredibly elegant.

    And I adore adore lapis. I love to wear it with my sapphire engagement ring as a high-low mix. Too much fun!

  • Gorgeous. I’ve done dramatic, I’ve done quiet and now I am somewhere in between in terms of my taste in jewels, wanting simpler but interesting for every day. Life seems to be always a refinement. I’ve been eyeing those Todd Reed earrings for a while as they seem so perfect to me now. If I had an evening life I’d go all out and snap up those stunning dragons in a heartbeat.

  • Yes to aquamarines for the eyes, those are amazing!

  • Along these lines, I’m loving the Wendy B gold fleur-de-lys necklace I got for Christmas. Dainty but holds its own very well. Such gorgeous pieces you’ve pulled together here.

  • Have I ever said that I adore your taste in jewellery? Because I do.

    I’ve been wanting to get into wearing more statement jewellery but I tend to find myself very afraid of it. I’m absolutely in love with the kitten ring and signet ring though – interesting without being too much.

    I’m also laughing out loud at the arachnid necklace, as it reminds me of this giant silver … neck thing?? cuff? that my mother used to wear adorned with spiders. It never made sense to me, but oh my was it a statement.

    6:46 pm
    Lisa said...

    Well thank you. And your mother sounds like fun.

  • Yep, let´s give jewelry a go, maybe even a go away..
    Actually, I only have 3-4 pieces of jewelry I want to keep hold on. I could part with all the rest.
    Would I like to replace them? Not necessarily.

  • I love Catbird! The next time I’m in Brooklyn, their alphabet earrings are mine!

  • I had a fair number of Van Cleef Alhambra pieces for years, but sold them all. There are too many copies around, and it bothered me to wear something real, when there were had fake versions in every shop window.
    I love Pippa Small jewelry, and unfortunately for my bank account, there is a shop right near where I live. It fits my lifestyle and is unique, and looks great worn very casually.
    Love the dragon earrings, and I also happen to be born in the year of the Dragon! I think they’re quite fabulous.

  • I’m a “quiet dresser” and absolutely LOVE everything you highlighted in this post. Now I need to go shopping…

  • Those Alhambra turquoise earrings are perfect! All of the jewelry is beautiful.

    Art by Karena

  • The necklace with the ants? Rather makes me glad I don’t wear jewelry…

  • Love it! The Van Cleefs are fun, the textured silver is lovely, and now I want a pair. I also really like the dragons, and they’re very me. Asian influenced, pearls, unusual but understated.

    In my jewelry, I have two treasured items of statement jewelry, each made for me, that both fall under “quirky, mineral, or rough”. One is a pair of handmade origami cranes, folded in silver. A friend took a class on making jewelry from precious metal clays, but had no idea what to make. I suggested origami. I got one pair, his wife got another.

    The other is a malachite and silver pendant, done in cameo style, that my husband had made for me as an anniversary gift. (I love chameleons.)

    The pendant is very striking, and I get a lot of comments on it, but the earrings are just small and subtle enough to catch only the observant eye. I love their slightly subversive charm, and their tiny imperfections. Quirky, but discreet.

  • I would enjoy nearly all these pieces except the Alhambra, just too knocked-off to retain its discreet charm. If I were to analyze value, there are certain pieces shown that do not represent good value (a polite way of saying overpriced) but if money is no object, a buyer may not care. Like kathy, I love Pippa Small, too.

  • I have an Alhambra knock-off I think, gold earhangers in that form with faceted ginger quartz. I got them on sale and thought the form was lovely, never suspecting … No matter. I’ll wear them with pride, bowing to their distinguished origin.

    If I wanted something really great I’d go for the Wendy Brandes dragon ring. Just to be able to look at it on my hand all day. That head. Exquisite.

  • The majority of my jewelry is costume jewelry, but lately I’ve come across interesting pieces of copper jewelry in antique stores. It appeals to me because it is neither gold or silver, but more colorful, yet subtle.

  • You had at me ‘jewelry’. Actually being a former (as in a very, very, very long time ago),Miss Alhambra,I have always loved the lover leaf design.

    6:45 pm
    Lisa said...

    No way! How fun.

  • Lets call it sleeping on the job, but I hadn’t seen the Alhambra collection in turquoise until this post. I am completely in lust over it now. Add I’ll be pinning that later, no doubt. :)

  • Lisa, come to Austria, the country where Alhambra is a fortress in Spain, not more, not less. All people would say “Nice earrings! Where did you get them? Are they custom made? And “They look good on you!”

  • I tend to keep things simple and modern but occasionally throw on something really trashy.

    Swivet is a new word for me – thank you!

    6:45 pm
    Lisa said...

    I think Swivet and Trashy align well:).

  • I must admit my preferences are more toward vintage jewelry. The pieces you have chosen are lovely.

    6:44 pm
    Lisa said...

    Thank you:).

  • SCREEEEECH, did you say noisy statement jewelry?


    6:44 pm
    Lisa said...

    Oi. But at least it’s all in one place.

  • I think looking attractive when getting older is a lot about knowing structure. Your face, your bones, your posture – an essence of your appeal. Wonderful to work with as one realises it’s all material to behold, comprehend and put forward.

  • All very pretty. My daily signature jewelry is ancient and always seems to me very anti-bling since it isn’t sparkly or even very shiny and most won’t recognize what they are seeing. Usually it feels like a secret luxury. However, when I run into the occasional art historian, who does a double take, it suddenly seems way too loud.

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