For your education, inspiration and entertainment, I present the Susan Jane Jewels alphabet. Jewelry bits, baubles and tips from A to Z.
A is for Accessorize, Adorn and Adornment
- Accessorize – to choose or wear accessories. Jewelry is one of the most personalized ways to reflect your and communicate your style. It emphasizes a particular place that you want to draw attention; or attention away from a particular feature.
- Adorn and Adornment – jewelry is used to adorn ones self and consequently can bring adoration from an admirer. It’s fun to add a little something to your canvas of an outfit. Bringing is a little flair, (and I don’t mean in a Office Space, the movie, kind of way), as a juxtaposition, to counter balance a clean gray suit, or to tone down feminine ruffles. It can change the look and feel of your clothing, and closet more than any other item. Get good at adornment.
B is Bracelets, Bangles, Brooches, and Beauty
- Bracelets – Bracelets are soft and flexible. Examples would be chain bracelets, often with links connecting them.
- Bangles Bangles are hard and they keep their circular shape even when they are not being worn.
- Brooches – Brooches are the queen of the jewelry box, because they can go anywhere and add interest or emphasize a focal point to any outfit or other accessory. And example would be wearing a brooch on a lapel or on the band of a hat or a cluster off to the side, at the waist of a crisp white cotton blouse. Read more about why the brooch is the queen of the jewelry box here.
C is for Cuffs, Cocktail Ring, Collection, Curating, Chanel, Chain, Costume, Charm Bracelet, Clasp and Ciner
- Cuffs – Big and bold, cuffs are worn at the wrist and are often worn in pairs. Coco Chanel was very famous for her Verdura cuffs that were similar but not exact matches. A cuff is bold and dramatic and commands your outfit for the most attention. You can wear necklaces with cuffs, but your clothing should be very simple clean pieces to pull this off.
- Cocktail Ring – A superstar. The cocktail ring is fun, flirty, and makes a major statement. It needs to be loud. And you can wear several at once. Check out my Pinterest board, how to wear cocktails rings for ideas.
- Collection – Your jewelry collection is your collection. It doesn’t matter what size it is or what kinds of jewels you own. What matters is that is serves you and that you love it. Most of my clients wear a combination of fine, costume and vintage jewelry. The point is have fun with your collection. The most important thing, is that is reflects your style, in colors that flatter you and make you feel beautiful.
- Curating – A good collection is curated. That means that the pieces are bought and styled with intention.. Just like your favorite museum has a curator, you should also be a curator and only buy or acquire jewelry that suits you; your style, budget, taste, height, skin color, eye color, hair color. Buy the best jewels you can afford. I am a big fan of costume jewelry because the quality is superb and good costume jewelry can be found at many flea markets and thrift stores. Be sure and check those venues out when you looking for something new to pop your outfit or wardrobe.
- Chain – The chain is the foundation of your jewelry collection for many women. The most popular length is 18 inches. This length will drop in a slight V and in most flattering to most women. If you are tall or big boned, you may find a 20 inch length to be your best choice. The most versatile chain length is a 72 inch chain. This can be worn as a single with other shorter graduating chains, or doubled or even tripled over. It can even work as belt. Wrap around your wrist and now its a bracelet. You get the idea.
- Chanel – Coco Chanel is credited for making costume jewelry popular. Faux pearls and her Verdura cuffs were her trademark. Thank you Coco for making costume jewelry acceptable and fashionable. Chanel costume jewelry is very expensive and highly coveted. The vintage Chanel pieces are highly prized. Read more about how Chanel made faux pearls popular in a blog post I wrote here.
- Costume Jewelry – Jewelry made of non precious metals, sometimes gold- plated or silver-plated, often set with imitation or semi precious stones. Costume jewelry was a revelation for both rich women and the lower classes. Wealthy women loved that they could pile on the faux jewelry and not worry about being robbed, while their fine jewelry was locked away at a bank vault or home safe while the lower classes loved it because it was a way for them to get in the game and get the look of having fine jewelry. Every one’s a winner with costume jewelry.
- Charm Bracelet – The charm bracelet is one of the most personalized and personalized pieces of jewelry. You can buy a charm bracelet with a variety of charms and tokens that speak to you or go the traditional route and build a bracelet over time, adding charms that reflect your interests, hobbies, acknowledge birth of your children, travels, etc. Charm bracelets are fun and can be quite the conversation piece. Check out my blog post regarding the history of charm bracelets here.
- Clasp – A well made and functioning clasp is a sign of a well made piece if jewelry. When you are buying jewelry, make sure to check the clasp to see that it functions properly and that you are comfortable opening it and securing it.
- Ciner – Is the oldest and only manufacturer of costume jewelry in New York city. Their legacy, craftsmanship and designs are fabulous. Check out my visit to the Ciner offices last summer where I had the pleasure of touring their studio with Kris Ciulla here.
D is Drape, Dangle, and Diamonds
- Drape – Drape is for the way a necklace hangs around your necklace. Drape helps create a little bit of movement when you walk, and can be very flattering. Think about the drape of a knotted strand of pearls or how a good chain arcs as it flows from one side to the other.
- Dangle – is the flow of of a vertical earring, usually with some type of bead or stone at the bottom. Dangle earrings are fun and flirty with their movement or animation. This looks is youthful and flattering to everyone. Dangle earrings can be worn casual or dressy; depends on you and depends on your mood.
- Diamonds – are most famously a girls best friend. Scientifically speaking they are actually a pure or nearly pure hard form of carbon. They are most traditionally used to mark an engagement for couples intending to get married. Their sparkle and light bring joy and happiness to the wearer.
E is Earrings, and Exquisite
- Earrings – One of the most popular jewelry items, there is an earring for everybody. Choose from minimalist studs in fine or costume jewelry or go for big, bold statement style earrings that were all over the spring 2016 runway shows. The statement earring was regarded as THE most important jewelry trend for spring and summer.
- Exquisite – Jewelry is exquisite. And should make you feel well dressed and exquisite.
F is Fine Jewelry, Faux, Focus, and Fabulous
- Fine Jewelry – Is typically defined as being 18 karat gold or sterling silver and with or without precious or semi precious stones, gems or pearls.
- Fabulous – Almost all jewelry is fabulous. And you should wear it to make you look and feel fabulous.
- Faux – is a fancy french word for fake or imitation. I LOVE faux stones and gems and you should too.
- Focus – Jewelry is such a powerful accessory because you can use it or wear it to create a focal point, balance your figure, flatter your face. The most versitile jewelry item is the brooch, because it can go almost any where.
G is for Gold, Glamorous, Gems, Get the look
- Gold – Gold is one of the most highly prized metals. Check out a fantastic show called how gold changed the world on the History Channel. It talks about how in Europe gold was used as currency while in the new world, particularly Mexico it was seen as a thing of beauty and art. Check it out here – it’s fascinating.
- Glamorous – jewelry should make you look and feel glamorous.
- Gems – precious and semi precious stones are considered gems or gemstones. Thank you Mother Nature for the spectacular gemstones found all over the world.
- Get The Look – the art of interpreting and imitating runway, red carpet, and print fashion, jewelry and accessory looks.
H is for Hollywood, High/Low, Hoops
- Hollywood – Classic Hollywood films are loaded with fashion, accessories and jewelry ideas. Edith Head was brilliant the way she created and assembled costumes to be almost timeless for top movie stars. One of my favorite jewelry looks on film include Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany, the opening scene with the black Givenchy dress and pearl necklace. My favorite source for learning about the influence of Hollywood and film on fashion is GlamAmor, check it out here.
- High/Low – The concept applies and works well for jewelry too. Why not mix your costume with fine and vintage jewelry? Good stuff goes with good stuff.
- Hoops – Every body needs hoop earrings and there is a hoop earring for everybody. Medium to large sized hoops are will flatter anyone. They exude youth and fun. They are timeless and classic.
I is for Interest, and Iris Apfel
- Interest – Jewelry adds interest to your clothing. It can be big and bold or small and more of a hint of something special and sparkly. Brooches ad interest in very specific places. Earrings add interest to the face. Headbands and tiaras draw the eye up. Long necklaces add shimmer and texture to the body of your garment while short necklaces and chokers bring the eye up, to your face and shoulders. Rings bring attentions to your hands. Bracelets bring interest to your arms and wrists. Well assembled jewelry will work nicely together and keep you and your personality front and center.
- Iris Apfel – Is an American interior designer and fashion icon. She is well known for her colorful oufits, oversized and supersized jewelry, and round black rimmed glasses. She has style and wears jewelry extremely well. Everyone can learn and be inspired by Iris. To learn more about Iris, click here.
J is for Jewelry, Juxtaposition
- Jewelry – The definition of jewelry is: Any articles or ornaments used for personal adornment such as metals, like silver and gold and precious and semi precious stones.
- Juxtaposition – Is a wonderful dressing and accessorizing strategy used to temper attitudes, vibes and details in an almost unexpected way so that a particular outfit is not so contrived. It’s a way to steer a feeling with your clothing by creating something unpredictible but yet is really works to finish your outfit and helps define your individual style.
K is for Kenneth Jay Lane
- Kenneth Jay Lane – is famous for his outstanding costume jewelry. He became well known in the early 1960s and adorned movie stars such as Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn. He wrote a great book about he jewelry and designs called Faking It. Learn more about Kenneth Jay Lane here.
L is for Layering, Locket, Loupe, and Lariat
- Layering – the art of layering includes building a related suit of jewels in a stack of bracelets, or a group of necklaces or a cascade of several earrings around the rim of your ear. This is where you have to put your decorator hat on. Compose your suite with a similar approach with how you would decorate your living room. There needs to be commonality and yet you need to mix several items together that have varying texture, color or interest. Read more about how to layer necklaces here, and how to build an arm party here.
- Locket – A locket is more than a piece jewelry. Because of the typical design of a locket being hinged to open and close, it becomes much more personal to store a photo or two or whatever tiny treasure you care to lock away, and keep close to you and your heart. The locket is possibly one of the most romantic pieces of jewelry.
- Loupe – A staple in the jewelry connoisseurs jewelry box. The loupe is like a magnifying glass and will allow you to see details on a piece of jewelry regarding makers marks or signatures, gold or silver mark and any wear on a vintage piece.
- Lariat – A lariat is fashioning or clasping your necklace so that you create a bit of a single chain to hang down the center or you blouse or on a shorter chain create the tail section close to your neck, and move the tail off to one side. This is a fantastic, unexpected way to wear a necklace. Take it one step further and add a charm or enhance to hang off the tail end.
M is for Mother Nature, Mixing, Monet, and Memorable
- Mother Nature – Is the inspiration for so much jewelry. If you like jewelry chances are your also a nature lover. Think about it: some of the most desirable and sought after pieces of jewelry in the world are made from precious metals and stones. Where do these metals come from? Earth. Gold, silver, diamonds, opals, emeralds, sapphires, rubies and pearls are all found in nature. Next take a look famous jewelry and see how many pieces take design inspiration from items or animals found in nature? Snakes, leopards, birds, spiders to name a few. Consider these nature inspired motifs too: coral, trees, fruit, sea shells. Finally Mother Natures color palette is endlessly inspiring. Think about the colors of a sunset, spring tulips in a lush green garden, or the Grand Canyon at sunrise.
- Mixing – Mixing jewelry is a great way to create and hone your own style. Mix colors, textures and necklace lengths to achieve a feeling, era or vibe. Just like it is common to mix furniture and decorative accessories from different stores, venues and eras in decorating your living room, the same principles apply to mixing your jewelry.
- Monet – Is a well known manufacturer of quality costume jewelry. The are best know for gold and silver tone jewelry and were sold through better department stores through the 1980s and early 1990s. Vintage Monet jewelry from the 1970s and 80s is of very good quality costume jewelry and is very desirable.
- Memorable – When you are well dressed and you look your best, you feel more confident and therefore make a more positive impression with people. Jewelry can help you look well dressed and thus more confident. Everyone wants to be memorable. So make sure to look your best for a first date or that job interview. Take the time to present your best self to the world, every day.
N is for Necklaces
- Necklaces – Is a core piece of jewelry and the foundation to a good jewelry wardrobe. Build your necklace assortment with chains in s metal color you like and add lengths and textures that are compatible. Also a way to make your basic metal chains go further is to bring in stone or bead necklaces in colors that that you like and that compliment you. The most popular necklace lengths are 18, 32, 36, 45, 60 and 72 inches.
O is for Organizing and One Of A Kind
- Organizing – Well organized jewelry will make it much easier to look well dressed. Put together a good system so that you can find the jewelry your want to wear, including the related pieces, for dressing for all the occasions and activities in your life. The benefits of having your jewelry organized include less stress when you are getting dressed, wearing your jewelry more often, and developing and enhancing your style,
P is for Pearls and Personalized
- Pearls – Pearls are the only gem that come from the sea. The have been highly prized for centuries and are timeless and classic. There is a pearl for every women of every age. Pearls look good on everybody. There are many jewelry items to chose from and many shapes, styles, colors and sizes to choose from too. Check out my blog post from last year about the History of Costume Jewelry Pearls here.
- Personalized – Jewelry is the ultimate form of personalization to any outfit or dress. It’s how you make that dress ( of which there were 2000 cut, sewn and shipped to retailers around the world) your own. So, don’t hold back, make sure to personalize your dress, suite or outfit with jewelry.
Q is for Quality
- Quality – Always buy the best quality your can afford for jewelry. Look for well made details such as a good clasp, a nice hand or weight of a piece and prong set stones.
R is for Rhinestones , Rings, Runway, Reflecting
- Rhinestones – Rhinestones are fun and over the top. Some are stunning works of art. Good quality rhinestones are prong set.
- Rings – Rings are worn on the hand or toes and can be slim layering or stacking rings or large, fun cocktail rings. Diamond rings are traditional for engagement rings.
- Runway – Check out magazines, online blogs, fashion websites for seasonal fashion runway shows for inspiration to copy or recreate those looks with jewelry you might already own or to get ideas on how you can bring that look into your wardrobe with jewelry that is in your budget.
- Reflecting – Jewelry should reflect your style and yet be appropriate for the occasion and outfit. When in doubt always overdress.
S is for Styling, Screen Gems, Statement, Style, and Silver
- Styling – There is an art to styling jewelry. Just like there is an art to styling and decorating a home, a floral bouquet or your hair, in order to get the most out of your jewelry and make it really work for you, take a little time to learn how to style it. What your best necklace length is, what colors and metals look best on you, how to wear a cocktail ring. Once you understand the power that jewelry holds to transform your outfit, you will never look it the same way again. Have fun styling it: clothes, colors, textures, handbags, shoes and accessories can make your feel great so have fun with all the possibilities. Clothing, accessories, and jewelry are an extension of the self, it reflects who you are. Show the world your best version of yourself. It’s not about a big budget or owning only expensive things. The key is how you wear it and style it.
- Screen Gems – Is a recurring category on my blog in which I focus on one film or star and highlight the jewelry she worn in a scene or film. I include tutorials on how you can recreate those looks using jewelry you already own or with vintage jewelry. You can check that out here.
- Statement – The adjective of statement when used with jewelry usually means a large, and bold piece of jewelry that will most likely be the focal point of your outfit. There are statement earrings, statement necklaces, statement bracelets (usually a cuff) and rings. Everyone needs at least 1 statement piece.
T Tassel, Tiara, Tony Duquette, and Trends
- Tassel – Tassels typically are loose at one end, and swing and sway when you walk. I like to call it animation. This movement is young, youthful, flattering and very attractive. Tassel necklaces and earrings are timeless. There are lots of new options available as well as vintage tassel jewelry available.
- Tiara – The tiara was reserved for royalty for a long time. Then it was worn for bachelor-ette weekends in Las Vegas. In the last couple of years, the idea of a tiara has taken many incarnations and was even popular on the spring 2016 fashion runway shows. Tiaras are dramatic, so wear them for a special cocktail party, or if your day job allows such individuality, I say go for it. They can also add height, which is something to consider if you would like to appear taller or slimmer.
- Tony Duquette – Hollywood set director turn interior designer and jeweler. His color combinations and aesthetics were brilliant across all mediums. Fortunately there are several coffee table style books that show examples of his stunning work. Get details on this book and see more on Amazon here.
- Trends – Jewelry is one of the easiest ways to bring a trend into your wardrobe. Again check out seasonal runway shows and your favorite fashion websites for jewelry styling ideas on how you can interpret trends and relate or create those looks with your jewelry. Or it will give your idea on the pieces you should buy to update your wardrobe and look.
U is for Unique
- Unique – Develp your own unique style with jewelry. The possibilities are endless.
V is for Verdura, Vintage Jewelry, Versatility
- Verdura – Verdura jewelry is fabulous fine jewelry. The legacy of this jeweler including his clients and personal life is fascinating. He created Coco Chanel’s famous Maltese Cross cuff bracelets and counted many movie stars and socialites as clients. Learn more about Verdura here.
- Vintage Jewelry – Is one of the best ways to get a lot of look for the money. There are many place to buy vintage jewelry: flea markets, thrift stores and online such as Ebay. Get my best tips for shopping for vintage jewelry here.
- Versatility – Jewelry is one of the most versitile and durable waredrobe items you own. Once you understand how much it can enhance your clothing and discover different ways that you can wear many pieces you will see that dollar for dollar, jewelry in one of your best investment. If you take good care of your jewerly, costume included, it will last a long time.
W is for Wardrobe, Watch
- Wardrobe – Your wardrobe should be broken down into micro wardrobes. And each micro wardrobe should contribute to the whole wardrobe and serve you well. A good wardrobe makes you feel good. That means clothes that fit you and flatter you. Jewelry should be approached as it own wardrobe and organized so that you can easily access the pieces you would like to wear. It should also inspire you, and in many cases jewelry makes the outfit, just like a cherry on an ice cream sundae.
- Watch or Timepiece – A nice timepiece is a staple in your wardrobe. A good watch is as important as nice shoes, luggage and a nice pen. Again, buy the best timepiece for your budget, and make sure it relates well to the place or occasion that you plan to wear it. The hot pink watch with glow in the dark details will be great at the night club, but not so great at your tradtional office job. If you are really into watches, build a collection.
X is for Extraordinary
- Extraordinary – You are extraordinary. Jewelry can help you look your best, and boost your confidence; you know, when you want to feel exraordinary.
Y is for Ying Yang
- Ying Yang – The Ying Yang effect can work very well in styling jewelry. Paring black and white together, or wearing a necklace with lots of rhinestones with one that only has a few rhinestones. With jewelry the idea is to pair things together that are opposite composition or color of the other item. This is a wonderful way to pair and compliment 2 pieces of jewelry, such are 2 bracelets or 2 stacking rings.
Z is for Zeitgeist
- Zeitgeist – Is the defining mood or spirit for a particular period of history as shown by ideas and the beliefs of the time. Fashion, accessories and jewelry constantly look to the past for inspiration. Jewelry is a great way to bring an era or vibe into your outfit.
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