Starting a Jewelry Collection - The Basics

For the longest time, I didn’t wear any jewelry. I always had the feeling it’s too much, clothes are enough. I had my ears pierced when I was a child, and I used to wear earring all the time, in fact, my best friend and I in high school were notorious for wearing identical, extremely large earrings. But as I got older I stopped wearing them. So about a year ago, I can’t pinpoint why, I started to suddenly become interested in jewelry again. I got my ears re-pierced. And began to think about what kind of jewelry I actually would like to wear. As I’m very much into building something timeless, my first thought was to get some classic pieces and go from there. So in this post I’m talking about the jewelry that I focused on first to a) have some go-to pieces, b) to have some time to figure out what kind of specific jewelry I like.

One of the first questions was what type of metal I’d like to go with, and I decided on gold because it goes better with my skin tone. I like silver as well, and I will branch out into that, but to start off I stuck with the gold color. I’m actually a big fan of rose gold as well, but it’s not as common.

  1. The Studs

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Since I got my ears re-pierced I had to wear earrings every day anyway, for a year (which is just over now). My mom gave me these diamond studs, and I wear them almost exclusively. The only other kind of earrings I wear are hoops. I love these because of the personal connection. I do think that a pair of studs is a great basic. Could be anything, as long as it’s not so dominant (see the end of the post for some jewelry designers whose studs I think are great).

2. Hoops

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I wanted to have an alternative to the studs that is still classic, but a little bit more of a statement piece. I love hoops because they’re so feminine, and remind me of classic Italian style. I started with a medium size so I could wear it to most occasions. Love the bigger ones (and I got a pair recently), but in the beginning for me it was all about versatility and also exploring what I actually like.

3. The Choker

The only kind of jewelry I’ve continued to wear over the years was the choker - usually leather bands that I wrapped around my neck (more about that later). I’ve always had a faible for them. I can’t explain it, but there’s something inherently sexy about them. They also don’t demand as much attention as a longer necklace. Especially if you choose a single strand, it’s a very subtle piece. And chokers are great layering pieces as well!

4. The Longer Necklace

So the longer necklace was new territory for me. This is the only one I own. I love the idea of layering longer necklaces of different lengths for a stronger statement, the next one I’ll buy will be one with a cross pendant.

5. Bangles

You really can’t go wrong with simple bangles. Worn alone they’re elegant, or they give friendship or leather bracelets an upgrade (see more on that below).

4. Rings

Here I like the idea of layering rings, so I started with a trio of very thin, simple golden ones (two yellow gold, one rose gold). That opens up a whole myriad of options with those three rings alone, and I can always add in a statement piece.

Ok, so here you have it. The above pieces are my basics, that work with everything, and still feel authentic to me.

One classic piece of jewelry I own but never wear is a pearl necklace. It doesn’t feel right, at least not yet. I try it every once in a while though, because I see so many women wear their pearls beautifully. I’ll keep you updated on my progress here!

Personalization options

After having together somewhat of a basic assortment, the question is, what do I want to do with jewelry beyond that? For me that has turned out to be all things leather and glass pearls. For you it might be costume jewelry, or diamonds, or brooches, or Indian-style jewelry,… I think most of us already know what that is, because those are the pieces we intuitively collect over the years. But here is where it gets interesting, where you can consciously combine the basics with your specifics, or two specifics together, and see how that works.

PS: I also love the Brazilian wish bracelets. Those are ribbons made out of different colored fabric, each color representing a different area of your life. You tie them around your wrist with a knot and make a wish. On some websites it says you tie three knots and make three wishes, but that’s not how I learned it. You need to wear the bracelet until it naturally falls off your wrist, and then your wish will come true. I am wearing a yellow (success and intelligence) and a red (passion and strength) ribbon right now.

These are my favorite brands:

Louise Damas - France - the choker is from Louise. She names each of her pieces after a heroine of literature.

Cinco - Portugal - the long necklace is from this Portuguese brand.

Purpose Jewelry - India - I got my bangles here. The pieces are made by survivors of human trafficking.

Catbird - USA - a great Williamsburg boutique. I particularly like their very fine rings (which I am wearing above).

Kinn Studio - USA - this brand focuses on basics, all her pieces are solid gold, for great prices! I wear her hoops in the photo.

Tuza - Mexico/USA - she does great hoops but is most famous for her vagina necklace (check it out here). I own one of her hoops, but I am not wearing them in the picture. She offers larger ones than Kinn Studio.