Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Art of Choosing Jewelry

A comment from Lynette prompted me to write this blog post. She asked me to write some more about where I find my necklaces and how I go about choosing them. I take any excuse to sort through my jewelry so I wasn't exactly reluctant! 

You wont get to see my complete jewelry collection today, as part of it is still lost somewhere in some moving box... But here is an illustrative selection. 

There are a few criteria that I use when searching for, choosing and buying jewelry. I want unique jewelry, preferably handmade, vintage or repurposed. I also want jewelry that is more than pretty. I want it to have a context or a subtle symbolic meaning. I wear a lot of jewelry with association to history or nature. You may notice a lot of old keys among my necklaces along with other repurposed items but also some leaves and mysterious historical patterns. These are things that I feel are distinctively "me", that have a meaning for me! I also want to introduce more macabre in my collection. My raven skull is feeling kind of lonely. But I don't want to venture into gothic cliché so the hunt is a bit slow...

There is also the material to consider. There are some colors and materials that I prefer, that I have made mine. Bronze and forged iron are my favorite materials by far! Gold is too... vulgar, silver too pale and they are both too perfect, too light, too bright. I want a rustic and dark feel to my jewelry! I like oxidized, rusted, aniqued! I try to make sure that I have matching rings and bracelets fro every color and material. I just obsessively need my pieces of jewelry to match perfectly! Another signature material in my jewelry wardrobe pertains specifically to my rings. I really like carved stone rings, meaning rings that are carved out of solid stone. I have a lot of them in various different colors!

There are other personal preferences to take into consideration as well. How large do I want my jewelry to be? And what lenghts suit my clothing best? Admittedly, I enjoy large pieces of jewelry. Large but still elegant and practical. I want my jewelry to be noticed. And I want it to be noticed right away, and not as an afterthought! I also want my jewelry to be a natural part of my outfit. For that it is useful if a necklace is flexible and can be made shorter or longer depending on my needs. When I wear my vest I need my necklaces to be shorter than when I am without vest. When I wear a button down shirt I need a necklace to lay just right between buttons... A wardrobe with a variety of cleavage types demands more flexibility from the necklace wardrobe. For some of my pendants I have made braided cords to use instead of the chains they came with, for added versatility.

So where do I find my jewelry? There are a few different places. As I am into making jewelry I create a lot of pieces for my own use. I sell my jewelry on Etsy (my shop is here) and that is a great place to buy handmade jewelry. I have made some really stunning finds there, like the raven skull and the wire eye! I also buy a lot of jewelry on handmade markets or in handmade shops. Another part of my collection is thrifted or second hand. But it's hard for me to find vintage jewelry that really suits my style...

Final thoughts on building a jewelry wardrobe:

  • Make sure rings and bracelets fit right. If they are too loose you wont wear them, no matter how pretty they are. 
  • Find your style! Your jewelry should match (or maybe contrast) your clothing and if you have a distinctive personal clothing style then why not an equally distinctive jewelry style?
  • Signature pieces are very useful to have, especially if they are versatile and suits the majority of you clothing. If you can't be bothered/don't have the time to choose jewelry then you have something to fall back on that always works!
  • Try making your own jewelry from items that mean something to you! These pieces will be very personal and original!
  • Signature materials are important. They help you focus your search and keep your collection consistent! Look at your clothing style and try to come to a conclusion as to what materials and colors you should focus on. And the choice doesn't stand between gold or silver. There is a myriad of other materials! Maybe wood is your thing, or a particular type of gem, or leather, or sea shells or maybe bone....
  • Avoid very fragile pieces of jewelry. Jewelry needs to be quite durable to be wearable! Most materials can be sturdy and elegant at the same time. Buy quality!
  • Support small businesses and handmade goods. Capitalism and multinational corporations may rule the world but they don't have to rule your wardrobe!

What kinds of jewelry do you use? What are your favorite materials? Favorite shops? Do you ever make jewelry youself?


  1. Thanks for sharing this info, dear Nadja! You and Liber Vix are so creative and talented in jewelry making! I'd have a lot more necklaces if I had the money and wasn't into perfume so much. I usually just wear a kitten in space necklace from locketship and cheesy plastic Halloween bracelets I made last year. I want to get a terrarium necklace someday with a tiny little deer inside :)

    1. Thank you! Most of my jewelry is really inexpensive! But I really wish that more quality jewelry was made in cheap non-precious metals... It is so hard to find forged iron jewelry... and bronze isn't a very fashionable metal either. A lot of the fabulous jewelry that I find online is out of my price range because it is made from gold or silver and I want my jewelry large... :(

      I looked up thet kitten necklace and it looks super cute!! A terrarium necklace also sounds wonderful! I have also been charmed by that type of jewelry! I would be tempted to get one for myself, but I worry that such a necklace would be too fragile for daily wear...

  2. This is a great tutorial! As soon as I'm a little further along with understanding my personal style and building up my wardrobe, I'm going to start refining and expanding my jewelry collection. It was really inspiring to hear about your processes and see part of your collection. Hope that you find your other part of the collection!

    1. Thank you! Yeah, I would also concentrate on the clothing wardrobe first before refining the jewelry one. It is after all important that the jewelry and the clothing come together to create a complete style.

      The rest of my collection is mostly made up of pieces that I use wih less regularity so unpacking them hasn't been a priority. I think I know which box the rest of my jewelry hids in so no worries.