Tag Archives: necklaces

Outlandish Jewelry Terminology

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Starting with “O”

Objets de Vertu – Here we step outside of the traditional definition of what constitutes jewelry (an object that is physically attached to you in some manner), to include Objets de Vertu.  These are any of the fancy, often gem encrusted and precious metal based items that people typically use to transport functional things.  Pearl inlaid cigarette cases, solid gold lighters, platinum cell phones cases with intaglios of Bernie Sanders, etc. 

Objets Trouvés – While their origins date back to neolithic times, Objets Trouvés are a favorite of environmentally conscious jewelry designers working today.  The term translates from French (which obviously Early Man spoke fluently) to “found objects.”  Ergo, before modern jewelry, which utilizes all manner of technology, had been invented, people made things out of whatever they could find; shells, bones, teeth, pebbles and AOL installation CDs.  

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Oiling – this is a process (which is true to its name) that was designed to improve the overall color and quality of gemstones (mostly emeralds) that have internal fractures that creep to the their surfaces.  By literally oiling them up with a specific lubricant, the cracks are filled and the stones look a little brighter.  Be weary of any oily jewelers trying to pass such slippery stones off on to you. 

Omega Back – while this sounds like the name of a hip, new British thriller on Netflix, it’s actually the back portion found on mostly vintage earrings.  It’s a little loop that holds the earrings in place.  In the shape of the Omega letter of the Greek alphabet (familiar to any of you collegiate toga donning folk), it works with pierced and non-pierced ear earrings; the hoop holds up the pointy part, or just acts as a clasp.

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Opaline Glass – a grand imitator of precious gemstones, Opaline Glass appears in a bluish, cloudy hue.  A metallic, foil backing to the faux fancy stone really makes its color “pop.”   A trendy item during the Georgian period (no, not when the state of Georgia was popular…nor the country…but when 4 consecutive King Georges reigned in England; 1714 through 1830).  It saw a brief rival during the second Georgian period (the two Bush presidencies).   

Opera Length Necklace – the name may be self evident, but the actual length is somewhat specific.  To qualify for this distinction, the necklace must be between 26 and 36 inches in length, and it has to be worn with a fancy dress out to actual operas, hip-hoperas or, in the very least, while watching you favorite soap opera.  

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Opus Interrasile – a golden hit during the Byzantine era, this is a process of puncturing metal with a sharp device in order to pepper it with a multitude of stylish holes.  This translates from Latin to “work openings,” which is exactly what Roman goldsmiths were always scouring Craigius’s List for.    

Oreide – or ‘oroide’ or “French Gold” – this is an alloy which winningly masquerades as gold, utilizing mostly copper, with a little molten zinc and tin thrown in there for seasoning.  

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Ouch – yes…this one is gonna hurt.  Ironically, this describes a piece of jewelry, usually a pendant or brooch, that doesn’t require a sharp pin to hold it in place; rather it is hand sewn onto one’s clothing.  Typically they would feature a central gem surrounded by a fine metal filigree.  Chaps frolicking around during Medieval times would use them as the fastening parts of their flowing cloaks (with a chain that connected them).  The gemstone component would make them valuable, naturally, so if one were to fall off, people would remark “…ouch.”

Ouroboros – one of the coolest ancient symbols found in jewelry.  It’s a snake or dragon that is biting its own tail, thus completing a perfect and eternal loop (great for necklaces, obviously).  It symbolizes the cyclical aspect of nature and self-reflexivity in beings with consciousness and also exemplifies really hungry snakes.  Folks in the 1840’s went mad for these things, sticking winking precious gemstones in the eye sockets and scaring children.     

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Overtone – a property that only certain pearls will exhibit, this describes a secondary, and sometimes even tertiary, hue that is visible over the pearl’s primary color.  These can manifest in light green, blue and pink…overtones.  

Oxide Finish – here we have metal that gets entirely dipped in a black finish, like taking an permanent bath in tar.  Usually strategic parts are buffed to allow for the underlying metal to shine through.  This is a great way to showcase the intricacies of a silver engagement ring with fine filigree or the dented fender of a Ford Pinto.  

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-Joe Leone 

Inspirational Jewelry Keepsakes

(Jewelry Terms: I, J & K)

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Idiochromatic – much like an idiosyncratic gemstone enthusiast, stones of this ilk are essentially pure at heart.  That is to say that the hue exhibited by this type of gem is a result of its integral chemical components, not from impurities in the stone.  The other kind of gems are called allochromatic (like the sultry sapphire) and appear a certain shade because they are laden with beautifully colorful dirt.

Ingot – oddly enough, this is not a French term and so it is pronounced exactly how it looks.  This describes a precious metal that has been rolled, drawn and stamped to create specific pattern or design.  In non-jewelry form, an ingot can take the shape of a bar, brick or seriously valuable paperweight.

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Inro – are nifty little carrying cases that handily attach to one’s kimono.  If you didn’t catch on, they are made in Japan.  Usually crafted out of wood or metal (or for the murderous sect, tortoise or ivory), these cool cases have various metals, lacquers and shells inlaid to construct artful scenes and marvelous creatures (ie, Godzilla wreaking havoc on the populace).

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Inseperables – no, not you and your friend Stacy in 6th grade.  This is a brooch that came into fashion during the 1830’s, replete with two stick pins that are held together with a tiny little chain.  No one knows why this style disappeared or why it’s name looks like a distinct misspelling.

Invisible Setting – this is a type of ring setting that you can claim you have given your lover when you actually have given them nothing.  Actually, its a setting type that makes a row of featured gems appear as if there is nothing holding them in place.  This is achieved by cutting tiny divots into the gem girdles and then securing them with a minuscule matrix of wires.  Gemstones mounted in this kind of setting can look like a row of teeth (presumably held straight with Invisalign braces).

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J

Jabot Pin – yup; you jab this pin right into yourself.  On either end of the pin are fancifully arranged jewels.  Each side sticks into clothing so the only thing one sees are the sparkling jewels, not the dangerous pin mechanism underneath.  Jabot refers to that frilly ever-so-manly swath of fabric that men of the mid-1600’s adorned with cocky glee; the jabot pin holds said lacy puff piece in place.  During the Art Deco explosion of the 1920’s, women took a shine to Jabot pins, making them an indispensable facet of flapper fashion.

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Japonaiserie (aka Japanesque) – any jewelry item that exhibits influence from Japan, typically those embossed with lacquer.  These got hot in the western world at the end of the 1800’s.  Elements commonly found on such works include bamboo motifs and etchings of provincial peoples fanning themselves.  The best way to care for this type of jewelry is to wax on, wax off.

Jarretière – this is a trendy bracelet that looks kind of like a chic little belt for your wrist.  Often made from metal patterned with geometric shapes (like the honeycomb), this comely clasp came into style during the 1800’s and hasn’t really waned yet, as you can still find them in Saks Fifth Avenue and Claire’s Accessories alike.

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Jasperware – Fashion (and, naturally, pottery) maven Josiah Wedgwood developed this porcelain-esque product which mimics onyx, but also allows for you to have a white design on the surface.  This material was used to make cameos and other fun pieces during the 1700’s, but eventually died out in terms of popularity.  Perhaps an integral lesson in survival learned by Wedgwood’s grandson: Charles Darwin.  #FashionOfTheFittest

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Jou-Jou Or – the adorable French term for “toy gold,” which is a gold alloy that has a fairly low karat rating of 6.  It is also the proper way to address the first two potential people to be chosen for something, in a row of three, pending the picker has an audible accent (ie: “Jou, jou or…jou.”)

Justaucorps – the end of the 1600’s saw France gripped in Justaucorps fever.  It’s a relatively trim and fitted coat that suddenly, unapologetically flares out at the waist (basically, a groovy disco jacket of 17th century Europe).  Included on this jewelry aggregation because the buttons were usually constructed of diamonds, gold, gems, silver and perhaps even small, mirrored balls that reflected light in a totally far out way.

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K

Keeper Ring – sometimes jewelry can be more about function than fashion.  The Keeper Ring is just that; a band that keeps another, more costly ring from slipping off one’s slender digits.  These became necessary during the 1700’s, when more people starting wearing diamond rings (and possibly eating greasy fast food).  Eventually they would be deemed ‘guard rings,’ and they went from just utilitarian bands to fairly fancy things.  They now not only keep the expensive ring in place but also add some extra blingage to it.  The third incarnation of a keeper ring is the obviously binder clasp that secures loose leaf in your Trapper Keeper.

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Kitemarks – are little insignias that the 19th century British began stamping on their jewelry to indicate the date that the specific jewelry design of a piece was officially registered (similar to a hallmark).  The date would be found in a diamond or kite shape.  It’s kind of like the original copyright date found at the front of a book (not the publication date).  Those who opposed this and suggested that they should just stamp the date that the piece was forged on the metal were told to “Go fly a kitemark.”

-Joe Leone

How Much Should You Spend on Jewelry?

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The average U.S. household spends only $167 on jewelry per year, but that number varies greatly by region. The northeastern U.S., southern and central coastal California, and the east coast of Florida, for example, spend the most on jewelry per year, while the northwest region spends less than $50 annually per household.

The popular concept of smarter spending has a lot of people taking a closer look at how much they spend on everyday items, and jewelry is often an impulse buy. Self-help and finance blogs discuss budgeting and making realistic financial plans, which often results in cost-cutting or looking for ways to get some of your money back.

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But when you’re buying new jewelry, how much should you be willing to spend? What’s the price tag on feeling pretty or scoring a compliment from your moody boss? The obvious answer to this dilemma is: spend the amount that makes sense for you, whether that’s based on your region, your social circle, or your personal style. The decision, however, is more complicated than that, and probably varies with every piece you look at. It’s not easy to choose between shelling out more cash for nicer, longer lasting jewelry over less costly, trendier pieces. It’s hard to place a number on the value of the little boost in self-esteem you might get.

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Websites like Pinterest and Instructables make Do-It-Yourself a viable option for saving money on a lot of important items including jewelry, but there are certain pieces that are essentially impossible to DIY. And that’s one element of DIY that people often overlook before diving in to a project: the cost of the materials and tools, which is one part of what goes into jewelry-making. When you’re deciding how you want to better your budget, consider how original you would like your jewelry collection to be. If originality is important to you and you want handmade jewelry from an artist or smaller manufacturer on a site like etsy, plan to spend a little bit more than you might for a similar piece from a larger manufacturer, like Forever 21, who outsource their work and user cheaper materials specifically so they can offer their products at a low price point. Some smaller companies even begin to outsource once they gain popularity so they can manage the costs and offer their product to more customers, saving 400-500 percent by having someone else produce their designs.

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Choosing how much to spend on jewelry may also depend on the materials you are looking for. If you’re more concerned about the look than the actual material, sterling silver is a good substitute for silver and white gold, and purchasing gold-coated jewelry can save you a lot of money if you prefer the darker color. In addition, synthetic gemstones can be created to look like a natural gemstone, so if you are here because you are aiming to sell your diamonds, a man-made stone might be a great replacement.

Another consideration for choosing an amount to spend on jewelry is whether you value the experience of going into a physical store and trying on the jewelry or whether you are comfortable buying it online. Online stores are often cheaper, simply because renting a brick-and-mortar space is expensive for the business.

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If you are not looking for a specific piece, buying jewelry at an overstock or auction site can be a way to find great deals. Sale jewelry is typically marked down temporarily, while clearance and overstock jewelry are usually marked down because the manufacturer or retailer wants to make room for other products. Because there is an incentive to get rid of it, clearance and overstock jewelry can offer a steeper discount, but the selection may be limited.

One great rule of thumb for a jewelry purchase is the dollar-per-wear rule. To follow this rule, ask yourself how many times you anticipate wearing a particular piece, and if that number is the same as or lower than the price, then it is probably a good purchase. However you decide how much money to spend on jewelry, remember to make the choice for your own reasons, not someone else’s.

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Glorious Jewelry Terms

Starting with “G”

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Gallery – much like the photo galleries you are ‘click-baited’ into viewing online, a gallery in the jewelry realm typically aids in making the main attraction (gemstone) look even cooler.  A series of designs or repeated patterns, usually accompanying a center stone or other precious material, is what constitutes a gallery in this sense.

Gardinetto – if you’ve got a bunch of sapphires, rubies and emeralds you need to show off, you need a practical way to present them; luckily the enterprising Italians came up with the gardinetto.  This is a little jewelry basket (or pot or coffee can) of flowers, where the gems can reside.  Most commonly used as a trinket to trade amongst lovers during the mid-1700’s, gardinettos rose to fashion once again during the extravagantly fabulous Art Deco period (the roaring/raging/raving ’20’s).

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Gaud – this is a very neat little orb that hangs from, typically, a rosary.  This tiny ball can be opened and inside there are often entire scenes carved within, usually straight from the Bible, replete with sacred saints and other symbolically significant peeps.  Mostly made of wood and resembling walnuts (these kind are actually referred to as ‘nuts’ – hence the term “religious nut”), gauds can sometimes show up in metal forms.

Georgian Silver – around the inception of the Baroque period (referring to 1600’s Europe, not necessarily when poor people were feeling especially ba-roke), people began to notice that setting white diamonds in silver made them really sparkle.  Fast forward a bit to the Georgian era, when silver mines in South America were booming and India was popping out and polishing more diamonds than e’er seen before; thus, the perfect recipe for silver Euro-ring fun!

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Germanic Jewelry – when you think of Goth jewelry, you probably imagine black bats, big pewter crucifixes and scary goblin pendants, not ornately decorated gold with glorious, colored gems inlaid.  The jewelry of the Germanic tribes (the 5th century Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals …Hoodlums, etc.) greatly resembled that of the Romans, as these tribes had been under their resplendent rule for generations.  Basically a lot of colored glass, precious stones and intricate designs on gilded materials.

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Giacomo Raffaelli – if there is a name synonymous with the mastery of mosaics, it’s Raffaelli.  This 18th century born italian artiste was so adept at crafting mosaics, he eventually was able to create a ‘micro mosaic.’  These tiny masterpieces could then be used in jewelry design, much to the delight of late period Settecento (1700s) donne everywhere.  Thankfully, this concept would become mass produced and is now responsible for breathtaking Cosplay jewelry items everywhere.

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Gimmel Ring – is basically two bands that are twisted together to form one complete ring.  Used as symbols of betrothal during the Renaissance, where the groom would wear one ring and the bride to be the other (essentially, his and her engagement rings), which the bride would absorb into one fused ring on the day of the wedding.  A little gimmicky, these gimmel (which is actually derived from the Latin word, gemellus, for ‘twin’) rings would sometimes contain a secretly inscribed baby and skeleton under the main stone, as an eerie reminder that you are born with nothing and you die with nothing, and that nothing is forever.

…How romantic.

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Girandole – All the rage during the 1600s, these are earrings that consist of three teardrop shaped gems which hang down from a fanciful bow design.  Once the 1700s rolled around and people started to view these as “le lame” the earrings would typically be broken down into their component parts and redesigned into less heavy (and not so gaudy) earrings and other jewelry types.  Hence, we have the first instances of “jewelry repurposing” on record.

Girasol – Ok, this is the name ascribed to any type of gemstone that exhibits a milky luster that appears to drip along and mosey inside the stone as it is moved (or as the sun or Smurf nightlight or whatever light source hitting it is put into motion).  Girasols should never be given as a present to lactose intolerant individuals.  That’s just cruel.

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Glyptography – What do intaglios engraved into metal and cameos etched from a stone have in common?  Why, they are both are shining examples of glyptography, the ancient art of sending messages through jewelry.  Duh.  Long story relatively short, people were trying to text each other by carving things (called petroglyphs) into cave walls around 15,000 BC – Cut To a few thousand years later and folks were using these etchings to identify personal property with – these became “seals” and were eventually worn, for good luck, favor from the gods, and all that jazz.

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Gold à Quatre Couleurs – one can never have too much gold; or too many gold colored varieties at once.  This term, coined in the 1750s, means you have four different gold hued alloys all employed in one jewelry piece.  A repetitious pattern is often created to give the overall golden design symmetry, beauty and super ultra uber goldiness.

Gorget – getting gorged on a gorgeous gorget is just glorious, no?  This guy started out as a metal collar that had an open back (we’re talking during the ancient European times of roughly 800 BC), and would go through numerous iterations over the centuries.  It would eventually become more of a military thing, as soldiers would wear them for protection.  Various cultures changed gorgets up a bit, crafting them from bones, shells, leather, ribbon, etc.  Certain designers working today have thrown the style back to the elder times, resorting to full on metal once again.

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Grisaille – this French expression means “in the grey,” and is not nearly as cryptic in jewelry practices as the idiom makes it sound.  It’s an enameling technique where first a black, or “noir” (again, really not mysterious), layer of enamel is applied to a surface, and then white enamel is later layered over it.  Depending on the degree of thickness of the white enamel, the various “shades of grey” are then expressed (again, really, nothing clandestine, mystical or seductive going on here; just boring enameling).  Some jewelry glazed with this process is said to be cursed (alas, there it is!)

Grotesque – is a vile piece of jewelry, like something purchased at “Hot Topic,” right?  Nope.  Stemming from the Latin “grotto,” translated to ‘hollow,’ this refers to the Roman practice of encircling a main figure with a bunch of finely carved out scrolls.  For instance, a #troll with #scrolls.

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Guilloché – if you are good with a lathe, you can probably bang out a really cool guilloché design.  Just in case you aren’t a jeweler, a ‘lathe’ is a deluxe engraving tool, and the guilloché technique involves forging a concentric pattern, that originates from the center of a piece and appears to ripple outward.  It looks like a water droplet in a pond, or a really angry cartoon character with those squiggly lines coming out of his head.

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Guirlande – usually showing up in the form of a gem encrusted floral wreath, the guirlande is a broach-like pendant.  Totally en vogue during the Renaissance period amongst the nobles, the NeoClassics dredged this style up and wore it with tons of throwback flare.

Gutta-Percha – this makes this list just because it is fun to say.  Aside from the fact that is sounds like a colorful Italian curse word, it’s a rubber-esque organic material that comes from “pantropical” trees.  It’s a stygian substance, and was used primarily in the ever-uplifting-to-wear ‘mourning jewelry.’

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Gypsy Ring – we conclude with the beautifully bohemian gypsy ring.  Key characteristics include a single stone, in a bezel mounting, that often is elevated just a hair above the band.  The cabalistic center gem can be of any variety, but cool stones like obsidian, onyx or dark amethyst make it all the more mysterious.

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-Joe Leone 

How Much Jewelry is Too Much to Wear at Once?

9 Guidelines

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Coco Chanel once advised, “When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on.” It is commonly understood that jewelry overkill is a fashion no-no, but sometimes it’s hard to tell when you’ve crossed that line. What’s more, it’s hard to tell if you should take off the last two or three things you put on instead of just one.

There is no set rule about the number of pieces one should wear, but there are a few guidelines to follow when making the choice about whether to slip on that bracelet or to put it back on the velvet lining in your jewelry box and save it for next time.

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Guideline 1: Don’t allow your jewelry to distract from yourself and your outfit. When choosing what jewelry to wear, you should ask whether it will add or detract from your natural look and your outfit. For example, don’t wear a stack of bangles and a stack of necklaces. Opt for one stack if you’re a fan of the look. Wearing too much jewelry confuses onlookers and can ruin the beauty of your favorite piece. (source: Alexandra Styles)

Guideline 2: Although this contradicts the above statement that says there are no rules for how much jewelry to wear, there is at least one rule: Don’t wear big earrings and a big necklace. Instead, choose a focal piece to centralize your look and coordinate other pieces with it. (source: Wall Street Journal)

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Guideline 3: Coordinate your jewelry with the material you’re wearing. Thin silks and sheers do not go well with chunky jewelry, and the chunky jewelry can appear to be too much adornment. Similarly, tiny, thin chains on your necklace don’t usually suit a chunky sweater. (source: Street Directory, Wall Street Journal)

Guideline 4: Think about the vibe you’re aiming to achieve. If you’re going for boho, you can wear more jewelry. If you’re going for elegant, stay away from lots of jewelry, unless you have figured out how to layer necklaces like Coco. (Harper’s Bazaar)

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Guideline 5: Pay attention to your hair. If you have long hair and you plan to wear it down, dangly earrings may look chaotic or messy. If you have short hair or thin hair and you wear huge earrings, they may stand out too much and be distracting. In this case, the size of the jewelry makes it look like you are wearing too much. (source: Street Directory)

Guideline 6: Dress for the occasion. If you’re going to a fancy fundraiser dinner, match elegant jewelry and go big, but not too big. But if you’re going to the grocery store, class, or work, you might want to opt for less jewelry. (source: YouQueen)

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Guideline 7: No matter where you are, don’t wear jewelry that is noisy. Literally. While bangles are great, jingling bangles in a quiet library or at the workplace or not. Don’t be the annoying cubicle neighbor; quiet your jewelry. (source: Street Directory)

Guideline 8: If you’re wearing statement jewelry, wear one piece. Matching sets are usually too much. Save the necklace, bracelet, or earrings for another occasion. (source: Harper’s Bazaar)

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Guideline 9: Remember that jewelry isn’t a must-wear. Sometimes your clothing does all the work and you don’t need to add anything to it. For example, if you are wearing a top or dress with a low neckline, you don’t need jewelry. Your pretty collarbone is enough. However, choosing a pair of look-at-me statement earrings is a great idea to bring balance to your look. (source: Alexandra Styles)

Jewelry is a lot of fun, and well-placed jewelry can make you stand out. However, wearing too much jewelry at once or wearing all the wrong kind can make you stand out in a way you don’t want to. If you’ve got diamond jewelry you know is too much, contact us to find out more about your options to sell it!

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