Oof, it’s Friday, and yet somehow it just feels like Thursday-and-a-half.
This might be because the dog from the house east of me was serenading the moon into the wee hours, or it could be that the western neighbor’s toddler recently discovered the therapeutic benefits of primal screaming and has dedicated his young life to the perfection of same.
Either way, I need some sparklies to cheer me up, so today’s ring feature comes not a moment too soon.
To conclude our foray into Big Jewelry I’ve picked out ten fun pieces of hand candy, just click on the pictures for linkylinks.
I just love a good cocktail ring –a cocktail ring a large bauble worn to look elegant while one gesticulates, glass in hand, at cocktail parties– and cocktail rings love me.
I mean, it’s pretty much my two favorite things –booze and jewelry– combined in one delicious art form, with the bonus of being easily converted into a weapon in case someone needs to be corrected of wrong-thinking ideas.
There aren’t very many dos and don’ts about how to wear a ring (other than one ring per hand, not counting a wedding band) so I thought I’d just chat a little bit about costume jewelry in general.
There are essentially two schools of thought when it comes to costume jewelry in general and rings in particular: Those folks who want their gems to look like fine jewelry and those who don’t.
I can understand both sides.
Jewelry is a status symbol and while it’s a mark of status to own some serious mined gems, I think it’s infinitely more chic to wear high-end costume jewelry (I’m not talking Claire’s here) either alone or with your fine pieces that almost mocks fine jewelry because you’re secure enough in yourself (and possibly your vaults) to show you don’t care whether “they” believe it’s “real” or not.
Oh, and may I please express my disdain for the phrase “real jewelry”?
As a collector of vintage and antiquarian jewelry, both costume and fine, the line dividing the two is often blurred.
Take, for example, the Napoleonic Cut Steel Tiara, one of the literal crown jewels of Sweden.
Given to Queen Hortense by her mother, Napoleon’s beloved (and then not-so-beloved) Empress Josephine, there are no gems to be found anywhere on the tiara.
It’s made only of brass and steel but are you going to be the one to tell two hundred and fifty years of Swedish royalty it’s not “real jewelry” because there are no diamonds or precious metal?
Nope, me either.
My people have not fared well historically against the vikings and I’m not enthusiastic about my chances to buck the trend.
I’ve been fortunate in that my father was a very well-regarded jeweler who specialized in magnificent baubles, my grandmother’s collection of gems would make Liz Taylor sit up and take notice (though probably not now) and I have personally had the (mis)fortune to date many many men with more money than sense.
I’m pretty well-stocked for fine jewelry, so I spend my time on novel designs, particularly figural rings.
Yesterday while I was poking through HSN.com for the bracelet recommendations I saw Jean Dousset actually had a line for their simulated diamond line Absolute.
Once upon a time, I received a honking big canary diamond ring from Jean Dousset –well techincally it was BY Jean Dousset and FROM someone I later discovered had more wives than I find personally ideal, i.e., one– so I clicked through and saw a ring that was shockingly similar to mine.
The mind reeled.
Frankly I would’ve rather had the $90 ring and gotten the difference in cash.
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend but a woman needs liquidity.
Which brings me to the subject of engagement rings: I kind of think they’re dumb.
Well, I don’t really think they’re dumb, but I’ve seen so many people go into debt to buy the biggest diamond their credit rating will allow and THAT’S dumb. I mean, a big fancy ring is nice but I can’t help but think marrying someone who doesn’t buy stuff they can’t afford is much, much nicer.
Okay enough waxing stentorian about costume jewelry, let’s talk guidelines:
Bracelets with Rings:
Fun if you’re going for Overdone On Purpose, otherwise a risky proposition.
If you want to do Overdone on Purpose, try to consider the bracelet and ring as one look. I’ve often wrapped a rope of pearls halfway up my arm and added an enormous pearl and gold cocktail ring to complete the look.
Brooches as Rings:
Sometimes I inherit brooches that have broken pins not worth repairing and/or are too small to wear in the traditional brooch style or elsewhere on my person, so I’ll glue them on to a ring blank.
Viola, fabulous cocktail ring.
You can do the same thing with broken old earrings.
Look in the mirror, are you Joe Pesci?
If yes, how shocked were you when Marisa Tomei won the Oscar? If no, take off the pinky ring.
Look in the mirror again, are you Anthony Bourdain?
If no, take off the thumb ring. If yes, take off the thumb ring anyway, it looks stupid on you too and you’re too old for that nonsense. If you’re not Lou Reed by now you’re never going to be. Sorry.
Finally, remember there is costume jewelry and then there is costume jewelry.
Don’t buy the wrong kind.
You want to look for prong-set stones, attention to detail and everything else you’d want in a piece of fine jewelry. In fact, in most of the pieces I buy today, the process of making the ring is the same, only the materials are different. You’ll also pay accordingly.
I’ve kept all but one of these rings under $100, a nice cocktail ring can easily set you back a few hundred dollars but the difference in quality will be visible.
Remember, style icons from Coco Chanel to Jackie Kennedy wore costume jewelry as part of their signature looks and looked amazing doing it. You can bet they didn’t get their stuff from Claire’s.
Okay lambkins that’s all I’ve got for jewelry for a while, if you have specific questions I didn’t answer, let me know, otherwise, I hope you enjoyed it!