Why wear jewellery?

Why wear jewellery?

Many of us wear jewellery without thinking about it.  We perceive it as an essential part of our wardrobe; that an outfit is just incomplete without it.  You won’t be surprised to hear that I’m one of these! Others though see it as just a superficial adornment, frivolous, superfluous!  So just why should we take jewellery seriously?

Where did it start?

Let’s first explore when we first started to wear jewellery.    Its history began c 75000 years ago with the earliest pieces made from animal hide, leather or reeds decorated with things like animal teeth, bones, feathers, pebbles, shells etc. Many animals have inbuilt displays to attract the opposite sex so it may be that early jewellery was the equivalent of peacock feathers!  Over the centuries we graduated, as they were discovered, to using precious metals and gemstones.  From the Ancient Civilisations to the Royal Courts of Europe the designs became more elaborate and the workmanship more complex with ‘competitions’ to outdo each other as they displayed their symbols of wealth and status.   Jewellery also became a symbol of love and the ability to provide for the chosen recipient.

Of course religion too played a big part in the design of jewellery with strict rules governing who could wear what in the worship of the Ancient gods, leading to the very specific symbols of faith used by the religions more prevalent today.  As our ancestors became more self aware jewellery became a means of self expression and communicating identity and so here we are today still making jewellery out of almost every material known! Wherever you are in the world you will see jewellery with dramatic differences in style and appearance dependant upon the country, the culture and the materials available locally.

The power of jewellery

As well as being a status of wealth, for 1000’s of years jewellery has also been worn to gain from its energy and power – through talismans, healing crystals, amulets, chakra jewellery and so on.  Ancient beliefs that still exist today suggest jewellery can protect, bring love, energy,  luck and healing.  Religions down the ages have used jewellery to express faith, to honour certain gods and be integral to various ceremonies.  Symbols on pieces of jewellery can also project a message about the wearer to the world, a declaration of intent, love or family connection. Giving jewellery can serve as a very personal way of expressing love, affection, pride or admiration.

 

 

Major religious and other spiritual symbols

 

 

Muru Talisman pendants

Left to right Talismans for Prosperity, Love, Positivity and Intuition 

 

Rachel Jackson Mantra

More than just an adornment

It has stood the test of time and shows no signs of ever going away.  As a species we are conditioned with various needs.  The basic being food, drink and shelter, followed by the need to reproduce but we also have ‘higher’ social needs which include romantic interaction, the need for social and self esteem.  Just as wearing certain types of clothes can project an image, make the wearer look and feel more confident so too can jewellery. It can take an outfit from boring to fabulous.  Designs can be delicate or bold, colourful or subdued, intricate and expensive or simple and economical.

Jewellery can be seen as a reflection of a personality, expressing who you are (or who you would like to be!).  It is personal and meaningful, a communication of style.  It can create memories, be transformative.  It is so much more than just an accessory, it is an art form and one of the most important and nowadays affordable, components of your wardrobe but don’t take my word for it.   Here’s what some other say…….

“Jewellery is the most transformative thing you can wear” …………                                       

Iris Apfel, accidental icon

“Jewellery has the power to be the one little thing that makes you feel unique”……….

Elizabeth Taylor,  actress and icon

“Jewellery is like the perfect spice – it always complements whats already there”………

Diane Von Furstenberg, Belgian American fashion designer

“Accessories are what, in my opinion, pull the whole look together and make it unique”……..

Yves St Laurent, French fashion designer

“Jewellery tells a story without even a single word – a non verbal communication of style”………

Michael, Rosey West, jewellery designer

“I see bold accessories as a woman’s armour”……..

Rachel Zoe, fashion designer

“I’ve always thought of accessories as the exclamation point of a woman’s outfit”…….

Michael Kors, fashion designer

“Clothes without accessories is like sex without orgasm!”…….

Robert Lee Morris, renowned jewellery designer and sculptor

“Jewellery is the last thing left of most civilisations”……..

Theo Fennel, British jewellery designer

 

Now tell me what YOU think!

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How to layer necklaces

How to layer necklaces

photography credit - kerry j photography

 

Following on from the trend to stack bracelets and bangles came the trend to layer necklaces.  Easy peasy right?  Just throw on a few necklaces and you’re good to go? Well… yes and no. What you don’t want is for it to look a muddle.  It’s about allowing your personal style to shine through!

Here are a few ideas on how to achieve some different layered looks

Elegant but effortless

First, an effortless thrown on look.  One of my favourite brands for layering, Muru, offers pendants in lengths from 16″ to 26″ with a wide choice of meaningful talismans to choose from, easily giving you 2 or even 3 layers straight away! What’s on the end of the chains is of course important.  You want to aim for different shapes and sizes for maximum interest so as well as looking at simple pendants like the Bow, consider also a bar necklace like this Arc, both 16-18″ (41- 46cm) and available in gold, silver or rose gold.

Muru Bow Pendant

Next choose a longer necklace.  As already stated Muru offer a variety of lengths with most of their talisman pendants…..

Layering with Muru talisman pendants

 

As your longest layer you could choose from Rachel Jackson‘s designs all of which are great for layering but these shown below are 30″ (76cm) length

 

 

 

 

 

 

Layering with Rachel Jackson designs

 

or choose this as your long layer from Reeves and Reeves

 

Whichever you choose doesn’t need to be perfectly spaced out, it should look relaxed not too rigid and you can even mix metals.  The exact lengths will depend on your own body height and shape;  whatever suits you best.   In the image at the top of this blog and inset above  Maxine has used the Muru and Reeves combination perfectly

Layers to add sparkle

Ok, so what if you want to ‘dress up’ an outfit with some extra sparkle using layering?  Well, the basic principles are of course the same, add interest with each layer but if you’re using bling you may just want to stick to 2 layers.  No hard and fast rules of course that’s up to you and your personality.  Take a look at Vixi 

Short layer

or Lucky Eyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longer layer suggestions, again from Vixi

Vixi Daydream Rose Gold

For versatility from a layer take a look at Lucky Eyes again.  This stunning yet dainty crystal necklace can be worn long or double wrapped giving you 2 layers in one.  Simple yet sophisticated.  There is also a short version of this by the way.

Include a fun element

Add a touch of fun with the ever popular Pineapple from Rachel Jackson at Cinderela B  or the perennial favourite Honey Bee from the marvellous Bill Skinner 

 

The options really are limitless!  

I hope this blog has given you some ideas of how you can use the trend of layering to good effect, to reflect your own style and personality.  Elegant and fun to make you feel good about yourself!SaveSave

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Bracelets and how to wear them

Bracelets and how to wear them

photography credit - kerry j photography

 

Bracelets are not something I always wear, unlike earrings (wouldn’t leave home without those!) and for a lot of people they are often an afterthought but they are a wonderful way to enhance your outfit and add individuality.   If you find it difficult to choose the appropriate style here are a few tips and ideas:

Simple, sophisticated office style

The office isn’t necessarily the place for noisy bangles clunking together nor large chunky bracelets that are obtrusive and irritating clinking against your desk, so choose a stylish single bracelet that will add some sophistication and charm to your corporate outfit, that sits well at the end of a jacket sleeve.

A simple chain bracelet with a single charm will do this job very well or go for something with a little more interest and texture,  with understated sophistication.

Hummingbird bracelet from Sophisticato.uk

Muru Feather bracelet from Sophisticato.uk

Tara Kirkpatrick bracelet from Sophisticato.ukPictured above left to right Cinderela B Hummingbird, Tara Kirkpatrick Wire Balls & Muru Feather Talisman

For something that will take you seamlessly from the office to a bar or restaurant add a little sparkle with something like these pretty cz bracelets from Nour London

Nour London Bracelets from Sophisticato.uk

Stacked bracelets for casual chic

Bracelet stacking is a continuing jewellery trend that is likely to remain with us for some time. It allows you to showcase your individual style and can be great fun mixing colours, widths and styles to team with most outfits.

Getting started with stacking is effortless;  just start with 2 or 3 and build up!  First, choose a theme such as colour or materials and choose bracelets that complement each other but don’t match each other perfectly. Take care when mixing different metal colours as this can look haphazard if not done thoughtfully. However, if you have gold rings (wedding/engagement rings for example) don’t feel you have to stick to gold on your wrist or anywhere else for that matter.

Large stacks of bracelets ideally should be worn with much simpler outfits so as not to look cluttered. A good rule of thumb is the larger the stack the simpler the outfit.  Go ahead, experiment and have fun – the options are really endless!

 

Stacking bracelets

Muru stretch bracelets from Sophisticato.uk

Pictured  left Boho Betty and right Muru Talisman 

Quirky or sparkly – bracelets for elegant date nights and glamorous parties

For high impact but no fuss try a cuff such as Chris Lewis Wound Silver Cuff (featured at the top of this blog) which would add a touch of class to any outfit for that special dinner date, as would the beautiful Keisha Pearls bracelet pictured below along with a couple from Bill Skinner for a slightly more quirky but nonetheless ‘dressed up’  look.

Bracelet selection from Sophisticato.uk

Above left Bill Skinner Scenes of Nature, Centre Keisha Pearls by Pearls of the Orient, Right Bill Skinner Honeycomb & Bee

Sometimes though you just have to go all out for glam and sparkle for those extra special dates or party nights and Nour London have the perfect solution without breaking the bank!

Sparkly bracelets by Nour London available et Sophisticato.uk

 

I hope this helps you to wear bracelets with greater ease and will be front of mind the next time you’re looking to put that finishing touch of chic to your outfit. Choosing timeless bracelets will give you tons of options as they can be worn again and again!

For more ideas and alternatives use this link

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All you need to know about silver

All you need to know about silver

Did you know?

Although silver plays second fiddle to gold, silver has many uses. It is the best reflector of light so is used to make mirrors; it is the best thermal conductor so is used in your rear windscreen to defrost ice; it is the best electric conductor of the elements so is used for electrical contacts; it is also used in dentistry, solder and brazing alloys, batteries and even in the fingers of gloves so you can use them with your touch phone! It can be drawn into wire or beaten into sheets making it perfect for jewellery making!

Where does silver come from?

It is believed that silver was one of the first 5 metals to be discovered around 5000BC!  It can exist in its native state. In other words, nuggets or crystals of pure silver exist in nature but it also occurs as a natural alloy with gold (called electrum) and commonly occurs in copper, lead, and zinc ores so it is usually extracted as a bi product when mining for these metals. The biggest producers today are Mexico and Peru followed by N. America, Russia and Australia.

 

What is sterling silver?

Fine silver is 99.9% pure silver. While beautiful in this form it’s generally too soft and malleable for uses such as cutlery, jewellery and giftware so it is mixed with 7.5% copper. This has the advantage of making the silver harder, and more durable without compromising on colour but the downside of this is that the added copper will cause it to tarnish, with the metal turning dark brown or black over time, especially in humid conditions. However it is easy to clean and beneath the tarnish your sterling silver will be in great condition and won’t rust.

What are the different silver finishes?

There are several different finishes for silver, dependant on the use or just the preference of the designer.  Some of the most popular finishes are:

  • Polished – Just as it sounds the silver is polished until you can see your reflection in it.  It is beautiful but the downside is that is shows scratches very easily
  • Satin – This has a smooth finish to the touch but it is not reflective – it’s like a mirror that has got misted up!
  • Brushed – A tool is used to polish the metal that leaves small lines, creating a textured finish, dull instead of shiny, deflecting light rather than reflecting it.
  • Hammered – Literally ‘hammered’ to produce ‘dimples’ and a satin finish, popular with many designers of jewellery and decorative pieces for the home.
  • Oxidised – A chemical process is applied to the silver to darken the metal

Which is better, silver or gold?

While gold is a beautiful metal without doubt, it is also up to an incredible 75 times more expensive than silver  which often puts it out of our reach. Like gold however silver will maintain and even possibly increase in value and even those with sensitive skins are unlikely to have an adverse reaction to it. Its use in coinage, luxury homewares, prestigious trophies, gifts for milestones etc ensures it remains a symbol of high status.

Have you considered vermeil?

If you feel more comfortable wearing gold (and for some people’s skin tone it can work better) then try vermeil. This is a process by which sterling silver is heavily plated in gold which produces excellent quality pieces that will stand the test of time at a much lower price than gold alone. Some jewellery designers actually plate their sterling silver designs in white gold to prevent tarnishing.

An excellent choice

With so many benefits you really can’t go wrong and with so many wonderful designers working with sterling silver you can be sure of adding a touch of class to your jewellery collection.

 

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All you need to know about gold

All you need to know about gold

Gold is a metal of antiquity. There is evidence of its use as far as back as 3000BC so gold diggers go back a long way! It has always been one of the most popular and most expensive precious metals in the world and can be found in its pure state naturally so what makes it so popular and so much more expensive than other metals?

Is gold rare?

Historically,  gold has always been rarer than silver and in keeping with the law of supply and demand this has led to gold being anywhere from 50 – 75 times more expensive than silver however in recent years this has changed and silver is now rarer but despite this gold still remains many times more expensive. So ……

Why is gold so expensive?

Well it’s a truly beautiful metal of course, uniquely warm, luminous and rich in its purest form that can be alloyed with other metals to achieve a broad spectrum of colours; it doesn’t tarnish, corrode, rust or disintegrate; it can be worn down with daily wear but by and large it lasts a lifetime; it’s about twice as dense as silver so a little gold goes a long way; jewellers love working with it because it’s soft and can be easily formed into different shapes and it’s easy to engrave. But can this explain it?

Not entirely perhaps. Our perception of value is often not based on facts but on what we’re willing to spend on something. We’ve been ‘programmed’ that gold is money, gold is wealth. Gold rings symbolise one’s commitment to marriage. We’ve decided as a society — as a whole world! — that gold is more valuable.

Know your carats

If you’re spending a lot of money on a piece of gold jewellery there are some things you need to know
A carat, in relation to gold, is a measurement of purity, the purest being 24 carats but this is generally too soft to use so it is usually mixed with other metals, (such as zinc, copper, silver & nickel) which makes it harder, easier to work with and better wearing.
18 ct gold, the most commonly used and regarded as the European standard is therefore an alloy of 18 parts gold and 6 parts another metal and is a very good compromise between purity and price.
14 ct gold is commonly used in the US and still maintains a good colour.10 ct is the lowest carat used in the US while 9 carat gold, 9 parts gold and 15 parts other metal, is the lowest carat in the UK and most other countries. It is the most durable but not as golden a colour.

Designers who are wishing to keep the cost down but still achieve the warm colour of pure gold will often use heavy gold plating of at least 18ct gold on sterling silver, known as vermeil.

Different gold ‘colours’

The variations in colour are all down to the colour of the other metals that the pure gold is alloyed to. The addition of large amounts of copper leads to Rose Gold (sometimes referred to as red gold or pink gold)
White gold contains a substantial amount of nickel, manganese or palladium. Often, particularly for jewellery, it is also plated with rhodium, giving it a bright white colour.

Gold jewellery is truly exquisite and ideally everybody should have some of it in their collection. Fortunately Vermeil brings it into the reach of those unable to pay the premium still demanded by those that mine it!

 

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