Over the past few years, antique jewelry has really made an entrance in my life. And with it, I’ve been experimenting with some ways to style antique necklaces so that they look current and express my personal style. I certainly don’t want to look like a “fashion don’t” when stepping out the front door! I want to share two different ways to utilize antique necklaces. The first is layering, and the second strategy is using one necklace as a focal point.
So let’s start with layering necklaces. With this, you can layer various antique/vintage necklaces, or you can mix old and new together. Doyle & Doyle recently shared this photo on Instagram, which is a fantastic example of how to layer with panache.
I’ll share what I did with them two days last week. On Monday I looped the long antique necklace around my neck twice, creating a choker effect, and paired it with the non-antique necklace.
In my typical black, I liked how they looked with my harem pants and sandals. I describe my personal style as “urban bohemian” and I thought this ensemble was true to my style.
Then on Wednesday, I wore a dress over a pair of cropped, frayed-hem jeans. I wore the 57″ necklace long, layered the new necklace. I’d never worn a necklace so long! But once I figured out how to maneuver it (and not get it stuck in the seatbelt), I felt pretty swishy! It’s true that I don’t necessarily look like anyone else on the street, but in my book that’s a good thing.
Now let’s take a look at just using one necklace as a focal point. While I was at the Hillsborough Antique Fair a couple weekends ago, I spent quite a bit of time with the charming Lenore Dailey. I photographed two different necklaces to use in my examples. The first one is a Victorian 18K and silver necklace with rose cut and old European cut diamonds. At first glance, you might think, “Oh, this is gorgeous, but certainly best worn for a dressy occasion.” I feel the complete opposite. I think it would look just amazing worn during the day. Don’t worry…I’ll give you some ideas how in a minute.
The second necklace that caught my eye in her booth was this Georgian 15K gold flower chain with the most amazing clasp — check out the cabochon turquoise. What workmanship!
So yes, of course you can wear these necklaces with a cocktail dress. But how cute would they look with a t-shirt, jeans, boots and a biker jacket? Or what about this — a simple pencil skirt, a pull-over sweater, and funk it up with some Golden Goose Sneakers. (yes, I might be just a wee bit obsessed with these sneakers).
If you add one of these necklaces to the sporty chic look, it’d be awesome! I like how the turquoise would look against the raspberry color. Not too “matchy-matchy,” if you know what I mean. And the juxtaposition of the diamonds with sneakers would be so cool — not a combination someone might typically come up with while getting dressed.
The bottom line is I want you to know that it’s much easier to incorporate an antique necklace into your look than you might think. Try it on with unexpected garments, and you might be very surprised at how original and unique it looks. And with any item you purchase, remember that the more it costs, the more you should wear it so that the cost-per-wear goes down. Never save anything “for good.” Now venture forth into your jewelry box and your closet and have some fun! Send me pix of what you come up with.
I was just reading my original post about Erica Molinari from 2012, and so much has changed! First of all, I now personally know and adore Erica. I had the pleasure of sitting at her table at the Couture awards show in 2013, and she couldn’t have been more welcoming and entertaining. She is one cool lady. Seeing her at the show each year since then has been such a treat. Then…there’s her jewelry. Her line has exploded with new designs, and I have to share some of my favorites with you.
So first up, you have to see her work in enamel. I couldn’t get enough of the rings, which come in both white and black.
Some have patterns and others have sayings on them. (Did I mention she has bangles as well?) My personal favorite is this black one, which in Italian says, “A beautiful thing is never perfect.” Honestly, I got tears in my eyes when I read it. And not bad with my Polly Wales diamond band, right?
And take a peek at the details inside the ring as well.
Here are some more of her new rings, showing how intricate her designs are. Are they vintage? New? This is one of the awesome things about Erica’s line — they are modern interpretations of some very old themes, really adding character and depth to your jewelry collection.
This is a perfect segue to her Momento Mori pieces, featuring skulls, skeletons and such.
I have to say I’m a bit obsessed with this one, which features a skull behind a custom cut white topaz with black enameling on the sides.
Here’s a side view so you can get a better perspective of the stone.
Oh, right…the skeletons. Hello!!!! Have you ever seen anything like it?
Erica has also gone bananas with her stud collection. She told me she wants to have 50 different designs, and right now she’s at 47. I have an inkling she’ll be surpassing her goal in the not-too-distant future.
And of course, if adding a little bling is on your agenda, then enjoy these pave diamond rings.
Erica and Felecia, you’re both amazing women, and I appreciate the tour of the new work!! If you’d like to keep current with the latest, then follow Erica Molinari on Instagram.
I always love to see what eclectic mixes people can come up with in their bracelet stacks. This gal did not disappoint, and I think we spent at least 10 minutes talking about where all her various bracelets came from.
From the pearls by Erica Molinari, to the large bracelet by Diane Cotton, it was a cool mix. The antler cuff is from Grange Hall in Texas — apparently a store that I must add to my “must see” list!
This inspires me. Tomorrow I will be heading to my jewelry box and creating a brand new stack for the day!!
I first stumbled across Erica Molinari’s jewelry line on a visit to Head Over Heels in Menlo Park, CA. While not always drawn to tiny, petite jewels, something about the little pearl pendants with inlaid diamonds really caught my eye. Combined with one of my horn pendants, and her small four-diamond enhancer, it really came to life. In addition, I purchased the oxidized silver chain, which I had been searching for in vain for quite some time. Score!
Erica draws her inspiration from the days of yesteryear…ancient Greek coins, the Italian Renaissance, and old Latin words. While at the Couture show, I was happy to run into Erica’s fabulous rep, Felicia, who showed me a new collection of teardrops pendants. They’re available in a brushed finish in sterling, oxidized silver and 18K gold. The icons range from four-point stars to dragonflies to snakes and evil eyes, just to mention a few. So much to choose from!
One of the things I love about this line is that you can really mix and match the pendants, creating your own look. I think it’s a great way to play with a mixture of metals on one necklace, as well. And for travel, it’s perfect because you can switch things up and wear different combinations, so you don’t look the same in every picture.
I have yet to meet Erica in person, nor have I seen her whole line. Though I just encountered this photo of her rings and I have a new mission. I’ve got to see these in person! Guess it’s just one more item to add to my jewelry bucket list. 😉
I recently made my way to Seattle for a fun girl’s weekend. (In fact I think I’m still recovering…) I didn’t have time to do any shopping research before leaving (oh, the horrors!), so I just relied on tips from locals and hitting the pavement to see what I could find. I knew there were some gorgeous items just waiting to be discovered, and I was right!
I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear, but I think I was shopping within about and hour and a half of landing! The first boutique I visited turned out to be one of my favorites of the trip. Alhambra is conveniently located right near Pike’s Place Market, and I was delighted to meet one of the owners, a lovely Turkish woman named Serpil. When you walk into the shop, you feel transported to some exotic location. The merchandise is cleverly displayed in every nook and cranny. She carries some of my favorite jewelry designers, from Erica Molinari to Nava Zahavi. There’s a wide array of price points and styles, so I’m sure that most shoppers can find something they just “must” have.
(Side bar: If you’re into vintage jewelry, check out Isadora’s Antique jewelry just across First Street. I spotted some cool Native American pieces and some lovely 1890’s Persian turquoise.)
If you wander a few blocks further down First, you can’t miss Watson Kennedy, which is a virtual cabinet of curiosities come to life! It’s a huge store, and there is jewelry tucked in quite a few places, so you really have to spend some time looking. (like that’s a chore, right?!) I thought these earrings (made by a friend of the owner) were quite intriguing, as I do have sort of a “thing” for religious artifacts. They’re made from vintage French medallions.
Watson Kennedy doesn’t sell any fine jewelry, so you can be sure that they have lots of baubles at accessible price points. It’s a truly eclectic mix of goodies!
In talking with locals (and the ever-so-helpful concierge), I next found myself heading about 20 minutes from downtown to the Ballard neighborhood. This is purported to be an “artsy” area of town, which in my mind translates to unique jewelry! I was about done exploring and hadn’t come across anything that turned my head…and then I discovered Curtis Steiner. This triangular, well-lit shop is just amazing! Everything in this delightful boutique is either antique or hand-made by (predominantly) Washington artists. The owner designs exquisitely feminine necklaces, many of which can transform into short or long lengths.
The displays of antique jewelry abound!
The walls of the store are covered in floor-to-ceiling displays of hand-made greeting cards, also a creation of Curtis.
Of course, all this shopping makes a girl hungry. In Ballard, stop by La Carta de Oaxaca for some amazing Mexican food. Yum! Or if downtown, make your way to the Purple Cafe & Wine Bar for drinks and dinner. Gotta keep a shopping girl well-fueled!