In our latest expert installment, Los Angeles-based Fine Jewelry & Watch Valuations Manager Lauren Hunt reveals her top 5 jewelry classics, plus how to keep them looking sleek and fresh year-round. With experience at Tiffany & Co. as a Valuations Specialist and a background in metalsmithing, jewelry design and gemology, there’s no one we trust more to advise us on our next jewelry buy.
Keeping your jewelry both unique and timeless can be tough. Sometimes it seems like every look has been done a thousand times, and trying to stay polished can feel more and more like a chore. Luckily, the world of luxury consignment offers endless options, from iconic pieces to rare, one-of-a-kind finds. Whether you consider your style more-is-more maximalism or the epitome of minimalism, these are the classic yet unexpected jewelry pieces to keep on hand at all times.
THE CHUNKY CUFF
Hermès Arcane Bracelet
A big statement bracelet is a staple in anyone’s collection, as it’s easy to throw on and go. It doesn’t matter if you’re headed to a cocktail party or a backyard cookout — this piece can be paired with anything and dressed up or down. I love the elegant Hermès Arcane cuff because it is not an Hermès collection you see everyone wearing, and you can really make it your own.
Cuffs can be difficult to fit into “one size fits all” standards, but to protect the durability of the piece, do not attempt to mold it yourself. It is always best to consult the original designer or your local trusted jeweler to fit it to your wrist.
THE MODERN PEARL EARRING
Céline Baroque Pearl Drop Earrings
Choosing to wear baroque pearls is a fabulous contemporary alternative to the classic pearl stud of previous decades. Baroque pearls can be identified by their irregular, non-spherical shape, and Céline’s offerings with dyed chalcedony accents give it an elevated edge. The combination of vibrant green and dangling pearl give these earrings a refreshed take on an iconic look.
Care should be taken when wearing pearls, as they are not necessarily for every day. Exposure to perfumes and toiletries and frequent wear can heavily damage the nacre — the thin, pearlescent layer that covers natural pearls. If you notice any detritus on your pearls, use nothing more than a slightly damp, warm washcloth to clean them.
THE HERITAGE RING
Cartier LOVE Wedding Band; Van Cleef & Arpels Perlée Signature Ring
Fine jewelers’ signature bands and diamond-accented rings are likely not new to the jewelry aficionado, but what you do with them can give them a unique spin and protect them for years to come. Keep it simple and wear them alone for your daily look or layer them with other band rings to create a personalized take.
While these rings are durable for frequent wear, stack them with the same purity of metal to ensure they don’t quickly become scratched and marked. Different purities of metal erode at different rates, and stacking them can result in faster wear. Both Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier have been making incredible pieces for more than 100 years and being conscious of what you pair them with will ensure they are in good condition when you pass them on, or if you decide to consign in the future.
THE PENDANT NECKLACE
14K Repoussé Locket Fob Pendant Necklace; 14K Victorian Diamond Repoussé Locket Necklace
This is not your grandmother’s locket. These darling mementos are seeing a resurgence, and effortlessly round out a jewelry collection. Use them to store pictures of loved ones, pets, places of significance or even inspiring quotes. My favorite look is to layer them as pendants on a chain or even as an addition to a charm bracelet, adding more experiences to those you’ve already commemorated. Both of the vintage lockets pictured here also feature a special metalworking technique called repoussé, which literally means “pushed up” in French. This hand-done technique requires a craftsman to hammer a malleable metal, resulting in a detailed, low-relief design that will stand out from the crowd.
As with your heritage rings (or any fine jewelry), it’s always best to keep the same purity of metal when layering pieces. Two layered 14k gold pendant necklaces will wear at the same rate, as opposed to throwing a 22k piece into the mix (a softer metal). Different metal purities and metal types have varying levels of hardness, potentially compromising the durability if paired incorrectly and if the wearer is particularly hard on jewelry.
THE DELICATE STATEMENT PIECE
Holly Dyment Ring; Delfina Delettrez Pearl & Enamel Star Ring; Delfina Delettrez 9K Glitter Lip & Pearl Cocktail Ring
Traditional “statement jewelry” generally brings to mind large gemstones, diamonds, cocktail rings and collar necklaces. Contemporary jewelry designers such as Delfina Delettrez and Holly Dyment have challenged this concept with their collections of playful, colorful designs. Have some fun with your statement jewelry and step outside of your comfort zone with vibrant hues and futuristic designs.
Why keep these two jewelry designers in particular on your radar? These newcomers are arguably carving out a space of their own in the industry. Dyment was the winner of the Mort Abelson “New Designer of the Year Award” in 2013, and Delettrez is the youngest designer to be included in the Musée des Arts Decoratifs’ permanent jewelry collection, located in the Louvre’s western wing.
While enamel jewelry pieces can give you that pop of color you’re craving, pull them out solely for special occasions (especially rings) as enamel can be delicate. Use soap and water for these pieces, as enamel can easily be harmed by abrasive cleaners. Being aware of when and how to wear these items will help keep them safe and like-new should you choose to reconsign after a few years or hand them down to a loved one.