Bold Statements - Minimalist Jewelry - une femme d'un certain âge

Bold Statements – Minimalist Jewelry

I was thrilled when Duchesse accepted the invitation to be my very first guest poster.  With an eagle eye for unique and standout pieces, she’s outdone herself here, presenting some fabulous jewelry at all price points to accent and complete our favorite minimalist looks.

As part of her series on minimalist dressing, Deja Pseu has graciously invited me to write a guest post on jewelry.
-Duchesse, Passage des perles

If you enjoy jewelry, the subtle cuts of minimalist clothes are a perfect backdrop, but require some thought.

Pieces like this Céline pantsuit are styled for the runway with no jewelry, but I’d feel naked with absolutely nothing on my fingers or ears, and appreciate the subtle softening effect of a ring or earrings.

Mass-market production jewelry (such as those in a typical department store) is often over-designed and too fussy. One of those messy-chain necklaces will look as out of place on a calm Calvin Klein dress as fuzzy dice in a Bentley.

Instead, invest in fine quality or seek out young designers making handmade pieces from the noble metals– and don’t mess with Ms. In-Between.

Resist one-upping the restraint of minimalist with the starkest designs; you don’t want to look like a nun who won the lottery. The Tiffany Frank Gehry Torque Pendant is an example of what I’d avoid: too cold, too neuter.

Below, suggestions for what you pull out of your jewelry box, or for additions to your collection, at both fine and emerging-designer price points. Because sometimes our budgets are minimalist, too.


Serene yet interesting, Dean Harris’ citrine and 18k dangles provide a rich yet neutral accent. Price, $1,550 from Barneys.

At the gentle end of the price continuum, rosaline glass and washed-gold over brass earrngs by Etsy seller juliesadorabowls have the right organic feel. Price, $22.


Minimalist clothes suit bangles and cuffs. For the fine jewelry option, I’d choose vintage and admit serious jewel lust for Beladora’s retro rose cuff; price, $2,450. What begins as lust would turn into a lifetime romance.

Ethnic jewelry is marvelous with simple chic, and the clothes return the compliment. This etched brass Turkish Tile cuff molds to the wrist and is just $30 from Etsy seller bcjewelry. At that price, you can wear a pair!

Natural materials like Roost’s horn cuff also work well. This 2-inch bracelet is $35 from Multi Chic.

Around your neck

I noticed a woman in an Eileen Fisher ensemble accessorized by a huge, bright-bead necklace that overwhelmed its grace, and could almost hear her thinking “It just needs something to pick it up”. Think caress rather than bear hug, texture rather than brilliant colour.Beth Orduna’s labradorite pendant necklace features a shimmery faceted teardrop stone (nearly 1 1/2 inches) fastened to a flowered clasp holding a ring of moonstone, and a 19-inch silver chain. Price, $814 from Twist.

Etsy seller wulfgirl has the goods for our budget option; check out her 18k bead and silver-coated Czech glass 25-inch necklace strung on silk.

It’s nubbly and cool, and combines silver and gold so mixes easily with what you already have; price, $40.


Your jewelry looks best when it’s not too formal, in harmony with the relaxed simplicity of the clothes. (Shown: Eileen Fisher double-faced merino jacket.) Wear a standout ring, like this Jamie Joseph oval serpentine ring with diamond, bezel-set in 14k gold on your hand and voila, you’re dressed! Price, $805 from Ylang23.

Low-end for rings is often a false economy: they need to wear well. But Anat Basanta’s is the exception; her silver Corset Ring combines substance with subtlety; price, $185.

The traditional wedding band and diamond ER set looks dated with these sleek clothes, so if you wear them, how about a new ring? Shown, Carla Caruso Infinity Band, price, $350 from The Clay Pot.

Don’t forget your pearls!
Minimalism’s assured authenticity is best accessorized with the unmistakably genuine, but real pearls don’t have to be perfect spheres. Save that polite white strand for blazers or tweeds; choose pearls with character and natural colour. With so many pearls available in the triple-digit range, you can wear your gems day and night.
A 32-inch rope of baroque Tahitian pearls (8mm-11mm) with natural (undyed) hues of peacock, pistachio, deep blue, aubergine, chocolate, silver, and deep steel grey would be quite wonderful. Price, $540 from Kojima Company.

I think I saved the best for last, but you know me and pearls! Both Pseu and I will enjoy hearing what you like to wear with your pared-down favourite pieces.

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  1. September 14, 2010 / 1:32 pm

    Great advice! I really like the minimalist look, so I’m thankful to have some guideline–I love the caress vs. bear hug comparison. Very helpful.

  2. September 14, 2010 / 2:43 pm

    Duchesse, I believe this is spot on. Minimalist dressing does cry out for the organic, the subtle, the hand-crafted. Thank heavens pops of color may have had their day and move on:). Deja, thank you for bringing us Duchesse’s opinions here.

  3. September 14, 2010 / 3:15 pm

    This season’s minimalist fashion is so fitting with my personal style: simple clothes, classic colors, clean lines and great jewelry.
    Thank you for showing the fabulous gold bracelet from Beladora. It would look great with a cashmere turtleneck in charcoal, chocolate or camel.

  4. September 14, 2010 / 6:18 pm

    I collect one-of-a-kind pieces, and like wearing a statement item with my most minimalist clothes.

    For example, I have a strand of “Navajo Pearls” that I wear with my black jersey dresses — summer and winter — that never fails to work.

    That said, it’s important to keep the rest of the accessories down to a dull roar — I never wear the matching earrings with the necklace, but instead go for fairly understated studs.

    I’ll post a few photos of my favorite pieces over at my blog — y’all come!

  5. Couture Allure Vintage Fashion
    September 14, 2010 / 12:18 pm

    Beautiful pieces all! I like to wear minimalist clothing to show off my jewelry, so it looks like I’ll be in style this season!

  6. September 14, 2010 / 8:35 pm

    Couture: Like you, think I converted to mostly minimalist b/c it shows jewelry so well.
    T&C Mom: Thanks, too bitsy doesn’t work either but most women have some “just right” things.
    Frugal: See below, Veuve has some faves too.
    LPC: And those earrings your brother gave you, would not those be divine?
    Belle: How on earth do you work with all these sublime pieces and not spend every nickel?
    Veuve: Thanks, I’ll check them out!
    Rubi: I like silver pearls but find the nacreous type so irresistible I have never managed to save for the silver ones.

  7. Frugal Scholar
    September 14, 2010 / 1:53 pm

    Beautiful sense of discrimination as always. My only disappointment is in having only post to read rather than two.

    Love the etsy finds. Thanks for doing the work of navigating that monster-site.

  8. Veuve
    September 14, 2010 / 4:45 pm

    I have a couple of etsy artists who are my go-to for “organic, subtle, and hand-crafted”, as LPC perfectly describes. Locallibrary, Elephantine, StarvingArtistDesigns, JessiTaylor, and MolecularMuse (if you have a scientific bent) all make beautiful jewelry that works with minimalist dressing.(Not affiliated of course, just a fan of these shops!)

  9. September 15, 2010 / 3:32 am

    What fun to have two of my favourite bloggers in one spot!
    Interestingly, I’ve been satisfied more and more lately with one or two favourite necklaces, simple, organic, hand-worked — so I guess I’m ready for the minimalist wave. . .

  10. Tiffany
    September 14, 2010 / 11:26 pm

    I’m hopeless with jewellery, but I love that rose gold cuff. My grandmother used to wear something very similar that I always admired. I love pearls, but I feel strange when I wear them – like I’m pretending to be someone else …

  11. September 15, 2010 / 2:07 pm

    I don’t own any really expensive jewelry with stones, but with minimalist clothing I like to wear simple accessories like bakelite cuffs and earrings.

    I do have a few pieces of Mexican silver – the sculptural pieces are perfect with minimalist fashion. Only after a summer of not wearing them I’ve got to get out the silver polish!

  12. Terri
    September 17, 2010 / 4:02 am

    Oh, those pearls.

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