A Penchant for Pendants and What Earrings to Wear

Pendants are back — and not only delicate pendants on fine chains worn in multiples around the neck, a look I profiled back in June, but also big, heavy pendants on long or very long substantial chains as one might have worn with Love Beads back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I mark the harbinger of this trend Julia Roberts back in the spring, wearing an antique sautoir pendant necklace to the 2010 Golden Globes. As I posted in my blog back on January 31:

One game changer was Julia Roberts’ necklace at the Golden Globes. Her choice was a vintage 1972 long necklace or sautoir from the Van Cleef and Arpels Private Collection, featuring a pendant of citrines surrounded by diamonds and set in 18 karat yellow gold. The warmth of the gemstone-laden pendant beautifully complemented her personal coloring and dazzling smile and perked up her vintage Yves Saint Laurent black dress. In one fell swoop, Roberts embraced the trend of short dresses on the red carpet; introduced long sleeves into the mix, a rarity on the red carpet; made vintage 1970’s jewelry hugely desirable again; gave citrines a starring role, and introduced the viewing public to the term sautoir.

The August 2010 issue of InStyle magazine heralded the return of this style of necklace with a full-page article in which Marion Fasel writes:  “Add an exclamation point to any outfit with a major pendant. These supersize pieces sparkle with every kind of stone, from diamond to agate.”

The necklaces pictured in InStyle are from H. Stern, Kimberly McDonald, Stephen Dweck, Irene Neuwirth and Jessica Robinson Jewelry.

The August 2010 issue of Elle magazine features actress Ashley Greene wearing a waist-length gunmetal necklace by ChrisHabana with her velvet dress and lace cape by Alexander Wang. Under the lace you can also see a bit of a spider crab bracelet by Stephen Webster.

Cameron Diaz is shown wearing a necklace by Bulgari that falls almost to her waist with a coat and turtleneck by Gucci in the August 2010 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Notice that she is wearing large hoop earrings, this pair by Cartier, a trend that continues from the spring (see my May 17 post).  What appears to be the very same Bulgari necklace appears elsewhere a second time in the magazine.

Here’s another pendant necklace featured in Harper’s Bazaar, this one a silver-colored tassel necklace by Eddie Borgo.

The same issue of Harper’s Bazaar features Dee Hilfiger wearing a short vintage necklace by Bulgari with her gown designed by her husband Tommy.

An uncredited short pendant necklace is used to style a model in the August 2010 issue of Allure magazine.

Bottega Veneta’s black pantsuit is accessorized with that designer’s peek-a-boo length pendant necklace extending to the waist in this photo from the August 2010 issue of Town & Country. The earrings are also by Bottega Veneta.


The August 2010 issue of Marie Claire takes the extra long route with an ensemble by Yves Saint Laurent that includes a necklace that extends down well below the model’s waist and features an extremely large figural pendant.

In the InStyle article, Marion Fasel also provides an answer to the inevitable question what earrings should one wear with a major pendant necklace. Her response: A pair of studs (i.e., stud earrings). I agree that studs can be an excellent choice, as they add a bit of sparkle or gleam at the ear lobes while not interfering with the stylistic impact of the necklace. Ideally, keep the size of the gemstones in the studs and/or the scale of the detail of the earrings similar to those in the pendant so that there does not appear to be a disconnect between the two items of jewelry.

Larger, non-dangling ear clips are also gaining in popularity this season, and you may find you like the look of these slightly larger styles with your pendant necklace. If you like to wear large earrings, consider that the farther down on the body the pendant falls, the less likely you will find that larger earrings (like the drop earrings shown in Town & Country or even the large hoops shown in Harper’s Bazaar) “fight” with the pendant in demanding attention. When there is visual space between the earrings and the pendant, the eye of the viewer will circle around and, seeing compatible designs, find the effect pleasing.

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