Freckles! Scattered across the bridge of a nose, they are a feature of the archetypal cute, active, sun-loving child. Scattered across the shoulders and chest of an adult, they can be youthfully charming or a pesky reminder of too much time in the sun.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, visible freckles present a design element that should be considered in the selection of jewelry. There are several elements that come into play: color, size, shape, and spacing.
[I always loved Stefanie Powers’ freckles, watching her on the television show ”Hart to Hart”]
Let me start with a story from my mentor in image consulting, Carla Mathis of the Body Beautiful Institute:
“I was 13 years old when in a mail order catalog I saw a white blouse with a print of splattered uneven little brown dots. Since I had always loved little dots prints and the dots were a brown like my freckles, I thought it would be such a nice blouse to have. I actually had to plead to have mom order it; and she finally did. I was so excited when the package came, and couldn’t wait to try it on. Much to my dismay, when I looked into the mirror all I saw was one big freckle! The color, shapes, and size (or scale) of the dots were almost exactly like my freckles, and that was all you could see…. the eye went from the blouse to the freckles without a break.”
The dots were randomly placed and about the same size, shape and color as her plentiful freckles, with the result that she ended up looking like one big field of freckles.
While a printed fabric can more easily than jewelry repeat the color, size, shape and spacing of freckles, jewelry designs can create a reasonably good facsimile of this effect. I’ve seen starry skies effects created by a sprinkling of stones on a solid background. Make those stones cognac-colored diamonds or, even better, brown Baroque pearls placed irregularly on a field of a soft rose gold, and there’s a fine rendition of a patch of freckles.
By varying any or several of the design elements of the freckles in the jewelry design, exact repetition is lost and the effect is that of reminiscence. Changing the color of the dots lessens the repetition. Changing the size of the dots lessens the repetition. A round faceted stone is less repetitive of the shape of freckles than irregularly shaped pearls. Regular spacing lessens the effect, as does a change to the amount of spacing between the dots. Carla writes, “Reminiscence creates a beautiful harmony, while exact repetition creates a comic effect.”
For the customer who isn’t looking to highlight her freckles, avoid design elements that are reminiscent of the freckles – their size, irregular shape, color and spacing – to avoid bringing attention to them.
For the customer who loves her freckles, repeating any of the design elements of the freckles – their size, irregular shape, color or spacing – will make the freckles more noticeable. The more of these design elements included and the more exact the repetition, the more the freckles will come into prominence. The artistry is in selecting jewelry that highlights the favored feature without venturing into caricature.
[Illustration: Howdy Doody, from the popular children’s show of the 1950’s]