Caroline: I am finding that I’m enjoying mixing and matching my more expensive jewelry with my less expensive jewelry. I see a lot of that going on.
Cynthia: Do you mean fine jewelry and costume?
Caroline: Yes, or even expensive fine jewelry together with less expensive fine or bridge jewelry. Like fabulous diamond pieces with sterling silver ones, when they work together.
Cynthia: That’s an interesting idea that could help maximize the versatility of all the jewelry. How do you mix diamonds with silver?
Caroline: If I am wearing diamond bracelets and rings – but have a kick-$ss pair of sterling silver dangly earrings that look like they match/coordinate – I’ll pair them up even if they don’t match in price.
Cynthia: Essentially, it sounds as though you are using bridge jewelry designed to look like fine jewelry with the real thing. Do you ever mix diamonds with silver jewelry that is meant to look like … well, silver jewelry?
Caroline: No, I don’t think so. I guess I use the mix of expensive/inexpensive when it all matches. Is there a smart way to mix diamonds with silver that is meant to look like silver?
Cynthia: I think it’s possible, although it takes a bit of attitude and an excellent sense of style. What helps a bit for many women is wearing a diamond engagement ring. Diamonds are thereby added into the mix.
Caroline: I like being able to combine various elements.
Cynthia: By the way, I don’t think that an engagement ring should ever be a hindrance to wearing any particular look! With regard to other diamond jewelry, I think a key issue is scale. A delicate silver piece may look appropriate worn together with relatively small diamond pieces.
Caroline: Or larger diamond pieces may work with larger silver pieces.
Cynthia: Conceptually, that’s where I disagree. How might you wear larger pieces of both types?
Caroline: I am thinking of larger silver earrings with diamond bracelets and rings. Why don’t you feel that would work?
Cynthia: What would the earrings look like? Basic hoops?
Caroline: Oh no, not those. I can see it going two ways; with larger dangle-y types of ears or with shiny metal-y earrings that have lots of surface area and less stones.
Cynthia: So again, there is harmony of the pieces due to their design. Dangling earrings are dressier than hoops; jewel-encrusted earrings are meant to imitate diamonds. In either case, the earrings are coordinating with the bracelets. Also, it helps that the bracelets and rings are quite a distance from the earrings. It would be tough to combine silver and platinum in earrings and a necklace, for instance.
Caroline: This may be one time we don’t fully agree! I can see how it might work as well with rings and a bracelet but I’ve actually worn a larger flat-link sterling silver necklace with small platinum hoops. Or maybe I just looked strangely put together and didn’t notice it!
Cynthia: Were all the surfaces smooth?
Caroline: The necklace was smooth and shiny. The earrings had a matte finish.
Cynthia: Perhaps you chose the earrings because they didn’t steal any thunder from the necklace?
Caroline: No matter the metal content, I would have worn smaller earrings with that necklace, so things didn’t compete. So the answer is yes!
Cynthia: Yes, I can see how that would work just fine. And I think that small, matte-finish silver hoops would work with a diamond bracelet, too. The issue arises when two styles are distinctly competing with each other.
Caroline: So that’s where one needs to be careful? When styles are different?
Cynthia: Yes. The underlying principle here is that there should be harmony among all the pieces being worn together, irrespective of their metal content. And irrespective of whether the stones are real or faux!
Caroline: So, I’ve been doing it right, but now I understand the reasons behind it!
Caroline: And another jewelry wardrobe lives happily on.
One building block of a jewelry wardrobe is that “an item’s price is irrelevant.” You’ve seen above how it works (when pieces match or coordinate) and when it doesn’t (when jewelry pieces are of different, competing styles).
Keep this in mind when dealing with your customers. It’s especially handy if she has a moderately priced wardrobe – you needn’t be afraid to show her more expensive pieces that work with the look she has created.