Tantalizing Tassels

As colleges and high schools wrap up their classes this month, graduation caps with their symbolic tassels remind us that there’s something about a tassel as ornamentation that finishes a design in a most pleasing manner. This season, tassels as decorative elements in jewelry are composed of a wide range of materials, including a variety of precious stones. Some jewelry incorporates multiple tassels.

Writing in the April issue of InStyle, Marion Fasel considers the appeal of tassels: “Few jewelry designs are as fun as the tassel necklace. First popularized when women danced the Charleston in the Roaring ’20s, the high-spirited style now adds a flirty element to today’s brightly printed dresses and all-white pantsuits.” Pictured are necklaces of lapis, sapphire, and 18kt gold from Slane; chrysoprase and 18kt gold from Cynthia Bach; diamond and 18kt gold from Penny Preville; tanzanite with 18kt and 22kt gold from Verdura; and diamond, spinel, and 22kt gold from Cathy Waterman.

In considering what’s in and what’s out in its April issue, Harper’s Bazaar focuses on tassel earrings, highlighting two pairs from Eddie Borgo with the comment: “Accessories with silken threads add a subtle touch of drama to any ensemble. Tasseled earrings, worn in lieu of a necklace, are showstoppers.” These earrings are strongly reminiscent of the tassels on graduation caps.

A tassel necklace from Lanvin is also featured in the April issue of Harper’s Bazaar. The shoes pictured are from Celine and Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquiere.

Actress Kirsten Dunst appears in this current ad from Bulgari featuring a double-tassel necklace worn so that the tassels hang down the actress’s back.

Actress Thandie Newton appears in the April 30 issue of People wearing gold tassel earrings; the designer is not identified.  

A Van Cleef & Arpels High Jewelry carnelian bead necklace with pearl tassels is featured in the March issue of Town & Country. The model also wears a carved jade bracelet with diamonds and rubies from David Webb, a Graff diamond ring, and a David Webb coral grasshopper clip creatively attached to the leg of her Barbara Tfank silk mikado pants. Her vest is from DSquared2 and her shoes from Emilio Pucci.

The March issue of Elle features a statement necklace from Jay Godfrey accented with nine tassels.

The May Jewelry Issue of Elle suggests that the style minimalist would view a tasseled necklace from Cartier as her dream jewelry acquisition. Also featured are choker necklaces from Michael Kors, Hermes, Lanvin, Atelier Swarovski by Christopher Kane, CA&Lou, and Aurelie Bidermann, plus oversize rings, hoops, double cuffs, a men’s-inspired watch, and retro pendant necklaces.

The June issue of Lucky styles two looks with tassel-accented bracelets. The first look, consisting of an embroidered cotton and mesh dress worn over a bikini, all from Undrest by the Sea, is pictured next to this advice: “Leave the dainty jewelry at home: An embroidered dress begs for piled-on, chunky necklaces.” Piled on are necklaces from robertrose.com, Dinosaur Designs, and wendyminkjewelry.com. Bright blue tassels accent gold-plated string bracelets from danielespinosa.com. The model also wears brass cuffs and ring from A.V. Max, plus rings from Iosselliani, Robindira Unsworth, and charlesalbert.com.


This second look from Lucky includes a pair of bracelets from Isabel Marant accented with tiny tassels. The model also wears a Ulla Johnson dress, a BLK DNM leather vest, a Charlotte Ronson lacy dress, and Church’s brogues. She carries a Stella McCartney clutch.

With such a wealth of choices, this is the perfect time to graduate to tassels.

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