When it comes to putting together a perfect bridal look, clothes always seem to get the most attention. But accessorizing with just the right jewelry (i.e. pieces that reflect your personality) is equally important. And whether you’re into understated pearls, over-the-top colored gems, or giant, bling-y diamonds, there’s definitely something out there that will work for your big event. Not sure where to start? To help, TZR has scoured the internet for the best wedding jewelry for every style — and, of course, consulted the experts.
First, it’s important to think about your wedding weekend as a whole rather than just one day. “Consider all of the events you’re going to be coordinating jewelry for and if the events are very different in tone and style,” says Cindy Chaplin, an avid collector of fine antique jewelry and owner of Turner and Tatler. “It’s best to consider what pieces you need to purchase and what pieces you can integrate from your current jewelry wardrobe.”
Briony Raymond, owner of Briony Raymond New York suggests investing in longevity. “More than anything, I recommend that a bride invests in jewelry that she’ll wear beyond the wedding weekend. Buy pieces you love and will wear again and again,” she says. “For the rehearsal dinner, I love a pair of big, fun, playful earrings and stack of bangles. And for the wedding day itself, I tend to prefer a more minimal look that won’t be distracting in photos, like a classic diamond earring with a slight dangle or a cluster that sits on the ear.” Raymond always reminds her bridal clients to pay close attention to the bracelets they’re considering. “It’s always a ‘no’ to bracelets with prongs that can get caught on the wedding gown or veil!”
A great place to begin the jewelry selection process is to first think about what jewelry you already know you want to wear, which will of course include your wedding rings and perhaps something borrowed. “Take stock of pieces that are already in your jewelry box and can be worn throughout the festivities, and build from there with simple but beautiful items that can be styled differently for each event,” says Melissa Kaye, New York-based fine jewelry designer. For the after-party, Kaye recommends paring things down. “I’d keep the jewelry to a minimum and stick to pieces that stay secure, like a pair of hoops or studs. In this case, you don’t want what you wear to the after-party to stay at the after-party.”
Another question you might ask yourself here: Is it ok to mix metals? “Yes! Yes! A thousand times, yes!,” says Raymond. Another thing to take into consideration is what your neckline looks like. Your jewelry can really enhance the look you’re going for. “I think the automatic pairing for a strapless dress or sweetheart neckline would be a choker or tennis necklace, but a necklace that hangs a little lower on the chest could give a cool, 1920s feel,” says Kaye. The message here, she emphasizes, is to have fun with your jewelry choices — there really is no right or wrong answer. “I love a look that doesn’t feel too contrived or perfect. A necklace can absolutely have a complementary or differing silhouette to the neckline, depending on what you prefer.”
That said, none of these tips matter if you haven’t found jewelry that you simply feel good in.“Think about the outfits [you’ll be wearing] and what will feel comfortable [with them],” advises Chaplin. “Your jewelry should feel like a second skin so you don’t give it a second thought once it’s on.” She suggests wearing the pieces beforehand to see how they look and feel when in motion. And, of course, starting with styles that feel true to you — find your perfect pieces with TZR’s suggestions ahead.
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For The Classic Minimalist
If timeless style is your vibe, consider introducing “something borrowed” like your grandmothers’ pearls — or even “something blue” for extra good luck! Melissa Kaye suggests a classic tennis necklace and diamond studs for a chic and timeless bride in pursuit of a minimal look. These will be in style forever. “You can never go wrong with a chic diamond cluster earring like our Posey diamond earrings, or a pair of south sea pearls, which is what I wore to my own wedding,” adds Raymond.
In addition to diamonds and pearls, classic minimalist jewelry can be set with gemstones as well. “Art Deco or Edwardian Period jewelry that is very restrained would represent a bride who has classic taste but appreciates the finer points of careful design and is looking for elegant minimalism,” says Chaplin.
For The Glam Maximalist
According to Chaplin, this vibe encompasses a broad range of periods and jewelry styles. If going the vintage route, she suggests first looking for a diamond necklace set in platinum or white gold. “Diamonds set in platinum or white gold set the tone for major Rivière necklaces,” Chaplin says. Sparkle is key, but it’s important not to overdo it. Perhaps choose one piece to focus on as a hero item and then build your jewelry look around it.
“If you’re going big… go big!” says Raymond who counsels looking for some extra sparkle in the ear with long, diamond earrings or a statement diamond necklace. This is also a great place for crystals and pendants that are encrusted with the initials of your special person’s name. “A statement earring is a great option for a more maximalist look, says Kaye. As someone with multiple piercings, I am a big proponent for a cool ear stack to frame the face. I’d love to see a bride in a graduated stack of our Lola Needle earrings — maybe even in a mix of diamonds and white enamel!”
For the Vintage Devotee
Vintage jewelry can feel very personal so this is a great place for your “something borrowed” from family members. To achieve a modern look with vintage jewelry, mixing metals, stones, textures, and design elements is key in elevating your wedding style.
To get the look, Chaplin recommends delicate stackable rings, thin antique gold bangles, and strings of pearls in varying sizes and lengths. “Delicate pearl drop earrings look effortless dangling from the earlobe too,” she adds.
For The Free-Spirited Bride
To achieve a carefree aesthetic, start by thinking about the location of your wedding weekend. If you’re on the beach, nod to the natural elements with organic shapes by way of shells, colored diamonds, pearls, stones, mixed metals, and textured gold. “Romantic jewels are fun for a more casual wedding, like on the beach,” says Raymond. “I suggest piles of swingy pearls or a large gold tassel earring.”
Melissa Kaye likes to create a look here that’s well-styled but still effortless. “A grouping of necklaces at different lengths layered together, accompanied by an earring like our Sadie draped earrings or a super long linear earring. That feels very boho to me, but still elegant.”
And if you feel like going with something vintage or antique, Chaplin recommends looking for pieces from the Victorian era. Chaplin notes that jewelry from this time period tends to be in rose gold with accents of pearls which will look incredible on every skin tone. Some important tips to keep in mind? “Rose cut diamonds are best worn in earrings and rings as they give a different type of sparkle that feels very romantic and warm,” she explains. “Also, a large locket worn on a silk ribbon around the neck is a very personal statement of love that can bring a bride’s jewelry to the next level in a very subtle way.”
For The Statement Maker
For those unconventional brides opting for a tailored pant suit or a colored gown, introducing a bold shade in your bridal jewelry can be just the thing to complete your look. “Colored stones can be strong statements when worn with non-conventional wedding outfits,” says Chaplin. If your dress has a pop of color, or an interesting design element, Kaye suggests looking to pastels that complement those elements without being too busy. Raymond recommends adding a cocktail ring on the right hand for a subtle splash of color. Look to button earrings, pendant necklaces, or tennis necklaces with colored stones to achieve this vibe.
If going the antique route is your jam? “Art Deco jewelry is a great way to bring a classic statement with a powerful design element,” says Chaplin. When clients are looking for a bit of color she turns to this period for sapphires, rubies, onyx, and diamonds. Chaplin recommends mixing bracelets of different colors and stones (think diamonds, rubies, and sapphires) — or stacking diamond rings on varying fingers.