The best fine jewelry in the world has an air of gravitas that cannot be ignored. And while the materials, craftsmanship, and designer label can add up to a hefty price tag, there are some investments that are still definitely worth the splurge. When it comes to investing in a piece of iconic jewelry, it’s best to opt for something that will never go out of style — something timeless, according to Jennie Yoon, founder and CEO of Kinn, a luxury jewelry brand that focuses on creating modern heirlooms meant to last for generations. To Yoon, what determines timelessness begins with a piece’s quality, material, and design.
“Solid 14k gold pieces will last for years and can often be passed on as heirlooms, as opposed to things that are plated and will eventually tarnish or lose color over time,” Yoon tells TZR. “Classic designs that continue to be popular every decade make for great timeless pieces — pendants, hoops, and simple chains are foundational pieces that make for a great piece of jewelry.”
When looking into a large jewelry purchase, Yoon recommends considering two things: its lifetime value and your own lifestyle. For the first component, ask yourself if this is a piece that will change color over time, have its stone fall out, or that you don’t plan on wearing very often. Also, if you think you might wish to resell it in the future, will you get a good value out of it on the market? Before you make a big splurge, be sure to purchase your piece from a reputable jeweler willing to educate you on the materials and care, as well as answer any questions you might have.
As for your own lifestyle, consider what makes sense for you, your habits, and personal style. “Are you someone who works a lot with hands and can't wear delicate pieces?” Yoon recommends asking. “Do you like to wear pieces and never have to take them off, or do you frequently change your pieces for each outfit? These things might guide you to choosing pieces that fit your lifestyle.”
Finally, if you’re looking to invest in iconic jewelry pieces with hefty price tags for the long run, it’s best to avoid anything that will look dated, namely pieces that are trend-driven and perhaps over-the-top. “To find a piece that will last for generations, it's best to stick with classic designs, shapes, and gemstones — diamonds, pearls, emeralds, etc.,” Yoon says. “Classic doesn’t need to mean boring; foundational pieces can be modern and elegant, then built upon for a trendier aesthetic.”
As a fine jewelry designer, Yoon finds that the most impactful component to selecting a timeless heirloom for yourself is the emotional significance and sentimentality of it, in addition to its beauty. “Fine jewelry, while an investment, can also be used to tell your story,” she says. “The most timeless pieces are those that have sentimental value, whether it marks a milestone like an anniversary or is a gift from a beloved, these pieces represent your many moments lived.”
Below, you’ll find 10 iconic pieces of jewelry that can be worn any and every day, yet are guaranteed to turn the head of any jewelry aficionado.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
1. Cartier Love Bracelet
Originally designed in 1969, the Cartier Love Bracelet is a historically iconic symbol of romance and the locking in of love. Sold with its own screwdriver, this 18k yellow gold piece is made of two c-shaped halves that have to be securely clasped together with the specially designed miniature tool. This is a bracelet worth keeping forever.
2. Kinn Herringbone Chain Necklace
This oval herringbone gold chain from Kinn features a soft curve unlike the typical flat herringbone chain, making for a surprisingly elegant and sophisticated piece that will go with anything, whether you want to dress it up or dress it down. The Kennedy chain is 14k solid gold, 2.5 millimeters thick, comes in two different lengths, and is built to last generations.
3. Tiffany & Co. Diamond Earrings
Diamond studs are nothing but classic, and this Tiffany & Co. style created by Elsa Peretti gives them a modern twist with its simplistic design. Featuring 18k yellow gold with bezel-set round diamonds, these timeless studs will never go out of style, regardless of whether you wear them on their own or pair them with larger, statement-making pieces.
4. Concept26 Puzzle Ring
Looking to add a playful touch to your timeless jewelry? This 14k yellow gold puzzle piece ring from Concept26 sits right in the middle of classy and fun. It’s an eye-catching ring designed to be worn both on its own and stacked with other styles.
5. David Yurman Chain Link Hoop Earrings
You simply can’t go wrong with a pair of hoops. These bold 18k yellow gold chain hoops with pavé diamonds from luxury jeweler David Yurman are a glamorous take on the classic earring, yet they are simple enough to go alongside any number of personal styles.
6. Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Necklace
Inspired by the clover leaf, this design pays homage to the 1968 Alhambra jewel by Van Cleef & Arpels, so it’s fit to become a modern heirloom. Even with its bright color, this piece exudes timeless elegance with a border of golden beads and delicate vintage silhouette.
7. Chanel Plume de Chanel Bracelet
Sophisticated and timeless doesn’t have to be boring. This glamorous feather motif from Chanel, as inspired by the first jewelry collection designed by Mademoiselle Chanel in 1932, boasts diamonds and an 18k white gold base, making it an iconic head-turning piece that will last for years on end.
8. Melissa Kaye Dome Ring
The dome ring has become an instant modern jewelry classic. This 18k gold Remi ring from Melissa Kaye boasts an elegant and sculptural curved band design that exudes refined sophistication and versatility. While it’s certainly on trend right now, you know you can wear this forever without it looking dated.
9. Mikimoto Pearl Strand Necklace
Another fine jewelry essential, luxury pearls are a must for any jewelry aficionado. Hailing from Japan, Mikimoto is an authority on pearls, with its founder culturing the first pearl in 1893. Outside of its beauty, each Mikimoto pearl piece is a lifetime investment.
10. Marei Dagger Diamond Earrings
For an edgy version of timeless jewelry, Marei’s dagger-inspired diamond earrings are a striking option. Flaunting 14k yellow gold, diamonds, and Brazilian pink tourmaline gemstones, these have all of the makings of a refined minimalist look, while slightly veering away from the softer side of classic. They pack an eye-catching punch without being the center of attention.
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