Take off your jew­ellery; start again. Lisa Arm­strong can help

We know it has sen­ti­men­tal value. But be hon­est: does it have style value too?

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - CONTENTS -

To para­phrase, for a mo­ment, St­ing: if you love some­thing, set it free. But not for free. So it is with jew­ellery. Ev­ery so of­ten, you need to di­vest your­self of all of it. The friend­ship bracelets from your god­chil­dren. The push­ing ring from your hus­band. The cop­per ban­gle that’s sup­posed to ward off arthri­tis…

This is how it is with jew­ellery. It ac­cu­mu­lates, even more than clothes, heavy with me­mories and sym­bol­ism, clut­ter­ing up your fin­gers and wrists.

Jew­ellery can make an out­fit. It can also break it. It can mod­ernise or fa­tally date – but it’s hard to tell when it has be­come part of your fur­ni­ture. So take it all off. Go jew­ellery-naked for a few days. See what you miss. Per­haps all of it. Per­haps noth­ing. Come back to the mir­ror with fresh eyes. Maybe hoops never suited you af­ter all.

Larger neck­laces should sit neatly (see The Crown for mas­ter­classes in how to wear neck­laces, from queenly five-strand pearls to Mar­garet’s 1950s de­signs. John Lewis and su­san­ca­plan.com are good for

Jew­ellery can mod­ernise or fa­tally date – but it’s hard to tell when it’s part of your fur­ni­ture

vin­tage cos­tume jew­ellery). Fine gold pen­dants are lovely if you wear open-neck shirts (Mon­ica Vi­nader is the place).

Good ear­rings are ev­ery­where, but for in­spi­ra­tion look to Cé­line, JW An­der­son, Aurélie Bi­der­mann. Coloured stones are on trend (see Kiki McDonough), but white or black di­a­monds and pearls (try Mizuki’s mod­ern de­signs on net-a-porter.com) are more ver­sa­tile. Ear­rings should ac­cen­tu­ate your bone struc­ture and not drag your lobes down. Un­com­fort­able pairs must be writ­ten off and chalked up to ex­pe­ri­ence. Rings? Make a state­ment out of wear­ing one or more on ev­ery fin­ger, or pare right back.

Sell any jew­ellery you’ve fallen out of love with. You can make money that can be put to­wards bet­ter ends. Start com­pil­ing a list of pieces you’d re­ally love – from SJ Phillips’ an­tiques to Su­san Fos­ter’s con­tem­po­rary de­signs. It will be a life­time’s work.

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