Replenishing the Jewelry Box

When I found myself in possession of an unexpected (i.e., unbudgeted) windfall, my thoughts tend to drift toward jewels . . .

Not jewels like these.
Hope Diamond; people who say its cursed don't understand causation
People who say the Hope Diamond is cursed don’t understand the difference between causation and correlation
I need a parure
The parure boggles the mind; costly, but not chic

I don’t live in the realm of precious jewelry, by which I mean pieces made of precious metals and precious stones that cost thousands of dollars. My interest is designer jewelry made of some precious metals and semi-precious stones and unique pieces by independent artists. I think of these acquisitions as investment pieces. To be clear: they aren’t financial investments. Jewelry is illiquid and, when bought at retail, has poor resale value. The investment relates to a cost (not insubstantial) that is justified by longevity; I intend to wear these pieces for decades.

You may remember that I made some noise a few months ago about looking for a pearl necklace?
Look at the one I found.

These freshwater pearls are strung on a taupe, silk cord. Tiny Swarovski crystals are placed at regular intervals on the strand; they catch the light but are otherwise almost invisible. The necklace is lariat style, which means it’s one long strand with no clasp. I’ve wound the strand around my neck twice and then wound one end around the other to fasten it. The overall effect is both ethereal and modern.
You've chosen wisely
You’ve chosen wisely
Well, I am very smart
Well, I am very smart

I’ve also been coveting these beautiful brooches from Galerie Noel Guyomarc’h.
Seugli Kwon 5
Seugli Kwon Broken Night (wt. 70g, 4.5″ x 6″ x 2″)
Barbara Stutman Imperfect Beauty
Barbara Stutman Imperfect Beauty (wt. 79 g, 5″ x 5.25″ x 2″)

Mirjam Heller No. 1
Mirjam Heller No. 1 (wt. 42g, 2.5″ x 1.75″ x 1.5″)
Mirjam Heller No. 2
Mirjam Heller No. 2 (wt. 63g, 3.5″ dia.)

The workmanship in these pieces is so beautiful and there is something very satisfying about supporting the work of independent artists who create one-of-a-kind pieces.
I wrote to Mr. Guyomarc’h to inquire about the dimensions and weight of each piece, which I have listed above. I love brooches — particularly large ones — but weight is an important consideration; if a brooch is too heavy, it’s hard to wear. The measurements in grams didn’t resonate with me (as an American), so I converted the grams to ounces and then realized I don’t really know what an ounce feels like, either. So I attempted to approximate the various weights . . . by holding a partially eaten chocolate bar. The process started so scientifically . . .
I ordered one brooch on approval — meaning, I’ve paid for it, but may return it if I find, when it arrives, that it isn’t quite what I imagined. A photo only tells one so much.

In case you are wondering about the chocolate bar, it looked like this.
It was insanely delicious.
Whole candy bar (wt. 83 g)
Whole candy bar (starting weight: 83 g)

So tell me: Under what circumstances do you splurge-out on a piece of jewelry for yourself?

7 thoughts on “Replenishing the Jewelry Box”

  1. I love jewelry and have splurged on many pieces for myself over the past thirty years…at this point, I think I’m done but you never know what might catch my eye. At first, I tried to build a collection of classics…pearl strand, gold knot earrings, gold bangle. But as I got older I liked bolder pieces and my favorites now are 16″-18″ chunky beads or pearls, with interesting clasps or toggle closures. I have white and gray pearls, carnelian and onyx beads, and silver beads and gold( not real) beads. I wear a lot of tailored shirts and I like the way they fill in the neckline. I also like gemstone stud earrings. My only other big splurge was a Cartier Tank Francaise watch. I like brooches but don’t wear them much. Those that you’ve chosen are interesting…I can see them on you!

  2. I especially liked the pearl lariat piece which will look well on so many garments. I like independent jewelry makers too. Their pieces being unique, go with your overall feelings about styling your choices and it will be reflected. I will look forward to seeing them styled. Kate

  3. You know how I love jewelry! And I agree completely with your assessment of jewelry as an investment. Many of my favorite pieces are connected to a particular event or place. I bought myself special pieces on landmark birthdays and to commemorate making it to 6months with each of my sons. I also love to buy unique pieces when I travel; I look for jewelry with a story or that comes from the artistic tradition of the place. When I put on a piece of jewelry, I remember the moment or place whence it came.

  4. The chocolate comment made me laugh out loud! I’ve never been much of a jewellery collector, but the pearl lariat has my interest piqued. It’s gorgeous!

  5. I’m not a huge jewelry girl – I wear the same little silver earring hoops everyday – in fact they don’t come off ever. Same with my thick white gold wedding band that is identical to my husband’s. I splurge on watches – my silver Swiss Army is a favorite. For Christmas I got several handmade silver engraved stacking rings for my “other” ring finger – with my loved ones names in quirky script. An purchase I will never regret!

    I love your choices – congrats on your windfall!

  6. Hi, Directrice,Those necklaces are nice! I especially like the one with carved bone beads, they almost look like flowers. Are you familiar with Patricia Von Musulin jewelry? Similar aesthetic. Love your blog!


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