Friday, 17 August 2012

Making a Statement with Jewellery

The acceptability and perpetuation of fashion/costume jewelry has been attributed to Gabrielle Coco Chanel. Those faux pearls have been combined, altered, minimized, maximized, modified, put to many uses, and rearranged in the creative design process over the decades since the 1920s. Chanel was making a statement with those strands of pearls and essentially opened the door for us to do the same.
Photo Source:
When you want to make your statement, choose your medium - do it with turquoise or some other semi-precious stone such as rose quartz, crystals or metal; yes, even with feathers.

Millicent Rogers, the American oil heiress socialite, who fell in love with the American south-west and collected turquoise, coral, mother of pearl, onyx and silver jewellery crafted by the Indigenous people of the area, provides us with a model for creating our own "look". Her admiration developed into philanthropic work and so her adornment had nothing to do with trends. Others have done the same in India, Africa, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Central and South America. Clothing and jewellery was a means of regional and ethnic identity for Indigenous peoples and now for us, their creativity provides a vehicle for our individuality.
Millicent Rogers, American socialite and fashion icon, 1902-1953. Photo Source:
You don't have to be an oil heiress. I know a woman of Native Canadian ancestry, Ojibway specifically, who wears, has worn and will wear feather earrings all her life. It is her statement jewellery choice. Hers is a choice based on ethnic background and not on trends. Whether it is a cause, ethnic background or an obsession, making your statement with jewellery relieves you of the burden of trends. By laying claim to your own ethnic identity and with a little historical research, you too can make your statement with jewellery.

If you are interested in the history of costume jewelry check out The Clothing and Fashion Encyclopedia for a sourced overview.  

My friend Cathy, who lives near Lyons, France has some of the best statement pieces I have ever seen. She is particularly fond of bracelets and rings and because of her work and travels to Africa and India, she has some very stunning pieces. She has mixed the ordinary with the precious and it works. These bold ethnic pieces have become her "mark".

I am still searching for my statement, for my "mark"; but it is a learning process. Necklaces have never been my favourite, although I have worn many that I have made (perhaps more for promotion than making a statement). Earrings I like but somehow I prefer a simple classic design and will wear one style for months. Bracelets have perhaps been my favourite statement pieces since I like to wear multiples at one time with or without a watch. I have done this without paying any mind to trends.

It's time to make your "mark".


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