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It’s February, and I’m writing about jewelry. Groundbreaking, I know. (And if you don’t hear that in Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly’s voice, get thee to Hulu and watch The Devil Wears Prada immediately.) But there is a reason for it, and I promise today’s story involves not a single heart nor one word about significant others because this is not a story about what happens on the 14th of this month. It’s about investing in everyday pieces that you will love and cherish your whole life and that will hold their value.
When I was younger, I never thought about buying myself jewelry. Rather than saving for pieces that would last and that I would be able to wear for years, my head was always turned by the immediate gratification of inexpensive, on-trend clothes that lasted a season or two, at best, before I tried to resell them. Equally embarrassing: I hesitated because my societal conditioning made me think that buying jewelry for myself was wrong and sad because you were only supposed to receive it as a gift, most likely from a boyfriend. Utter nonsense on all fronts.
These days, my overall shopping strategy is so wildly different. I think about everything in terms of the price-per-wear cost and try to be super strategic with the way I spend my money. As I’ve mentioned before, with clothes, I try to only buy things that work with what I already have in my closet and that I can easily imagine styling with three different types of outfits, for three different types of occasions. Could I wear this to work, on the weekend, and out at night just by styling it differently? That’s the test.
As for accessories, rather than splurging on a bag or overpaying for a pair of shoes that don’t feel good on my feet, when it comes to higher-priced purchases, I’m much more likely to buy jewelry that I can wear every day. I look for pieces that feel sentimental, personal, or powerful, and if it seems like something I could pass along to my daughter in the future, even better.
On that note, today I’m sharing some of my personal fine-jewelry favorites. Some of them I own and wear, many of them I just admire, and all of them are quite lovely. I’m always looking for new brands and designers, so if you have any pieces that you love and live in, please leave a comment below, as I very much want to know.
Also, if you love jewelry as much as I do, I highly recommend following my friend, the divine Will Kahn, otherwise known as @willsnotebook. He’s a former fashion editor from W and Town & Country, was previously the market director at Moda Operandi, and now is a consultant, contributing editor, and more, and his knowledge is remarkable.
And for the very strategic folks out there, yes, there are specific jewelry brands and pieces that really hold their resale value, if you’re interested. On that note, I also very much stand behind buying vintage and consignment pieces, too. (And if you ever come across a vintage zodiac pendant from Van Cleef or Cartier, do not let it pass you by!)
Delightfully delicate, feminine without being fussy, and understated enough for daily wear, Meyer’s pieces are beloved by women like Jennifer Aniston, Meghan Markle, Hailey Bieber, and Jessica Alba. While I adore her signature leaf necklace and wishbone pendants, my favorite piece—and one I have not taken off for over three years—is her Good Luck Necklace. As someone who is both superstitious and sentimental, I love that the pendant features seven good-luck symbols (including an elephant, my favorite) and comes on a 20-inch 14-karat diamond-cut gold bead chain, which is the perfect length and twinkles subtly.
It came into my life at a critical moment: I was in the final stretches of a high-risk pregnancy and on bed rest for two months, nervous as heck about getting to term with my second kiddo, and desperate for some luck. The baby was due just a few days before my 40th birthday, and I had this wild hope that the necklace would keep us both safe and get us to term. While my ob-gyn would probably credit her protocol of a cerclage and progesterone shots for helping me to the finish line, I swear it was that necklace, which I was wearing during labor, on my birthday eight days later, and every day since. I look forward to telling that baby—my now nearly 2.5-year-old daughter, Wilder—the story and passing this piece along to her (eventually).
If you’re the sort of person who loves the deeply understated elegance of The Row, isn’t into makeup but will spend a small fortune on imperceptible dermatological work, and wouldn’t be caught dead wearing anything with a discernible logo, then you will swoon for the fashion-insider brand Sherman Field 1967. (Also, if you’re none of these things, you will also love it. The line is wildly pleasing to everyone.)
The brand is flawless from start to finish, which isn’t surprising considering the designer and founder is Danielle Sherman, who has a long and illustrious career in the fashion world. (She co-founded The Row, was the creative director of Edun, and more!) Sherman makes her own signature 18-karat yellow gold for the line, and when I tell you it has the most incredible old-world warmth, I am not kidding.
It’s impossible to pick the best pieces from Sherman Field because they are all heartbreakingly beautiful and the most delicious weight, but I think her lockets are absolutely next-level. I love them all, from the simple Pyramid Square to the Reversible Rectangle in Nephrite Jade, which is even more stunning in person.
Let me start by saying I adore Cartier on every level. I’ve had the pleasure of working with the brand on a number of projects over the years and am truly besotted with everything from the stationary to the jewelry to the extraordinarily lovely team. Also, I think Cartier has the best watches in the game, from the Santos (which I got to wear for a shoot once; it’s heaven) to the Panthère (which is the watch of choice for so many chic women) to the Tank (which is over 100 years old and still elegant as ever).
In my mind, the Clash is unquestionably alluring but not instantly identifiable—yet—and has a bit of an attitude, and that combination is just a little subversive coming from a brand like Cartier, which I love. It’s kind of a coded signal for people who really know and love jewelry. I think this is going to be one of the most coveted collections for years to come, which is why I’d invest in it now.
I’m a huge fan of this luxury DTC jewelry brand—I had the pleasure of interviewing founder Shelley Gibbs Sanders for Second Life—which makes incredibly delightful, sustainably sourced pieces that range from completely classic to charmingly cheeky.
For reasons I don’t fully understand, I have been in a very-small-earring phase for the last six years or so. It started with a pair of tiny gold evil eye stud earrings, which I wore constantly for years. In 2017, I found myself unexpectedly living in New York following the emergency early birth of my son and lost one of those earrings a few weeks after he arrived.
My world felt upside down, and replacing the earring seemed like something I could control. When I went to buy it, sadly it was sold out, but happily I found myself drawn to another tiny piece, specifically a mini diamond lightning bolt. Considering that everything about that moment in time felt like a wake-up call about my priorities and what actually mattered in life, it seemed like the right piece to purchase. That was nearly four and a half years ago, and I am still wearing it.
If you haven’t had your own lightning-bolt moment, I’d also recommend pieces from Fohrman’s moon phase collection, like her Full/New Moon Gold and Diamond Necklace. She has a moon phase finder on her site that allows you to enter any date—like an anniversary or birthday—to find out what phase the moon was in and a range of jewelry pieces that correspond. If you don’t care for your birthstone or are looking for a subtle way to commemorate a major life event, I think this is a really nice option.
When it comes to taking care of earrings, I tend to err on the benign-neglect side of things, but I am 1000% happy to make an exception for these stunning statement earrings. The organic shape of the baroque pearls is simply divine, and the juxtaposition with the more traditional emerald-cut blue topaz studs is lovely. I would personally get my money’s worth by styling them with everything from a perfect white T-shirt and 501s to a black vegan-leather dress at work to my dream wedding guest look.
If you want something that is also noteworthy but a little more low-key, I’m deeply enamored with these gold, diamond, and emerald earrings. At a glance, you can’t tell if they’re vintage from the 1950s or a modern design, which means they’re going to look just as relevant in 2050 as they do today.
Full confession: The combination of being a sentimental person who loves to customize pieces plus seeing Gwyneth Paltrow wear her own very personalized Foundrae necklace in photos for years plus knowing that Foundrae is one of the brands that holds its value the most on The RealReal… Well, I had to include it in this story.
I could spend hours on its website looking at all the incredible configurations and possible combinations of pendants and medallions and charms and chains, but while there are enough options to satisfy anyone out there, I do think there’s much to be said for this simple crest charm bracelet. Per Aspera Ad Astra is a particularly meaningful concept right now—through hardships to the stars—and while I’m not usually drawn to charm bracelets, I love the clip chain on this one.
But what about jewelry that’s not a huge investment?