Wearing jewelry is a global shorthand for self-expression, and its innate value often makes it a very special and highly considered purchase. From selecting a simple pair of stud earrings to choosing a striking statement necklace, it can help to have an overall vision in mind for your collection, much like you may approach your ready-to-wear wardrobe. Just like with clothes, there are staples, signatures and showstopping pieces that will extend and expand your styling options, too. So, to help optimize your next purchase, Edwina Hilton, fine-jewelry and watches buyer at NET-A-PORTER, shares her advice on how to develop your collection with investment jewels – at any price point.
Your first foray
“As a first fine-jewelry purchase, lower price brackets offer a great amount of choice and charm,” says Hilton. “If you are a first-time buyer, look to invest in versatile pieces that will blend seamlessly into the daily rotation of your ready-to-wear wardrobe,” she suggests. Look for simple stacking styles, such as small hoops and studs from the likes of Melissa Joy Manning or Maria Tash – ‘everyday diamonds’ are always a solid starting point for fledgling fine-jewelry collectors.
A burgeoning collection
When it comes to investing in jewels that will really mean something to you, pieces that sit somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000 can be the “financial sweet spot”, according to Hilton. With a wide range of fine jewelry featuring birthstones, star signs, amulets and affirmations, Hilton recommends looking for pieces that feel symbolic and hold sentimental significance. “Whether it is to commemorate a special occasion or just to treat yourself, look to designers that use gemstones in a unique way, such as Sophie Bille Brahe or Suzanne Kalan, whose pieces feature timeless diamonds and pearls set into modern silhouettes. For a more literal interpretation, try delicate script pieces, such as Sydney Evan’s ‘Love’ ring.”
Refining your style
When building a well-balanced collection, it can help to focus your attention on one material that you admire at a time, perhaps beginning with yellow gold. This warm and lustrous metal is a fail-safe choice for jewels that you will wear consistently, such as a chunky gold chain bracelet from Lauren Rubinski, a sensual necklace that frames the collarbones from Foundrae or an eye-catching ring from Spinelli Kilcollin. “[From $3,000 to $5,000] is the perfect price point for those looking to invest slightly more in a singular piece, but who still want to maintain a sense of playfulness and celebrate contemporary design codes,” says Hilton. Bold enamel, vibrant semi-precious gemstones and luxe cords and chains are the keystone of this rich and varied price point.
With extra investment, you can turn your attention from precious metals to your favorite gemstones – diamonds are the go-to for a safe and scintillating investment. “Consider beautiful tennis bracelets and necklaces, as they never go out of style,” suggests Hilton. For these classic silhouettes, look to diamond experts Anita Ko and Jennifer Meyer. Or, if you are feeling more adventurous, there are many designers with a fresh take on diamonds, including Eéra, Jade Trau and Messika.
When the sky’s the limit, narrowing down your selection to just one piece of jewelry can be tricky. From knockout cocktail rings to sparkling chandelier earrings, these spotlight pieces command attention and are the perfect accents for elegant eveningwear. Hilton’s top tip? “Look for bold and bright stones of exceptional quality – these will be the heroes of your entire collection,” she says. Fred Leighton’s ruby and diamond tassel earrings, for instance, are an audacious addition to a little black dress, while Jessica McCormack’s ‘On the Rocks’ necklace can be worn just as deftly with cocktail attire as it can with cashmere, leather or denim.